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autojoy
07-14-2015, 12:42 AM
Hello! :) How are you all today?

I'm really enjoying playing our ukulele!! My background is that I started a few years ago, but hit a brick wall (not literally...) with my playing and stopped for a while. I picked up again about two weeks ago & I've been scouring the internet this time to help me out! I'm having WAY more fun!

Here is the routine(s) I am using at the moment to help me progress:

- Mike Lynch Finger Strengthening Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8

- Major Scales (so far got CMajor, C# & DMajor quite good and clean, will progress onwards!) liveukulele.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/Major-Scales.pdf

- Art of Arpeggios for Ukulele by Sam Muir (first four going quite well! Will progress onwards!) https://gumroad.com/l/artofarpeggios

- Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp (Key of C only so far, these are hard to transition smoothly and cleanly for me!) http://ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com/

- Started doing some suggested easy strumming rhythms, and I'm learning to chunk/chuck, which I am finding quite hard and keep accidentally playing the strings instead of muting them, haha.

How does this look to you...? Am I hitting the right bases as a beginner? Should I be adding anything else...? I am finding my little finger's reach isn't too bad but it likes to "flatten" itself out at the first knuckle - especially when using the g & C strings - instead of curving strongly around like the rest of my fingers? This will just come with practise, right...? :)

Thank you for reading and in advance for any suggestions offered! :o

Mivo
07-14-2015, 05:00 AM
Sounds like a great practice routine, Kate!

I hadn't heard of Art of Arpeggios for Ukulele by Samantha Muir yet, so thanks for pointing that out. How would you rate the difficulty? I had written to her about her other booklets, and she mentioned they were for intermediate and advanced players. Is this one on the same level?

My own routine is mostly a lack of routine. I'm trying to work through "Ukulele Aerobics", which I actually quite like, though I found that its difficulty increases unevenly, so it's probably best not to look at the daily exercises as, well, daily exercises, but as chunks of material to work through and proceed only when they have been learned thoroughly.

I also picked up "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Playing the Ukulele" recently, which is a rather complex book. Over 250 large format pages with a lot of content. Some of it I've outgrown already, but I like that it's a whole course from the same source, so it's also well structured and includes more unusual topics such as transposing and playing in groups. I feel that my learning is inefficient because it's so fractured (I do several of the same things you do also, like Mike's finger strengthening exercises), so perhaps a more focused approach may benefit me.

Learning songs you like might be useful, too, and then just pick up what you need in order to do them.

actadh
07-14-2015, 06:57 AM
I go through all five of the Uncle Rod practice sheets, but after each sheet, I do a Ukulele Mike warmup. Together, that takes 15-20 minutes and warms/loosens up my hands. Then, I take the toughest songs in my songbook - tough because of fingering, chord changes, tempo, need to stretch to reach etc. - and do them first for another 15-20 minutes.
Noodling around comes next on anything that has been running in my head.
Then, I work on two songs each week - one fingerpicked and one strummed with the goal of internalizing both by a weeks time. These could be ones for the Seasons here on UU with the goal of recording, or ones that I would feel comfortable by the end of the week with playing them in public.
I like to do at least one of Rob MacKillop's "20 Easy Fingerstyle Studies for Ukulele" at the end of each practice session. I like that book because he tells why it is done that way, as well as how to do it.

autojoy
07-15-2015, 06:38 AM
@Mivo I think the Sam Muir book is great! I was definitely able to manage the first few patterns, and I'm absolutely a beginner! There are ten patterns (to my memory) (EDIT: Memory is bad!! Haha, I checked and there's 20!) and they increase in difficulty. They are laid out real great, and there's a lovely forward... also Youtube videos! Here's the thread on the forum. (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?108694-Free-ebook-on-right-hand-technique)

I have not heard of Ukulele Aerobics, but that sounds exciting; I will look it up, along with the Complete Idiot's Guide. Thank you for those suggestions! :D I am playing a few songs, but I find a lot of chord changes very hard at the moment (unless it's something like C to F...)!

