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Review – Theory for Church Pianists – Giveaway and Special Offer!

DVD teaching church music theory to pianists at home, via

The DVD – Theory for Church Pianists

The goal of any pianist should be to use his talents to serve God. Greg Howlett makes that easier with his DVD course for early-advanced students, Theory for Church Pianists. The first of an 11-part course on church piano techniques, these lessons make church playing accessible to the serious piano student.

In Theory for Church Pianists, concert pianist and recording artist Greg Howlett explains foundational theory concepts necessary for understanding and executing improvisational performance techniques. In a simple, conversational style, Greg takes the mystery out of scales, intervals, chords, progressions, and functional harmony. In this preliminary course, he thoroughly explains the importance of each concept, so the student is motivated to master each lesson and fully grasp each principle before moving on. This is theory that goes beyond the typical piano method workbook; this is, as Greg says, “theory you will actually use.”

Theory for Church Pianists is easy to watch. Taped in the artist’s living room, the lessons have a comfortable, casual feel, very much like an informal piano lesson. Greg is easy to understand and enjoyable for students and adults to listen to.  He demonstrates the concepts on his grand piano with an easy-to-follow digital keyboard read-out at the bottom of the screen. There are 5 hours of teaching on the DVD, easily broken up into smaller, 20-30 minute mini-lessons. Workbook pages, referred to and introduced in the lesson, re-enforce the new concepts.

As a private piano teacher for over 15 years and a church pianist for over half of that, I was excited to hear about this course. I watched the lessons with my son to observe both Greg’s teaching style and how easily my 12-year-old picked up the new material.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lessons are so thorough, little or no additional explanation is necessary. And best of all, Greg de-mystified for me once and for all the secret of why we use certain chord progressions in church music. This is as enjoyable and useful as theory ever gets.

After completing Theory for Church Pianists, the student is prepared for Greg Howlett’s other courses on reharmonization, improvisation, and accompaniment. Best of all, the student is better prepared to use his talents for the glory of God.

The Author – Greg Howlett

Concert pianist and recording artist Greg Howlett has been studying and performing sacred music for over 28 years. As a young boy in Tennessee, he began playing in church at the age of 8. A committed Christian, Greg believes all music should communicate the nature of God. Besides recording over 30 hours of church music instruction on DVDs, Greg has recorded several sacred music CDs, one of which was previously featured on Whatever State I Am as my “favorite relaxing sacred music.” Greg lives in Monroe, Georgia, with his wife and four children.

The Special Offer – A Giveaway AND a special offer for Readers!

You can purchase Theory for Church Pianists from Greg’s website for only $99.95 ($89.95 for the downloadable version).  BUT, with this special offer, you can enjoy 10% off your DVD course order! Simply use the code WSIA10 at checkout. Offer good through 5/31/11. While you are there, check out buying the complete set of church music courses at a 36% discount!

Greg Howlett would like to giveaway one DVD course of Theory for Church Pianists to a Whatever State I Am reader! To enter, simply leave a comment below.

~ MANDATORY: Leave a comment below, telling why you want to learn theory or how to better your church music skills.

~ OPTIONAL: For an additional entry, post this on your facebook page and leave a comment below telling me.

~ OPTIONAL: For an additional entry, tweet this once today, and leave a comment below with your twitter handle.

~ OPTIONAL: Repeat the above steps on Thursday and Friday.

Contest ends midnight central time Friday, and winner will be announced Saturday morning.

The Winner!

The randomly-chosen winner is #50 – Rebecca L’Heureux! Congratulations!

The rest of us can enjoy the special 10%off coupon with every DVD course order from Just use the special code above.  Hurry, this coupon is only good through May 31!

I received this product from the publisher for review in accordance to my review policy. Some links may support this site through affiliate membership.


  1. Hmm, I’m not playing piano at my current church, but that might not always be the case . . . I’ve studied chording techniques before, but it didn’t stick very well. I read music fairly well, but I’ve always wanted to be able to improvise from the chords better. This sounds like the perfect next step for me!


  2. Audra notgrass says

    I have been playing piano for years and am starting up teaching again this summer. I would use this course to reenforce what I teach my students.


  3. Rebecca L'Heureux says

    This looks like an exciting DVD set. Two of our children have just started to accompany our piano player at church. This set can be such an asset for homeschool.

