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leelec
05-21-2015, 09:09 PM
I have learned a strumming pattern, played it to death over a few days, d-d-dudu. But when I start singing a song my right hand goes into an entirely uncoordinated shaking up and down bearing no resemblance to the strumming pattern whatsoever.

I need to know that this is normal for a beginner. If it is I'll press on. If it's not....... anyone want a very nice Maple Kala?......

Phluffy the Destroyer
05-21-2015, 09:47 PM
It might be perfectly normal. It might not be.

Arguments "for" go something like this:
Many people have a disconnect in their brain when it comes to playing an instrument and singing at the same time. It could just be a matter of figuring out how to do the two things simultaneously. I would suggest backing up and starting with something a little simpler.

Before you begin, realize that not all strumming patterns work with all song equally. So, you just want to set the goal of being able to make a rhythmic sound with the ukulele while sound is coming out of your mouth in a more or less musical fashion.

Start by singing your song and strumming once (D) whenever a chord change happens. When you feel comfortable singing and making a chord change, change the pattern (DUDUDU) while you sing. To start out, don't worry about whether or not it sounds good. Just get used to doing those two things at the same time. When you feel comfortable enough to move on, try a more difficult pattern until you feel comfortable and continue like that until, before you know it, you're singing and strumming like a pro.

Arguments "against":
No, it's not normal. You should see a doctor immediately to find out if your condition can be treated with medication. Meanwhile, you can just send that ukulele directly to me.

Andy Chen
05-21-2015, 09:51 PM
You mean there's precious little coordination between your mouth and your arm? You need to see a doctor, pronto!

Just kidding: It happens to many of us at the start. Plough on!

Icelander53
05-22-2015, 02:22 AM
I have learned a strumming pattern, played it to death over a few days, d-d-dudu. But when I start singing a song my right hand goes into an entirely uncoordinated shaking up and down bearing no resemblance to the strumming pattern whatsoever.

I need to know that this is normal for a beginner. If it is I'll press on. If it's not....... anyone want a very nice Maple Kala?......

It's normal for me. I'm just glad I can fret and sing. Add a strumming pattern though and I can no longer sing and play. Well I love to sing so I'm going to keep up with that and I just hope my strumming gets better.

ukulelekarcsi
05-22-2015, 02:39 AM
Singing and strumming at the same time is very hard at the beginning.

One approach mentioned above is to strum only, until it's automatic. I usually advise to hum over that first, rather than sing full lyrics - it helps keeping to focus on the hands.

An entirely different approach, which can be used for variation, is to sing without a ukulele but 'hear' the strum in your head. It's easier than it sounds, like singing along with a headphone on. don't try even making hand gestures, at most use a modest nod while singing. The more you do that, the easier it will become once you pick up a real ukulele.

Perhaps this remark is off-topic, but I don't like it when a certain strum pattern is used from beginning to end in a song, even if it's a nice one like the one you mentioned. Loosen up, change pace midway, work your wrist and fingers instead of your elbow, don't be afraid to drop strum pauzes on dramatic bits, mark the differences between verses, choruses and bridges with your strumming hand... there's so much strumming expression that ukulele players have at their disposal!

jimavery
05-22-2015, 02:40 AM
Some songs just are horribly difficult to strum and sing to because the timing of the melody isn't straightforward. ABBA's "Waterloo" is a good case in point. Try simply clapping the four beats in the bar and singing along and you'll see what I mean. When I tried it recently I found that tapping my foot to the four beats of the bar while strumming and singing helped me to keep everything vaguely together (but doing those three things at once did tax my poor brain some!).

Rllink
05-22-2015, 03:25 AM
Yes it happens, and the more you think about it, the worse it gets. If you don't give up, it will come eventually. I was singing a song at my singing lesson yesterday and I started it off key, and my strumming went to hell right off the bat because I added that one little dimension into the mix. So then I got to thinking about that, and it never did come back, even when I was singing in the right key. Just part of the process. The next song, same pattern, it was just fine. This whole mental aspect is very interesting, and like I said, for me, thinking about it just makes it worse.

Debby
05-22-2015, 03:29 AM
Whenever I mess up my strum pattern (or any other mistake), I just shrug it off and say that I'm jazzing it up. Lol

andylama
05-22-2015, 07:17 AM
This is normal. Building coordination is a discipline. Keep at it.

Lori
05-22-2015, 09:46 AM
Really, it is perfectly normal. It will get much better with practice. The idea is that you have to practice a lot to get it into your "muscle memory". After you play it a few hundred more times, or maybe thousands of times, it becomes automatic. When you have it to that auto-pilot mode, you will be able to sing, or even carry on a conversation without missing a beat.
I still have to choose between fingerpicking and singing, or even chucking and singing. I know if I put in the time, it will be something I can do. I can sing and strum, but have more trouble following U-D-U type instructions, and do better playing along with others and matching their beat. It is more of a play by feel rather than reading instructions. Find the method that works best for you.
–Lori

Pueo
05-22-2015, 10:56 AM
You are not alone!
I struggled for YEARS to be able to sing and play at the same time. Like, so many years that I gave up for a while.
Do yourself a favor and DO NOT give up!
Once I was able to do it, it was like a light switch, and after that I was able to immediately sing and play almost any song if I knew how it went, even stuff I had struggled with many years ago.

Keep at it!

Incidentally, how I "got over it" was I chose I song that I liked, that I knew very well how the melody went, and knew all the lyrics well.
For me, that song was "Imagine" by John Lennon.
I FORCED myself to sing and play that song by brute force, and played nothing else for about a week and then BAM! it was like the mental block was unlocked and I could magically sing and play anything. :D
For me, I already knew how to strum "automatically" and could play well, so I imagine you may need more than a week, but please do not get discouraged, I am sure that if you work on this early in your ukulele journey you will be singing along in no time!

CeeJay
05-22-2015, 04:15 PM
Strumming should be a natural "feel"

d / u are just directions...

strumming " patterns " ....well , they are whatever feels natural to you .....don't get hung up on them ...

and if you find it difficult to Sing and strum ...whistle the tune.....or hum ......

cpmusic
05-22-2015, 07:52 PM
This struck a chord with me (pun intended) as I have struggled with this many times, most notably with frailing on 5-string banjo. It's an odd motion that felt completely foreign, and for a long time it seemed as though I'd never get it. But I kept at it and one day it was just there, feeling natural. I sold the banjo a long time ago and never got around to replacing it, but when I pick one up I can still frail.