10 tips for worship keyboard players

  1. Set up where you can always see the face of your worship or band leader. Signals and communication will be much more intuitive
  2. Don’t just stick to piano sounds. Pads, Rhodes, Whirly, Hammond, strings. Variety is the spice girls of music.
  3. You are playing in the same sonic spectrum as the lead guitarist so try to hear what each other is playing and work together, combine rhythms, you play low, they play high, you play chords, they play lead, take turns etc. If you can’t hear them at least watch their fingers for the rhythms they play.
  4. Use sus2 chords (1,2,5) instead of full triads (1,3,5) – it adds a sense of ambiguity and space to the sound
  5. Your left hand performs a very similar function to the bass player so be careful not to clash and give them room to do their job. Common mistakes are playing ‘pushes’ that don’t lock in with the bass line or kick drum, freestyle rhythms that don’t lock in with the main groove and general business.
  6. If in doubt tie your left hand behind your back and just use your right hand. I’m serious!
  7. Learn the 1st and 2nd inversion of the basic triad so you can link from one chord to the next with the closest voicing
  8. Don’t rely on transpose button all the time. Once you are confident in C, learn to play in G then D then Bb, Eb – use the black notes!
  9. Use reference tracks and try to copy exact keyboard parts from CDs, it will build your knowledge of sounds and train your ear.
  10. Work out what style your band is trying to play in and listen to as much music from those who inspire your sound

Plus an extra tip:

Finally, follow the rule of 1 – If you are the only person in the band then play all of the music but if there are five people in the band, you play a fifth and give other band members space to find their part. So if you are a classical pianist that has learnt to play the melody, harmony, arpeggios, rhythms and bass notes, just focus on chord parts and leave some room for the other band members to play their role.

If you’ve not worked through our Intermediate Worship Keyboard DVDs, they will really help add interest to your playing, teach you some new tricks and generally get you working out of your comfort zone. We’ve also got a few online “song learner” lessons for keys so do take a look at them too.

Do check out our other DVDs and downloads for keys players. We’ve plenty of options for beginners right through to advanced players.