Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >
Topic Options
#27927 - 08/20/03 06:03 AM Teaching Praise & Worship
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
Does anyone have a successful way of teaching Praise & Worship music?

It's not just adding your own LH accomp. but making up the whole thing using chords only - not even melody.

Books are hard to find - they either have too much written - or nothing.

It seems like some students have no problem transferring all the theory that they've learned - and some just can't. Those are the ones that I'm talking about.

I've used Music Pathways in the past - and even many of those students have a problem, even though they've been composing and finishing songs with Question/Answer phrases and the like. It's like they freeze up or something - suggestions??

Top
#27928 - 08/20/03 09:14 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Are you talking about reading lead sheets? If so, this is my weak area too and, from what I have heard, many others feel the same. It is not something many of us were taught. Fortunately, in my church, I do not play with a band so I get to read my music in the traditional way. However, I am going to learn the other. I know a lady who is very very good with chords (plays mostly by ear) and have asked for help. Once one has a good grounding in chords, I guess just learn by doing. Become part of a Sunday morning praise band, and one should learn fairly quickly. Sink or swim. ;\)

Top
#27929 - 08/20/03 09:55 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
Unfortunately, that's what seems to happen - sink or swim, and mostly sink.

I can play praise and worship, but I don't know how I learned it. I don't play by ear. - my students that are wanting to do this play chords, inverted triads, arpeggios, chord cadences - all the stuff that it takes.

Theory - application. All the theory in the world - regardless of the subject - is worthless if you can't do anything with it.

I've had several students that have come to me for only this - they've moved through the method books - they know all the theory - but they're wanting to learn to read from lead sheets. For some it's been just a matter of stepping through what they know. We sing while playing the chords in root position. Then we sing while playing the chords in cadences. Then we sing while playing cadences in RH and Bass note in LH. At this point - many can swim and off they go. They 'figure' out all the interesting ways of creating sounds on their own.

It's for the rest of them that I want to know more. Anybody can teach what I just described to the student that learns quickly and has enough confidence to just jump and do it. It's hardly called teaching.

In my head it seems like this is where CD's and midi's should come in. Maybe playing with a recording and looking at only a lead sheet. But how do you do this in a progressive order? It just seems like this should already be out there, but I don't have time to discover it. Why does this seem so hard?

Top
#27930 - 08/20/03 10:18 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
You're going to hate me, but I'll say this, then shut up. I learned how to play from lead sheets by "just doing it." Yes, it was sink or swim. I swam.

It wasn't easy. I was a classical trained pianist having to play praise & worship choruses by ear. Sometimes I wasn't even given a lead sheet, & many times the song leader would just start singing & I'd first have to figure out what key he was singing in before I could provide the accompaniment.

But ya know what? The more I did it, the better I got at doing it. I got so good that the song leader could hand me a cassette tape of new praise & worship choruses that he was going to teach to the congregation, & I would take those tapes home, listen to them, & write the lead sheets for him to give to the organist & to the members of the church orchestra.

Of course, I devoted a lot of time to practicing & performing; much more than the average young person would do. I was taking 2 piano lessons per week & learning the classical repertoire required by my piano teacher; I was playing professionally for weddings & performing as a collaborative artist (fancy term for accompanist); I was church pianist (which involved not only playing for church services but also playing for adult, teen & children's choirs); & much more. I put in a lot of hours listening to music, jamming with my guitarist friends (I learned a lot from them), & working on repertoire for recitals & other piano solo performances.

I don't know how many teens today have the amount of time I had to devote to all this. It really does take a lot of time & work. If you only have a very limited amount of time, you're not going to learn very much, no matter how badly you want to.

Top
#27931 - 08/20/03 10:21 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
FWIW, I play lead sheets easily because I taught myself to play electronic organ as a child, using lefthand chords and a bass pedal. (See? There is a value to electronic organ. LOL!) As a result, I know a jillion chords by chord symbol. The trick in converting organ playing to piano is that you also have to know all those chords in all their inversions. Not just "know" them, but to be able to "grab" them immediately upon viewing the chord symbol. It is also necessary to be able to make the bass note/chord leap without looking, and in quick tempos. No easy feat. For those who are just beginning with chord symbols, pick up a couple chord spellers, or a good jazz/improvisation book, learn how to create the chords, but more importantly, practice playing the chords quickly, in all inversions, and rhythmically with the bass note, chord pattern. Once you're secure in the major, minor, augmented, diminished, 7th's, and 9th's you should be well on your way. You can then explore arranging the chords/bass notes in arpeggiated patterns and rhythms, etc. This part will actually come easier to a well-trained pianist. Continue adding chord structures to your chord mastery skill - there is seemingly no end to the varieties of chords. Almost all of my accompaniment when a teen was from lead sheets.

