If You Can Sing Chords, You Can Play Chords

If You Can Sing Chords You Can Play Chords

Get your students saying, “If I can sing it, I can play it!” with these short, sequential chord warm-ups.  Starting with the basics & working up to today’s most common chord progressions, your students will be amazed at how easy it becomes to play chord progressions in a multitude of keys once they sing chords & play these warm-ups!

Chords are the backbone of music.  Yet, how many of us take the time to teach our students about chords?  Not as part of their technique exercises or on a theory page, but as an element that makes a song … well, a song.  And, how many times do we sing chords so we can play chords?

Want your students to understand a new key does not necessarily mean a new pattern?

Most of my students did not know anything about Roman numerals, which is how I learnt about chord progressions.  And, wow, did I ever struggle with teaching them that while the individual notes change when we transpose to a different key, the pattern does not.  Even if the chord progression was the exact same, a new song meant we were learning from scratch.  And learning chord inversions?  I remember the headaches … both my students & me!  How was I helping my students become independent musicians?  I wasn’t.

Wish your students would find it as easy to play chord progressions as they do their favourite melody?

Why do melodies often feel much easier to students?  They sing or hum them all the time!  They’ve subconsciously internalized the intervals & patterns.  If you can sing chords, you can play chords.

The result?

My students gained confidence in their ability to play chord progressions, regardless of the key.  And, because we always linked their warm-ups with their repertoire, they learnt a new strategy for figuring out that ‘tricky’ accompaniment … whether it was in lesson or during the week.  They became more independent musicians!

As a teacher, I loved having a warm-up that:

  • Started each lesson by covering multiple concepts: vocalization, ear training & transposition.
  • Built up each week with small steps.
  • Easy translated to exploration during the week during practice time.
  • Even my beginning students could play parts of chords … letting them know this was nothing to be intimidated by!

Would you like your students to:

  • Hear, recognize, sing & play common chords?
  • Know how to transpose to a new key ‘on the fly’?
  • Have a chord specific strategy for practice during the week?
  • Improvise a melody over a given chord progression? (more advanced students)

Lesson time is short, regardless of how long lessons are.  And in my studio, each warm-up must cover multiple approaches & concepts.  Otherwise, we are running out of time.  Sound like your studio?

These warm-ups take about 5 minutes though if a student loves this … keep going!  Plus, you have almost 2 months of sequential warm-ups for your entire studio!

What’s included:

  • Warm-up ideas for start of lesson
  • Practice during the week ideas
  • Review ideas for the start of next lesson
  • Different wording sets to take student beyond Solfege (using moveable Do)
  • Enrichment activities for beginners, for a challenge, & lab time
  • How to make this a studio challenge with points

This product is for a single teacher to use within their studio with their students.  If you would like to use this product for multiple teachers, classrooms or studios, please contact Rosemarie for additional license pricing.  Thanks!

Exam Levelling:

If you have students that are preparing for exams, it can be great to prepare in different ways!  This warm-up series matches up with requirements for the following exams:

  • Royal Conservatory of Canada (2015 syllabus):
    • Level 1 – 5: Ear training (intervals & chords), Pentascale playbacks
  • Trinity College London (2018-2020 syllabus):
    • Level 1 – 5: Harmonic stimulus (improvisation)
  • ABRSM (2019-2020 syllabus):