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View Full Version : Is it just me? Or does everyone have to deal with the critics?



JCryan
06-27-2015, 07:29 AM
I'll be the first to admit that I rarely conform to "the norm".

I've been playing for a little over a year and I love to play.


I'm a lefty that plays right-handed ukuleles upside down (to allow for me to play other ukuleles should I encounter them).
I prefer to strum using cut-out cardboard picks of my own design (which result in a washboard sound effect when strumming).
I don't know how to read music and am okay with that.
I don't make an effort to learn how to play existing songs, but rather use them as inspiration for the creation of my own songs.
I cannot tune my ukulele without the use of a phone app (even though I can tell when it is out of tune).
I don't really even have a desire to become a "talented" ukulele player, because I play simply because I enjoy playing.


Here is a quick clip of me playing one of my songs to give you a better understanding of my abilities (or lack thereof). lol


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTeNfzz2Mi4

I don't know anyone else that plays the ukulele, but my brother and his kids play instruments (primarily guitar and bass). Whenever they (and even strangers) see me with my ukulele, they ask me to play a song (which I gladly do).

Yet, once I play one of my songs, they begin asking me to play a "real song" (something they know).

Then the criticisms begin...

"Maybe if you strung your ukulele for a lefty, you'd be able to improve your skills."

"All your songs sound the same!"

"Why don't you learn to strum with your fingers like a real ukulele player?"

Although I don't let it get to me, I'm almost at the point in which I just want to hide when playing to a avoid the critics.

Am I the only one that deals with this?

chuck in ny
06-27-2015, 07:54 AM
how many people are real originals. sounds a lot like music to me.
don't let the dung eaters get you down.

SnakeOilWilly
06-27-2015, 08:10 AM
Well they do say that everyone's a critic.

But what I want to know is how you make picks out of cardboard...

Icelander53
06-27-2015, 08:36 AM
Yes you are the only one who deals with that.

DownUpDave
06-27-2015, 08:37 AM
There is a bit of truth in all ukulele songs sounding the same. Ralph Shaw made a great point about this and addressed it in a workshop. You learn to play your first song and by the time you have learned to play your fifth song you notice they all sound the same. He was teaching a strumming workshop and we played with the same song with VERY different strum patterns and tempos, made a huge difference. Just some food for thought.

Everybody is a critic and if you march to the beat of your own drum they will zero in on you. I think your sample sounded great, very musical and engaging. Don't let the bastards get to you. Old British POW saying

Brad Bordessa
06-27-2015, 08:38 AM
Haters gonna hate.

Fleacia
06-27-2015, 08:44 AM
I tell people, "I play original songs." After several years they finally realize, hey, unless they usually listen to my songs, I'm going to play something they've never heard before! :D They sometimes still ask for songs they know (never had them called "real songs"), but that's mostly kids who live in their own tiny world anyway.

Bob-in-Alberta
06-27-2015, 08:47 AM
I like your playing. If you like it as well and enjoy yourself then continue doing what you're doing. Some people just like to criticize.

Fleacia
06-27-2015, 08:50 AM
Went and listened to your video, I like it, especially the first part with melody! Very musical indeed, and I like the sound with the picks. I too would like to know how you make them! I don't usually use a pick but would try one of those. :)

JCryan
06-27-2015, 08:50 AM
Yes you are the only one who deals with that.

I knew it!

I figured every state other than New Jersey was full of supportive ukulele enthusiasts. lol

JCryan
06-27-2015, 08:53 AM
played with the same song with VERY different strum patterns and tempos, made a huge difference. Just some food for thought.

That is excellent advice and something i've recently been focusing on. ;-)

Ukejenny
06-27-2015, 08:58 AM
The cardboard pick gives it a little bit of a percussive sound. There's always someone out there ready to tell you what you are doing wrong...

Do what you like.

I usually have one person complain after each and every ukulele jam we have. It is the same person. Some people just can't have fun.

mikelz777
06-27-2015, 09:24 AM
I always go off and play to myself in an empty room so I'm my only critic. I've played with my daughters in the room and their attitude is basically, "Whatever". I get no praise or criticism, they just tolerate it. One of them sang with me once when I played a Justin Bieber song for her.

I listened to your video and you're doing all right. You're already up on me by picking out a melody, something I haven't ventured to try and teach myself yet and I've been playing longer. I don't know how you play upside down like that. I don't think my brain would work that way. I don't get the pick thing but if it floats your boat... I can't read music either and will never learn. I haven't bothered to memorize songs so I'm chord sheet dependent. I'm pretty sure songs of my own making (if I were able to do it) would probably be pretty lame so I only play existing songs. I think most of what I play/sing is pleasant but most songs are not what you'd call "crowd pleasers" or sing along type of songs. My playing is pretty much just accompaniment and not anything that would be interesting to hear on it's own. Like you, I'm just having fun strumming and singing though eventually I'd like to learn some finger picking. I don't aspire to be a "talented" player and don't know that I could be even if I tried. I'm just having fun.

JCryan
06-27-2015, 09:25 AM
But what I want to know is how you make picks out of cardboard...

