Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 1 from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.

These videos with Bob Kauflin can be a great help, not just to pianists, but to all involved in or working alongside a worship band.

For your convenience, I’ve copied Bob’s topic summary for each. If you prefer to watch the videos in a larger format, click play, then you’ll see an option to watch full screen.

Bob says:

Last summer at WorshipGod11 I taught a pre-conference seminar for intermediate level pianists to help them develop their skills while playing with or without a band.
In recent years I’ve taught more on the theology of congregational singing than the practical aspects. But I still enjoy teaching on the practicals. So here’s a video of the first installment, with notes included below.

Piano in Contemporary Worship, Part 1

General Principles

Excellence.

  • Excellence in all dimension of worship expression, including music, must not simply be defined by cultural standards of sophistication, but by the ability of the expression to strengthen, deepen, and develop faith. – (Bryan Chapell, Christ Centered Worship, 140)
  • We don’t strive for excellence so that we will be seen and honored, but so that Christ will be seen and honored.
  • Our gifts and talents are slaves to Christ.

Melody, rhythm, harmony.

  • Often contributing all three. Don’t need to.
  • Rhythm and harmony most important. People can carry the melody.

Groove

  • Not a strength for pianists
  • Time is a metronome. Groove is based on time, but has accents.
  • Inner pulse serves as the framework for everything else.
  • Involves thinking in larger segments of time
  • Different ways to communicate groove

Whole notes

  • Guitar feel in RH (dotted 8th – dotted 8th – 8th tied to half note)
  • LH thumb
  • Arpeggiated
  • Rely on percussion or other instruments

Dynamics.

  • Chord to chord
  • Section to section
  • Growth over the song
  • Number of notes vs. force of attack

Confidence.

  • Sets people at ease.
  • Tempo, key, chords and notes…

Deliberate practice.

  • Geoff Colvin in Talent is Overrated: Designed to improve performance, high degree of repetition, immediate measurable feedback, mentally challenging, hard work
  • Metronome
  • Chord knowledge
  • Song knowledge
  • Practicing with others

Go to Part 2 here…