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
- An Introduction to ‘Chord Families’
- 2 Chords in 2 Keys : F-C7 & C-G7 (most ukulele players first chords)
- 3 Chord Progressions in F, C and G
- 4 Chord Progressions : Pop-Punk and the 50’s Progression
- Introducing the Jazz and Pachelbel (Puff the Magic Dragon) Progressions
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.