There are so many different ways you can learn guitar that most people don’t know about. So many think the old way of learning with a guitar book is the best and only way to learn. It isn’t. Everybody learns differently so learning from a book is very limiting. It doesn’t allow you to learn the way that suits you best. In this article we will look at why flash cards can be so effective and how you can use them to become an expert at basic open chords.
WHY FLASH CARDS WORK
You probably know of flash cards as those basic cards with a word on one side and a picture on the other used for children to learn basic words. Everybody knows they are effective in teaching children the basics but many don’t realize they are effective in other uses. Whether learning a foreign language, preparing for exams or even learning guitar chords, flash cards have been proven to be very effective learning tools.
Flash cards are so effective because you use them differently than you would use a book. People are used to picking up a book and reading it from cover to cover. Once they read it through the first time, it’s unlikely they’ll go back to the start. With flash cards you can use them in so many different ways. You can play memory games, study one at a time, flick through them trying to memorize the details, really whatever you want to do with them. Because of this flexibility, flash cards end up being more effective than a book despite having less information.
HOW TO BECOME AN EXPERT AT CHORDS
Think about what it means to be an expert at chords. An expert can:
- Instantly recall chords
- Change back and forth between chords effortlessly
- Understand everything about the chords.
Now that we know what it takes to become an expert at chords we can look at how to get there.
1. Instant recall
If we want to practice the first goal – instant recall, we can take some flash cards and play memory games. This is something a book won’t teach you. Memory games with flash cards are easy and can be fun which makes it even easier to learn. You don’t even need to have a guitar with you to become an expert at the first goal; you can play memory games with flash cards anywhere and anytime.
2. Changing between chords
To become an expert at the second goal – changing back and forth between the chords you simply need to practice every combination of chord changes. With flash cards this is easy. You simply pick out two cards and practice changing between them until it feels easy. Then you simply change one of those cards. You continue changing card combinations and eventually you will feel comfortable playing any chord change. It’s so simple yet so effective.
3. Chord understanding
To become an expert at the third goal – know everything about the chords, you need to understand a bit about music theory and the chord names. This may sound harder, but it doesn’t have to be.
You start off by memorizing the chord names. That’s pretty easy to do. You will probably do that with the memory games mentioned earlier. Once you know the chord names you can start to learn what they mean. What makes a major chord? What does sus2 mean? What’s the difference between E9 and Eadd9? The good thing is that once you know what each type of chord means then your songwriting, playing and understanding of music will improve. Flash cards will give you a starting point to understanding chords as you can look at the notes that make up the chords and see the patterns between the cards.
This site has a few different resources to help you achieve the three goals described above. Think which goal would help you out the most then check out the related resources to get started.
Flash Cards – Available here
Instant recall resources:
Changing between chords resources:
- ‘Writing a basic song – Part One: Chord Progressions’ lesson
- ‘How to practice chords’ Video lesson
- ‘How to practice chords with a metronome’ Video lesson
Understanding chords resources:
- ‘Understanding guitar chord formulas and the major scale’ lesson
- ‘Working out chords in a key’ lesson
You should be able to see that everything written above is fairly simple to do. There’s no magic formula or secret to becoming an expert, it’s simply practice with the right tools. Practicing with flash cards is a great way to speed up the learning process. You can become an expert at chords with a book, it just takes longer and can be a bit harder to stay motivated. Once you become an expert at chords, you will be amazed at how many doors open up in your playing and songwriting. It’s definitely worth the effort. The resources listed above will walk you through step-by-step and break down all the concepts with simple explanations and examples. You can read more on the flash cards pack available on this site here.