When you play the right note or chord, you will hear it. It will be a pleasant sound, it will be clear and won't have any blocked string sounds (unless it needs to, but you'll get to that later). To play a note or chord correctly, you have to get your fingers in the right position and press as hard as you can on the frets; it will become a habit if you practice enough.
So, don't get too caught up in strums, as the best approach is to start any new song with this basic down strum. Then, hit the strings on the way up as well, the down-up strum while counting "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and." This way you are making twice the amount of sound with the same hand motion, giving you a little more movement and fuller accompaniment to a vocal line (melody).
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