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View Full Version : A fun way to train on chords.



Icelander53
03-13-2014, 07:11 AM
My training partner suggested this and I didn't think that much of the idea at first but we tried it and found it to be excellent for our chord training.

It's a simple idea and I'm sure many already use it and I'm pretty sure it's been posted here before but I haven't come acrossed it so I'll just put it out there for beginners to try.

We wrote down the chords we know on little pieces of paper ( 20 or so for us at this point) We put them in a paper bag and take turns picking blind three chords at a time. Then we put on the metronome, choosing a speed based on the difficulty of the chords and then play them over in order about 20 times or so. We work through the whole bag every practice session and it's making a very noticeable difference in our chord transitioning, speed, and smoothness. The combinations are different every time and that is really great for learning how to move between chords.

Maybe this will help you also. I hope so.

SailingUke
03-13-2014, 07:23 AM
This is a great idea, but you should pick chords that are in the same key, else you might be transitioning between chords you would not see in a song.
Uncle Rod's boot camp uses practice sheets made up from songs.
My suggestion is you pick a chord progression from the hat, not individual chords.
Example C-Am-Dm-G7-C (I,vi,ii,V7,I) do it in different keys.

peaceweaver3
03-13-2014, 08:07 AM
This is a great idea, but you should pick chords that are in the same key, else you might be transitioning between chords you would not see in a song.
Uncle Rod's boot camp uses practice sheets made up from songs.
My suggestion is you pick a chord progression from the hat, not individual chords.
Example C-Am-Dm-F-C (I,vi,ii,V,I) do it in different keys.

I like both ideas.

In the progression above, F is the iv chord.

Uke-Conn
03-13-2014, 08:21 AM
My training partner suggested this and I didn't think that much of the idea at first but we tried it and found it to be excellent for our chord training.

It's a simple idea and I'm sure many already use it and I'm pretty sure it's been posted here before but I haven't come acrossed it so I'll just put it out there for beginners to try.

We wrote down the chords we know on little pieces of paper ( 20 or so for us at this point) We put them in a paper bag and take turns picking blind three chords at a time. Then we put on the metronome, choosing a speed based on the difficulty of the chords and then play them over in order about 20 times or so. We work through the whole bag every practice session and it's making a very noticeable difference in our chord transitioning, speed, and smoothness. The combinations are different every time and that is really great for learning how to move between chords.

Maybe this will help you also. I hope so.

This is an excellent idea. I like SailingUke's variation:


This is a great idea, but you should pick chords that are in the same key, else you might be transitioning between chords you would not see in a song.
Uncle Rod's boot camp uses practice sheets made up from songs.
My suggestion is you pick a chord progression from the hat, not individual chords.
Example C-Am-Dm-F-C (I,vi,ii,V,I) do it in different keys.

This site is mentioned elsewhere on this site, and although it mainly deals with guitar, I think much of it can easily be transferred over to uke. (He's recently added a separate section for ukulele - ) There are all kinds of resources, including lessons at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. He also has various practice routines that can easily be adapted for uke. One specific practice element that I find helpful is "One Minute Chord Changes" - pick five sets of 2 chords and time yourself as to how many changes you can cleanly make in 60 seconds. Keep track of it for a week, you'd be amazed at the progress you make. He has a nice metronome function on site that can also be downloaded as an iPad / smart phone app.

There are just loads of resources here, plus Justin is a genuinely fun, enthusiastic and engaging kind of guy.

http://justinguitar.com/

Icelander53
03-13-2014, 12:19 PM
This is a great idea, but you should pick chords that are in the same key, else you might be transitioning between chords you would not see in a song.
Uncle Rod's boot camp uses practice sheets made up from songs.
My suggestion is you pick a chord progression from the hat, not individual chords.
Example C-Am-Dm-F-C (I,vi,ii,V,I) do it in different keys.

I'm wondering how much that matters at this point. My challenge is to just move my fingers in different configurations and loosen them up. It's certainly true that the sounds often don't work but we can use that as a way to see/hear for ourselves which chords work together. But your method would easily work just as well and for all I know it might be better. I'm going to think about doing it like that. Thanks for your input.

