Gospel piano lessons can be a bit difficult to come by. In the past, there were a number of online courses teaching gospel piano.
Lots of these have fallen away so on this page, I will give a few critical lessons on how to play gospel or worship piano.
Playing gospel requires a number of things. And there are a number of
things that will really help you if you know them.
In order to play gospel or worship music, you need to learn chords. Chords are what you'll be reading, creating around, listening for, etc. (This is also the first thing I recommend on my How to Play Gospel for Beginners page.)
For gospel, you need to know more than the major and minor chords. Lots of writers of gospel or worship music are very creative with their chords. So there are lots of interesting types.
There's a lot of free information on this site about chords. It's a good basis for many types of piano - especially gospel. You can click here to go the gospel chords section.
Start learning the basics and then add in more chords from there. After major and minor chords, m7 or minor seventh, 7 and suspended (4 or sus4) would be the most common.
After you learn chords, you need to learn a bit about filling in the chords. This means playing extra notes besides the chords. Some sound good and some don't.
If you've heard of riffs, learning how to make them will take you a long way and have everyone thinking you're an amazing player.
Another area to pay attention to (once you're comfortable with chords) is bass lines. Playing a good bass lines will really fill out the music you make.
With your left hand you can also make arpeggios out of the chord. For example, if you're playing a C chord. The left hand can play C - G - C (going up). This works especially well with slower songs.
The rest comes with practice and experimentation. You can find your own sound and style. If you play a little, you already have the beginnings of your own sound. Practice will bring if out more.
It can be really helpful in a band, gospel or worship music setting to be able to play a bit my ear.
If you can learn to play chords (at least a little) by ear, it is a definite benefit. When someone in your band or the pastor wants to play a song you don't have the music for on hand, it's really handy to just play what you need to play.
Playing by ear is a fantastic skill to have! It's something you can develop and work on over time. It's the same as anything else in piano, it takes practice.
How do you start?
Choose a song you know but don't have the music or chords to. Then try to play the melody or figure out the chords.
One first thing I always do to try and figure out the chords to a song is to try to play the bass line first. This will take you a long way to figuring out the chords. For example, if the bass line is C F G A. The chords are probably C, F, G, am.
An important aspect of playing gospel and providing those who are singing along a clue as to when to start singing. In other words, playing an intro to the song.
This is important to figure out ahead of time and not really on the fly. If you're playing with others, this may not be an issue but piano players often lead so it's important to know.
Quite often you can use the chord progression for the verse you're about to play. So play through the chords in the same rhythm as the verse and people should know where to start.
Other times, you can play the ending of a song. This can provide a clear break and so everyone knows when to start.
Often, a clear signal that a song is about to start is a pause or break in the music.
This is something that is great to practice and go through often. Even experienced players can struggle with figuring out a good intro.
There is a gospel piano lessons course on Udemy which at the time of writing is free. You can check out this course here.
It's not easy to find a gospel piano lessons teacher. The best thing to do if you want a private teacher is try to someone who plays gospel really well. Then, ask them if they'll teach you.
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