While there are many answers to this, I’m here trying to give you the absolute best example. Take it one lesson at time.
I first asked one of my own students what the best-known chords in guitar were and she gave me the following answer:
Chord #1 is C# major, F# minor and C# minor
Chord #2 is G# major, E major and G major
Chord #3 is A minor and Eb major
Chord #7 is D major and E minor
So, that’s five chords in five minutes of rock music. If you were to repeat this for five minutes of classical music you would learn 11 chords.
This is a really cool, and surprisingly universal, answer. It shows that it is not just about memorizing a lot of scales.
I recently asked a young guitarist what the best-known chords in classical music are and he explained:
So far, there is no question that the best-known chords in classical music are the C major scale, B minor scale and A major scale respectively. While the best-known chord progression in jazz and pop music includes Dm4#11b5, G minor and F# minor, it is in fact the E major scale that we are most familiar with.
So that’s four chords for one minute of rock music.
What about counting?
Another example I liked from a recent session was this: I had a 12-year-old in the class who was trying to learn all the notes of the C major scale. Every time he started to memorize the four notes that come after the dominant 9th (and he memorized these over seven minutes without noticing) he would give up. So what can we do instead?
I told him that instead of trying to memorize every note, he could try to learn how far the notes should go down the scale. I wanted him to notice these steps on his own. Then I told him to count them in order.
At this point, he came prepared, but he didn’t seem to know the notes at the correct frequency. We kept counting, adding to his score each time. His score increased steadily but then the score got to 5-or-so and his heart rate went up. Eventually he had to stop counting every time he saw a chord so he could rest.
This is why there is no magic number to memorizing the
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