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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 344
A question for all you teachers out there...

Hey guys!
I suppose this is the right area to post this...
Anyway, i've been teaching guitar lessons for about a year now, and i have to say, it's an incredibly great job! I've never been more satisfied with a job before. Anyway, some of my students have problems with making simple chord changes quickly and cleanly. This may sound arrogant, but i never really had that problem much, so i don't know how to correct it. What are some good excercises or popular, simple songs that i could give my students to improve their left hand, umm, chord-shaping speed { for lack of a better word... well, i guess i could just say 'muscle memory' instead... ah well, you know what i mean }?
Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks!
Ben
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 06:28 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
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There are some exercises you can go through with them to make their fingers a bit more limber...stretching exercises, etc.

Another solution is to find voicings that are easier to change to, meanwhile they can work on the other chord voicings at home.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 08:18 PM
 
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Location: Somerville, MA
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How simple are we talking? I'm currently teaching one kid how to play who was having a horrible time with basic open chords- D, Em, G, C, Am, etc. The real problem, of course, was i couldn't get him to practice. So, what I did was took this song that we were working on that used some of those chords, had him play through it, and asked him, "Now, what are the ones you seem to be having the most trouble with?" He was able to identify the changes, so i said, "Ok, now, how about we write a song that uses these chords, to help you practice? What one should we start from...? Ok, and what chord do you want to play next?" and went through it like that. Next week, he wasn't much better, but he'd decided he liked playing G-Em and back a lot, and could do those really well. so we did the same thing, played them together for a while, and then he went off to practice for the next week. At the end of that week, he wasn't much better, but was even more fluid at playing Em-G-Em, because he said they were "Fun."

moral of the story? Maybe 9 is too young to learn.

I think you see where I'm going, though... "write" a song with the pupil, or rather let them, that puts chords they're having trouble playing between together. They'll feel like they're creating something and will be excited enough about it to practice it (hopefully)... and even better, it saves you the trouble of finding an existing song.

-Drew
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2003, 08:19 PM
 
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edit- double post
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Thanks for the tips { x2, no less! }, Drew! And thanks to VTGOS, too, of course. And we're talking about very simple, open-position chord changes. Most of my students are beginners.
Thanks again, keep the tips coming!
Ben
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-05-2003, 04:46 PM
 
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I get them to examine the fingerings and look for "pivot" fingers to go from one chord to another.

Example: A lot of people play the A chord with fingers 1,2,3 but if they used 2,1,3 the A note on the G string lends itself to easy changes to the D chord (by leaving the 1st finger on the A while the others move and vice versa) and to the E chord (by lifting fingers 2 & 3 slightly, sliding down the first finger to G#, then putting 2 and 3 on the B and E on the 5th and 4th strings).

Basically, getting them into slow motion back and forth changing is the best start I've found, just by teaching them to look at the "journey" that each finger makes from one chord to the next.
Chris Brooks is offline  
post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-06-2003, 05:18 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I've still a relative beginner at almost two years and I remember having this kind of problem at the start... however only with an open D Major. It was a nightmare. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't transfer to it cleanly. But eventually the problem just seemed to naturally sort itself out.

I have guitar lessons and sometimes the stuff I'm taught takes ages to click (especailly theory) but as long as you guide them through it (sometimes over and over again), your students will get everything you teach in the end.
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