How to Learn Christian Worship Songs on Pianos
With the right heart, the right knowledge of chords, and the right access
to music (or just a good ear), it can be easy to learn how to play Christian worship songs on piano.
In many cases, Christian worship music is specifically designed to be easily learned by musicians and easily
sung by congregations, so piano players of all levels have the ability to learn worship songs in church piano lessons.
There’s no secret to it: a focus on learning chords, progressions, and transposition will turn a pianist of any
style into one who can play worship songs.
First, there are a few ways to acquire Christian music. If you are a member of a church worship team and your
church has a CCLI license that grants it access to copyrighted worship music, then you are available to receive as
many songs as your church’s printer can print out. If you don’t have this privilege, then looking up chords online
will also be a route you can take.
Simply open your favorite search enjoy, type in the song title you like and the word “chords,” and you’ll be
shuttled to dozens of websites showing you which chords to play with which lyrics. Or, if this option also eludes
you, you can use your ears and listen to the songs, picking out the chords and progressions employed in each.
Once you have obtained access to some of your favorite worship tunes, it’s time to match theory with
application. Many worship songs, though not all, rely on simply keys, chords, and progressions. This means that if
you know the primary major and minor piano chords within each key, you will
likely be ready to play the majority of worship songs.
Most of the verses and choruses rely on the same four chords: the root,
the fourth, the fifth, and the minor sixth. Take “Holy is the Lord” for example: the verses and chorus
features G, C, D, and Em in various orders.
The only variation comes on the bridge (or pre-chorus) which has an A chord. If you are comfortable with the
chords in the keys of C, G, D, F, and Bb, you likely will be able to play the preponderance of worship songs. So
practice those chords!
However, there are two main reasons why transposition is also an important skill in how to learn Christian
worship songs on piano. First, sometimes songs might be written in a key that is difficult to play or difficult to
transition into from a previous song. Other times, songs might be written in a key too high or too low for singers
to comfortably manage.
In both cases, transposing the song into a more comfortable key will be necessary. This again works to your
advantage – if you’re comfortable with the fundamental keys and chords, then you’re comfortable transposing songs
into any one of those keys.
Finally, it takes time and practice to capably play any worship song on piano. Take some of your
favorite songs, make a binder, and play through them again and again. Since you know these worship songs already,
you should also try to sing as you play so that your mind recognizes the sounds that the chords should make at each
point in the melody.
With enough practice through songs and chords, you’ll find that eventually you won’t have to focus on musicality
any more – your fingers will do the hard work while your mind and heart are free to focus on the meaning of the
words and worship you create.