Nothing special, just cardboard picks cut-out from six-pack holders. lol

http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l105/Cease2Exist/20150627_145701.jpg

---Back Story---

I began using a pick after becoming frustrated when my finger kept catching my strings on the up-strum.

Unfortunately, standard plastic picks seemed too small and would eventually slip-out of my fingers while strumming. I then began applying strips of grip-tape to them to prevent slipping (grip tape is basically sandpaper with a sticky back that is applied to the top of skateboards). Although this prevented the slipping, it made my finger tips gritty.

So I resorted to cutting-out cardboard picks, thinking that the cardboard would provide a better surface grip due to the oils in my finger tips. Another benefit to making my own pick was that I could make them larger than standard picks to provide a larger surface area to grip.

I started with thicker cardboard to prevent bending, but eventually found that thinner cardboard allowed for an easier up-strum due to the flex (less resistance).

I've since experimented with a large variety of thicknesses, and eventually found that the most favorable thickness for my picks was that found in the holders for six-packs of beer. Win-win! ;)

JCryan
06-27-2015, 09:32 AM
Like you, I'm just having fun strumming and singing though eventually I'd like to learn some finger picking.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to sing while playing. lol

If I sing, I have to focus on the lyrics, but then I'm unable to play the ukulele. I suppose it is like an individual that can play piano with both hands, just not simultaneously.

Steveperrywriter
06-27-2015, 09:47 AM
If you are just playing to please yourself, then no problem -- whatever you do that you like? Go for it. If you are looking for approbation from others, you have to deal with their likes and dislikes, and you have to decide how much time and energy you want to spend getting that. On some level, that must matter to you, since you posted a video and asked for input regarding how you do things, and this is a pretty good group of folks when it comes to being supportive in ukery. Because somebody doesn't like how you play only means something if you care what they think. (And just because they don't like it doesn't make them "haters;" people are allowed to have and voice their preferences, yea or nay. Not everybody likes the same things, and as long as they aren't being obnoxious about how they say it, it's valid.)

If you take the less-traveled path, playing only originals, you are apt to get more blank stares. They are plenty of people who like to hear stuff they have heard before. How many folks love a band at one point in their career, but get less interested in their new stuff decades later? Or when the band breaks up, they don't particularly care for the individual albums?

Part of the deal when you put yourself out there in public, whatever the venue or activity, is that you probably ought to be prepared for both negative and positive responses. And there is a risk: One of the first things you learn as a writer or performer is, don't ask how they liked it if you aren't prepared to hear the answer. Because some folks will tell you what they think and it won't always be resounding approval. Many of the posters here are kind, especially to newbies. They want to encourage them to continue on, to get better, to grow. Not all of 'em are.

I think on some level, most of us want approval, most of the time. If you are going to step into the limelight, no matter how bright or dim, developing a thicker skin other than on your fingertips isn't a bad idea ...

Rllink
06-27-2015, 09:58 AM
If you are just playing to please yourself, then no problem -- whatever you do that you like? Go for it. If you are looking for approbation from others, you have to deal with their likes and dislikes, and you have to decide how much time and energy you want to spend getting that. On some level, that must matter to you, since you posted a video and asked for input regarding how you do things, and this is a pretty good group of folks when it comes to being supportive in ukery. Because somebody doesn't like how you play only means something if you care what they think. (And just because they don't like it doesn't make them "haters;" people are allowed to have and voice their preferences, yea or nay. Not everybody likes the same things, and as long as they aren't being obnoxious about how they say it, it's valid.)

If you take the less-traveled path, playing only originals, you are apt to get more blank stares. They are plenty of people who like to hear stuff they have heard before. How many folks love a band at one point in their career, but get less interested in their new stuff decades later? Or when the band breaks up, they don't particularly care for the individual albums?

Part of the deal when you put yourself out there in public, whatever the venue or activity, is that you probably ought to be prepared for both negative and positive responses. And there is a risk: One of the first things you learn as a writer or performer is, don't ask how they liked it if you aren't prepared to hear the answer. Because some folks will tell you what they think and it won't always be resounding approval. Many of the posters here are kind, especially to newbies. They want to encourage them to continue on, to get better, to grow. Not all of 'em are.

I think on some level, most of us want approval, most of the time. If you are going to step into the limelight, no matter how bright or dim, developing a thicker skin other than on your fingertips isn't a bad idea ...
Well stated Steve.

JCryan
06-27-2015, 10:13 AM
How many folks love a band at one point in their career, but get less interested in their new stuff decades later? Or when the band breaks up, they don't particularly care for the individual albums

That is an excellent analogy and one in which I myself am guilty.

I suppose it goes both ways...

While growing-up with a brother, who could practically play anything on a guitar, I have never heard him play anything original.

I've always found that to be quite peculiar, but simply figured "that's not his thing".

WhenDogsSing
06-27-2015, 10:31 AM
Are you aware that Jimi Hendrix played a right hand guitar upside down just as you are with your ukulele...!!!??? I liked your playing. Keep at it and as time goes by, you'll more than likely develop a pretty good repertoire.

