UD#3: I Can’t See Your Fingers!
(Teaching chords without diagrams, hiding behind whiteboards or blackboards.)
from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek
Here’s one of my favourite ways to introduce new ukulele chords to a class.
With a beginner class I start with one or two finger chords. Here are the steps.
1. I hide behind the whiteboard. I’ll hide behind a blackboard too. I’m not picky.
2. I play the open strings of the uke in this order: G, C, E, A and have the students sing the notes back to me.
3. Then I fret a note to make a one finger chord, a C chord for example. I strum the strings again one at a time. This time fretting the C chord.
4. I have the students tell me which note changed. “The fourth one changed!” “The A note changed!” (For the C chord the A string is fretted on the 3rd fret)
5. I have the students sing me the new note and then go find it on the A string. If they fret that note and strum all the strings, their chord should sound the same as mine.
No diagrams. No finger gazing. No binoculars.
I then write the chord diagram on the board. I’ll often have empty chord diagrams on the board and fill them in as we go.
This game can be a challenge if you have a mix of low and high G tunings in the class but it can be done.
Wanna try it?
I have posted two recordings below: a high-G version and a low-G version. Try to figure out which chords I play!
• I play the open strings twice and then the chord.
• There are 8 chords.
• 1-4 are one finger chords.
• 5-8 are two finger chords.
• The answers are at the bottom of the page…
Here’s the High G version.
Here’s the Low G version.
That’s all for now,
See you next week!
Here are the eight chords from the listening exercises above: