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If you are playing the piano in a church, chances are you’ve had someone ask you to play a song for them from a lead sheet.

If you’re not familiar with that term, a lead sheet is a piece of music that just has the melody line on the staff with the letter name of the chords written above (such as C, Em, etc.).  They are also called “chord charts.”

Where in a hymn book, you typically have four parts on two staves,

Hymn Sheet Example


a lead sheet just gives you the melody of the song with the chords written above.


Lead Sheet Example


Believe it or not, it can seem like a long jump from classical training.  Sometimes, a person can be able to play Mozart with ease,

Mozart Fantasy No. 3, K. 379

Mozart Fantasy No. 3, K. 379


…but get nervous at the sight of a lead sheet.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Probably just has to do with a person’s background.

But, in today’s world, your value as a pianist rises when you have the ability to work with a lead sheet.

[bctt tweet=”In today’s world, your value as a pianist rises when you have the ability to work with a lead sheet.”]

Just like learning to play classical music takes time and effort, learning to play a lead sheet can be achieved with some work.

So, I’m curious, how many of you have a background playing piano from a lead sheet.

I invite you to take part in a conversation about this on my blog.  I would love for you to answer ONE of the following questions. (Don’t be afraid to share your perspective.)

  1. Have you played from a lead sheet?
  2. Are you comfortable with lead sheets?
  3. Are you more comfortable with classical music than with a lead sheet?
  4. Do you prefer playing from a hymnal?
  5. Would you describe your background as more classical, and lead sheets are new to you? Or would you describe your background as having familiarity with lead sheets?
  6. Do you play from lead sheets, but want to improve the variety in your playing?
  7. What questions do you have about playing from lead sheets?

Click here to join the conversation. Even if you just say “Hi, Mark.  Sounds interesting,” that would be great!