Steveperrywriter
06-27-2015, 10:32 AM
To explore this a little more: This all depends on what you want to do with your music. If you are happy doing what you are doing? Thatís what matters the most. Canít please everyone, Ricky said, might as well please yourself Ö

If you are looking for approval, you might get that. And part of that process means you have to consider your audience and what they like or donít like. If you sing a song or tell a story and nobody wants to hear it, then you arenít communicating very well, and for me, part of music or writing or acting or art in most forms is getting people to react to what you did, and in a way that you want.

If you want them to smile, and they do? If you want them to cry, and they do? Even if you want them to be revolted and grossed out and they are? Then you did it right.

If you want them to cry, but they laugh, or you want them to laugh and they are instead revolted? Maybe not such a good job Ö

If you want an audience to sing along, they need to know the words and tune. If you want them to sit there quietly, and listen respectfully, then you have to provide something that causes them to do that. A newbie playing original material is going to have a harder time doing that unless s/he has something special, and even then, it is apt to be less popular than playing something they already know and like.

Certainly it is possible to get there: All covers come from somebodyís original material. The more folks who cover it, the farther it reaches.

Paul McCartney could have retired and lived comfortably on the royalties from ďYesterdayĒ alone, if he had wanted. Most covered rock song ever, I think.

Take a couple of pretty good uke players, pick any two. Letís say, Jake and Corey. They play covers and originals, and their audiences tend to like both kinds of material, but if you go to YouTube and look at their vids, which ones draw the most watchers/listeners?

Itís a rhetorical question: The well-known covers get far more views Ö

So a big part of how you play and perform is going to be based on what you want to accomplish. And it might be that covers just arenít your thing.

Me, I like sitting in the local pub and leading a blues tune at an open acoustic jam. I canít do jazz, (you know, using the adult chords and timing), but I can manage blues or rock or country most of the time.

I do love that group energy. To get that, I have to know songs they are apt to know, or can at least fake, and I need to be able to communicate basic patterns and timing. ďThis is 1-4-5 blues pattern in A, fast change from the A to D, turnaround like this ÖĒ If I canít tell them that, I canít lead the song.

A lot of places, if you say ďSlow blues in A,Ē people know what you are talking about.

Iíve written some original material, and try to play things that are more musically complex than three-chord rock, but it is harder to do in a jam unless it is real simple. Those I practice elsewhere.

mikelz777
06-27-2015, 10:47 AM
Unfortunately, I'm unable to sing while playing. lol

If I sing, I have to focus on the lyrics, but then I'm unable to play the ukulele. I suppose it is like an individual that can play piano with both hands, just not simultaneously.

It's funny how the brain works. You don't seem to have any problems playing upside down but can't sing and play at the same time. If I had the capacity to play left handed, I'd have to re-string the uke.

kypfer
06-27-2015, 12:36 PM
As with the reference to Jimi Hendrix, I knew a guitar player that played "upside down". He could manage riffs that no-one else (in our group of friends) could manage simply by virtue of having fingers in places where the rest of us had just one thumb!!

Your tune sounds nice. I may not want to play it, but I'm quite happy to listen to it :)

Don't be put off by the gain-sayers ... a lot of them are probably only jealous anyway ;)

WKerrigan
06-27-2015, 12:52 PM
You sound great. You're having fun. It's your critics that have a problem, not you. Ignore them.

Hippie Dribble
06-27-2015, 01:09 PM
You sound great. You're having fun. It's your critics that have a problem, not you. Ignore them.
Yep. This exactly. My wife was never a fan of my ukulele playing. She's my ex-wife now. :p

Camsuke
06-27-2015, 01:24 PM
Ignore the negative garbage! You play very well.

Hippie Dribble
06-27-2015, 01:37 PM
Yet, once I play one of my songs, they begin asking me to play a "real song" (something they know).

Then the criticisms begin...

"Maybe if you strung your ukulele for a lefty, you'd be able to improve your skills."

"All your songs sound the same!"

"Why don't you learn to strum with your fingers like a real ukulele player?"

Although I don't let it get to me, I'm almost at the point in which I just want to hide when playing to a avoid the critics.

Am I the only one that deals with this?
I just watched and listened to your clip JC.

For what it's worth, I think it's great that you have developed your own style. I'm not one for conforming either and neither have I the opportunity to play with anybody else, so similarly, I sorta taught myself in a bubble. But it's a great way to do it in a sense because there's no pressure to "play it like this or that"...you're kinda carving out your own road and that's gotta be a good thing on a number of levels.

Just on the "play a real song" thing. Yeah, know what you mean there. I used to play mainly originals in pubs and folks would always want you to play one of the classic rock tunes or the latest hit of the day. I was always reluctant to do it and resented it a little. But in the end, and, as a suggestion, it's perhaps worth learning a couple of songs like that for your repertoire, as it will be another way into your music for your listeners and - if nothing but in their eyes - place the uke in context and give it some "credibility".

Keep doing what you're doing mate.

JCryan
06-27-2015, 02:04 PM
But in the end, and, as a suggestion, it's perhaps worth learning a couple of songs like that for your repertoire, as it will be another way into your music for your listeners and - if nothing but in their eyes - place the uke in context and give it some "credibility".

I did just that several months back just to prove to people that I could do it. I can now play the beginning of "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin) and "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton.

