Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – Creating Contempory Chords

This week’s gospel music lesson is about playing within diminished patterns.  Taking major chords and creating a real contemporary, full sound.

I’ll demonstrate it for you and then break down exactly what I do so you can put this lesson to work right away.

Please let me know what you think by sharing your question or comment below.

If you really like it please share it via your twitter or facebook page.

Thanks for reading.  And caring to improve as a gospel musician.

For more, this lesson is on Gospel Music Chords.

 

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 – Incorporating Jazz Licks

This week’s gospel music lesson is a spin off of the last blog post.  It’s about how to incorporate jazz licks into gospel music. Hope you enjoy it and can apply it to your music right away!

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.

KH

Gospel Music Lesson of the Week – Pedal Points

This week’s is on Pedal Points and how to play a series of chords with only one bass note.  Enjoy and please pass along to a friend.

“The Little Things That Are Not So Little”

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with and play with all kinds of musicians and musical artists. I have been blessed to play with some of the best musicians anywhere. After awhile you start to see commonalities among musicians that are very successful. Also people consistently call upon these kind of musicians because they enjoy working with them.

These are things that I have noticed about very successful musicians.

****THE LITTLE THINGS****

1) They arrive early for engagements and performances

2) They come prepared knowing the music and ready to play

3) They have positive attitudes with those whom they are working with

4) They don’t allow their egos to get the best of them (They can easily follow directions)

5) They leave their personal feelings out of the music and they don’t allow their feelings to affect the way that they play.

Everyone wants to be successful in what they do and musicians practice for years to develop their skills to get to a certain point in their playing.

Always keep in mind that only 50% of your success is how well you can play. The other 50% consists of much of what I mentioned above. The LITTLE THINGS – That really are not so little.

By all means PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Practice is necessary to succeed. It is no getting around it. You have to practice. Developing yourself musically is essential for success but don’t neglect the LITTLE THINGS.

It is quite possible that your talent can open doors for you that your character can’t keep you in.

Be the total package and succeed as the kind of musician that you have always wanted to be and that people love to work with.

KH

Leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue

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

If you like this lesson then don’t be shy. Help us spread the free lessons. Share with a friend.

Thanks,

KH

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.

Please share on Twitter and help HMPI serve more musicians.

 

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.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Playing Chords With Flavor

We all love to hear rich and full sounding chords when people play. It seems like some guys know just what to play, and how to play to really play with a lot of flavor.

Here are a few tips that I use to add more flavor to my chords. 

  • Find The Sweet Spot

I look for the place on the piano or organ that is the optimum place for  a particular chord. Doing something as simple as moving a chord up or down an octave can dramatically enhance the sound of a chord that you are playing.  I look for the place or area on the keyboard where the chord is not too high, or too low but rather just right.  If you play your chords too far to the left your chords can start to sound muddy and if you play your chords too far to the right they can start to sound thin. I love for chords to sound rich, full, clear,

  • Try Different Chord Inversions

Experimenting with chord inversions is another way to really enhance the sound of your chords. An inversion of a chord is to change the position of the notes of the chords while still playing the same note names.

 

The notes are the same but you change the arrangement or position of those particular notes.

A good rule of thumb is that how ever many different notes you have in a particular chord, then that is at least how many different positions that you can play that particular chord.

  • Adding Notes To Chord

Another effective thing to do in order to really add more flavor to your chords are to add additional notes to your chords.

For example: If I am playing a C major chord which are the notes C -E -G.

I love to add the second scale degree of the chord to add a bit of flavor to the chord.

 

C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

C  is the root or 1st scale degree

E is the 3rd scale degree

G is the 5th scale degree

The second scale degree for the C major chord is the note D.

So I would play:

C-(D)-E-G

Adding the 2nd scale degree is an easy way to add flavor to most chords (not every chord)

The 6th scale degree is another note that works well in adding notes to chords (not every chord)

Experimentation is really the best way to discover what works and what does not.

  • Study Other Musicians

I have learned so many wonderful and flavorful chords from other musicians. I am a big advocate for studying great musicians. Learn what they do and how they do it.

This is not to try to copy the person but rather learn how they think about playing. You can learn the concepts that they are using and can apply those concepts and come up with your own unique approach to it yourself.  Or if you really love how they play then copy them. It will be okay. lol But in the process look for your own style and voice when you play.

If you like this post please share it with a friend.

Thanks

KH

Lesson of the Week – Playing Outside of the Key

I’m happy to announce that HMPI will be issuing a lesson of the week from here on out.  I hope that you find value and come back to the blog each week to check out the lesson.  The first lesson is called “Playing Outside the Key.”

I’d love to hear your comments and or questions.  Please post below.  Also, if you like what you see and hear and feel moved, please share with your friends via facebook, twitter and email icons below.  Have a blessed week!

Piano and Organ Tips – Real Success Insights

Have you ever sat down at your piano or organ to practice and didn’t know what to really work on?  Have you ever felt like you were not accomplishing much in your practice time?

We both have probably felt like this at some point in time.

Let me share some things with you that has helped me over the years.  I know you have been playing awhile but hopefully this will help.

If you are anything like me, you are probably really busy and don’t have as much time as you would like to practice so you have to make your practice time count.

I have found that it helps to make out a practice schedule:

1.  Specify how much time you can allot to practicing a particular day.

2.  Determine what you want and NEED to practice on.

3.  Divide the time up that you have so you can practice on everything. You have to stop working on a particular thing when the time is up or it will throw off your  schedule.

4.  Keep a log or diary of what you practiced on so you can track your progress.

A practice schedule for me may look something like this:

 Practice Schedule

Time: 1 Hour

Finger Exercises/Scales: 15 min

Sight Reading: 15 min

New Song to Learn: 20min

Improv/Soloing: 10 min

I”ll send you a free video lesson next time. People seem to really like the video lessons. I have a process where you can download lessons to your computer.  I think you’ll like it.

Gotta go now.  I’ll talk to you soon.

Kenny