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How to Play Popular Christian Worship Songs on Piano

There are a few essential skills that the Christian worship pianist needs to get under his fingers and into his head to successfully lead a congregation in singing or to even just enjoy personal worship at home.

These skills include knowing common chords and progressions, rhythm piano, and – to make sure you’re copying music legally – licensing laws.

Here’s how to play popular Christian worship songs on piano successfully.

The first thing a competent pianist, playing worship songs or any kind of music, needs to know is chord structure. Fortunately, because Christian worship music needs to be learned quickly and sung my many people at once, common keys and chords structures are simplified. This means that the least a pianist needs to get started is knowledge of which chords correspond to which keys.

Here, you’ll need to know what are called the primary chords of a key, which means the root, fourth, and fifth chords. Every key consists of three major chords and three minor chords: for example, the key of C has the major chords C, F, and G, and the minor chords D, E, and A. The major chords are the primary chords on piano.

When playing a song in the key of C, then, it is highly likely that you will be playing the chords C, F, and G, and also possible that the minor chords will come in. If playing in the key of F, you will need to know that F, Bb, and C are the primary chords. Knowing how to quickly identify, playing, and switch between chords is important.

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Also, remember that worship music is specifically designed to be sung to, which means that typically the melody is presented in the lyrics. A good Christian worship pianist knows when to make the piano the prominent voice in the sanctuary and when it should back off to a supplemental role.

A good skill to acquire is learning how to play rhythmically: this typically involves being able to create rhythms between hands. As the hands are playing and switching between chords, they alternate rhythmically with one another so that, like a drummer, the hands create a distinct beat.

Sometimes playing entire chords with hands produces this effect; however, rhythmic piano sounds can also be produced by playing only a few notes of a chord and then adding other notes of the chord throughout the chord’s duration. The successful worship pianist should know when to supplement sung lyrics and when to take the lead at the beginning, end, or middle of a piece.

Finally, it would be nice to think that Christian music is free. After all, so many churches use the same songs on a weekly basis, and we aren’t comfortable with the thought that a worship artist is getting rich off of churches buying his music.

To avoid breaking copyright laws and remain respectful to the artists who wrote the songs you enjoy every week, it would be helpful to obtain a CCLI license when you learn piano online. This license grants churches and worship leaders access to any Christian worship music that artists have granted permission to use, and you can then make as many non-commercial as you and your team may need.

Learning how to play popular Christian worship songs on piano is not difficult once you grow comfortable enough with your chords and keys. In just a little amount of time you’ll be praising the Lord on your own or with your congregation!

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ASA Piano Lessons - Beginner Piano Lessons With Songs


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