In a worship band, the keyboard player is often responsible for making the transition from one song to the next. This is an important function, because a seamless transition helps worshipers to stay connected. Making a key change between songs can make this more difficult, though. Here are some tips for making smooth key changes:
1. Play the “5 chord” (a.k.a. the dominant chord) of the new key). For example, if the new key will be C Major, play a G chord (or Gsus4, G7, G9, etc.). This is not usually the most musical sounding approach, but it always works.
2. Use a note common to the root chords of both keys. For example, if you’re transitioning from E Major to C Major, the E and C chords both have the E note in them. From the C chord, hold the E and let the other notes fade out. Then you can add the other notes from the E chord.
3. Use a note common to the scales of both keys. Use this method when the two root chords have no common notes, as when you have to transition from E Major to Bb Major. The only note that those scales have in common is A, so you can base your transition around that note.
4. Go directly to the new key. This can be a little jarring, but that might be just what’s needed in some cases. It might communicate, “We’re about to make a bold declaration to God.”
5. Change the key for one of the songs. For example, if you have to go from A Major to E-flat, try changing the second song to D Major. It’s much easier to transition from three sharps to two sharps instead of going to three flats.
Each of these techniques is demonstrated in this video. Let me know what you think!