New Song NY

How to Become a Better Worship Pianist

When it comes to playing the piano for contemporary worship, skill is less a matter of being able to play many notes quickly and more a question of choosing the right notes. If you want to improve your skill in playing the piano for the Lord in church, how can you do it? Other than practice your scales and try to learn new songs?

There are three ways to increase your skill in choosing the right notes to play for worship.

1) Learn a complementary style of music.

If you are a classically trained musician, take lessons in jazz piano. Learn a few jazz standards and how to do jazz improvisation. You will then learn how to feel what are the more appropriate notes to use on the piano to get the effect you want.

If you are more of a contemporary/jazz player, learn music notation and study two-part inventions. They will train you to use less notes to imply the chords, instead of banging out everything and crowding out the congregation’s singing, as many others do.

2) Sing and play.

Pay special attention to how the songs interact with the chords and rhythms created. Are the chords and rhythms you’re given the best fit for the song? If you are unable to sing a song comfortably using certain chords or rhythms, those chords and rhythms may not be the best fit for the song.

Singing and playing will also allow you to test out any ideas you may have, to see if they will work for supporting the congregation’s singing of a song.

3) Learn the guitar.

Many church pianists are weak in two areas: their overall sense of rhythm and their choice of notes. Learning the guitar strengthens you in these two areas.

Because the sound of a guitar is thinner than that of a piano, you can strum more actively on a guitar than you can comp on a piano. This allows you to get a feeling of rhythmic intensity, and you can carry over the effect to piano playing when you know what you are looking for.

On the piano, you can pile up the notes to create really thick chords. But these don’t usually work well for contemporary church worship. Guitars give you only six (or often five) notes to work with. You have to choose your notes really well, because you don’t have that many to work with.

Conclusion: These three tips are simple, but not easy. They require you to go out of what many pianists have as their comfort zone, and it’s tempting to rationalize away the need for these methods.

But if you are deadly serious about serving the Lord with the best you can give him, these three methods of increasing your skill as a worship pianist will give you the greatest growth in the shortest amount of time. So are you up to the challenge?
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Sat, September 22 2012 » Arts And Entertainment

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