But changing chords in rhythm is one of the most difficult things for beginner guitarists to do.
After all, there are multiple “moving parts” in every chord change. Fingers move in various combinations with different strings and different placements to figure out. The thumb changes its position. The wrist relaxes or bends.
It’s easy to see why a rookie guitar player would struggle with this: there’s an awful lot to process!
And we’re only talking about the left hand. 🙂
While I employ a few different strategies for helping my beginners through the technical difficulties of playing chords, one of the simplest methods to deal with chord changes is more a matter of attitude than technical ability.
The Obstacle Course
Changing chords smoothly relies heavily on the guitarist’s ability to look ahead. We must always be directing our attention to the next thing, and not paying any more attention to where we are.
It’s not unlike a musical obstacle course, where we have to make quick adjustments to get over, under, around and through those chord changes. This is especially important when the chords are coming at us fast and furious.
And yet, so many beginners get caught by surprise by the next chord change because they haven’t learned to anticipate quickly enough. They keep running square into the obstacles instead of navigating them. They pay too much attention to where they are and not enough attention to what’s happening next.
In the musical world, everything happens on a time line: it’s all about the next thing.
[Tweet “In music, everything happens on a timeline. Anticipation is key.”]
Ask the Big Question
If this sounds like you, then the recommendation is simple: Make an attitude adjustment.
Start treating those chord changes like an obstacle course. Navigate your musical environment with energy and anticipation. Trust your skills.
And keep asking yourself, “What’s the next thing?”.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
QUESTION: How often do you still get caught by surprise on chord changes? Leave me a comment below!