Just the other day, I came across a YouTube tutorial (for a song called "Summertime") which I believe was posted by a UU member. I hope to add that to my repertoire next. ;)

Wicked
06-27-2015, 02:25 PM
Two words: Richie. Havens.

You do you, amigo.

PhilUSAFRet
06-27-2015, 03:18 PM
There is a bit of truth in all ukulele songs sounding the same. Ralph Shaw made a great point about this and addressed it in a workshop. You learn to play your first song and by the time you have learned to play your fifth song you notice they all sound the same. He was teaching a strumming workshop and we played with the same song with VERY different strum patterns and tempos, made a huge difference. Just some food for thought.

Everybody is a critic and if you march to the beat of your own drum they will zero in on you. I think your sample sounded great, very musical and engaging. Don't let the bastards get to you. Old British POW saying

Lil' Rev is big about this too.

k0k0peli
06-27-2015, 03:53 PM
There is a bit of truth in all ukulele songs sounding the same. Ways around that:

* develop a varied repertoire that extends beyond one or two easy keys and patterns
* adopt different styles -- mix-up strumming, clawhammer, 3-finger picking, soft flatpicking, etc
* switch between different ukes -- my goal is a 3-neck franken-uke strung CEAD, gCEg, and GDAE
* take breaks to play tinwhistle, harmonica, ocarina, mouth bow, kalimba, kazumpet, whatever
* or just feed your audience enough drugs that they don't notice the sameness

And really concentrate on singing whilst playing, even if the playing suffers. Most audiences (especially relatives) could care less about fancy fingerwork. Sing something they know or think they know. Doesn't have to be singalongs, but familiarity is comfortable.

JCryan
06-27-2015, 04:46 PM
They are all excellent suggestions, but if I invested that much effort into my playing simply to please others, I'd likely despise playing.

If Bob Ross didn't keep painting those "happy little trees", he wouldn't have been true to himself. I think I'll stick with my "happy little tunes".

Maybe I'll eventually begin posting ukulele tutorials on YouTube for those like me that choose to play their right-handed ukuleles up-side-down. ;)

uke-garou
06-27-2015, 07:37 PM
I think it is great that you do your own thing.
You can become an eccentric and have some confusing or comical comebacks ready for critics.

(Before they can say anything) "Silence, go and absorb my greatness."
(If you don't feel like performing) "I want to play alone."
Comebacks:
"My strumming is way ahead of your time."
"It takes an evolved person to understand my music."
"Quiet, I am channeling Tiny Tim."

Of course, that is the kinds of stuff I do to pick on people, but not in a mean fashion. All in good fun.

kohanmike
06-27-2015, 09:16 PM
A few months ago my cousin made one of his regular visits from Toronto and he, my twin brother and my sister-in-law came up to my place (they live two floors below me). As we were sitting around, my cousin asked me to play my ukulele for them, so I got out one and knowing my sister-in-law loved Iz's version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I started to do it, when suddenly my cousin and sister-in-law looked at each other and burst out laughing. I know I don't have much of a voice, but I have to say, that really hurt my feelings. I immediately stopped, put away the uke and vowed to myself that I would never play for them again, and I never have.

I have to say, the members of the group I'm with don't ever have anything negative to say about my poor voice or when I hit clams on my bass or uke. It's a pleasure to play with them.

Tootler
06-28-2015, 12:00 AM
Families are often your worst critics. If they don't like what you do, they say so and usually bluntly. Of course they hear you at your worst when you're trying to play something new and making mistakes all over the place, stopping and starting and playing the same thing over and over until you get it right. I never play in front of my family, it's not worth it. If I get out an instrument, all I usually get is groans.

I belong to a History group and I was doing an item about Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition to find the North West Passage. I thought I would start it by singing Lady Franklin's Lament as the song encapsulates the story of the expedition very neatly. When I got out my ukulele, my wife's eybrows shot up and the inward groans were obvious. It actually went down very well with the rest of the group and made a good introduction to the rest of the presentation.

As to choosing what to play. My primary purpose in taking up ukulele was to accompany my singing. The songs I sing are songs I like but I do sing in public so choosing what to sing does involve considering what might be well received and it's always worth having a few "crowd pleasers" under your belt but I don't think anyone would advocate singing something you don't really like. You might have to do it if you had an audition or were taking an exam but singing in public for pleasure, you should please yourself. Mix your material, yes. Include stuff that may be less popular and mix it with stuff that you know will go down well. If you write your own songs mix old and new - you have to test out new songs but mix them in with better known songs. Same principles apply if you play mainly instrumental material.

JCryan
06-28-2015, 01:44 AM
When I got out my ukulele, my wife's eybrows shot up and the inward groans were obvious.

Hahaha!

I'm quite familiar with that reaction.

DownUpDave
06-28-2015, 02:25 AM
Hahaha!

I'm quite familiar with that reaction.

This has been a well received and contributed to thread, thanks.

Giving this topic more thought has brought me to see that if you are going to play in public or just for other listeners it had better be something they are familiar with and hopefully like. A gigging musician or comedian would not knowly perform material that experience shows is not well received. Get a repetoire of 3-4 popular, well known songs. Play them that stuff and keep your personal music to either the end or just to yourself for your own enjoyment.

