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In true Gospel tradition, the opening solo of “Peace Like a River” may be freely improvised, with plenty of liberties taken with the melody and rhythm. The pianist should follow the lead of the singer. The upper line provides the basic framework of the melody for improvisation. The lower line is an example of what might be done with the melody, and may be used if the soloist is not comfortable with embellishing the melody on their own. I encourage you to explore improvisation with your singers, however, as so much can be learned from it!
Do not rush the tempo. The piece sounds best in a laid-back groove that builds to a driving bass line and soaring vocals. Enjoy the ride!