These aids help you train your chord and song playing. The first core chord progressions will allow you to access versions of hundreds of songs. Many songs use these progressions singly or combined, or with minor variations. When you start learning and building your chord fluency, prioritising these will mean you can play more songs sooner. Getting these chord progressions fluent means it will also be quicker to get subsequent chord progressions fast as your fingers will have built some strength and coordination. Choose one at a time, and then perhaps more than one, and train in the way you’ve been shown, first hitting the chord on beat 1 of each bar, and as you get more fluent, you can add extra strums in, but never compromising arriving on time for the next chord. Do your chord wheel or one minute changes first to maximise the benefit of this activity.
How to use this material to get good at core song structures
Train these using open chords first. When you can do this, the guitar world starts to open up.
Then, as you learn how to play more types of chord, you can use them to train octave chords, power chords, variations on open chords, creative chord shapes, Barre chords, inversions, various kinds of scales and arpeggios and more.
‘I’ve tried to play this but I keep getting out of sync with the chords and it’s frustrating. What should I do?’
This is completely normal! The best way to get used to keeping in sync is to spend a minute or two counting out loud along with the music, calling out the chord. For example ‘Em 2 3 4 C 2 3 4 G 2 3 4 D 2 3 4′ as often happens in session. This helps your ear learn what each chord sounds like, and how long the set of four chords feels before it starts again. It’s then easier to get back in at the beginning of the sequence if you get lost. Count without playing first. Then, add the first chord back in, and let the others go past while you count. Then add the second one in. Try to keep counting, and only hit the chord on beat one to start with.
‘But it’s hard counting and playing!’ It gets easier fast, and it is really, really good for getting you to know where you are in a chord progression. That sensation of it being hard is your brain stitching everything together so that when you do it again it’s easier.