Apostolic Praise School of Music > Blog

10 years and still not playing…

I was sixteen years old and had been playing the piano for 10 years and I still couldn’t play like I wanted to.  I definitely couldn’t play by ear.
Maybe I just didn’t have it.  Should I give up?
But I couldn’t…there was just something inside that just wouldn’t quit.  It wouldn’t allow me to give up.  I was going to play one day!
So I sat down at the piano again and played one of those old classical pieces that a teacher had taught me years ago.
Enough of that!  I wanted to PLAY!  “God help me to learn…”
Then a package came in the mail (thanks Mom and Dad)!
A gospel music series…workbooks…chords…
At the same time I started playing bass at a church that did gospel music in Tampa, FL.
I was the only Caucasian guy on the platform (Lol).  “You need to learn to play by ear.”  “Watch the keyboardists left hand a few times and you should have it.”  “Memorize it.”  “Take this CD and learn these songs.”
So I spent hours trying to figure out these bass notes by ear off the CD…the patterns did not seem to make sense.
But the workbooks I had taught me the Roman Numeral System…and it all started to click…a pattern…chord progressions…scales.
It took me 10 years to learn and then I learned more in 10 MONTHS than I had in the previous 10 years.
How?  I believe that God gave me a system of understanding how music works.
At Apostolic Praise we use a systematic, organized approach to teaching music.
You will learn to play
1) by Chord Sheet
2) by ear
3) by Theory 
(and eventually)
4) by sight-reading (the least important one for playing church music – so we don’t focus on it until later on in our courses.)
Hi Richard forgive me writing a testimony in the wrong place but I am so excited about your website! I have spent tons of money on lessons with teachers in person, on the internet, books, DVDs but I have never seen one like this! Your program for teaching church musicians is AWESOME! 
I told you before I play in church already.   I thank God for you because it is all making sense to me now! What a great concept! I went back to the 100 series and really learned some things even though I have been playing in church every Sunday that I didn’t know! Thanks also for the wonderful selection of songs that you have too which is very motivating! 
You have provided a systematic way to success for musicians! God Bless! I’ve finally found what I needed! Now I know I will be better at church!
– Mary R.
There has never been a better time to learn!
Join the thousands that have advanced their playing with the system God has blessed us to teach at Apostolic Praise School of Music today!
Read what others are saying about us here!
To all of our current members and students, thank you for your continued support of this ministry.  We love you and are praying for you and your success!  
Forward this message to someone you know!  Let’s keep it going!
God bless!

In due season you will reap






You may be wondering why I put this goofy picture up here. This is a good friend of mine who has never played anything except the drums. And he decided he wanted to learn to play the bass.

We both have really busy schedules but we finally got together for our first lesson. Now if you’ve ever taken any of my courses, you know that my lessons are jampacked full of information and it’s all useful stuff that you can apply immediately to your playing.

Well, I taught him some things and for our example song we learned “Break Every Chain.” To be honest, he was a little like me – not the fastest learner. But he was determined because God had put it in his heart for him to learn to play the bass.

He even had some people who tried to discourage him saying “stick to the drums.” (Rude!) But when God gives you the desire to learn something or he gives you a gift, he expects you to develop that gift.

And I’m so proud to say this coming Sunday my friend will be playing his first song with the youth choir.

Keep developing the gift that God has given you. In due season you will reap, if you faint not!

God bless and I’m praying for you.

Your mentor and instructor,

Richard W. Smith

Chord Sheet to “Trust” (Anthony Brown song)

Just wanted to share this to bless!


There has never been a better time to learn!  You can start learning for FREE HERE!


Join the thousands that have advanced their playing with the system God has blessed us to teach at Apostolic Praise School of Music today!


Become a member and get access to tons of lessons and chord sheets here:


Read what others are saying about us here!


Wondering where to start?
Package deals are your best deal and will jumpstart your learning!


To all of our current members and students, thank you for your continued support of this ministry.  We love you and are praying for you and your success!


Free Behind the Scenes “Get Ready for Church” Sample

Here I Am To Worship – F (SINGER PARTS – PDF FILE)

Here I Am To Worship – F (SINGER PARTS – RTF FILE)

Here I Am To Worship – F (SINGER PARTS – TXT FILE)

Here I Am To Worship – F – All 3 Levels (Chord Sheet) (PDF)

Here I Am To Worship TXT File (Great for ONSONG)

Here I Am To Worship RTF File


To get access to more training like this, become a member here.

Members get access to tons of training videos, choir parts and chord sheets!

I Feel the Joy of the Lord Chord Sheet

Just wanted to share this to bless – enjoy!



BUY THE TXT AND RTF CHORD SHEETS (great for the Onsong App) HERE FOR JUST $2.00


The version below is a little more Southern Gospel- but you can play this song however you want – Funky, Pentecostal, Southern Gospel or Bluesy.

