I began working as a professor of music in
1981; and since that time, it has been my privilege to teach
thousands of private piano lessons and dozens of music seminars. These experiences have led me to many wonderful people. Perhaps my
most memorable student has a senior citizen named Elizabeth Hunter.
Elizabeth was a bright lady with a master's degree from the
University of Michigan, and she had retired from a successful career
as a public school teacher.
During my seminar, she said, "Dr.
Zachary, I have been searching for this information for forty years.
Some teachers can show me how to play for a dance band, and some can
show me how to play Beethoven; but I have always wanted to
understand how to play for church. Though the information you are
teaching is just what I have always wanted to learn, its too late
for me. I'm ready to die. However, I did bring a young man in my
church to this seminar. Maybe he can learn all this and have a
happier ministry of music that I ever had." Sadly, when I
returned to Michigan next summer, Elizabeth had indeed died. But her
words have lived in my heart.
I do not believe that this book contains the
only helpful information about hymn playing, but I do know that
information about hymn playing is often difficult to obtain. And if
you are fortunate enough to find a book about the topic, you may or
may not be fortunate enough to be able to understand its author.
It is my sincere prayer that the presentation
of the material in this volume is so simple that any
interested student can comprehend it. At the same time, I have
endeavored to lay a thorough musical foundation. Though additional
information will have to be presented in later volumes, I believe
this book introduces the basic principles of hymn playing. I urge
student to carefully learn all the information presented here and to
patiently master each exercise.
Mike D. Zachary