This last week was our first chord test in guitar class. I kind of follow the teaching sequence lined out in our text (Essential Elements for Guitar) in introducing easy C and G7 and then adding D7. I move pretty quickly from easy C and G7 to full chords though. I am not sure I’m totally happy teaching this way. Let me pros and cons it out…
Pros: Teaching full C and G7 early makes learning the other chords easier. I find that when the kids are fresh in the semester, I can throw more at them without them “freaking out” on me. I know that sounds weird (I thought it would be just the opposite), but I find it’s true. So if I teach these harder chords first, then when we move to E, Em, A and Am…etc. it seems easier.
Cons: C, G7, and D7 are harder switches in my mind than say if I taught G, Cadd6add9, and D. Part of me says…just teach that progression instead. Those anchor fingers make switching so much more natural. I do teach this progression when I teach them “Sweet Home Alabama” …maybe I should just teach it right off the bat.
Maybe I should just start with the key of A? I don’t know. I would love to hear what other teachers do.
The test went well. I really focus on making chord changes ON TIME. I explain it like they were going to a party. I tell them if they’re starting on a G7 and going to C….that the C party is the place to be. You do NOT want to be late for the C party, or people will make fun of you. It’s okay to leave the G party early, but whatever you do…. DON’T be late for the C party. That seems to stick in their brain pretty well. I then explain why it’s so important to not be late for your chord changes, and teach them techniques (counting strums and watching lyrics) to help them be on time.
When students test I sing the song while they strum. We did it to the Robert Johnson tune, “Sweet Home Chicago.”
We just got a call for our first gig this next week, so I’ll update you on that fun soon.