November 27, 2012 at 9:44 am #16020
When do you like to introduce barre chords to your groups and do you have any tricks to teaching them?
I like to make sure that we practice them a little each day and focus on the placement of the thumb and index finger.November 30, 2012 at 9:46 am #16338
Barre chords are introduced in my high school and adult classes soon after “open” chords are mastered. I think hand strength is the main factor in teaching barre chords.November 30, 2012 at 9:55 am #16339
When teaching barre chords the hardest thing for them to master is the position of having the first finger completely flat. They have been taught from day one to have a curved finger and now I tell them to flatten it. Usually F#m is my first barre chord and I teach a watered down version of it = xx4222. This way they are only using four strings. Then I introduce bm. It takes a while for kids to get barre chords but eventually after enough practice it will come.December 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm #17234
I think it’s especially important to understand the correlation between the barre chord and the open chord that it is related to. (i.e., a barre chord with the root on the 6th string is related to an open E chord, 5th string root is related to an A chord, etc.)
Have students practice playing the open chord versions with their 2, 3, & 4 fingers as they would with a barre chord, instead of their 1, 2, & 3 fingers. This way, they will have one less thing to struggle with as they are beginning this new and complicated skill.December 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm #17235
I have been doing my best to avoid teaching barre chords too early. I have observed that many students (especially younger/smaller ones) simply don’t have the hand strength needed to play barres correctly and as a result develop poor habits such as rolling their barre finger back for extra support.
In my opinion, this is akin to allowing trumpet players to squeeze out high notes before they’re ready for it – it may be rewarding at first, but will be a detriment in the long run.
Sometimes, I have found a better substitute to be a lesson in transposition instead and I will demonstrate how playing a ii, V, I progression in D major is going to be a lot easier than in E major.
When students are ready to start barring, I like to demonstrate good technique by having them place their hand out with their palm up and just bring the straightened first finger up with the thumb pointed more left than usual.
When they start chording, have them pay careful attention to create contact with the fleshy part of their finger – not the joint – they will get a better sound and not have to press as hard.May 2, 2013 at 7:24 am #23369
A most important part of this conversation that we have not addressed…. The action on the guitar. Often when a student is not successful the guitar is at fault. Make sure the strings are not to high over the fingerboard. If the guitar has a truss rod a little adjustment can make a big difference.
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