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sam13
01-30-2015, 10:38 AM
Hi All,

I have hit a bit of a plateau in my ukulele playing ... and I need to get unstuck. I would also like to progress more quickly and cover more ground. I love to practise so spanned time doing it is not an issue.

A few questions:

1. What does your practise look like? Meaning do you spend 15 minutes doing scales and quick chord changes ... followed by songs?
2. Video lessons from YouTube or UU?
3. Finger dexterity or memory exercises

This kind of thing ...

Just trying to unleash my inner Shimabukuro ... or Hussey. LOL.

Thanks.

philpot
01-30-2015, 11:05 AM
Finding songs I was excited about learning helped me overcome my personal plateau. That was in addition to learning a variety of skills from UU/UU+ lessons, online tutorials, etc. Find something you've never thought about or encountered before on ukulele and try to figure it out. Become familiar with it, and then find ways to apply it. I don't typically "drill," but I'll work on a particular technique till I have it down, and revisit it usually at least once a day until it's second nature.

Make a short list of songs you want to learn, listen to them, look for ukulele covers, and try to learn them. It sounds cheesy, but learn to love the music while you learn the song. The improvement won't happen if you aren't enjoying it (at least that's what I've found). Learning the ukulele is a constant adventure. You're on a journey of discovery, progressively excavating musical techniques and sounds that have always been there, waiting to be tapped into. Enjoy it, love it, and find happiness in the journey as well as the destination.

Ukuleleblues
01-30-2015, 11:14 AM
Finding others to play with on a regular basis is very helpful and fun.

Hippie Dribble
01-30-2015, 11:16 AM
learn to love the music while you learn the song. The improvement won't happen if you aren't enjoying it (at least that's what I've found). Learning the ukulele is a constant adventure. You're on a journey of discovery, progressively excavating musical techniques and sounds that have always been there, waiting to be tapped into. Enjoy it, love it, and find happiness in the journey as well as the destination.
What a great point this is. Couldn't possibly express it any better than this. Give me a choice between technical proficiency and loving the process and I'll take the latter every time. If you can get into that zone, the technical improvement will inevitably follow as you find new ways to make the music come alive, both through your fingers and your whole playing demeanour - your soul. People will hear it and see it, yes, but they will feel it too and that's where the rubber hits the road as a player and performer.

Brian1
01-30-2015, 11:51 AM
I don't know what level you are trying to break thru and it is probably higher than the one I am at so I can't offer advice. But because you mentioned him Kimmo Hussey has really nice YT videos full of advice.

Kayak Jim
01-30-2015, 12:01 PM
My practice sessions are usually fairly structured- 10-15 min of scales and exercises from Ukulele Aerobics, 10-15 min playing songs I already know, 10-15 min working on new songs. It's not as bad as it sounds. Sometimes I just noodle around too.

Camsuke
01-30-2015, 12:19 PM
Hanon
Songs I can play
Hanon
New songs
Hanon
Arranging songs
Hanon
etc.

Nickie
01-30-2015, 01:25 PM
These posts are good advice. I should follow them, LOL. There are lots of posts on Practice on UU if you want to do a search.

janeray1940
01-30-2015, 05:09 PM
1. What does your practise look like? Meaning do you spend 15 minutes doing scales and quick chord changes ... followed by songs?
2. Video lessons from YouTube or UU?
3. Finger dexterity or memory exercises


I know people are kind of divided on this, but - I'm one of those who just plays, rather than practices. If I had some sort of regimen where I did specific things for specific durations of time, I'd probably hate it! That said - I play about 2 hours most days. Some days much less, some days much more. I play fingerstyle only (no strum/sing stuff) so for me there is A LOT of repetition - I have songs I've been working on for years. But they keep getting better, so - I must be doing it right, despite the fact that I don't regularly play scales or do exercises or any of that sort of thing.

I can't learn from videos; I take lessons in person. In addition, I play in a couple of ensembles and am working on a few songs in a trio. Which brings me to this:



Finding others to play with on a regular basis is very helpful and fun.

Yes!! Very much so, particularly when it comes to timing. When one plays alone, it's really easy to focus on just getting the notes and not actually getting the timing or phrasing right (or rhythm, if you're a strummer). Playing with others makes this really apparent. Additionally, playing with others can be inspiring! And fun!

