From chord to chord

O.K. , so you’ve got some chords under your belt and now it’s time to put them together. What we are looking for is the ability smoothly transition from one chord to the next.

I have a couple of tricks for you to try out- see if this works for you:

First, see if chord #1 and chord number #2 have any fingers in common. Let’s take e minor  and G major for example….

Yep, your first finger is in the same place in both chords. Score. You can (and should) leave that one there during your transition. Think of it as a pivot point .

Second, practice alternating chord shapes without strumming trying to keep your first finger down. Do it like……10(!) times. Slow.

Third, close your eyes and see if you can visualize the shapes in your mind. I know you can! Try alternating open and closed eyes until you get it.

Fourth, this is where a metronome(or even more fun, a drum beat) comes in handy. The steady beat gives you an appointment to get to, right? Set it up for something like 50 beats per minute(B.P.M).

Count yourself in…..1..2..3..4..

Strum the e minor chord once and just let it ring for two measures of 4/4. That means count: Strum, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4.

Now, while you are counting, try to visualize the next chord. See if you can “see” the other chord. How is it similar? Right! Same first finger. Use that to your advantage.

Fifth, its time for your appointment. And as a musician it is your duty to keep it. No matter what. Play the next chord at the beginning of the next measure. Well maybe it didn’t sound perfect, but you played at the right time and thats what counts. No time for judgement though, because you’ve got another appointment in…..8 beats! Keep making your appointments, your drummer will love you for it.

Visualize and count. Steady as she goes.

Now that you can switch chords in time, strum at the top of each measure, every 4 beats (Strum,2,3,4,Strum,2,3,4,Strum,2,3,4…. ).

Next, strum every two beats. Try to change chords at the last possible moment before the next appointment.

And so on…. Good luck.

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One Response to From chord to chord

  1. Carol says:

    I really dig the emphasis on the timing and like the analogy of the appointment. Students often are focusing on delivering the right chords or notes in music and don’t realize that the timing is the critical element. Once the “appointment” has passed, it’s over. I love it.

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