A Word for Church Musicians

I was reading the Word today and God spoke to me through a certain passage in 1 Chronicles 15:20-22 where David was bringing back the ark of God to Israel after it had been taken in battle by their enemies the Philistines.  The ark was symbolic of the presence of God, and even more than this, it was literally God’s throne where his glory dwelt between the cherubims (angels) on it.  This occasion of bringing it back to Israel was a time of victory and rejoicing!  Let the “shouting music” begin!

“20And Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth;

21And Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed–edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith (octave) to excel.

22And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.”

As I read this passage, I felt God speak to my heart and to remind church musicians that there is NOTHING wrong with being instructed, educated and skillful in music. Will God accept worship and praise if it comes from someone who is NOT skillful in music?   YES, without a doubt.  The Bible also says “Make a JOYFUL noise unto the Lord.”  But REMEMBER, the same book of Psalms that records this Scripture also says “Play SKILLFULLY with a LOUD noise!”  (There’s a lot there I know!)

God loves our praise and worship when it comes from the heart regardless but the God of heaven and earth deserves our best.

So the question becomes, what is your (or my) best?  If you never practice and just come to the house of God haphazardly not knowing your part and just “play it by ear” because that’s what “we’ve always done” – is that your best?  (And there’s nothing wrong with playing by ear – sometimes that’s how God moves!)  If that’s your best, then that’s your best!

But I’m talking about giving God – the God that sent His Son to die for us – our BEST.

I believe we should practice and make every effort to bring to God a sacrifice of praise. Sacrifice means you have given up something. As musicians we give of our time in practice.  We may even give of our finances to purchase lessons and education to make ourselves better (obviously I’m preaching to the choir here since you are on our website reading this).  Another verse in 1 Chronicles (9:33) talks about how the singers “were employed in that work day and night.”

That’s some dedication to practice right there!  Day and night practicing and perfecting their gift so they could give their best to God and His Kingdom.

We could go on and on with Scripture.  Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 3:23-24

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Once again, my best may not be your best and your best may not be my best.  But if you will give your best – whatever it is – just like the boy with the fish and two loaves, God will take it and multiply…if you are willing to GIVE it to him for him to use.

And let me even remind those musicians that are VOLUNTEER musicians (like myself) – God will bless you.  You may not be on the church payroll, but you are on God’s payroll.  He will bless your for your sacrifice and giving to your church’s music ministry.

God bless you and YOUR music ministry!  I hope this encourages and motivates you!  Let’s give our BEST to God!

(Remember, don’t worry about being THE best – but being YOUR best).

Unto the Lamb Chord Sheet

Just wanted to share this to bless – enjoy this awesome song!


RTC FILE (for Onsong): Unto the Lamb IBC

Editable TEXT FILE (for Onsong): Unto the Lamb IBC



No Greater Love – Great Easter (or anytime) Song!

Just wanted to share this to bless!

There are two versions.


Onsong compatible file



Onsong compatible file



Onsong compatible file

Because He Lives (hymn) Chord Sheet


(Verse 1)
God sent his son
They called him Jesus
He came to love
Heal and forgive
He lived and died
To buy my pardon
An empty grave
Is there to prove
My Savior lives

Because he lives
I can face tomorrow
Because he lives
All fear is gone
Because I know
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because he lives

(Verse 2)
How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Just Because he lives


(Verse 3)
And then one day
I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then as death
Gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights
Of glory and
I’ll know he lives

I’ll Fly Away Chord Sheet

This is one of those songs that EVERY church musician needs to know!

Click Here to Download!

Some bright morning when this life is over
I’ll fly away
To that home on God’s celestial shore
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
When the shadows of this life have gone
I’ll fly away
Like a bird from these prison walls I’ll fly
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away
Oh, how glad and happy when we meet
I’ll fly away
No more cold iron shackles on my feet
I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away, oh glory
I’ll fly away in the morning
When I die, Hallelujah by and by
I’ll fly away

How to find time to practice

I got an email the other day that went like this

“Bro. Smith,

How do you make time to practice with everything life has in a day?

The emails I receive speak to me, making me want to perfect my skill I have. I just don’t know how to make time for it.”

Answer: “The truth is that I don’t really hardly ever practice, I just mainly focus on learning new stuff. And when I do just sit down and play I don’t think of it as practice – I am playing for fun or perhaps even worshipping.

Another thing is that you have to make time for it. Try to make sure you sit down at least daily and play.”

So the keys here are:

1) Focus on learning new stuff

2) Make time for it daily

The truth is that practice is part of learning, but so many people get bogged down in practicing things that won’t really even help their playing.

Case-in-point: A beginning pianist practicing playing all the scales.

This is really not something you need to focus on YET.  You need to focus on learning to PLAY.  We will teach you what a major scale is and how we make it in the beginning, but we only teach you the C major scale.  Then a few lessons later, we teach the F major scale, next the G major scale.

Another case-in-point: Playing a bunch of songs or random stuff off the internet but not understanding what you are playing. (And never moving past just major and minor chords)

The truth is that people that follow a program learn faster than people that don’t.

Our goal is to get you playing (or playing better) TODAY.

Check out our program here.