How to Play Gospel Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A guide on how to play gospel music for anyone who wants to improve their skills or learn about this style of music for the first time.

Learn the History

Gospel music is a style of Christian music that is characterised by its emotional intensity and its ability to communicate the Christian message in a simple, direct way. It is one of the most popular and influential styles of Christian music, and has had a significant impact on the development of other genres of music.

Where did gospel music come from?

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace.

Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics. Gospel music can be traced to the early 17th century, with roots in the black oral tradition. Hymns and sacred songs were often repeated in a call and response fashion. Most of the churches relied on hand clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment. Guitars, banjos, and other stringed instruments were sometimes used in early gospel music. The original gospel songs were written and composed by authors such as George F. Root, Philip Bliss, Charles H. Gabriel, William Howard Doane, and Fanny Crosby. Gospelmusic was “birthed out of Negro spirituals”, and the name “gospel” came from the Bible’s Book of Acts chapter 20 verse 24 which says “…gather together in one all things in Christ… preach the gospel to every creature” (KJV). In conventionettings only pre-sanctioned hymns were sung until after emancipation when Juneteenth celebrations introduced more Negro spirituals>

What are the roots of gospel music?

The roots of gospel music are tied to the American South and the African-American spirituals that originated there. These spirituals were communal songs sung during work, at religious services, or during moments of leisure. In addition to being sung, they were also danced and clapped to. While some of the words and melodies of these spirituals were derived from European hymns, many others came from African musical traditions.

Understand the Styles

There are multiple styles of gospel music. Each style has its own way of conveyance which is unique in its own way. The most important factor in gospel music is the message that is being conveyed to the listener. When it comes to playing gospel music, one must understand the different styles in order to properly deliver the message.

What are the different styles of gospel music?

Gospel music is one of the most popular genres in the world, with a rich history and a bright future. There are many different styles of gospel music, each with its own unique sound and purpose. Here are just a few of the most popular styles:

Traditional gospel is perhaps the most well-known style of gospel music. This type of music is characterized by its simple, yet powerful melodies and lyrics that celebrate God and faith. Traditional gospel songs are often sung in church sanctuaries and halls, and are sometimes accompanied by a choir or band.

Contemporary gospel is a more modern style of gospel music that is becoming increasingly popular. This type of music often has a more contemporary sound, with elements of pop, hip hop, and R&B. Contemporary gospel songs often have positive messages about love, hope, and faith.

Urban gospel is a type of gospel music that is popular in the urban community. This type of music often has a modern sound with elements of hip hop and R&B. Urban gospel songs often have positive messages about love, hope, and faith.

Progressive gospel is a type of gospel music that is focused on social change. This type of music addresses issues such as poverty, injustice, and racism. Progressive gospel songs often have an uplifting message about working together to make the world a better place.

What are the characteristics of each style?

Style in gospel music is not so easy to pin down. There are dozens, if not hundreds of subgenres and hybrid styles. That said, there are some basic characteristics that can help you understand and define the different types of gospel music.

The three main categories of gospel music are Traditional Gospel, Contemporary Gospel, and Urban Gospel.

Traditional Gospel is characterized by its use of biblical lyrics, Christian values, and choir-like singing. It often has a slower tempo and a more traditional feel than other types of gospel music. Many traditional gospel songs were written in the 1920s and 1930s by such artists as Thomas Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson.

Contemporary Gospel is a more modern style that draws from a variety of musical genres, including pop, rock, jazz, and R&B. Contemporary gospel artists often use secular lyrics or lyrics that focus on social issues such as racism or poverty. Artists such as Kirk Franklin and Yolanda Adams are popular contemporary gospel performers.

Urban Gospel is a style that combines elements of hip-hop, rap, R&B, and soul with Christian lyrics. It often has a fast tempo and is geared towards younger listeners. Popular urban gospel artists include Lecrae and TobyMac.

Develop Your Skills

Start by learning some basic music theory. If you don’t have any experience reading music, it will be difficult to play gospel music. Once you have a basic understanding of music theory, you can begin to learn some gospel chords and progressions. You can also start working on your ear training. This will help you be able to play by ear, which is a essential skill for playing gospel music.

How can I learn to play gospel music?

While some people are born with a natural talent for playing music, most people need to put in some hard work to develop their skills. If you’re interested in learning how to play gospel music, there are a few things you can do to get started.

First, listen to a lot of gospel music. Not only will this help you get a feel for the style of music, but you’ll also start to pick up on some of the nuances and subtleties that make gospel music so special. Pay attention to the way the different instruments are used and how they work together to create the overall sound.

Next, start practicing your playing. If you don’t have an instrument, try using a keyboard or even just a simple drum machine. And don’t forget to warm up your fingers and hands before you start playing; otherwise you could end up injuring yourself.

Finally, take some time to learn about proper technique. This is especially important if you’re going to be playing gospel music on an instrument like the piano or guitar. There are a number of different resources that can help you learn proper technique, including books, online tutorials, and private lessons from a teacher or instructor.

What are some tips for playing gospel music?

Here are some tips for playing gospel music:

-Find a good teacher. A good teacher can teach you the basics of music theory and help you develop your skills.

-Listen to gospel music. Listening to gospel music can help you learn the style and feel of the music.

-Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect! The more you practice, the better you will become at playing gospel music.

-Perform in front of an audience. Performing in front of an audience will help you gain confidence and improve your performance skills.

Find Your Inspiration

Gospel music is more than just a type of Christian music. This style of music has the ability to touch the soul and speak to the heart. Gospel music can be a very personal experience, and it can be a way to connect with God. If you are inspired to play gospel music, here are some tips on how to get started.

Where can I find inspiration for playing gospel music?

There is no one answer to this question as everyone finds inspiration in different places. However, some good places to look for inspiration when playing gospel music include:

-Listening to other gospel musicians and singers. This can help you get a feel for the genre and what works well within it.

-Attending gospel music concerts and events. This can be a great way to hear a variety of different styles and performers, as well as getting a feel for the atmosphere of a live performance.

– Reading about the history of gospel music and its performers. This can help you understand where the genre comes from and how it has developed over time.

What are some tips for staying motivated?

It can be easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and lose sight of your goals. Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated:

Find Your Why: It’s important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Remind yourself of your goals and purpose regularly.

Create a Routine: A set daily routine will help keep you on track and focused. Set aside time each day for practice, learning new repertoire, and reflecting on your progress.

Set Small Goals: Trying to accomplish too much at once can be overwhelming and lead to discouragement. Break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable pieces. And celebrate each accomplishment along the way!

Get Feedback: Ask a trusted friend or mentor for honest feedback on your playing. It can be helpful to get an outsider’s perspective on your progress.

Find Your Support Network: Encourage and be encouraged by others who share your passion for gospel music. Join a local choir or meetup group, or connect with others online.

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