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Following Chords

July 31st, 2012
music

When I was little my parents would have singing parties. People would play various instruments, mostly guitars, and sing. I was learning guitar and wanted to be able to play music for these parties too, so I learned to follow chords. For simple open chords you can learn pretty quickly what the different chord shapes look like, and then you can watch someone else playing guitar and mimic their chords.

In addition to letting you play along without someone writing the chords down for you, this turns out to be very good training for hearing what is the right chord to play. Fundamental to following someone is anticipating their chord changes. Constantly predicting what chord they'll play next and then getting immediate feedback is a really great setup for learning.

While I don't play for singing parties much anymore, I use this skill of hearing what chord to play from a song or tune all the time when playing dance music. If you'd like to get better at hearing what chord to play, try following someone else's chords in preference to reading chords written out.

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