Or develop really thick skin. I think it's great you play your own stuff and your own style

Icelander53
06-28-2015, 02:58 AM
It's really a shame that most people are so insecure that they avoid anything that isn't sanctioned by the media. If I hear a street musician I want to hear original music. Most songs are best done by the band that made them popular.

Mivo
06-28-2015, 04:44 AM
I'm in the "I play for myself" camp. Playing and learning the ukulele is something I strictly do for myself, as a meditative, creative activity, and I try not to let any competitive or comparative aspects taint it for me. If people happen to hear me and they like it, that's cool -- always fun to make people smile or enjoy something. If they don't, c'est la vie. I don't play for them.

Tootler
06-28-2015, 06:08 AM
...Get a repetoire of 3-4 popular, well known songs. Play them that stuff and keep your personal music to either the end or just to yourself for your own enjoyment.

Or develop really thick skin. I think it's great you play your own stuff and your own style

The general advice is to start and end with the well known material and play the new stuff in the middle. You need to mix the popular and the less well known. A well established performer can get away with a set of all new material but most of us have to mix it.


...Most songs are best done by the band that made them popular.

Not necessarily true. We used to say of Bob Dylan back in the 60s that his songs were great but generally better when sung by others. the problem is that people often get upset if someone does something different with a song rather than accepting that everyone is entitled to interpret the song in their own way and to listen with an open mind. Often a different arrangement of the song is refreshing to hear simply because it is different.

The important thing is to make the song your own. Don't try to slavishly copy the original, give it something that makes it different and yours. Good example: Iz's version of Over The Rainbow is completely different from Judy Garland's original and both are good.

kohanmike
06-28-2015, 06:22 AM
...when you're trying to play something new and making mistakes all over the place, stopping and starting and playing the same thing over and over until you get it right...

I actually know "Rainbow" well and was doing a good job with it, despite my voice, that's what bothered me so much.

Rllink
06-28-2015, 07:35 AM
I find this thread interesting. I've noticed that people have different motivations. It seems a lot of people just want it to be a private experience. Something they do in the privacy of their own home. Something for their own private enjoyment. Others want to entertain in some way, some want to strum and sing, others try to dazzle the audience with their fingerstyle powerless, their mastery of the fretboard, or a combination of both. It often times are the non singers who are into that dazzler thing it seems to me. It is just an interesting study. There are just so many approaches to it.

Back in the day, when my kids were just little, talking early eighties here, we had this friend who played the guitar. A bunch of us would get together in his back yard, let the kids all play, build a fire, drink a little wine, roast hotdogs, and sing folksongs. It was a time of innocence for me. We were so young, and we had our whole life ahead of us. It is a time that was lost when our careers took over, and when our kids got old enough to set our agendas. And so it was.

A few years ago, my wife and I met some young people who reminded us so much of ourselves back then. They got together, they sang, one played the guitar, another kept time with some wooden sticks. They invited us to join them, and we brought the wine. A seed was planted. I was inspired, and I ended up playing the ukulele. We have found a whole lot of like minded people, young and old, who want to get together, relax, play music and sing. For me, it is about sharing the music. It is about everyone's voice. And when it is about everyone's voice, it has to be about something everyone knows, and what everyone wants to hear. I like to do some fingerstyle once in a while, and dazzle everyone who is not used to seeing that kind of thing, I like making up my own stuff, but if I really want to impress people, I ask them what they want to hear. To me, it is all about being able to pulling it off, whatever it is. I want to give people what they want, not what I want. My gift is to give them that, and I work very hard with my ukulele to that end. And by the way, in answer to the question, I don't get a lot of criticism. Well, except for my wife, who knows a lot more about music than I do, and her criticism is without exception, constructive in nature. She makes me a better ukulele player.

Nickie
06-28-2015, 03:00 PM
I used to have a lot of parties, I played for my guests and invited them to sing or play along. Once, one of them insulted my playing. I never invited her again. 'Nuff said.
IMHO, the only rule to ukulele is E-N-J-O-Y it.
Keep doin your own thing!

Mxyzptik
06-28-2015, 03:32 PM
It goes and comes with me. I do love to entertain and while only having played for about 4 years I am not shy about playing in public. I play in my backyard for the neighbours to hear, so far no one has run and started their lawnmower. My wife's family are difficult to play for, it doesn't seem like they are music lovers, they prefer to talk, perhaps it's the size of her family there were 14 children in 19 years and not one musician.

I am the Mayor of my hometown and take my ukulele to the seniors lodges to entertain them and talk about the issues that they find important ....transportation....healthcare etc. I am used to playing for old folks, growing up my Mom was the head nurse of the Nursing home and forced me to practice my piano lessons there.

Two weeks ago I Was playing and singing at the palliative care unit, now these folks have gone through everything and find no need to mince words. I opened with Everybody's talkin' from Midnight cowboy. When I finished the old gal in the front row said " well you whistle better than you sing " . I thought the nurse who wheeled them all in was going to have a cow but I just smiled and said well I'll whistle another for you in a bit. Later she said she really like my Kristopherson tune and when I left asked me to learn and song for her and come back.

I think we all seek approval in some fashion, entering politics has taught me that you must prepare to accept rejection hen it comes. I have worked very hard at my playing and my singing and am getting some very positive feedback but what to do about the critics ?

