So, I mentioned elsewhere how when you’re playing piano/keyboard, it’s not just playing the right chords that matters, it’s how you play the chord, both in terms of note choice and rhythm that makes all the difference. Like, in the recording to “You’re the Source”, the piano plays a terrible B7 chord on “gone running wild” where the A is the top of the chord.

Maybe people don’t understand this, but just take my word for it – that’s a terrible way to play that chord. In fact, just choosing B7 instead of B is a poor decision, but if you’re going to play it, it would be much better to play, for example, a lower chord, F# A D# with a B in the left hand. Believe me, it sounds a lot better. Anything but the A at the top. Hold me Jesus, I’m shaking like a leaf.

Anyway, all of praise piano is like that – the choice and rhythm in playing a particular chord makes all the difference, and that’s hard to teach. I mean, it’s easy to say, play a D here, but how do you explain how to play that D chord in different situations when there are no rules?

The way I learned, I think, was by playing a lot of sheet music. Like, buy all the Hosanna and Vineyard songbooks and play them exactly like it’s written in the music, not just the chords, but the music. And buy like CCM songbooks and do the same thing. Any popular music, actually. And play it a lot. I just think that doing this builds your intuitions about how to phrase chords and stuff like that. You can’t really teach it, I think, but if you play it enough, you’ll build intuitions.

Anyway, in high school, I’d play the Hosanna songs exactly like the songbooks, and I learned a whole bunch of CCM on piano. To this day, I can play like nearly any Amy Grant or Michael W. Smith song that was written for piano. And I think that’s what built my intuitions as to how to play chords.

So, not that anyone’s asking, but if anyone wants to know how to play praise piano, I say buy lots of songbooks, both praise songbooks and pop music songbooks and play the songs a lot.

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