Since posting my Graded List of LDS Hymns For Piano Students, a senior missionary sister serving in Jamaica e-mailed me and requested a list of the easiest simplified hymns, from the Hymns Made Easy book, to help the local members learn to play. This is something that I have wished I had over the years and have been unable to find, so I decided to make one for her. There is an index in the back of the book that groups the hymns into three groups, easiest to hardest, but in my 20+ years' experience as a music teacher, and in almost every one of the many method books and leveled student pieces I have used, there are certain elements that make a piece easy to play for a beginner, which do not match this indexing. These are:
--being in the key of C (no sharps or flats in the key signature)
--having simple rhythms such as quarter notes and half notes only
--having no or few large jumps from one key to another
So here are the ten pieces that I think are the easiest ones in the Hymns Made Easy book and my suggestions for making them easy to learn. If they are helpful to the saints in Jamaica, maybe they will helpful to others, too. At the very least, they'll be helpful to my students.
Key of C
Dotted rhythms, but they are not very tricky.
L.H. stays in the same position except twice finger 5 needs to reach down one note for a chord on "days" and "hand."
R.H. only moves a few times: On Line 2, circle the 1 on "sending" where the thumb crosses under finger 2; On Line 3, circle the 2 on "We" and the 1 on "Bestowed." The last line is the same as other lines in the piece.
"God's Daily Care"
Cross out the A-flat on the second-to-last measure in the l.h. It is completely unnecessary. Just hold the chord and skip that A-flat.
Key of C
The l.h. stays mainly in a C position, but if you circle the A and F chord on the word "humble" and again on "grief", that will signal to the student the only place where she has to reach up just one key to get to that A.
The only tricky rhythms are the tied chords in the l.h., but it seriously wouldn't matter at all if the pianist accidentally played them twice instead of holding them.
The r.h. doesn't change position a lot. Just circle these finger numbers to note changes: the 2 that crosses over the thumb on the second line on "comes," the 1 on "grief," and 3, 2, and 1 that have to stretch on "on earth to."