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So You Want to Play in Your Church's Worship Band...

It isn't difficult (for pianists or trumpeters), but it does require certain skills, all of which can be learned and practiced. For pianists/keyboardists, playing in a worship band on a basic level requires only some basic theory knowledge about chords (and scales) and some rudimentary arranging skills. However, to really excel in a worship band, or any type of pop/rock band for that matter, a keyboardist should have great aural skills, style-appropriate improvisation skills and advanced arranging skills. All of these skills can be learned under the guidance of an instructor with experience in both playing in pop/rock ensembles and teaching others how to do so effectively. This combination is absolutely essential. There are plenty of musicians out there that know how to play in a band but don't have the theory knowledge or teaching skills to communicate to another person how to do what they themselves do instinctively. There are also plenty of traditional piano teachers that can provide some basic knowledge about chords and inversions but, without the practical experience and necessary aural skills, can only take their students so far. As someone with a high level of training, performing experience and teaching experience, I am able to teach individuals of all skill levels how to effectively play in a worship band and continue to develop their abilities to the degree of true excellence.

For trumpet players, playing in a worship band usually requires only some basic theory knowledge about chords/scales and some rudimentary arranging skills (along with music reading skills in many cases). However, the requirements to really excel are a little different, as there is a greater need for improvisation skills. Also, there may be a greater need for aural skills at the outset in situations that require them to play the main melody because some worship bands do not use standard music notation in their charts (opting for “lyric sheets” or “chord sheets” instead). Again, these skills can be learned and continually developed under the guidance of a qualified instructor – one who has the appropriate theory knowledge, improv/arranging skills, a great ear, and transcription skills. Fortunately for you, the prospective student (or parent thereof), I have all of these!

Beyond the realm of being “qualified,” I believe that a truly great teacher should have a high level of interest and enthusiasm for whatever areas of musical instruction he/she offers. I would encourage any prospective music student to find a teacher that doesn't begrudgingly offer to help his/her students simply “get by” in playing their worship band music, but rather genuinely enjoys working with students in that style to help them become the best musicians they can be for the glory of God!


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