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Rhythmic & Chordal Playing
30 Day Challenge
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Cello Lessons: Memorizing Chords

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When I started learning Jazz, I remember
one of the hardest things was feeling
like I couldn't remember
chord progressions.
It's a key part of improvising in jazz is
to understand the structure of a tune and
know what the chords are.
And I always felt it was really hard for
me to memorize them.
But it does get better.
The more tunes you learn,
the more intuitive you'll become.
But I want to sort of make a couple of
things explicit that can help you as
you're trying to memorize chords.
Well A if you're arpegiating chords and
doing chord scales through the chord
progression like we've been working on
in some of these videos, that is gonna
really start to internalize these chords
for you and is gonna really help.
Apart from that, simply verbalizing
the chords can really help.
So when I'm sort of strumming through
the chords of Autumn Leaves to learn them.
I find all the right chords to strum, you
can do that in our finding chords series.
You can take a look at the chord chart and
associate that with the shapes.
But I'll actually call out
the names of the chords, so
I might practice it like this.
A minor seven, D seven,
G major seven, C seven sharp 11,
F sharp half diminished, B seven, E minor.
E minor.
Back to A minor.
D seven.
Just the process of verbalizing chords
really helps to internalize it.
From an intellectual standpoint you
can analyze the chord progression to
understand the groupings of the chords.
You never want to think
of chords one by one.
Cuz that gives you 32 separate
things to memorize, all in a row.
But if you can group
the chord progressions,
usually into four bar chunks, or four
chord chunks, things will be a lot easier.
So the first chunk of Autumn Leaves
is a circle of fifths.
From A through four cycles.
So A, down to D, down to G, down to C.
That as a chunk can be easier to remember
than remembering these individual chords.
The F sharp half diminished B seven to E
minor, that, as you should know by now,
is a two, five, one in E minor.
Two, fives,
ones are really important chunks.
Two, five, ones are all over jazz tunes
and they really do function as a unit.
So any time you see in a minor
key a half diminished chord,
chances are it's a two chord.
And if you look next to it and
there's a seven chord,
well then you know that you've got a two,
five and there's a one coming.
Same thing goes in a major key.
The first chord of this tune,
A minor seven, is the two chord in G.
This tune starts with a two,
five, one in G.
A minor seven to D seven to G major seven.
Any time you see a minor seven chord,
you can bet that
it is probably a two chord and
there might be a five right next to it.
So if you start to identify, two, five,
ones and any circle of fifth type
progressions in particular, it's gonna
be a lot easier to start to analyze and
memorize your jazz chord progressions..