How Gospel Musicians Think

(Part 2 of 3) ...

"Before we start the test", I said

Feeling “limited” on the keyboard is NOT a problem.”

Mark looked at me like I was nuts again.

It’s just a matter of how you “look” at music.

"Skilled gospel musicians "think" about music WAY differently than other musicians"

“How do I think like a gospel musician?” Mark asked.
“Well, it has to do with singing”…
“Singing!? I can’t sing!” he reacted.
“Don’t worry… you don’t have to be able to sing per se. It’s more about the melody.
But before we do, we need to see if you have… “that special trait”… first…
That “thing” that determines whether you have the potential to be a good gospel keys player…
Or if you’re just wasting your time. 
Now, a couple of “ground rules” before we start: 
First, remember that this is just a test.
Don’t expect it to make you some kind of “gospel phenom” in 5 minutes like they tell you all over the internet.

Just for now, I want you to forget everything you’ve heard or learned about scales, chords, the number system, music theory & all that stuff…

No matter if you’ve never played a chord in your life, or if you know lots of them… 
We’re not going to worry about any of that right now, ok?”
He nodded.
“The first thing we’re going to do is play a simple C major scale… 
Just 7 notes.
Even if you already know this scale or a bunch of chords DON’T dismiss this test.
This is going to show you how the pros think about gospel music.
Just incase, let me show it to you…”
“Don’t worry about fingerings for the scale or anything like that.
I just want you to be aware of the notes.
Now that you know those notes let’s take the test.
The test is one simple question:
“How many chords have the note C in it?”
Mark thought for a while and said confidently, “F major”
“Good job NOT saying C major”, I said.
“What other chords can you think of?”
Mark looked up at the ceiling, “Ab major”
“Nice! Now pick a chord with more notes in it.” I said.
Mark thought for a while, he glided his hands across the piano and said,
“I play a chord, but I don’t know the name of it. It sounds really good though”
It looks like this:

“Good job, that’s a G minor 7th chord…

But you added a couple of “color notes”.

You added the 9th and the 11th.

But DON’T worry about all that yet!”

Mark looked relieved when I said that. 

‘That theory stuff sounds like gibberish to me” he said.

“Don’t worry” I said.

Theory is actually REALLY simple, but let’s talk about that later…

“By the way congratulations, you passed the test. You have the “special trait.”

“Really! How?” Mark asked…

I said:

"Because you were able to take ONE note, and figure out some other chords that "shared" that note on the keyboard. That's what I call the "Shared Notes" Principle"

“That’s the secret to all those cool reharms & contemporary moves you hear skilled gospel musicians play in songs…
They take a note (or a group of notes) of a song and replace some of the “normal” chords with other options”
Which creates those “jaw-dropping moves everyone goes crazy over.”
I asked Mark:

Since you used the "shared Notes" principle for simple chords, do you think you could use it with more complex chords if you had more guidance?

With a glimmer of hope in his eyes Mark said, “Honestly, with your help I think I could, that was eye opening.”
“Great! But we’re not done yet…
There’s a lot to cover ahead of us.
That was just step #1. 
But it only gets MORE fun from here. 
The real secrets lie ahead.
“So?” I asked Mark, offering a handshake…
“Would you like to continue?”
P.S. For the intermediate to advanced musicians…
Here’s a more “advanced” application of the “shared note principle” using a popular song.
Play Video

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