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Spiritually Preparing For Gospel Piano Lessons

Nov 29, 2007
If you've ever listened to blues music and jazz piano, then you must have noticed the similarities that both genres share with black gospel piano lessons. Quite often, the most significant difference between gospel piano and blues or jazz is the tempo, pitch or chords! We don't mean to suggest that these genres are exactly alike however. We mean to instead, underscore that the philosophies or motivations behind these styles are alike and they contribute to their resemblances.

Gospel piano shares deep roots with blues and jazz in that it originated from a desire to break from existing styles -- styles that bore strong classical and patriotic American themes. It differs from blues and jazz however because of its spiritual and historical connotations. In the far past, gospel piano accompanied lyrics that both (1) worshipped and (2) instructed slaves out of slavery.

Gospel May Indicate A Greater Significance

This gives gospel music a greater significance for specific groups of people and as a gospel pianist, you'll need to prepare yourself for this importance. With traditional piano, lesson preparation usually entails little more than a few finger exercises and a strong desire to learn. With gospel piano, lesson preparation may necessitate prayer, meditation, or any other type of exercise that's relaxing.

The Gospel Pianist's Role

This is because the gospel pianist is put into an important position. On one hand, he is a musician. On the other hand, he is a deliverer. The gospel pianist's role is to deliver his audience into a higher state of consciousness so that it may reach a spiritual awareness or recognizing. As a vehicle of this distribution, the gospel pianist must also deliver the right rhythms and tones that will enable a divine transformation. Pianists who are tense, nervous, or unsure about playing the piano can not adequately facilitate this transference.

Understanding The Role Is Essential To Preparation

Understanding the important role of the gospel pianist then is essential to preparation. To fulfill this role, some go to the length of getting a spiritual cleansing before they play. Others will pray over the instrument and its music, while others may participate in a group meditation. We can not tell you in good faith what is extreme and what isn't because the perspectives vary. What's adequate preparation to one gospel pianist is extreme to the other (and vice versa).

So the most important thing that you can do is recognize your role as a spiritual administrator and then find a comfortable method of fulfilling that role. Every external event -- whether positive or negative -- can influence the way that you learn and play the music. Stress factors will not only work against you and cause frustration, they'll also prevent you from absorbing the messages that your lessons try to teach.
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