Chords for Beginners
When the student is ready to dive into chords, G, C, A, and E minor should be the ones you tackle first and foremost. These chords are in so many songs, at this point it can’t even be calculated. There are exercises we do that focus on some of the problems students have finding/holding down/cleanly playing each chord, and perhaps future articles will focus on those issues.
The example I have posted shows a very specific way of getting into these chords. At the start of each, the entire chord is played for 4 beats. What’s important is the student HOLDS down the chord, focusing on trying to make each string play cleanly.
In the 2nd and 3rd measure, the chord is arpeggiated. Note the “let ring” text, meaning, the student holds down the chord throughout the measure, and every note within will continue to ring out. This proves to be more difficult than simply playing the chord once.
When taking lessons, it’s important to reinforce the information you’re trying to learn. For instance, if you’re trying to memorize how an E minor chord looks and sounds and FEELS, you have exercises, and more than that, you have lots and lots of music. Playing the chord in an isolated controlled exercise is one thing, but playing it in a musical context can be quite another.
Here’s an example of all the chords in these exercises, arpeggiated one into the other. This is closer to what we’re aiming for when working with chords, or really any musical technical idea.