    I am going to post this on my Facebook page also 🙂


  4. Jennifer Dages says

    Sounds great. And I am church pianist who could certainly use some help. I will watch this if I win it. Promise.


  5. Wow – sounds interesting! I’ve been our church pianist since I was 19 years old (and was classically trained between the ages of 5 and 18) but it’s always a good idea to brush up on this skill.

    I used to teach lessons but my only students these days are my daughters. And that’s enough for me right now. 😉


  6. Hoo boy! I’m excited about this one for my daughter, Lydia. She is a budding pianist. Part of her lessons include hymns so she can play at home for the fam and maybe one day in church. This would be a great addition to her lessons! 🙂


  7. Laura Jenkins says

    Thanks for the information, Lea Ann. This is exactly what my 12-year-old son needs! He is a gifted pianist and plays the classics but, sadly, traditional piano lessons do not prepare you for playing at church. I’m thrilled to find out there is a resource for this! I am reposting on facebook and twitter, as well. Thanks!


  8. Dana Perez says

    Greg, the reason I would be blessed to receive this style of instruction is I home educate our daughter Savvy Lynne, she is gifted in music. She has written several praise songs at a tender age. This next school year she will be attending Junior High and entering you youth group. She has no formal training I am ill equipped as her teacher. We both have dyslexia. To have this program would allow her to repeat the lesson with out wearing out a teacher’s patience. We were blessed with a piano and in need of some skills. You have provided a system that lifts our Lord, all in all this is some I need to get for her. We do not have the means to get it for her at this time. God willing this might be the avenue that would bless our home with beautiful music of the Lord. Thank you for the opportunity. To God be the glory. We are excited . Holy hugs from our home to yours.
    In the sweet name of Jesus
    Dana L. Perez


  9. My 14-yr old son is in the regular rotation at our church for piano accompaniment, and I FB-shared this course info with him and the other young people who sit at the piano, as well as his piano instructor. He loves to find ways to improve the skills he’s developed by the grace of God, and desires to learn more how to bring our Lord glory and help our congregation worship in song. I think he, our church, and the Lord’s people would benefit greatly from him receiving this set and using it to play sacred music to the glory of God. Thank you Lea Ann for arranging this offer and to Greg for making the set available.


  10. Would love to have this as I think it would make an excellent addition to our homeschool and would really help emphasize using our talents for God’s glory in such a unique way! 🙂 Thanks for such a wonderful giveaway!


  11. Lois says

    This looks wonderful! I will certainly be checking out Greg’s website. I’m a church pianist with very little formal instruction. I would like to learn more theory, and to use this with my son and other young pianists at our church. Thanks for the review!


  12. Joanna Colby says

    I am a piano teacher and would love to make this available to my students who desire to play for church some day.


  13. As a veteran teacher, I love to help students develop their gifts for God’s glory. If this series is as good as it appears to be, I will recommend it to them and on my website. Additionally, I will include it in upcoming communications with readers of my book, Talent to Treasure: Building a Profitable Music Teaching Studio.

    Blessings to you as you build tomorrow’s generation of musicians.


  14. Well, I don’t usually win giveaways, but this one is sure worth trying for! I’ve been playing piano for 32 years, and been playing at church for 25 of those… but wow, I’d love to hear what he says about chords. I used to think music theory was boring, but when I started to teach it, it came alive. It’s so much fun! I now have seven kids that I’d love to communicate a love of music to. Lea Ann, you’re right… it’s so important for our kids to see how to use music, not just as a way to enjoy themselves, but as a way to worship God and lead others to worship Him.


  15. Dixie says

    I would love to learn my theory in hopes of improving my piano playing.


  16. Dovey says

    Would definitely love to win this! I am always looking for help in this area as improvising is not my strong area. I can sightread great, but improvising? Thanks for posting!


  17. Stacey says

    What a terrific sounding program. Shared the info with my Facebook friends too.


  18. I’d love to improve my skills for accompanying at church. All my lessons prepared me to play notes as written, but that’s not always the skills you need when playing at church.


  19. Rebecca L'Heureux says

    This DVD set will be a blessing to any family wanting to encourage their children in serving the Lord with music.
    I am going to post on FB.:)


  20. I have been a church musician for twelve ears, and was recently asked to help out some beginning pianists, children of friends from church. This would be helpful in giving me a framework to work with with them.