Practice is what I do.

JCryan
06-28-2015, 03:37 PM
IMHO, the only rule to ukulele is E-N-J-O-Y it. Keep doin your own thing!

Exactly my point... If people don't have anything nice to say, maybe they should say nothing.

I play when asked to play. It's not like I trap people and force them to listen. lol

If I'm at my son's soccer practice, I play. If I go out for a walk, I occasionally play. If I sit on my balcony, I play.

I just love to play. I'm not concerned with impressing anyone.

uke4ia
06-28-2015, 04:57 PM
There is a bit of truth in all ukulele songs sounding the same. Ralph Shaw made a great point about this and addressed it in a workshop. You learn to play your first song and by the time you have learned to play your fifth song you notice they all sound the same. He was teaching a strumming workshop and we played with the same song with VERY different strum patterns and tempos, made a huge difference. Just some food for thought.

I'll vouch for this. Back in the early '90s, I saw Shawn Colvin on solo acoustic guitar leading in for Richard Thompson. Although she had an album out at the time with a lot of good songs, playing live she strummed every song exactly the same and they all ended up sounding the same. Ever since, I go out of my way in the songs I write on uke to change up my strums and throw something different into every song so they won't sound alike.

Jon Moody
06-29-2015, 01:53 AM
Then the criticisms begin...

"Maybe if you strung your ukulele for a lefty, you'd be able to improve your skills."

"All your songs sound the same!"

"Why don't you learn to strum with your fingers like a real ukulele player?"

Although I don't let it get to me, I'm almost at the point in which I just want to hide when playing to a avoid the critics.

Am I the only one that deals with this?

I'm first and foremost a bass player, most regularly a six string electric. I hear all sorts of comments from people either trying to be clever, or honestly don't know they're being rude. At the end of the day, I'm doing my thing, my way. I really could care less if someone tries to criticize me for not playing a "real" bass, or that if I wanted six strings, I should just play guitar. I'm still the one on stage playing; they're not.

Rllink
06-29-2015, 04:17 AM
Some people like to pull other people down to their level. I know people who say disparaging things about what other people are doing, because those people are doing something they can't. That is how they cope with their lack of accomplishment, they minimalize what the other person is doing.

k0k0peli
06-29-2015, 05:35 AM
My late mother-in-law was a conservatory-trained trombonist, pianist, music teacher, choral director, and music executive. I'd listen to her suggestions about my playing and singing. Other folks without credentials, I don't bother with. They can criticize all they want. Opinions are like a$$holes, right? Everybody's got one. Smile and proceed.

Dan Uke
06-29-2015, 02:50 PM
Seems like most threads are for affirmation. I don't post videos of me playing to hear that I suck.

JCryan
07-01-2015, 01:43 AM
This is the first video I've ever posted of myself playing and I did so only to provide readers of this thread with content from which they can make a valid assessment of my abilities.

I understand that my choice to play a right-handed ukulele upside down (as a lefty) subjects me to challenges that a proper ukulele playing would not face (some chords are nearly impossible to play upside down).

With that being said, I relaize that I am not a skilled ukulele player, but I personally do not feel that my playing is unbearable.

DownUpDave
07-01-2015, 02:20 AM
This is the first video I've ever posted of myself playing and I did so only to provide readers of this thread with content from which they can make a valid assessment of my abilities.

I understand that my choice to play a right-handed ukulele upside down (as a lefty) subjects me to challenges that a proper ukulele playing would not face (some chords are nearly impossible to play upside down).

With that being said, I relaize that I am not a skilled ukulele player, but I personally do not feel that my playing is unbearable.


Your playing is fine, what you are doing is fine. We all seek approval, we are conditioned from childhood..........good boy, bad boy. Approval equalled not getting spanked and maybe an ice cream cone.

As adults we now have the choice to tell others to "bugger off" if they don't like what we are doing. You are making music, it is making you happy, keep doing what you are doing. Remember Jimmy Hendrix, dude waas very unorthodox..............maybe wear a headband:cool:

mikelz777
07-01-2015, 02:23 AM
Can you play as well/better/worse the conventional way with a uke strung for a lefty? Which way is easier?

k0k0peli
07-01-2015, 04:20 AM
Can you play as well/better/worse the conventional way with a uke strung for a lefty? Which way is easier? Easier, in general? IMHO 'standard' linear tunings on ANY instrument are a social convention. We learn to finger fretted instruments in a conventional way because most instrument makers build conventional axes. We could just as easily learn different tunings, different fingerings. If I'd been handed a lefty guitar when I was 14, I might have learned it that way.

I've recently strung soprano 'ukes for fifths tuning, both with a linear fifths set, and just by reversing (and retuning) standard strings. The Aquila Fifths set lets me play standard mando fingerings on the somewhat wider soprano fretboard; the stock re-entrant set, flipped and tuned a#-F-C-G, gives mando chords a very 'uke-ish sound but puts the notes in unfamiliar places -- fine for strumming, maddening for fingerpicking. If I tune it aECG, it's just a lefty 'uke, hey?

