Friday, January 23, 2009

Woodshedding on

According to , the word woodshed, used as a verb, is a slang word that means to practice a musical instrument assiduously and with a specific goal in mind, as in, “He’s woodshedding for next week’s show.”

My blog today is to let you know about a wonderful service you can find on I imagine you’ve been to that web site to find lessons or conference talks, but you can find most of the hymns there, too.

In just a minute I’m going to give you the steps to find the hymns , and I’ll give you a link, too, but first I want to tell you a couple things this wonderful part of can do for you.

1. Say you want to sing in my choir (I’m choir director of our ward), and you know we only sing hymns, so you’re comfortable with that. Your voice is lower, and you want to learn to sing alto, but you don’t read music. is the place to go. You can find a particular hymn and tell it you want to hear just the alto part. It will play it, highlighting the notes as they sound, and you can sing along until you learn the part.

2. Say you’ve been asked to sing a song for the Relief Society lesson, but the hymn they want you to sing is just a bit high for your range. You can go to, find the hymn, and get the hymn transposed down. Then you can print it out in the new key so your accompanist can play it as you sing in this more comfortable range.

Here is what you’ll see when you get to one of the hymn pages.

As you can see, the music appears just as it is in the hymn book. The magic happens in the sidebar on the left.

The box at the bottom of the screen displayed above shows what key this hymn is in. If you want it in another key, simply press the arrow up or down until you reach the key you want and wait for the hymn to reset in the new key.

The next box up from that is the tempo of the song. If it’s playing too slow, you can speed it up using the arrows.

The next box shows the parts. As it’s set now, when you tell the hymn to play, it will play all four parts: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. But, maybe you want to learn the tenor part. If you click on soprano, alto and bass, they will all turn off, and when you play the hymn, all you will hear is the tenor. Later, after you learn the part, you can turn the other voices back on and learn to sing in the midst of the chords of the song.

The print function is in the next box up. It’s best to print from this button rather than the one at the top of your screen.

To play the hymn, click on the large arrow point at the top right under where it says Church Music.

I said I’d give you both a path and a link. Here’s the path:
Click on Gospel Library (at top of screen)
In the drop-down menu, click on Music
Click on Music at the top of the screen
Click on Hymns
This will take you to a screen where you choose how you want to navigate through the hymn book.

Here’s a link that will take you to the same page:,17631,4650-1,00.html

Happy Woodshedding!

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Monique said...

This was so incredible I spent the next hour playing around with it. Thanks so much. I also blogged about it on my blog and referred others to your blog, of course, for more info.

Margaret Shumate said...

I don't even know if you are still posting on this blog, but I fit right into your Alto category to the T and your directions to help me hear the alto part only with the piano playing only that part has helped me tremendously! I just wanted to say thanks.