Gospel Music Lesson of Week – Contemporary Chord Progression in the Key of Eb


This weeks gospel music lesson is on a contemporary chord progression in the key of Eb that can be used for background talking music or simply music to add to the chords and progressions that you already know. Enjoy the lesson and please share with a friend!

For more, this Gospel Music Lesson is about incorporating jazz licks.

Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – Expanding Dominant Chords

This weeks gospel music lesson was a real pleasure to put together.  It is how to take a dominant chord and explore different sounds and possibilities with the chord.  Enjoy and pass along to a musician friend.  Also make sure to check out the HMPI Store for additional resources and to get yourself ready to perform for mom on Mother’s Day.

Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – The Common Top Tone

The Common Top Tone is an interesting concept that I think you will enjoy.  It’s about how to take one common note and play several chords with that one common tone.  Enjoy and please post your comment or question below.

Gospel Piano and Organ Chord Voicings


One thing that I love to hear when listening to an organist or pianist is when the musician really knows how to voice their chords.

A chord voicing is referring to how you arrange the notes within a particular chord. For example I can play a C major chord several different ways.

right hand    CEG

left hand        C


right hand    E C

left hand     C  G


right hand    GCG

left hand      CGE

There are so many different ways you can voice a particular chord.  Here are a few tips to follow when you are trying to figure out how to voice a particular chord.


  • Know or identify what specific notes make up a particular chord

For example a C major chord is comprised of 3 notes which are C, E and G

Now I know that C, E, and G are the notes that I have to work with. Now I will try to arrange these 3 notes to get the best possible sound.

I can use a particular note of the chord only once in my chord voicing.  I can also use a particular note of the chord more than once in my chord voicing. Let your ear be the judge of what is the best chord voicing


  • Look for the sweet spot

Take the notes that make up a particular chord and try to arrange them so that they sound just right.

You don’t want your notes to be too low (played to far to the left) which will make your chords sound muddy or cloudy. You also don’t want to play the chord too high (played too far to the right) which will make the chord sound thin.

You want to find what I call the sweet spot, which is the ideal place on the keyboard for the chord that you are playing. Sometimes a combination of high and low works well. Sometimes a very close voicing works well. (Where the notes a very close to each other)

Sometimes an open voicing works well. (Where the notes have larger spaces in between them)

Experimentation is the key!!! You will be surprised at the great things you can find from just experimenting with different chord arrangements.

  • Use Voice Leading

One thing that makes your chords sound good is good voice leading. Voice leading is how smooth the particular notes within a chord move to the notes in the very next chord.

You don’t want to jump around a lot when playing your chords.  Many times the notes within a particular chord don’t have to move more than a half step, whole step, or a third. This gives you a flowing and connected sound when you play your chord progressions. This sounds pleasing to the ear.  When you move from one chord to the next some of the notes may stay the same. Some may go up and some may go down. This is voice leading. The notes of your chords are the voices and you want them to move smoothly to the next notes of the chords.

I also like to think that the notes in my chord are like individual people singing in a choir. When someone is singing in the choir, the notes that the person sings does not have huge jumps and spaces in them. (Jumping from a really high note to a really low note)

That would sound unnatural and would be difficult to sing. Think of your fingers like little singers and you want each finger to move easily and smoothly from one note to the next note within a chord progression.

These are just 3 tips to think about when voicing your chords. I would love to hear your comments. Please let me know if you have any questions or want me to go into greater detail in any of the above mentioned tips.


Lesson of The Week -Praise Chords in F

Thanks for viewing this weeks lesson Praise Chords in F.  Enjoy and please pass along to a musician friend.  Stay tuned for more lessons and instruction.

Lesson of The Week – Overcoming Key Changes

I would encourage you to take this key changing technique and try to apply it to all 12 keys. It is good to think about the number and type of chord that you are playing in songs. The 2 most important things you must be able to do in order to effectively use this technique is to know all 12 major scales and know your basic chords. These are very fundamental skills that will in the end make a huge difference in your playing. It really does take the frustration and anxiety out of playing in every key evenly.

Key Change Exercise Song

Click Below To Hear The Song

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Music Lesson Of The Week – Minor 3rd Modulations

This week’s music lesson is about being creative with keys and modulating songs.  This is the kind of thing that makes being a musician fun.  Please post a comment below with your questions and comments.

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Also check out this great video tutorial and midi of the song “I Believe God” by Kurt Carr that uses the minor 3rd modulations. This is a great song to learn.


Lesson of the Week – Organ Chord Inversions

Welcome to HMPI’s Music Lesson of the Week.  There have been several requests for an organ lesson so I put together a great lesson for players of all skill levels around Organ Chord Inversions.  I hope you enjoy.  Please comment below with any questions and/or requests for future lessons.  We’ve also just launched a digital download section in our store that has more complete organ lessons.

And don’t be shy, share with a friend via email, facebook, or twitter.

HMPI Lesson of the Week – Reharmonization and Counter Melodies

For this week’s lesson I decided to do a brief demonstration of a song reharmonization and adding counter melodies to a song. This is something I love to do and you certainly grab people’s attention when you reharmonize familiar songs and melodies.  As with anything this has to be done with discretion and tastefully.  However, it’s great to keep things fresh musically and to keep raising the bar for creativity.

Reharmonization for me is centered around the melody. In a nutshell you keep the melody notes prominent and at the top of the chords. This helps people to hear where you are in the song. It goes with out saying that in order to do this that one should already be able to play quite a few chords in several different keys.

Now lets take chords that we already know and maybe discover some new ones along the way and weave together a creative chord progression that allows the melody notes to be the top notes of the chords. It can be challenging to reharmonize certain songs but it is a  fun challenge.

  • Look for progressions that sound natural

I really love to hear musicians that can play in a very creative way but it still sounds musical. Sometimes musicians can get so caught up into doing something innovative and new that it is easy for the music to become non musical or doesn’t really make sense to the listener. Always keep your listeners in mind. Will your listeners be able to follow your reharmonization or will they still be able to  make out what the song is. These are things to consider when coming up with your own  reharmonization.

  • Go back to home base from time to time

It is important when you are playing a familiar melody or song to go back to the standard progressions within the song sometimes. In a sense it helps the listener reset their ears to the song you are playing. You don’t won’t to stay out in left field the whole time, come back to the regular way of playing at the right times and go then go back to something new and different. It is all about being tasteful. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

  • Use Modulations to get out and back in

Sometimes you may find yourself stuck and can’t figure out how to reharmonize a certain part of the song. In that instance, allow the melody note to stay the same but play chords that are in a different key. This will really make people listen. You have to be careful how you do this but it is a great technique  to use.

My last tip is learn more songs. The more songs you learn the more chord progressions you will learn and you will be better equipped to come up with your own unique chord progressions.

Have fun and be creative. There are no rules. Discover something great!


If you like this lesson please comment and share it with a musician friend.