A mountain dulcimer is usually strung 'backwards' because of how it's played, with the one or two higher melody strings nearer the player than the lower drones. We get a very different effect by fretting the lower strings, singly or together, and letting the higher strings drone. There's a similar effect when playing a reverse-strung 'uke or guitar, or even a 6-string 'uke with the top course doubled in octaves. Now I must play bass lines with my index finger and melodies with my thumb. I must learn and master new techniques. After awhile, they get easy.

JCryan
07-01-2015, 05:08 AM
Can you play as well/better/worse the conventional way with a uke strung for a lefty? Which way is easier?

I've never played a string instrument prior to purchasing my first ukulele a little over a year ago, so playing a right-handed ukulele upside down is all I know. I have since re-strung at least a half dozen ukuleles, but never considered re-stringing one as a left-handed ukulele. When people approach me to hear me play, I do not reveal that I'm playing a right-handed ukulele upside down and rarely do people notice.

I don't feel that my method of playing hinders my abilities because I play for fun and I've accomplished that.

Rllink
07-01-2015, 05:17 AM
I've never played a string instrument prior to purchasing my first ukulele a little over a year ago, so playing a right-handed ukulele upside down is all I know. I have since re-strung at least a half dozen ukuleles, but never considered re-stringing one as a left-handed ukulele. When people approach me to hear me play, I do not reveal that I'm playing a right-handed ukulele upside down and rarely do people notice.

I don't feel that my method of playing hinders my abilities because I play for fun and I've accomplished that.I don't know why it would be a disadvantage to play it upside down and left handed. Like you, the ukulele is my first stringed instrument. I'm right handed. I had to learn how to fret a G, and you had to learn how to fret a G. Your G isn't upside down to you, mine is. So I think that you are doing just as well as anyone.

JCryan
07-01-2015, 05:34 AM
I don't know why it would be a disadvantage to play it upside down and left handed.

It just seems as though the fingering for some chords (such as the D7 chord) might be less challenging if I played the ukulele properly. To achieve the D7 chord, I must place my fingers as follows:

Index finger = String 2 - Fret 2
Middle finger = String 3 - Fret 2
Ring finger = String 4 - Fret 2
Pinky finger = String 1 Fret 3

As you can see, I have to loop my Pinky finger to String 1 (which is the top most string for me playing upside down) because I'm unable to place my index finger on fret 3 with the remaining fingers on fret 2.

There may be an alternate method of playing the D7, but I have yet to identify it.

JCryan
07-01-2015, 05:37 AM
Now that I think about it, I suppose I could Bar the 2nd Fret with my index finger and use my middle finger to play Fret 3 on String 1 with my middle finger. :p

Rllink
07-01-2015, 05:47 AM
It just seems as though the fingering for some chords (such as the D7 chord) might be less challenging if I played the ukulele properly. To achieve the D7 chord, I must place my fingers as follows:

Index finger = String 2 - Fret 2
Middle finger = String 3 - Fret 2
Ring finger = String 4 - Fret 2
Pinky finger = String 1 Fret 3

As you can see, I have to loop my Pinky finger to String 1 (which is the top most string for me playing upside down) because I'm unable to place my index finger on fret 3 with the remaining fingers on fret 2.

There may be an alternate method of playing the D7, but I have yet to identify it.Well, some chords are just harder than others, regardless. The thing is, chords are not governed by how easy they are to play, they are governed by the notes, and where they are on the fretboard. Also, right handed, or left handed, there are more than one way to play a cord. But I play the D7 2020 a lot of the time, and if I played it upside down, it would be an Em7 instead of a D7 for me, neither of which is difficult.

Rllink
07-01-2015, 06:01 AM
Now that I think about it, I suppose I could Bar the 2nd Fret with my index finger and use my middle finger to play Fret 3 on String 1 with my middle finger. :pScroll down to D7 and take a look at the "Smart Way".http://ukulelehunt.com/2014/10/08/no-hassle-chord-changes/

Also you can read about it here. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?32067-D7-Chord

Debussychopin
01-29-2017, 01:08 PM
I'll be the first to admit that I rarely conform to "the norm".

I've been playing for a little over a year and I love to play.


I'm a lefty that plays right-handed ukuleles upside down (to allow for me to play other ukuleles should I encounter them).
I prefer to strum using cut-out cardboard picks of my own design (which result in a washboard sound effect when strumming).
I don't know how to read music and am okay with that.
I don't make an effort to learn how to play existing songs, but rather use them as inspiration for the creation of my own songs.
I cannot tune my ukulele without the use of a phone app (even though I can tell when it is out of tune).
I don't really even have a desire to become a "talented" ukulele player, because I play simply because I enjoy playing.


Here is a quick clip of me playing one of my songs to give you a better understanding of my abilities (or lack thereof). lol


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTeNfzz2Mi4

I don't know anyone else that plays the ukulele, but my brother and his kids play instruments (primarily guitar and bass). Whenever they (and even strangers) see me with my ukulele, they ask me to play a song (which I gladly do).

Yet, once I play one of my songs, they begin asking me to play a "real song" (something they know).

Then the criticisms begin...

"Maybe if you strung your ukulele for a lefty, you'd be able to improve your skills."

"All your songs sound the same!"

"Why don't you learn to strum with your fingers like a real ukulele player?"

