How To Effectively Teach Guitar Chords To Beginning Guitar Students

By Tom Hess


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All beginning guitar students need help with changing chords quickly, fluently and musically. There are 2 things you can do to help your guitar students change chords more easily:

  1. Get your students to believe in themselves & in you. Your guitar students need to believe in their musical potential and feel your commitment to helping them improve.

This video shows how to help your students see their potential:

  1. Understand the exact reason(s) why your beginner students struggle to change chords and take the right action(s) to correct the problem.

Most guitar teachers assume that their students struggle to play chords because of the following issues:

  1. Physical coordination problems, or
  2. Lack of guitar practice.

Most of the time, this is wrong. Your guitar students rarely have physical coordination problems and most of the time they do attempt to practice.

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Teaching
Beginning
Guitar Students?
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The real reasons your students struggle to play chords are:

  1. Lack of effective practice strategies. This means your students don't know what to do when they practice to master chord changes.
     
  2. Lack of training on how to practice chords correctly. This means your guitar students have never gone through the process of perfect practice (under your guidance).

Training your guitar students to practice makes them progress MUCH faster than anything else you can do as a guitar teacher.

(Want to get better at training your students to practice? Take this free guitar teaching test and learn how to help your students improve really fast.)

Use these 3 powerful strategies to help your beginner students to master chord changes.

How To Teach Guitar Chords


Strategy #1: Get your beginning guitar students to move their strumming hand in time, even if the fretting hand cannot keep up. The strumming hand should not wait on the fretting hand.

Your students need to practice to a metronome and get their strums to fall exactly on top of the beat.

Practicing this way prevents a lot of other rhythm and timing problems for your guitar students in the future.
 

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Strategy #2. Get your guitar students to quickly change chords with their fretting hand only, without using the strumming hand at all.

Doing this helps your students to master fretting hand motions in isolation.

Tip: Remind your students to press the notes down as close to the frets as possible.

This helps the chords to ring out clearly and avoid buzzing.

For this step, your students can play more advanced chords (and fret more than one note), because they only need to focus on their fretting hand.
 

Strategy #3. This strategy has 2 steps:

  1. Ask your guitar students to fret any chord they struggle with by gripping the strings hard. All fingers should move together.
  2. Ask your students to relax their fingers without lifting them away from the strings. All fingers should relax together.

The goal here is to train your guitar students to move and relax all fingers together (instead of one at a time). Repeat this exercise until your students can do it well.

When your guitar students can easily do steps 1 and 2, ask them to take their fingers off the strings (during the relaxation step). They should keep the chord shape formed, while their fingers are hovering above the strings. Then press down on the strings and fret the chord again.

Tell your students to gradually move their fingers further and further away from the strings. They will eventually learn to form the chord shape easily from an open hand.

Important: Remind your guitar students to move their fingers at the same time, not separately!

Question: “Tom Hess, will this strategy cause my students to play guitar chords with too much muscle tension?”

Answer: No. This strategy helps your students to learn the difference between gripping the strings hard and being completely relaxed. With this awareness, they learn to play chords accurately and effortlessly.

You now know a lot more about teaching chords to guitar students than most guitar teachers. The next step is to learn how to teach your guitar students to practice all other musical skills. When you know how to do this, your students become awesome guitar players quickly and brag about you to all their guitar playing friends. Take this free guitar teaching test to learn how to become the best & most successful guitar teacher in your area.


Tom HessAbout Tom Hess: Tom Hess is a guitar teacher, music career mentor and guitar teacher trainer. He trains guitar teachers from all over the world how to earn 6-figures per year teaching guitar, while working less than 40 hours per week. 

Learn how to effectively teach guitar to beginner students.

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