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The 12 Keys to Learning How to Play

I remember when I was learning to play music and I had these big books of chords that would show me how to play every chord out there in every key. I would try to memorize them and play them, but they sounded so funny. What a waste of time that was! I could play them, but I had no idea how to use them or where to put them in a song! Eventually I just forgot them.

You see, there’s so much more to playing music than just learning chords – although chords are important!

Here are the 12 keys (you see what I did there – 12 keys) to learning to play:

1) The Notes (of course right) – both Sharps and Flats

2) Scales (And the major scale is just one of many, there are the Blues Scale, Minor Scales, Pentatonic Scales, Whole Tone Scales, Diminished Scales, Altered Scales, and the list goes on!)

3) Chords (There are around 30+ that we teach and use in gospel and church music)

4) Chord Progressions (Where you can plug in those hot progressions that make a song better!)

5) Chord Substitutions (Where you can substitute a fat chord to make a song sound better!)

6) Fills and Runs (Little tricks that you pick up along the way such as grace notes, octave chord fills, broken chord fills, etc – we teach many fills and runs even in our first course AP 100)

7) Inversions (One of the most important things to learn! Because who wants to play a chord the same way every time?! That’s boring, right?)

8) Chord Voicings (These will train your ear and and help you to play melody also.)

9) Ear Training (both chord, chord progressions, and melodies)

10) The Roman Numeral System (This is how the professionals think and communicate about music – it’s also one of the keys to playing by ear for most of us non-perfect pitch people).

11) Songs (All of these things are important and they are what help us to make songs sound better. But it’s not all about just learning songs either. If you just learn songs and never learn the other stuff…that’s not really good either! You may be limited in your playing.

12) Sight-Reading (It’s still a good thing to know how to do – but not necessary to play church and gospel music).

And the AWESOME news? We teach all of these things in our courses and throughout our lessons, using a systematic way of learning that we developed over years of teaching students.

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