Piano Goals

  1. Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
  2. Working knowledge of the scales and chord families of A, C, D, E, F, G, Em, Am, Dm
  3. Understands 1-4-5 method
  4. A firm understanding of the 100% rule
  5. Play in time with the metronome
  6. Attentive to song leader during praise
  7. Understands “piano driven" songs versus “guitar driven" songs
  8. Understands E.Q., volume
  9. Understands sound selections
  10. Understands the difference between accompaniment and just playing the chords.

The piano has almost endless opportunity in worship music because it can be rhythmic or melodic; and the spectrum of sound goes from the lowest growling A all the way up to that tinkling high unusable C. What makes piano so difficult is that endless opportunity requires greater responsibility. Let’s look deeper at the items above for the role of the pianist in the praise team.

  1. Sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Be sensitive, even musically to what the Spirit is doing for the congregation. Be aware of what’s happening and be prepared to raise or lower the intensity of your playing based on the Spirits lead.
  2. Make sure you really know your scales and chords for the keys we use.
  3. You should be able to play the 1’s, 4’s, and 5’s, of each key easily.
  4. The piano and the guitar are probably the two most difficult instruments to observe the %100 rule, so be extremely humble, and play only your part and not more.
  5. Work with a metronome or drum machine and lock in with the timing. Because a piano has such a clear natural sound, an early or late played note is very evident in the mix.
  6. Pay attention to the song leader. He may want to skip a song, and often times that requires the pianist to intro the next one, so be ready for your piano intro songs whenever they come up.
  7. A piano driven song just means the piano is the main percentage of the %100 rule. The piano would be used to clearly lead the song into a chorus or verse and would be played with strong rhythm. The guitarists should be playing sparser.
  8. Be aware of your volume in relation to the band. If you’re asked to play a solo, make sure you turn up or play heavier to be heard, and when you’re finished, turn back down or bring you’re intensity back down.
  9. There are some very nice sounds on that Kawai. Make sure you are choosing a sound that you feel is appropriate for the song. Don’t be afraid to layer two sounds together, but be aware that you take up more space in the %100 rule when you do, so adjust your playing accordingly.
  10. This is almost splitting hairs but it does make a difference. Just playing the chords during a song is like “playing along”. Accompanying refers more to finding the rhythm and octave placement for a particular song, and playing an intentional part. Paul Baloche says in his video he likes all of his musicians to think of themselves as arrangers. Make a conscious decision of when to come in, when to come out, what style the song is and how that relates to piano… The list of things to consider is quite large, but the point is easy. Be an active participant in the decisions of how the song will sound, and what part you will play to achieve that sound.