Although I don't let it get to me, I'm almost at the point in which I just want to hide when playing to a avoid the critics.

Am I the only one that deals with this?

Don't let them get you down.
Rather, you should feel a little sad for them if for any negative emotions,
Because they are not really commenting on you but more so they are making a commentary on their own character- of- lacking. Such as tact, sense, common sociability, the need to criticize probably bc of how much they have received it in their own endeavors..
Some just don't like it when they see others (you and me) enjoy what we do sitting there and can't leave us alone.

Debussychopin
01-29-2017, 03:34 PM
Some people like to pull other people down to their level. I know people who say disparaging things about what other people are doing, because those people are doing something they can't. That is how they cope with their lack of accomplishment, they minimalize what the other person is doing.

On the dot.

JackLuis
01-29-2017, 06:12 PM
For a year in to it, you are doing well. You're at the point where it sounds like music and the fun is just starting. I play Key ditty's, a strum pattern of my own construction in a 1-4-5-1-5-4-1- 6-4-1 pattern in various keys mostly D-C-A-G and occasionally the minor keys, just to listen to the sounds of the different keys and chords.

Is it music? It is to me and I don't care what others think. I do learn "Songs" and I am learning to sing because I like playing with others now that I can keep up with them. I've been playing almost two years now and have attempted maybe fifty songs, perhaps ten or twenty I can play well enough to be recognizable.
About a year ago I took my Ukes to a family gathering and tried to sing, my adult nephew laughed at me and hurt my feelings a bit. I don't hold that against him because at that point I didn't like my singing all that well either. I did feel like telling him to sing and play too and see how freaking hard it is to do. People who don't play don't know how hard you have to work to gain even a little skill. I still have trouble changing chords strumming, reading the lyrics and singing.

I've been lucky because my next door neighbor plays guitar and I got him hooked on Ukes. He and I play together once, twice a week or so and trade songs lead sheets. He teaches me "Cowboy" songs and I teach him more general music. He plays to accompany his singing and I play to hear the instrument sing mostly.

I still don't play anywhere near 'normal' but I like it, even if it is just D-G-A7-D-G-D-E7-A7-D on my G tuned ukes and the equivalent on my C tuned Concert and soprano.

The ukulele is for enjoying music I like playing Johnny Cash songs, they are mostly three chord songs and can get a little repetitive unless you sing the lyrics, but Willy Nelson songs are nice too, but he is a lot harder to cover as he is not normal either.

Jim Hanks
01-29-2017, 06:22 PM
Hey DC and Jack, last post in this thread was 18 months ago and OP hasn't been on the forum since then. Just sayin

Debussychopin
01-29-2017, 06:33 PM
Lol oops sorry. Don't know why I replied to this unless I was searching something

JackLuis
01-29-2017, 06:43 PM
Zombie threads are lurking everywhere. Beware the Zombies.

JCryan
01-29-2017, 11:22 PM
Hey DC and Jack, last post in this thread was 18 months ago and OP hasn't been on the forum since then. Just sayin

I'm still here, just too busy playing to post. 😉

Rllink
01-30-2017, 02:23 AM
Hey DC and Jack, last post in this thread was 18 months ago and OP hasn't been on the forum since then. Just sayin
JCryan, how is it going after all these months? I hope well. What has changed in that time? I would be interested to know.

These old threads that pop up are fun. I like seeing what I was saying a year and a half ago and compare it to what I am doing and saying now. As far as critics, I am fortunate to have grown up in a somewhat less than supportive family. Lets just say we were not sensitive to each other's feelings when I was a kid. Then four years in the Navy, and a career surrounded by meat eaters. Anyway, it has well prepared me for my current endeavors. I pretty much meet any mean spirited criticism with total disdain. I think that I am lucky sometimes in that way, and I'm serious when I say that.

JCryan
01-30-2017, 08:28 AM
JCryan, how is it going after all these months? I hope well. What has changed in that time? I would be interested to know.

Rllink,

I'm doing awesome... Thanks for asking! :D

I'd love to say that my playing has improved significantly, but I've continued-on with my unorthodox playing style and have been loving every minute of it. lol

I've taught myself a few well-known riffs (Stairway to Heaven, Wonderful Tonight, Winnie the Pooh, etc.) to allow for me to break the ice when playing in front of others, but for the most part, a majority of everything I play is original.

Life's too short to worry about what others think of you... When they see that you are enjoying life, more often than not, they'll want to get in on it. ;)

Jim Hanks
01-30-2017, 10:05 AM
I'm still here, just too busy playing to post. ��
Then I stand corrected, sir. :shaka:

Bill Sheehan
01-30-2017, 02:44 PM
Hey, JCryan, that's really a pretty tune. With some dynamics applied (relax it, lay it back, let it breathe, slow and easy, alternate between softer and louder, just let it flow along easily-- I could see you playing for the folks at your local coffee spot! I've been playing for 50 years now (initially ukulele, then over to guitar, and back to ukulele two years ago), and every week I discover something new, so don't worry, you're doing great! Just keep "doinkin' around with it" every chance you get, and the progress will definitely happen. By the way, I too am a lefty who just plays the standard-strung ukulele upside down.