OldePhart
03-13-2014, 01:02 PM
Probably the most efficient approach is to create several sets containing the chords for a particular key...and only those chords. Then use your draw from a hat idea to create different progressions of those chords. The reason that this is probably more efficient than drawing all chords, or drawing a predefined sequence, is that this will let you learn all sequences of chords likely to be found in a key.

In the first case you end up practicing a lot of transitions that you will literally never use in real life. In the second case you can easily get stuck in a rut playing something like C G Am F too much and think you're making great progress...until you encounter a song where you have to play a transition from C to F!

So, for the key of C, for example, you would have a hat with C Dm Em F G G7 Am (we'll look at Bdim and some variations of the other chords, later). Now, I'd have about 20 C chords, 7 F, 4 G, 4 G7, 4 Am, 2 Dm, and 1 Em in your hat. Pull them out for different arrangements as you described. In addition to learning to transition between chords, you will be training your ear to recognize what the key of C sounds like.

You can do the same in other popular keys. For pop music this will most likely be the keys of G, D, A, and E.

When that starts to get boring, add a Bdim to your "key of C hat". To begin to get a jazzy feel, throw in maj7 chords for C and F and dominant 7 chords for G, Am7. Just a few, to start, then you can toss in more. Do similar (with appropriate chords of course) to your other key hats.

Just a thought.

John

Uke-Conn
03-13-2014, 01:05 PM
Probably the most efficient approach is to create several sets containing the chords for a particular key...and only those chords. Then use your draw from a hat idea to create different progressions of those chords. The reason that this is probably more efficient than drawing all chords, or drawing a predefined sequence, is that this will let you learn all sequences of chords likely to be found in a key.

In the first case you end up practicing a lot of transitions that you will literally never use in real life. In the second case you can easily get stuck in a rut playing something like C G Am F too much and think you're making great progress...until you encounter a song where you have to play a transition from C to F!

So, for the key of C, for example, you would have a hat with C Dm Em F G G7 Am (we'll look at Bdim and some variations of the other chords, later). Now, I'd have about 20 C chords, 7 F, 4 G, 4 G7, 4 Am, 2 Dm, and 1 Em in your hat. Pull them out for different arrangements as you described. In addition to learning to transition between chords, you will be training your ear to recognize what the key of C sounds like.

You can do the same in other popular keys. For pop music this will most likely be the keys of G, D, A, and E.

When that starts to get boring, add a Bdim to your "key of C hat". To begin to get a jazzy feel, throw in maj7 chords for C and F and dominant 7 chords for G, Am7. Just a few, to start, then you can toss in more. Do similar (with appropriate chords of course) to your other key hats.

Just a thought.

John

This is a great idea. Thanks!

ksiegel
03-13-2014, 01:16 PM
Originally Posted by SailingUke

This is a great idea, but you should pick chords that are in the same key, else you might be transitioning between chords you would not see in a song.
Uncle Rod's boot camp uses practice sheets made up from songs.
My suggestion is you pick a chord progression from the hat, not individual chords.
Example C-Am-Dm-F-C (I,vi,ii,V,I) do it in different keys.


I like both ideas.

In the progression above, F is the iv chord.

Well, actually... no, it isn't. The use of the lower case denotes a minor chord, The F is the IV chord. G would be V. (I-IV-V7 is the standard C-F-G7.)



-Kurt
(After 2-1/2 years, I finally understand this!)

Icelander53
03-13-2014, 02:45 PM
Probably the most efficient approach is to create several sets containing the chords for a particular key...and only those chords. Then use your draw from a hat idea to create different progressions of those chords. The reason that this is probably more efficient than drawing all chords, or drawing a predefined sequence, is that this will let you learn all sequences of chords likely to be found in a key.

In the first case you end up practicing a lot of transitions that you will literally never use in real life. In the second case you can easily get stuck in a rut playing something like C G Am F too much and think you're making great progress...until you encounter a song where you have to play a transition from C to F!