Rllink
01-31-2015, 06:18 AM
Pretty much the same. My practice is not particularly structured. There have been many threads about practicing, but I still don't know how much structure there has to be for it to qualify. That isn't to say that I'm not working on things.

Right now I'm on a Reggae kick, so I'm all about getting the strum down, and learning some new chords, well, they are actually old chords, but they are barred chords that help with the rhythm, so I work on that. I also watch instructional videos, but just if I start getting confused. I wasn't picking up on the Reggae strumming rhythm, so I found a couple of helpful on line videos to watch.

I tend to pick a particular artist, and study that person's music. Jimmy Buffett for one. I play a lot of Jimmy Buffett, but it isn't just about a particular song, it is learning his style, which when you get a handle on it, you find it influences almost everything he does. So naturally, I'm working on a lot of Bob Marley stuff right now. As far as videos, I tend to get more out of watching the artists themselves than I do watching instructional videos. However, instructional videos can really lay the foundation first, so both are good.

As far as scales, exercises, etc, just for the sake of learning scales and little riffs that go no where for me, I'm not into that. That sort of structure is too structured for me. Anyway, to address the plateaus, I break those by going to a different genre. Like I was stalled out when I decided to work on Reggae in particular. That sort of got me going again. Just a whole new genre, new style, new feeling, just the whole different direction. So that is what I like to do.

DownUpDave
01-31-2015, 07:07 AM
I personally think you are over do for an open mike performance. That will kick start you off a plateau by forcing you to really focus on perfecting one song. Than do that with another one and another one. Nothing like a concrete goal with a timeline.

Ukulele Eddie
01-31-2015, 08:18 AM
Sam, kudos to you for reaching out for tips. I'm hardly qualified to give practice advice, but one thing I've found works for me is to balance songs that are very challenging with songs that I can realize improvement in more quickly. The other thing I have found very helpful is Amazing Slow Downer. I find it an invaluable aid for learning a new song.

If you haven't already, check out the excellent videos in UU+. It's an amazing resource with things useful to newbies all the way to more advanced players.

Let us know what works for you...

philpot
01-31-2015, 07:37 PM
I personally think you are over do for an open mike performance. That will kick start you off a plateau by forcing you to really focus on perfecting one song. Than do that with another one and another one. Nothing like a concrete goal with a timeline.
^seconded. Stage performance in front of a live audience pushes your limits and makes you a better musician all around.

sam13
02-01-2015, 11:51 AM
I am working on my songs for a performance but appreciate everyone's thoughts as they help me freshen my approach to practise or playing.

Gonna mix up the songs and genres.

Cheers.

flailingfingers
02-01-2015, 05:37 PM
I couldn't agree more with the posts that suggest you play with joy...don't get stuck thinking you have to f*****g PRACTICE all the time or at some set schedule. That doesn't mean that pushing yourself is not good..it is but do it within some structure such as a new song. UU+ has good stuff but don't get bogged down on it. Enjoy it even when it's hard and YES that's possible. Little chunks interspersed with songs you know and play with some soul. I sing with my playing and that is much fun. I recommend it even if you think you can't sing. SING ANYWAY. When you learn something new try adding it to your songs for fun. I have come to these conclusions for myself by learning/playing guitar with such joyless, rigid structure that I finally just let it go. I lost the spontaneous joy of playing. Not going to do that with the beautiful, simple, sweet uke. It offers too much joy to lose it. Please keep in mind that this only my experience. Yours may vary but I think the idea of not losing track of the basic joy of music is a solid one.

drbekken
02-01-2015, 05:39 PM
I like playing along with recordings; finding the chords to the song and improvising by ear. It usually sounds so so...but it improves my ear, which I really think is important. As a pianist, I have played all kinds of dreary exercise stuff. My piano technique is good because of it, but it's very hard work to do. As a ukulele player, I have focused on the fun part....playing along with jazz records that I love and just enjoying it. I have a chord book, other than that, I gave up sheet music for the uke almost at once.
I know a man who is a world class tuba soloist. He once told me that he did not really do technical exercises until he knew what technique he needed for a particular piece. The real music is the main thing.

(Check Řystein Baadsvik on youtube, to hear how a tuba can be played. 'Fnugg' is a piece you might not forget so easily.)