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. :-)