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I Know My Father Lives

Copyright LDS.  Here’s another of those “simple-sounding” Primary songs that are anything but simple to play.

This one has only five chords, and few chord changes-- more’s the pity, as some of those chords are physically quite demanding to hold! DO NOT attempt this song unless you are completely comfortable with  barre chords.  You’ll screw up the song, and maybe give yourself tendinitis.

This song uses the barred-E shape, the barred-C shape, and the barred-A shape.   If you are not comfortable holding these shapes, please learn them perfectly before starting.  You could  injure your hand if you cannot relax it while holding them.  I got tendinitis from playing wrong, and had to quit for two years. ‘Nuff said?           

Actually, the hardest chord change in the whole piece uses the only NON-barre chord, and it happens in the worst possible spot:  right at the end, when you must move from the tenth position to the  first position, in the space of an eighth-note!  To help with this transition, I’ve used the open e string for the preceding note.  The advantage is obvious.  The disadvantage is that it’s easy to buzz against the e-string with your hand, especially if you have short fingers like I do. 

The solution is practice.  Amateurs practice until they can hit the chord every time.  Pros practice until they cannot miss.  This chord change gives me trouble.  Here’s the regimen I use:


1.  Practice the whole phrase at half speed, using a metronome, until you can do it perfectly ten times in a row.  If you blow it even once, start over.

2.  Repeat #1 at full speed.  In this case, “full speed” is what sounds right to YOU.

3.  Repeat #2, plus the preceding phrase, until you can do them both perfectly ten times in a row.

4.  Repeat #2, with the following phrase, ten times in a row.

5.  Repeat with the preceding AND following phrases together, ten times in a row.

6.  Practice the whole song at full speed, without the metronome, until you can play the whole song without thinking about it.  If you goof even once, you haven’t really learned it yet.  Start over with #1.  If you don’t goof, but you have to think about it, you haven’t really learned it yet.  Keep practicing until the whole song is automatic.  It’s automatic if you can do something else (like carry on a conversation or  look around at your audience) while playing, without messing up.

This is a great method for memorizing ANYTHING.  I used it as a Temple missionary, when I had to learn all the temple ordinances, word perfect, in four languages.  It works.  There are other methods of memorization, but this is the fastest way to perfection.  You do want to be perfect, don’t you?  Now, you know how.  Yes, it’s a lot of drudgery.  What did you expect, magic?  The magic is what YOU DO with the piece, AFTER you have perfected it.  THAT’S what makes the song sound simple.