What We’re All About
Apostolic Praise School of Music is an online music school that provides distance learning courses and comprehensive curriculum for aspiring church musicians of all ages who desire to play skillfully and do not want to have to take years of lessons.
In fact, APSOM will have you playing with chords by the first lesson and playing well-known Pentecostal church songs by the second lesson!
Because we are certain that you will not only enjoy our online school, but that you will also benefit tremendously from this method of learning, we gladly offer a “Free Lesson” period for all registered students. Simply register for your desired course, and you will can try the first two lessons to experience the benefits of our online courses. You’ll be glad that you did!
We currently offer online lessons in piano, bass, guitar and choir parts. The emphasis is on Pentecostal, Gospel, and Contemporary church music, learning to read chord sheets, understanding how music works and playing by ear with chords. Of course, the concepts learned in these courses can be applied to almost any Christian style, anywhere!
Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to further the gospel of Jesus Christ through music by reaching out to Apostolic Pentecostal musicians and helping them to excel in their ability and learn how to play skillfully in a shorter period of time.
“Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.”
Richard W. Smith has been playing for so long that he has forgotten how young he was when he started but it was around six years old! He possesses a love for and ability to play a wide variety of musical styles including black gospel, jazz, blues, contemporary gospel, southern gospel, classical, and Latin style.
He has been teaching piano lessons for many years to people of all ages. This is why you will find our courses easy and simple to understand, learn, and follow.
In the beginning…
As a young man interested in learning how to play music in church, Richard had a very long and difficult journey. He started out by taking classical music lessons and soon learned that he would never learn how to play church piano that way. His mother taught him some basic major and minor chords, and he could play several church songs, but he always had to have sheet music and play it EXACTLY THE SAME WAY every time. How boring!
Richard was raised in a United Pentecostal Church in Oklahoma City, OK pastored by Bro. Robert D. Whalen (now pastored by Mark Parker). He grew up listening to their incredible choir and the sounds of the songs sung from the Hymnal. At the age of nine, his family moved to First Pentecostal Church in Buford, GA (pastored by Timothy Copeland). And at the age of 16, his family temporarily moved to New Life Tabernacle, (pastored by the Bro. & Sis. Davy), which was a large, predominantly black United Pentecostal Church (UPC) in Tampa, Florida. He played bass guitar there and took several “piano by ear” lessons from their incredible organist. During this time, he also studied a variety of other popular piano books. What he came to realize was that most of the stuff he was learning from these “popular piano books” was not useful for church.
That Midnight Train To Georgia
Upon moving back to Georgia, he began playing piano regularly for a small home missions church (First Pentecostal Church of Cumming, GA) where there were really no other musicians (besides an occasional drummer), so everything depended on him! If he messed up, everybody knew it! However, it was an excellent training ground, without the normal pressures of learning how to play in a bigger church.
After playing faithfully at this church for several years, he began to play for the church choir in Buford, GA at First Pentecostal Church (choir leader Devon Mills). He also attended workshops in various places, including one put on by Mark Condon and another put on by Atlanta West Pentecostal Church, one of which was taught by Brandon Frazier. After playing mainly piano and organ for the choir in Buford, GA, he was called to assist at The East Bay Pentecostals (Pastor Joel Bryant) in Brentwood, CA, where he was the minister of music for his duration there (almost two years). From March 2010 to September 2015, he was the minister of music at Sanctuary of Pentecost in Northeast Georgia.
He currently ministers at The Sanctuary United Pentecostal Church in Bessemer, AL – (Pastor Todd Bertram). Richard also currently has three CD Albums he has published (Taking It Back to the Altar, Christmas Time, and Just Piano).
OK, SO WHAT’S THE POINT?!
The point we are trying to make is this: Richard’s journey from the time he began learning to play until the time he was actually able to play in church was very long! In fact, it took over ten years of lessons and learning before he ever played in church.
The Mission of Apostolic Praise School of Music is to shorten this path for other aspiring church musicians. Richard says ” I wish I could have had access to something like Apostolic Praise School of Music in the beginning stages of my music ministry.” The point of APSOM is to teach how to play church music as quickly and skillfully as possible!
One young lady that we taught using this material was playing in church within two months!
Another student, who was only 6-years-old, went through the material of the first, second, and third courses. He learned, comprehended, and mastered all of it in about 6 months! On one occasion, when questioned about 9th chords, he was quoted as saying “Those are easy.”
Of course, we cannot say this without giving glory to God. Prayer was made before each lesson for the Holy Ghost to help him learn, which is something Bro. Smith encourages all of his students to do. And of course, having simple, easy-to-comprehend, yet effective material like the Apostolic Praise Series to learn from, does help also!