How to Learn a Tune’s Chord Changes in 5 Minutes or Less

What if I told you there’s a simple little trick to learn chord changes to a tune in a just a few minutes? That the countless hours you’ve spent reading tunes out of the Real Book can finally come to a close and you can begin to have chord changes live in your head, where they belong.

And the truth is, this little trick’s been staring you in the face. It’s not new, complex, or even something that takes time to learn. You can start using it TODAY.

So is this thing called love?

Take the tune What is This Thing Called Love?:

What is this thing called love chord changes

For years, you’ve probably opened up the Real Book to “W,” flipped around, to the tune— or grabbed your iPad —and read the chord changes as you solo.

This is a fine place to start, but wouldn’t you think that after years of doing this, the chord changes would finally get into your head and you could stop being a Real Book player?

The thing is, simply playing a tune from the Real Book or even trying to memorize the chord changes in a drill-and-kill fashion won’t get you that far.

So many people try this every single day. They recite in their head over and over…

”G half diminished, C7 alt, F minor…”

Thinking that if they just do it enough that the changes will somehow stick.

But, it’s like cramming for a school test. You may have the information the next day, but it’s gone shortly after that because there’s nothing memorable about the information.

So how do you make something memorable?

You give it context and meaning, and associate it with the information already in your head.

Make short memorable sentences

A dead-simple trick to giving chord changes context, meaning, and association is creating short memorable sentences that summarize the changes ...

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