PDA

View Full Version : Structured practice tabs/scales/exercises



Lakedog
03-17-2015, 02:57 PM
So, as a newbie, it is clear I need to not just focus on learning/memorizing songs, but need to structure or organize a practice routine and schedule. So curious what this learned group does. Do you have specific scales or exercises that you do or that you have done that you feel were very helpful. My hope is to structure a set of exercises for 30-60 minutes daily and then add songs on top. At least for now until I feel my technical skills can allow me to focus on songs meaningfully. I know, you have to mix some pleasure in so you don't go crazy, but need to get the core routine down.

Would love any tabs or riffs that others have found helped them improve!

Thanks!!

Kayak Jim
03-17-2015, 03:29 PM
I generally do 10-15 min of scales and exercises from Ukulele Aerobics, 10-15 min of new songs I'm learning, and 10-15 min of songs I already know.

Ukejenny
03-17-2015, 04:19 PM
So, as a newbie, it is clear I need to not just focus on learning/memorizing songs, but need to structure or organize a practice routine and schedule. So curious what this learned group does. Do you have specific scales or exercises that you do or that you have done that you feel were very helpful. My hope is to structure a set of exercises for 30-60 minutes daily and then add songs on top. At least for now until I feel my technical skills can allow me to focus on songs meaningfully. I know, you have to mix some pleasure in so you don't go crazy, but need to get the core routine down.

Would love any tabs or riffs that others have found helped them improve!

Thanks!!

I gotta be honest, ukulele is my music therapy drug of choice. I teach music lessons and play clarinet and have to be structured with all that. So, with ukulele, I am here to enjoy it - whatever that means and wherever it takes me. I will take scales in fits and starts. Even so, they are getting better. I'm getting into finger picking and reading TABS and reading it straight from the music. I don't have a set routine, but it is still getting better.

If structure is what works for you, you will figure out a routine and be able to stick to it, and tweak it as you progress. Scales are wonderful, as are chord progressions. I also think learning the notes on the fingerboard is an important concept that will really open up a lot of doors for you musically.

There are tons of good materials out there. I'm about to give this series to my husband as a gift: http://www.amazon.com/Ukulele-Method-Complete-Book-CD/dp/1470617684/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426644945&sr=8-1&keywords=daniel+ho+ukulele

We also have Ukulele Aerobics and Ukulele Road Maps.

I also think the Aaron Keim books look promising. http://quietamericanmusic.com/storestore/

Steve in Kent
03-17-2015, 10:35 PM
I generally do 10-15 min of scales and exercises from Ukulele Aerobics, 10-15 min of new songs I'm learning, and 10-15 min of songs I already know.

Another vote for Ukulele Aerobics, don't use it everyday, but I do keep going back to it.

DownUpDave
03-18-2015, 02:20 AM
If you are new to a stringed instrument or even if you aren't goggle "Uncle Rods Bootcamp". It is a free down load with 5 pages of different chord progression or work outs. He also teaches a very valuable approach to learning songs. I have the Ukulele Aerobics book and use it mostly for the scale exercises at this point. It is a very good approach to a varied progressive learning format.

You had asked "what do you do" so here it is. I do 5-10 minutes of scales as warm up. Uncle Rod type chord work out with a metronome, start slow and keeping increasing the speed. This can last 10 - 20 minutes. Fingerpicking melodies for timing and tempo. Always end of with some songs. There are other times I vary this or just work on songs but the scales and chording work out are a stable and valuable to improving. I might be having difficulty with a chord progession in a new song so I will use that as an exercise with a metronome.

Rllink
03-18-2015, 02:41 AM
I do a certain amount of scales and work on alternate ways to play chords up and down the neck. And I do some exercises. I happened upon a couple of guitar books full of different scales in different keys, and I like it better than any ukulele book I've seen, and I found it at the free book exchange they have in the hardware store down here, so free is good. They also have some music theory in them that seems to be applicable to what I'm doing. So I also study some music theory, but I don't go out studying music theory for it's own sake. Just what I need, to do what I am doing. I also worked a bit at learning to sight read music, as well as learned to play tabs. Those are two tools that help me, and it actually didn't take me a lot of time, once I set my mind to learning it. I mean, it is Every Good Boy Does Fine, and FACE. How hard can that be? It is helpful because not all music that you want to play might be in the familiar format that so much ukulele music is in, and if you can sight read a little music, you can figure out what to do with it. As I go forward, so does my knowledge of music. But, structured I am not in the sense that I do not set aside time for anything in particular, and some days I might spend an hour working on scales or technique, and other days I just strum away instead. I do whatever calls to me at any particular moment. I play most every day, but not necessarily at the same time every day, or for the same amount of time. But what I want to do is play songs and sing. Everything I do is centered on doing that better. As I grow, I get better at it, and as I get better at it, I grow. For me, that is my structure.

