I never really consider myself much of a song writer or composer of vocal music, but this song has been one of my most popular compositions.
It was originally written as a worship song and we used it in worship for many years. Eventually it was recorded in this great recording by the Chancellors Quartet and by a few others including a traditional Celtic ensemble from Ireland.
St. Patrick's Breastplate is a prayer giving thanks and recognizing God's protection, provision, and sufficiency. I enjoy hearing stories how the song has been an encouragement to people in times of challenge.
There is a PDF copy available to download here. If you use it, please let me know and share a recording or video if you have one.
One of the best things any music student can do is to record oneself. A recording reveals so many things. You hear if phrasing and articulations are being projected to the listener or are only felt by you the performer. You see and hear things that perhaps come across awkward or unpolished, and of course, poor technique, lack of a plan for piano fingering or vibraphone sticking, and lack of practice really shows.
This is a recording of my son Lucas, a 17-yr-old high school senior as he prepared a jazz vibraphone solo for an audition. A great extra benefit is that a recording like this can also be a confidence builder as one begins to feel better about their performance.
This was simply recorded with an iPhone. One doesn't need elaborate equipment to do it and the benefits are wonderful. Record yourself! Be encouraged and be challenged in your own playing!
O the Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus is another love song for the month of February. It was written by a London merchant, Samuel Trevor Francis. He uses the ocean to describe the character of God.
I wanted to bring out this vastness and depth through the use of the lower range of the piano and also through a slow driving pulse which drives forward, helps propel the us onward, leading homeward.
Here is the lyric: O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love Leading onward, leading homeward To Thy glorious rest above! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Spread His praise from shore to shore! How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore! How He watches o'er His loved ones, Died to call them all His own; How for them He intercedeth, Watcheth o'er them from the throne! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! 'Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 'tis a haven sweet of rest! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 'tis a heaven of heavens to me; And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
Summer and particularly the Fourth of July is a great time to celebrate our country and a patriotic musical favorite is America the Beautiful. This is an arrangement I wrote for two pianos, four-hands. Despite the elaborate sound, the piece is surprisingly accessible using repetitive patterns that are great fun to play. On this performance, my son who was 12 at the time partners with me. Want yo try the arrangement yourself? Check it out at: JWPepper.