  21. I’ve played the piano for around 25 years now. My teacher focused heavily on theory and classical music, but over the years I feel I’ve lost a lot of important knowledge. After having children, my practice time dropped drastically, so I would LOVE to be able to blow some dust away and relearn a thing or two. 🙂

    I also will be starting to teach my oldest piano a little better this year, as well as record some new songs, and this would only help I’m sure! Thanks so much for sharing with us.


  22. Joyce says

    When a church pianist loves to play and plays from the heart it is easy to sing along. This music program would provide instruction to our new pianist and encourage her to keep on playing for Our Lord. She may not have formal instruction but the desire to learn and the desire to be a blessing are two very strong qualitites she possesses. Our pianist is teaching piano presently and would definitely use this program to instruct students as they advance.


  23. Bunni Farnham says

    I have never had piano lessons. I taught myself to play when I was a teenager. I play for the evening service at church & have always striven to improve and use my talents for the Lord. I think this would also be helpful in teaching my children.

    I posted on Facebook.

    God bless.


  24. I don’t play piano for my homechurch (we have more than enough pianists to go around). However, I do play occasionally for other churches in my area when their pianist is out of town or out of commission. I’m kind of a last resort, but for many churches who only have one pianist, they have to take what they can get. I can read music just fine, but I have a lot of trouble when it comes to using lead sheets, which is what most churches use nowadays. I know the theory behind the chords, but I never know what to do to make the music sound fuller. Right now, I basically play the bass in my LH, and block chords in my RH. Once in a while I will get brave and arpeggiate my RH or try passing tones between notes of my LH, but other than that, I’m at a loss. I would love to expand my horizons in this area! I looked at his page, and many of his products look very interesting; I will definitely have to keep his courses in mind for later use. I am going to share this post on Facebook as well. Thanks for the review!


  25. I couldn’t access Facebook through this webpage for some reason, so I just went to Facebook first and shared the link that you posted to your profile from there.


  26. Tracy E. says

    I would love to have a copy of this for my daughter. She has starting playing the prelude at church. She’s been taking lessons for 5 years. I think she would really benefit from this dvd course.


  27. I would like to learn theory so that I can play for the church service. I would also like this course so that my son could also learn the same information, for the same reason. My desire is that he would use his musical ability to glorify the Lord and this course would fit the bill!
    ~Mrs. R


  28. Monica says

    I teach piano and I am always looking for resources for my students. My husband plays for church. My 14 yo son plays classical piano and I would like to have him learn this area of music. We would put this to good use.


  29. I am a wedding musician and I have played the piano for church. I’m looking for ways to improve my technique, so this could be helpful!


  30. I took piano lessons for 5 years when I was growing up. How to play hymns was not taught. My Dad always said – you use whatever talent you have for the Lord. I have played for a small church we were attending, but am not currently playing at this time. I would love to brush up on my piano and learn to play hymns.


  31. Rebecca L'Heureux says

    With four children in lessons for a non piano playing mom like me this can be a huge asset.

    posted on facebook


  32. Anne Billings says

    I shared this on my facebook page. I would love to be able to have this, but our finances are very tight right now. I have played piano in church for years but was never able to learn how to add the extra notes and things that really make your music stand out from others. It is a service to the Lord and I would love to be able to be the best that I can be for Him. My daugther also plays and my grand daugther recently began to play and shows a real talent for the piano. It would be realy nice for us to share this as a family and as women who wish to serve the Lord. Thanks so much for this opportunity! God Bless!


  33. When I took piano I was never taught theory correctly. This would be a great asset. Now that I have grand children taking lessons, I am sure this would be a great help to them also.


  34. Wow, I would love to win this! I am a church pianist as well as piano teacher, this would be an invaluable resource! I am always looking for ways to increase my knowledge as a pianist/teacher.


  35. Krysta Elliott says

    I currently play piano (6 yrs.) and violin (2 yrs.). I just graduated with my High School Diploma with Honors a year early. I was homeschooled with the values taught of serving the Lord with the abilities God has given me. Through much prayer, the Lord has shown me that I am to attend Ambassador Baptist College starting in the fall. My goal is to serve God in ALL that I do. I want to be able to not only serve but serve with absolute knowledge and purpose of why God created music for worship to Him. Thank You for creating a DVD that teaches The Theory of Music!


  36. Olivia says

    I’d love to understand theory and learn to play better! Thanks for this opportunity!


  37. Pingback: May – Springing into the New – at WhateverStateIAm | Whatever State I Am

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