The first time I ever saw a chord chart was when I played worship songs on the piano for church.
The worship leader knew I played piano, but I had only ever played classical music. Still, I got assigned to the piano, and it was super daunting at first!
But I soon learned how easy playing from chord charts is. And that it’s super fun.
This lesson is designed to give you confidence to play piano at church. We’ll walk through three popular worship songs:
These songs are suitable for beginners who are just learning how to play piano. But first, a quick note about chords…
This lesson will assume you know a little bit about chording, while still taking things slow.
If you’re brand new to playing chords, make sure you check out this lesson.
Or, to get an even more in-depth understanding of chords and why they’re so great, sign up for our FREE Chord Hacks series.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into our first song.
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I love this song because it’s a modern twist on a traditional classic. Our version is in C major, which means there are no black keys to worry about.
But wait, what do all those slashes mean?
Those are called slash chords, and they look more daunting than they are. Let’s use F/C as an example.
The letter on the left of the slash tells you what chord to play with your right-hand. So in this case, you’ll play an F chord.
The letter on the right tells you what note to play with your left-hand. In this case, a C.
So you’ll play an F chord in your right hand with a C note in the left.
This rule is true for ALL slash chords.
Just remember: left letter = right hand chord; right letter = left hand note.
This is one of the most requested worship songs I get, which is awesome because it’s also a great song for beginners.
Straight away you’ll notice that there’s a slash chord, but that’s ok! You know how to play them now 🙂
But there’s another funny-looking chord here, one that is quite common in worship music: that Dsus4.
And while you can play a normal D chord here, sus chords are easy to learn and they add more character to your sound.
“Sus” is short for suspended. And all sus4 means is we swap the third note with the fourth note.
See, a D chord has the notes D-F#-A. The D is the root note — the first note of the D major scale. The F# is the third note, and the A is the fifth.
So, we swap out F# for G because G is the fourth note of the D major scale.
It sounds really unfinished, which is why most sus chords resolve to the major chord immediately after. This happens in “10,000 Reasons” because the chord immediately after our Dsus4 is a D.
The piano is the glue that holds worship bands together. And being a church pianists, serving your community, and playing with others who share your passion is a truly rewarding experience. Learn to play piano at church with confidence with our worship course taught by Lisa Witt and Amberly Martz. Free with your Pianote membership.
The final song for this lesson is a classic, but it can be a bit tricky because of the time signature. It’s in 6/8, which means it has a little swing to it.
What I recommend is to listen to this song first and get a really good sense of the rhythm.
You’ll also notice that we have one more new chord to learn: a minor 7th chord!
While you can easily play a normal B minor chord in place of the 7th, the Bm7 adds color.
Basically, a seventh chord means you add the seventh note of the scale to the chord. In Bm7, that seventh note is A. Therefore, our Bm7 chord is B-D-F#-A.
But you don’t need to play all these notes in that exact order. In fact, prefer to put the 7th note below the root note and play A-B-D-F#. Like this:
It’s a lot more comfortable for me and my small hands!
Play around with the other chords in this song. There are only three, which makes it ideal to experiment with 🙂
As you can see, it only takes a little bit of chord knowledge (and bravery) to play piano in church!
Modern worship songs are not complicated, and the most common chord types you can expect to find are the ones we’ve covered in this lesson. So, playing at church is an excellent way to learn how to play the piano using chord charts and how to play with other people — all while giving back to your community!
If you’d like to explore worship piano more, we have an entire course designed to teach you how to play piano in church. It’s a 10-lesson, step-by-step course that will walk you through all the skills you’ll need, so you can feel confident joining a worship team.
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