Gospel Piano Course Now Available

Hey PianoGroovers :wave:

I’m very excited to announce our latest course - “Intro To Gospel Piano” - coming very soon.

Let me introduce you to our new teacher - gospel and blues specialist Davell Crawford.

Here is a videos of Davell performing to get a flavour for his musical style:

The “Intro to Gospel Piano” Course

We recorded the course earlier this month and I’m making good progress with the editing. We are currently notating the demonstrations and performances to show in the lessons and for the course downloads/PDF files.

For those who can’t wait I have created a course preview here: :grinning:

The Course Contents

Davell starts by explaining the gospel-blues form and common reharms, we then cover time signatures and meters, gospel introductions and common progressions, melody and leading tones, holy shout music, and finally a duo lesson with Davell and a gospel singer to demonstrate vocal accompaniment techniques.

Full Lesson Topics:

  1. The Gospel Blues Form & Bass Lines
  2. Reharmonising The Gospel Blues
  3. Time Signatures & Meters In Gospel Music
  4. Gospel Stride Style
  5. How To Approach Melody In Gospel Music
  6. Common Progressions In Gospel Style
  7. The Importance Of Leading Tones
  8. Gospel Hymn Styles
  9. Holy Shout Music
  10. How To Accompany A Gospel Vocalist

Upcoming Live Streams

Davell will also be hosting a series of gospel-themed live seminars starting later this month. These topics will dive deeper into the different styles of gospel music, notable players, and other cool topics. More to be announced on this soon.

Gospel is a wonderful addition to the styles and genres of music that we teach at PianoGroove and I’m excited to get the course finished!

I will post more updates on progress here in the forum.

Learn more about Davell here:




Thanks @Hayden for the heads up! By just watching the preview, I can recognize so many common elements with blues like turnarounds, fills, even harmony which is more elaborated in this context.

Nice addition to the existing courses!


Wow! Davell is so talented. Love to hear him play and sing! Great job!


Yes that’s exactly right @eugene - there are many common elements.

The first 2 lessons in the course explain the basic ‘gospel blues’ form and then we explore some common reharmonisiations and embellishments.

Davell uses an 8 bar blues similar to the 8 bar form presented in this lesson. The styles are very different, but the underlying form of the tune is identical so it would be nice to check out that lesson.

Davell is originally from New Orleans and the NOLA pianists are renowned for their elaborate voicings, fills, embellishments, and turnarounds.

Thanks… Glad to hear it!



So great to see how PianoGroove keeps growing! Thanks for all your work bringing us even more great genre-focused lessons.


Hi @Hayden,

That’s a great idea and I cannot wait to see more of Davell Crawford’s Gospel rhythms and harmonies. I have seen his performance 10 years ago here in Switzerland live at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was just brilliant.


Yes I think it will be a great addition to the library of lessons.

Wow that must have been fantastic to see Davell live at Montreux. On a related note, I’ve been living in Annecy, France for the last 12 months and I was hoping to attend Montreux Jazz Fest last summer but alas the pandemic stated. Hopefully this year!

Davell’s course should be finished in 2 weeks. I’ll post all updates here.


Wow! Super excited :heart: Thanks so much Hayden :relaxed: Cannot contain my happiness - watching the course preview now! :grin: (all smiles!!!)


He got me! I’m so feeling it! Can’t wait!!! Thanks Hayden!


Hi Hayden. Pretty awesome in every way!!! At what skill level are you targeting the course for? It does look like very difficult to play. Thanks!

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Hey @armando :wave: - yes I would say this course is intermediate/advanced level. However, some lessons are more accessible than others and I will outline these once the course is published.

Here’s a preview of lesson 2 in the course:

Full Notation Of Arrangement

The arrangement is broken down afterwards with the full notation in the lesson. My view is that it’s important to visualise the form as shown in the lesson above, but also see the full notation PDF file here that can be a useful supplement to explore the style:

2 - Gospel Blues Reharms.pdf (37.3 KB)

The 5 ‘Must Watch’ Courses…

I recommend that all students complete the below 5 jazz courses before exploring the other styles such as samba, bossa nova, boogie woogie, New Orleans blues, and gospel. These concepts are applicable in all styles of improvised music and should be learnt as a priority:

I often ask our teachers to assume that the student is comfortable with extended harmony, altered harmony, and substitutional harmony and that way the teacher can dive straight into teaching their specialism.

I do acknowledge that the blues and Brazilian sections of the site could have more of a step-by-step approach and this is something that I’m working on.



Hey @Hayden when do you plan to publish this new exciting Gospel piano course?

Hey @Prisca :wave:

Yes the course will be published next week. I finished the editing yesterday and the lessons are looking great.

I’ve included a little slideshow below that we are using for the course overview video. See the video.

I still need to create all of the PDF files (there are around 55 pages of transcribed performances and demonstrations) and I also need create the lesson pages and add the information etc… I would estimate the middle of next week it will be finished and published.

I will announce here in the forum and also via email as soon as it is finished.



I’m counting the days. Ever since hearing Oscar Peterson Hymn to Freedom I’ve wanted to learn this style of playing. It’s a really exciting step for PianoGroove. Well done!


@Hayden cool… This sneak peek of piano lessons is awesome :musical_keyboard::musical_score::musical_keyboard:


Hey gospel groovers :sunglasses:

This course has just been published, you can check it out here:

I still need to do a final check over all of the lesson pages and downloads but I’m pretty sure everything is as it should be. If anyone spots anything unusual do let me know.

Here’s the course overview video:

I’ll be doing a bigger email announcement early next week.

Cheers and have fun with these lessons.


YAY :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes:

Thank You So Much!!! Hayden - checking it now :star_struck:

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Thanks so much for bringing Davell into PianoGroove. I’m on the second lesson and already learning new stuff. One of the pieces I play is Georgia, and my rendition is all jazz. I haven’t been able to replicate the Ray Charles sound that I hear quite clearly in Davell’s music. I’m looking forward to delving into this!


Glad to hear you are enjoying the gospel lessons George.

Likewise I learnt “Georgia” in a jazz style but I’ve been arranging it with more of a soulful bluesy vibe recently. To do this I ‘strip back’ my voicings with less use of altered harmony and less higher extensions such as 11ths and 13ths.

I also find that lots of doubled octaves and roots in the melody over dominant chords helps to create that ‘old time gospel vibe’ :cowboy_hat_face:

I’m actually covering this tune on Wednesday in a live seminar and we will be discussing these things and more. Here is the seminar page:


and you can add to your calendar here:


Hope to see you there!


I’m devastated. I had put the “Georgia” seminar down on my calendar but another zoom commitment has popped up at the same time that I just can’t get out of. I’ll have to pick it up when it goes up on the site. I was particularly interested in your interpretation of the B section too! Darn.