[ 08-20-2003: Message edited by: Lilla ]

Top
#27932 - 08/20/03 11:25 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
Jalape, I'm glad to hear you swam. Sounds like you're quite the pianist. I can do it too. My question was how to teach it.

If someone doesn't have as much time as you had to experiment - and they're not as confident with their playing to put themselves on the line as you did - does that mean that as a teacher we don't have anything to offer them?

Top
#27933 - 08/20/03 11:26 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
Lilla, do you have a good jazz/improvisational book to recommend?

Top
#27934 - 08/20/03 11:27 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
My piano teacher, who didn't teach me to play by ear (didn't even want me to play by ear), DID teach me theory--including scales, cadences, chords, fills & runs. By the time I was expected to play by ear at church (& read lead sheets), I already knew all my chords, both by sight (reading them notated on paper & also reading chord symbols) & by feel (grasping them quickly). Playing the hymns (from the hymnbook, not from easy "pedagogically sound" arrangements) helped a lot because most are chordal.

Students need to have the time necessary to devote to learning to improvise & play by ear. They also need to possess the ability to transfer what they know from classical piano training (especially theory, like described in the above paragraph of this post) to the musicianship skills they're learning (improvising, playing by ear, transposing). Of course, the teacher can help, but a lot of it is still "sink or swim" because the student is not playing from written notation, but either from a lead sheet or completely by ear.

Do not be afraid of making mistakes. In improvisation & ear playing, the only mistake you can make is to play the wrong chord. So what? You keep trying 'til you play the right one. The rest (all the fills & runs) is icing on the cake so to speak. Learn scales, cadences & chords first, & learn to play a simple melody with chordal accompaniment (very basic "hymn style" playing). One you master that, learn to add fills & runs.

The classically trained pianist will, of course, sound better when s/he improvises or plays by ear because s/he will already have received training in the proper use of the pedal, voicing the melody over the accompaniment, etc. Classical training is always an asset, even if you like to play by ear, because you learn how to create beautiful sounds on the piano. You learn how to make the piano "sing."

[ 08-20-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

Top
#27935 - 08/20/03 02:46 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
I learned to play by lead sheet and just straight chord symbols, period, by doing it. It was sink or swim for me too, in a worship team at church. I had been playing piano and reading, only, up until then. Then I got put on a keyboard, and the music director (who later became my husband!) told me NO MELODY. Comp off the chords! I was paralyzed! Looking back it was very funny. BUT I had to do it so I just tried and before long I knew what to do. I had all the theory knowledge I just had to apply it and FAST. Anyway....that was 13 years ago and I have done much more since then and do it all the time in our classic rock band where I work with guitar players constantly, including my husband. I spent ALL summer teaching this in my studio. I decided it would be my summer curriculum afer reading the chapter THE BLACK HOLE in the new pedagogy book by MBJ. It IS much more abstract to teach and I did more demonstrating that I might normally do, as I watched students sit paralyzed as I once was. I started them out lead sheet style so that they could still play melody in their RH but had to improvise with the LH after just playing root triads first. THEN...we went straight to improvising with both hands NO MELODY. We would sing the melody some or I would play it up high or on my other piano so they could hear their work against the melody. It was pretty fun and I think most learned a lot. I plan to do more of this all the time.

[ 08-20-2003: Message edited by: NancyK ]

Top
#27936 - 08/20/03 03:16 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Arlene Steffen Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
I've had some success by having students learn some tasteful written-out arrangements first. Once they have the style in their ears and fingers, we can analyze what makes them work the way they do.

From there, take a song they know well and have them add one or two of the elements they used in the arrangement.

I find it's always best to start with something they know and work to the unknown.

Top
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 >


Moderator:  Archivist 
Search

Recent Posts
Top Posters (Last 30 Days)
Newest Members
mypianorotebook, Amber_Bagz, 430725, SKaR, adagiok5
2658 Registered Users
Forum Stats
2658 Members
46 Forums
5771 Topics
62996 Posts

Max Online: 1422 @ 10/03/16 05:11 PM