Cyberfret.com Online Guitar Lessons
     

Home > Teaching Guitar

Teaching Chords To Beginning Guitar Students
Guest teacher series
Tom Hess
tomhess.net

Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF



Tom Hess

Teaching Chords To
Beginning Guitar Students
by Tom Hess

A very common and frustrating problem beginning guitar students face is not being able to change chords quickly, fluently and musically. This may be frustrating for you, the guitar teacher, too, when you are not sure about how to solve the problem.

There can be more than one reason why a student may struggle when trying to change chords smoothly. So the first thing to do when dealing with this challenge is to diagnose why the problem exists. You need to determine if your student has one of the following problems:

  1. A physical coordination problem
  2. He/she has not been practicing
  3. A lack of understanding of what needs to be done
  4. A mental processing problem
Most guitar teachers ASSUME the reason is either A. (a physical coordination problem) or B. (little or no practice). Fact is, most of the time this is wrong. The majority of students actually DO attempt to practice. And TRUE physical coordination problems are rare.

For most guitar students almost all guitar playing problems are caused by their brains, not by their hands! This is why many efforts to help them may not work well.

As I mentioned before, there can many reasons why a student is struggling with this (or any other issue) so it is not possible to give a one-size-fits-all solution in an article. There are however 3 powerful guitar teaching tips that can help solve this problem with beginning guitar students.

#1. Get your students to keep their strumming hand moving IN TIME no matter how far behind the fretting hand may be in forming the next chord. In other words, tell your students (when practicing this way) to NOT allow the strumming hand to wait on the fretting hand! Practicing in this way will solve a lot of other rhythm and timing problems in the future for this student! The student should practice this way about 1/3 of the time until the problem is resolved.

#2. Get your student to not use the strumming hand at all and simply change chords with the fretting hand quickly (rapid fire, one after another). The student should practice this way about 1/3 of the time until the problem is resolved.

#3. Make your student play a chord he/she needs to master. Tell him/her to grip the strings hard when playing the chord, then to relax totally (WITHOUT taking fingers away from the strings/chord), then tell the student to SQUEEZE again all fingers at the same time! Then relax.

The goal here is to train his/her brain to make all fingers move and relax TOGETHER and not one finger at a time (which is how beginning guitar students make chords on their own – big mistake)… Repeat this exercise until the student can do it well.

Next, have the student move fingers off the strings but maintain the basic chord shape while hovering over the strings…. Then press down on the strings and make the chord… repeat this many times and then gradually move further and further away from the strings before making the chord again. Eventually from an open hand the student should be able to form the chord easily… but in each case you MUST be sure all fingers are moving and relaxing at the same time, NOT one finger at a time! The student should practice this way about 1/3 of the time until the problem is resolved.

Notice that these solutions of the problem are all ‘physical’, but they are designed to overcome the student's “mental processing problem” because the student has not learned to separate and isolate each motion. The beginning guitar student's brain is overloaded with too much information to apply at the same time, this is why we work on method #1 and #2 above to free the brain from too much processing at once. The last method (#3) is designed in order to break the student’s mental processing habit of sending SEPARATE and LINEAR messages to each finger of the hand. What we want is to train the brain to process and send ONE message to all fingers involved.

To get more help on teaching guitar and building a successful guitar teaching business, check out these 15 free guitar teaching tips.

About the author: Tom Hess is a highly successful guitar teacher, professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He coaches other guitar teachers on how to teach guitar.
About Tom Hess

Tom HessTom Hess is a touring musician, composer and the guitar player for the metal band Rhapsody Of Fire. He also teaches guitar players from around the world via online correspondence guitar lessons. Visit TomHess.net were you can find free video guitar lessons, free guitar playing resources and more guitar articles.


Guitar Lessons and Articles by Tom Hess on Cyberfret.com

Music Business & Career Articles

How To Transition From Your Day Job Into A Successful Music Career
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 1
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 2
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 3
How to Become a Professional Guitarist & Musician: Part 4
Take the test - Determine your real goal as a guitarist
For Love or Money
Want to Become a Professional Musician?…Start Here
The Pursuit of the Record Deal
How to Make the Right Contacts in the Music Industry
Need Help Starting A Successful Career In Music?
How To Prepare For Gigs And Make Your Live Shows Better

Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Become Professional Musicians
How To Get More People To Come To Your Live Shows

Guitar Practice & Motivation Articles

The 80/20 Law
Fire and Inspiration
Can YOU Really Become a Great Guitar Player?
Plans Are NOT Goals
Top Secrets of Common Sense - Part 1
Musical Frustration
Why aren't you a better guitarist?
Most of you are totally out of balance
Begin at the End
An Analysis of Effective Guitar Practice - Part 1
How to Avoid Musical Burn Out
Perseverance - It Will Make You Or Break You!
Are You An Unhappy Musician? - 10 Ways To Get Musical Pain Relief
Practicing Guitar: Self Discipline or Fun?
How To Practice Guitar With A Limited Amount Of Time
11 Damaging Mistakes Guitar Players Make and How To Avoid Them
Get More From Your Guitar Practice
How To Fix Common Guitar Practice Problems

Articles for Guitar Students

Choosing a Teacher
Do you really need a teacher?
Getting No Results From Taking Guitar Lessons?
Are You a Bad Student?...I was! - Part 1

Articles for Guitar Teachers

Why You Struggle To Get Guitar Students
Top 9 Mistakes Guitar Teachers Usually Make
5 Big Mistakes You Should Avoid When Teaching Beginning Guitar Students

Teaching Chords To Beginning Guitar Students
Improve Your Guitar Teaching - Part 1
How To Get Started Teaching Guitar

Articles for Developing Your Creativity

Originality
Creativity and Expression - Part 1
Creativity and Expression - Part 2
Express Yourself
How to Develop Your Own Style - Part 1
How to Develop Your Own Style - Part 2
The Pursuit of Artistic Greatness

Guitar Technique, Songwriting & Ear Training Articles

Vibrato Control
Developing your ear
Songwriting - Part 1
Songwriting - Part 2
How To Improve Your Guitar Technique: Part 1
How To Improve Your Guitar Technique: Part 2
How To Practice For Maximum Guitar Speed - Part 3
How To Play Guitar Fast

Lead Guitar and Improvisation Lessons

How To Make A Great Guitar Solo
Improve Your Lead Guitar Playing


©2009 Tom Hess Music Corporation
All rights reserved. Used By Permission



Free Download - 17 Essential Strum Patterns PDF








Guitar Courses

Rhythm Guitar Mastery
How to strum guitar like a pro, master rhythms, and build your vocabulary of essential chords

17 Essential Strum Patterns
Learn 17 Strums, 8 Bonus Songs + Chord Book

60s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 18 classic 60s rock tunes

70s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 70s rock tunes

80s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 80s rock tunes

90s Rock Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 20 classic 90s rock tunes

Modern Country Strumming Songs
Learn how to play 16 modern country songs

Guitar Lick Factory
A system for creating rock & blues guitar licks