Course Description

This course includes four hours of instruction and a study guide with classwork and examples. Church pianists are influential. Often, they are one of the biggest influences on the overall worship atmosphere in a worship service.

The queen of all church piano skills is accompanying your congregation when they sing. If you want to make a more positive impact in your church music, this is the first area you need to focus on.

In this four hour course, you will learn:

  • The history, goals, and challenges of congregational accompaniment
  • The theory behind this style of improvisation
  • A simple 4-step process that will get you playing congregational music in a solid, effective style
  • Ways to develop the style to a much higher (and fancier) level
  • Four ways to make your left hand more interesting and less predictable
  • Multiple strategies for fills (filling in dead space)
  • How to play songs in compound meter (3/8, 6/8, and 9/8)
  • How to adjust to different styles such as reflective songs and big anthems
  • How to play introductions
  • How to work with a song leader

This course includes a 60-page study guide with examples and assignments to help you learn these skills.

There are two main sections. In the first section, you will learn a basic style that will make you a fairly simple but effective congregational accompanist. The second section teaches numerous strategies to help you play in a more complex and interesting way.

This course is based on theory. The goal is to get pianists to read chords rather than notes. In fact, step 1 of the 4-step process is learning how to identify the chords in a song. Many courses and classes that teach congregational accompaniment do not take this unique approach. Instead, they give shortcuts that get the pianist playing the style faster but limit their long-term potential.

The ability to identify chords in a song is critical to being all you can be as a church pianist and is a building block of practically every course available here. Make sure you spend some time on this skill before you start more advanced courses. This is a course that will really help you.

Suggested Prerequisites

We suggest that you know the following to be able to understand this course:

  1. How to read music (general basics such as naming notes, counting, key signatures, etc.).
  2. Basic theory. You need to know how to play a major scale. Ideally, you can build simple chords such as major and minor triads. If you need help in this area, consider purchasing Theory for Church Pianists.
  3. How to identify chords and chart a song. You should be able to work through a typical song in the hymnal and write in the chords you see. If you need help in this area, consider purchasing the course How to Chart a Song.