Practicing chords and chord progressions can get a bit mundane at times. Yet they’re the building blocks of playing songs.
It’s helpful to find ways to practice that make it more interesting.
At the same time it’s important to learn to change chords on time without slowing down or speeding up.
A great way to do both is to practice with Jam Tracks.
So what are Jam Tracks?
Jam Tracks, also called play-along tracks or backing tracks, are pre-recorded chord progressions played by the rhythm section of a band without melody.
How can they help practice chord changes?
Here’s an outline of the system I use…
1. First choose the correct Jam Tracks.
Choose a Jam Track that has one or two chords that you need to work on. It’s best to focus on one, at the most two, chords at a time. It will be difficult to make traction if all the chords are new.
2. Play the chords slowly one at a time without the track.
Practice the chords without the track at first to get the fingering. Place your fingers on the chord, strum the chord, then take the fingers off and repeat the process. Do this until you can play all the chords at about 80% of what you would call perfect.
3. Now play the chords in order of the Jam Track.
Now play the chord progression in the same order as the Jam Track. You’ll be practicing switching from one chord to the other without the pressure of a consistent tempo. If you find you’re having difficulty changing between two particular chords, stop and practice switching just between those chords.
4. Start with the Jam track with the slowest tempo.
Now you’re ready to play along with the Jam Track. It helps to listen to the track at first to try to hear where the chords are changing. Make sure the volume of the Jam Track is loud enough that your guitar is not overshadowing the sound.
5. Go to the Jam track with the next fastest tempo.
Once you feel comfortable playing with the slowest Jam Track you can move up to faster tempos.
Free Jam Tracks (Download or Play in browser):
Try adding this technique to your practice sessions and let me know how it goes in the comment section.