So, for the key of C, for example, you would have a hat with C Dm Em F G G7 Am (we'll look at Bdim and some variations of the other chords, later). Now, I'd have about 20 C chords, 7 F, 4 G, 4 G7, 4 Am, 2 Dm, and 1 Em in your hat. Pull them out for different arrangements as you described. In addition to learning to transition between chords, you will be training your ear to recognize what the key of C sounds like.

You can do the same in other popular keys. For pop music this will most likely be the keys of G, D, A, and E.

When that starts to get boring, add a Bdim to your "key of C hat". To begin to get a jazzy feel, throw in maj7 chords for C and F and dominant 7 chords for G, Am7. Just a few, to start, then you can toss in more. Do similar (with appropriate chords of course) to your other key hats.

Just a thought.

John

Man do I love this place or what!:shaka: (from one John to another)

pixiepurls
03-13-2014, 03:13 PM
I do something similar but I use the uncle rod's bootcamp so that I am doing a proper chord progression. I do each one forwards and backwards. I am very much at the begging though so I have not gotten very far, his PDF has LOADS of chord progressions!

fretie
03-13-2014, 04:12 PM
OldePhart that's a great suggestion for chord practice.

Do you have any similar ideas for practicing common chords in the second and third position?

Ukejenny
03-14-2014, 03:09 AM
Smooth, fluid transitions. That's what I'm working on too. And yes, I would definitely like to see something on those chords in different positions.

OldePhart
03-14-2014, 03:10 AM
OldePhart that's a great suggestion for chord practice.

Do you have any similar ideas for practicing common chords in the second and third position?

I can't take credit for it...just built on what Icelander53 and others came up with. :)

As for chords up the neck...they're still the same chord so just decide you're going to concentrate on second position or third position, I suppose. I might actually do that myself because I do need to spend more time up there.

Usually I choose what position or what fingering variation to use for a chord based on what precedes and / or follows it, so pulling things from a hat should give enough variations in transition to kind of encourage more of that and end up getting practice in more variations.

BTW, it does bare mentioning that not all of the transitions you'll end up pulling out of the hat will be something you'll commonly see in actual songs. This is because certain chords "want to resolve" to specific degrees of the scale so you'll see some transitions much more often than others in a real song. Still, I think this method has promise because it does get you thinking / hearing keys.

John

fretie
03-14-2014, 04:39 AM
Thank you, John, that makes sense.

uke-garou
03-15-2014, 11:33 AM
There are just loads of resources here, plus Justin is a genuinely fun, enthusiastic and engaging kind of guy.

http://justinguitar.com/

Thank you.. I didn't know Justin added a uke section.

igorthebarbarian
03-15-2014, 01:05 PM
This is a good explanation/ method of mixing it up with Uncle Rod's boot camp sheets. Thanks guys & gals!


Probably the most efficient approach is to create several sets containing the chords for a particular key...and only those chords. Then use your draw from a hat idea to create different progressions of those chords. The reason that this is probably more efficient than drawing all chords, or drawing a predefined sequence, is that this will let you learn all sequences of chords likely to be found in a key.

In the first case you end up practicing a lot of transitions that you will literally never use in real life. In the second case you can easily get stuck in a rut playing something like C G Am F too much and think you're making great progress...until you encounter a song where you have to play a transition from C to F!

So, for the key of C, for example, you would have a hat with C Dm Em F G G7 Am (we'll look at Bdim and some variations of the other chords, later). Now, I'd have about 20 C chords, 7 F, 4 G, 4 G7, 4 Am, 2 Dm, and 1 Em in your hat. Pull them out for different arrangements as you described. In addition to learning to transition between chords, you will be training your ear to recognize what the key of C sounds like.

You can do the same in other popular keys. For pop music this will most likely be the keys of G, D, A, and E.

When that starts to get boring, add a Bdim to your "key of C hat". To begin to get a jazzy feel, throw in maj7 chords for C and F and dominant 7 chords for G, Am7. Just a few, to start, then you can toss in more. Do similar (with appropriate chords of course) to your other key hats.

Just a thought.

John