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Playing Piano In Church

Church - Piano OpportunityOnce you learn how to play piano, you likely feel very satisfied with yourself for learning a new skill, and you may decide you want to actively benefit the community with your skill. There’s always the standby of teaching piano lessons, but what if you’re not the teaching type? What can you do to use your musical skills in a way that your community will be proud of? Well, if you go to church on Sundays, think about the pianist: someone comes in and plays piano for the church services every Sunday – becoming a church pianist is a good way to both practice your skills and find community ties with other people. 

First, understand that the church pianist is usually there on a volunteer basis. I don’t actually know of many church pianists that are paid for their services and time, but the benefits of being a church pianist aren’t aimed at financial gain. Usually, local churches will advertise for a pianist position, and you can apply for it. First make sure you know the required material and have the proper skills. You need to know how to read music and how to play along with vocal accompaniment, because you’re playing the hymns that people will stand up and sing. In fact, you often serve as the conductor, because everyone generally knows at what point in the piano playing to come in. 

To be a church pianist, you obviously need to know a few hymns, if not by heart, then be able to read them and play along. Sometimes there may be other instruments accompanying you, like guitar, bass or other popular instruments. This is usually the case when there’s youth ministry involved.  

If you want to be a successful church pianist, know that most churches will choose someone of similar faith – this is for your good as much as theirs, because if you’re, say, Baptist, you may feel slightly uncomfortable in a Catholic cathedral. It’s best to know the church you’re going to be working with. Also, you’ll need to get a background check for everywhere you’ve lived within about six months, for your application. This is because of the recent scandals about sexual misconduct allegations – churches, especially the Catholic Church, are sensitive about this and want to be extremely careful who they hire. Catholic organisations will often do their own checks, but it does no harm to already have this step completed. 

Being a church pianist is a good way to springboard your musical career, should you choose to go that route. You can become a music minister – just be ready, if you’re chosen to play, to audition and show your skills. You know your own skills better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to use them. Enthusiasm goes a long way in being a church pianist, as you can enhance your playing by allowing yourself to get swept away in the music. To become a church pianist, look on the Internet or in your local area to see if any churches are in need of a pianist, even if just on a part-time basis for when their regular pianist is out sick.