Chords: Step by Step vs. Song by Song Approach

fingering chordsThe Case for Song by Song

There is a lot good to be said about the advice to learn chords on a song by song basis.

  • Assuming you’re picking out songs you love and really want to play, there is a high motivation factor for learning the chords, no matter how difficult they are.
  • If you never plan to play with others in a group setting, then there’s no need for you to have a wide spectrum of common chords at your ready disposal; you can contentedly work on the songs you love and not worry about what anyone else is doing.
  • Eventually, with enough songs behind you, you’ll acquire a fairly good vocabulary of chords.

The Case for Step by Step

There is a lot good to be said about learning chords in a step by step manner.

  • If part of your ukulele experience includes the desire to play with groups and attend ukulele jams, knowing a broad swath of common ukulele chords is to your advantage.
  • The step by step approach to chords outlined on Power Up Ukulele teaches a wide swath of common chords that are practical to know when you want to ‘sight read’ a new song at a group jam.
  • Since the Power Up Ukulele outline teaches these chords through common chord progressions (I-V7, three chord, 50’s, Punk-Pop, Pachelbel, Jazz, etc.) in a variety of different keys, you’re not only learning the chord shapes but common transitions between chords that happen all over in popular music. Again, this makes you a better ‘sight-reader.’
  • The outline often provides song suggestions to reinforce the learning and make the knowledge ‘practical.”

Which is the Best Way?

Both, of course!

  • You should always be working on some song you love and adore.
  • Working on your skills independently of a piece of music is something musicians have done for ages to make themselves better musicians and to be prepared for the beautiful curves of life in a musical world.

Getting Started with Step by STep

Scan these pages and then choose a level you feel is appropriate for you, where you are now, and go for it!

For advanced players, see the drop-down menu for levels 5-9. :-)



NEW! Video Playlists

After taking a few months off to get things going with my classes in the fall, I’ve started making videos to support the different sections of the site. I’m also grouping these into YouTube playlists. So far there are videos supporting the beginning levels of the Chords, Strumming and Fingerstyle sections of the site: