Chord melody for guitar - progression thru lessons

Hello David @ImproviseForReal,

I recently started the chord melody guitar 1 program and have a question about when to move forward with the next lesson. What are some guidelines/goals to achieve so that we know when to move on?

Currently I’m on lesson 3, adding 5D chord and I’m making headway but it’s alot slower than previous 2 lessons, likely because of finger positions/dexterity. I do enjoy all the lessons this far, making my own music.

Also, do you agree on continuing previous lesson exercises as we continue to progress thru lessons?

Thanks again,

Welcome to the forum @Rnguyen817. I don’t have specific experience of the chord melody course, but I do have experience of IFR in general, and we are encouraged to do things at what ever pace we enjoy. Moving on when we have had enough of one element, or sticking with it while we still exploring.

The material is do rich that you will find yourself returning to it continually, instead of working through it in a linear way. That has been my experience anyway.


I agree with @mem I think you need to trust your instincts and feeling about whatever pace seems right to you.
For the chord melody level one, I started it over a year ago and although by that time I’ve worked on all the videos, and also worked on the second pack, I’m still retuning to it from time to time.
I think it’s good to not see that material as a checklist, but rather as something you have in your library of knowledge, that you can return to whenever you want some guidelines on how to work a certain aspect of your music.
Sometimes I feel like I need to stay longer with a particular chord, then I just pause the course for a month.
Sometimes on the contrary, motivation is low so I use the novelty effect, by looking at the next video, even if I don’t feel ready. That often boosts my motivation a lot. And seeing what’s coming is sometimes a good way to judge whether you need to take your time with the current video or if you’re ready to proceed.
I’d say, don’t be afraid to proceed if it motivates you. You’ll come back to previous videos anyway, I can assure you.
But also don’t be afraid to pause for a while and take weeks or months exploring on your own the knowledge you already possess.
I think it’s good to have a little bit of the two approaches. It’s a balance between fostering motivation and deepening and strengthening your knowledge.
Trust in yourself, the material is just a tool in my opinion. Use it at your own appreciation, I’d say.

Welcome to the forum @Rnguyen817
I agree 100% with all that @mem & @freddy have had to say, especially the bits about seeing IFR material as stuff to cycle though multiple times over the years rather than being things to do once & mark off as done.

I first did Chord Melody 1 a couple of years ago when it was a 12 week workshop. With the workshop, the pace was set by the course schedule. I’d not long since started playing guitar & while I was able to stick with the schedule it really pushed my technique & understanding and even with the wonderful support of David Reed (@ImproviseForReal) that pace was faster than ideal.

Just a month ago, with two more years experience under my fingers (& having done several other IFR courses too), I started a re-run of the course in its current video format.

The first thing I found was that the 12 weeks had been restructured in to 18 videos. I can see the advantage of that, because it allows the topics to be subdivided more naturally than if they needed to be fitted into 12 weekly sessions (I think that figure of 12 had been chosen because there’s a strong school of thought across multiple subject areas that courses should not run for longer than 12 weeks?).

This time though I’m letting things take just as long as I feel they need. For the first two, a week per video felt okay for me. I’ve been on the third for more than 2 weeks now, both because I still feel that’s right, but also because I have some extra commitments at the moment. I think this illustrates the ideas of being flexible & trusting to your judgement. Also if you do dip into the next in the series & it doesn’t yet feel right, there’s always the option to change your mind & giving yourself more time.

Most of all, have fun with your music! :smiley:

Thank you everybody for your insight! There aren’t alot of forum topics on chord melody. I know this style of playing is alot more complex so for sure, it’ll take a long time to be fluent in this style. Ever since I saw YouTubers playing fingerstyle, I got hooked but I was never a fan of playing off tabs and using open chords isn’t very intuitive for improvisation. In the first couple weeks, I could tell this was going to get me very far. I forget to tell myself to enjoy the journey and have fun instead of go go go all the time.