The 3 T's of gospel piano playing

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Damien Sneed takes us through the various styles of gospel in an awesome clip. But how did he learn to play all that??


As someone starting out wanting to learn gospel, I found it hard to know what to practice. What did I need to know? How much did I need to know of it? Where did I need to start? Who should I listen to?

Well, in this blog, I want to address the mountain of information out there and cut through some of the noise. How do you actually learn how to play gospel piano? Through my experience, there are 3 T's which are crucial to success. I'll go into more detail in subsequent posts, but here's the basics!

1. Theory

Learn your theory! This post will teach you pretty much everything you need to know: 

The LGM Basic Theory Collection

http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,42768.0.html

This website (learngospelmusic.com) is an INVALUABLE...I repeat, INVALUABLE resource. I learnt so much from this website it's unreal. There are some really great people on there with amazing resources - the post above is from T-Block, a regular poster in the forums.

Key theory to learn:

  • Intervals
  • Major Scale
  • Harmonic Minor
  • Melodic Minor
  • Natural Minor
  • Modes
  • Scale Degrees & Number System
  • Circle of 5ths
  • Scale Degree Chords
  • Basic Progressions
  • Arpeggios
  • Tritones and Tritone Substitutions

2. Transcription

Learn as many gospel songs as you can!

Here are links to the chords to some of the most important gospel standards (I might make this list into a separate post):

The standards:

Bread Of Heaven - Fred Hammond - http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,1868.msg135865.html#msg135865

Now Behold The Lamb - Kirk Franklin - http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,6264.msg26198.html#msg26198

We're Blessed - Fred Hammond -http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,5952.msg24907.html#msg24907

Like The Dew - Judith Christie McAllister -http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,4463.msg106416.html#msg106416

Falling In Love With Jesus - Kirk Whalum -http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,5141.msg21397.html#msg21397

Total Praise - Richard Smallwood -http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,3769.0.html

I Will Bless The Lord - Byron Cage -http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,18199.0.html

Breathe - Byron Cage - http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,18166.0.html

Stand - Donnie McClurkin - http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,7987.0.html

Create In Me A Clean Heart - http://www.learngospelmusic.com/forums/index.php/topic,50009.0.html

And many more...

3. Technique

Don't just learn chords & scales. Learn HOW to play them. The correct fingering. The best way to move from chord to chord.

Here's an example of a great video:

Other tips for accelerated learning:

Gospel DVDs:

Purchase these DVDs! They are gold. Amazing resources!

Play in church. Pick a song & play it in a real life service. Accelerates your playing like nobody's business!

Hope this helped - part 2 is coming real soon! Let me know in the comments if this made sense and if it gave you a kickstart!