hendulele
03-18-2015, 03:01 AM
I'll second the endorsements of Ukulele Aerobics, though I don't refer to it as often as I should. Also, the UU+ video series by Aldrine and others is well worth the (modest) investment. The tutorials by Craig Chee that were uploaded a few weeks ago are very helpful ways to advance your skills.

photoshooter
03-18-2015, 05:07 AM
I'm new to ukulele and I benefit from a certain amount of structure. I'm planning to try some of the resources mentioned in this thread but for now I've been using Aaron Keim's finger style book and I love it. At first I was afraid it might be beyond my skill level but that hasn't been the case at a all.

Lakedog
03-18-2015, 05:19 AM
I appreciate the suggestions and have stumbled across most of them already. It is very helpful to know they have helped others to learn and improve! Trying to setup a routine, with some content variation for the first 15-30 minutes of practice I have, or for quick 10 minute opportunities.

hendulele, you mentioned Craig Chee's tutorials being uploaded. Here or another site such as UU?

Someone also mentioned sight-reading music. That too is on my to learn list. I know the core Every Good Boy etc and FACE. Any tricks to help learn? Actually got one of the Easy Piano books as it simplistically lists the melodies with the note name in the head of the note. That seems to help me make the threeway connection of note-name, staff position and then play it.

Thanks all!

hendulele
03-18-2015, 05:51 AM
hendulele, you mentioned Craig Chee's tutorials being uploaded. Here or another site such as UU?


Thanks all!

If you sign up at UkuleleUnderground.com (http://ukuleleunderground.com/), you have unlimited access to the videos. I think a one-year subscription is $120, or you can sign up month-to-month. Some of the videos are free.

Ukejenny
03-18-2015, 06:51 AM
I agree, Adrine's videos here, on UU are wonderful, and Ukulele Bootcamp is what got me moving between chords smoothly, that and just strumming songs that I loved.

Here is a link for the Craig Chee Bridging the Gap series, here on UU. http://ukuleleunderground.com/courses/craig-chee-2/

Captain America
03-18-2015, 06:54 AM
I think for a skill like music, go with a couple of short sessions regularly; perhaps 10 minutes twice daily.

I like the notion of combining a book like Uke Aerobics with a more involved tune (something requiring you to stretch a bit).

It's nice to have a check off on your calendar. I know I need to practice regularly, but I've been a bit off-uke lately. Hopefully with warmer weather in the midwest I'll feel like getting back to it.

JustinJ
03-19-2015, 09:00 AM
I think it is important to play a lot of songs. There are many sites with free tabs. Start with songs you like. I enjoy finger picking and so I look for solo ukulele tabs. You want to play the songs very slowly and place your fingers carefully. Do not worry about timing. Only worry about finger placement and sound. Listen to the notes you play, are they clear, do they sound good? If you start from the beginning making sure that notes ring beautifully then your sound will be much better. One of the best skills you can develop is listening skills.

Also once you learn a song, do not keep playing over the parts you know. Spend your time practicing the parts that are hard for you. There have been studies of musicians and the best musicians do not study more than others. But they use their time wisely. They also practice the same time everyday, not being sporadic in their practice. They will not work on whole songs over and over but work on difficult parts of a song. They also work on a technique that is difficult for them.

If you only practice technique and no songs then it is very hard to transfer over that skill. If you want to understand how to make your own chords, then this book is the best.

http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Bay-Understanding-Ukulele-Chords/dp/0786672153 Technique is important but do not spend all your time on it.

Someone has already mentioned a metronome but I would like to reemphasize the importance of it. Having good rhythm is what separates musicians. Great musicians have excellent timing. Without proper rhythm songs will not sound good. I think many people skip over working with a metronome. Some think it will make you sound mechanical. This is not true. It will actually give you some freedom in your playing because you understand the beat which is the heartbeat of a song. Do not expect to be perfect with your beat. It's best when working on technique and rhythms to start out slow. It's harder to play slow. I like digital metronomes because of the beat feature. You can set the metronome to beep on the 1st count of every measure. I've played with mechanical metronomes but it is easy to think you're playing on beat when you're not. The digital metronome will beep on the 1st beat and if you're not on a new measure than your off count.

You do not always have to play with a metronome but it is important to work everyday with one. Another tip is not to rush progress. If something is difficult do not skip over it. Keep working on it.

Icelander53
03-19-2015, 10:49 AM
great advice Justin