@actadh That sounds like a really great way to do things! I should remember to stretch myself... I like the idea of doing really hard stretchy stuff after the warm-up! I'll try and incorporate that! (Though pretty much everything is tough for me right now, haha!) I will look up the 20 Fingerstyles!! I like that you state that it explains why we should learn each bit... that should improve my confidence, too!! :)

AndyUke
07-18-2015, 02:14 PM
Thank you for posting your practise routine! :)

turtledrum
07-18-2015, 03:25 PM
Wow..do I feel like a slacker! Thanks for sharing your strategies; I think they'll give me some great ideas. Currently, I just pick up a uke and play. Often it's a song I know. Some days I do some playing from a Beloff book. Others times I work at remembering an old camp song from my guitar days. Most days, I like spending some time remembering a melody by ear. I find what I do lots of fun, but am open to challenging myself in new ways. Thank you!.

Rllink
07-19-2015, 04:21 AM
Wow..do I feel like a slacker! Thanks for sharing your strategies; I think they'll give me some great ideas. Currently, I just pick up a uke and play. Often it's a song I know. Some days I do some playing from a Beloff book. Others times I work at remembering an old camp song from my guitar days. Most days, I like spending some time remembering a melody by ear. I find what I do lots of fun, but am open to challenging myself in new ways. Thank you!.I never feel like a slacker. You described my "routine" pretty close. I have developed some routines though. I play almost every day around three. I generally have a homebrew, or maybe pour up a rum and coke to sip on while I'm going through my music, which has become part of the routine it seems. I do exercises, work on scales, study some music theory, and do all that stuff. I generally learn those with a particular purpose or song in mind, and not just for the sake of doing them. I know that there are people who feel that my randomness is not the most productive way to learn to play the uke, and I realize that, although I might argue the point if I had to defend myself, but for me, too much structure makes for a dull experience, and I know that if I dedicate too much time focusing on the process, at the expense of creativity, I will soon put my ukulele aside and find something more interesting to waste my time on. So balance, is my goal. Enough structure to keep me progressing at a slow but steady rate, and plenty of spontaneity to keep things alive and fun.

turtledrum
07-19-2015, 07:30 AM
I never feel like a slacker. You described my "routine" pretty close. I have developed some routines though. I play almost every day around three. I generally have a homebrew, or maybe pour up a rum and coke to sip on while I'm going through my music, which has become part of the routine it seems. I do exercises, work on scales, study some music theory, and do all that stuff. I generally learn those with a particular purpose or song in mind, and not just for the sake of doing them. I know that there are people who feel that my randomness is not the most productive way to learn to play the uke, and I realize that, although I might argue the point if I had to defend myself, but for me, too much structure makes for a dull experience, and I know that if I dedicate too much time focusing on the process, at the expense of creativity, I will soon put my ukulele aside and find something more interesting to waste my time on. So balance, is my goal. Enough structure to keep me progressing at a slow but steady rate, and plenty of spontaneity to keep things alive and fun.

You so made me smile! The spontaneity is very, very much the reason I love playing!

cpmusic
07-19-2015, 08:21 AM
Wow..do I feel like a slacker!
I feel like a slacker, too. But I'll get over it. :)


Currently, I just pick up a uke and play. Often it's a song I know. Some days I do some playing from a Beloff book. Others times I work at remembering an old camp song from my guitar days. Most days, I like spending some time remembering a melody by ear. I find what I do lots of fun, but am open to challenging myself in new ways. Thank you!.
This is pretty much my routine, if it can be called that. I don't know from books, though; I've always played guitar by ear, so I've carried that over to the ukulele, and can't seem to find the patience to learn tab or run scales. Heck, I still think of ukulele chords in terms of the guitar, even though I know they're not the same, pitch-wise.

I don't say any of this to brag. On the contrary, I have the greatest of respect for those who work at their instruments and actually progress. I've been playing guitar for some 50 years, and I'm a prime example of a perpetual intermediate.

turtledrum
07-19-2015, 09:08 AM
I feel like a slacker, too. But I'll get over it. :)


This is pretty much my routine, if it can be called that. I don't know from books, though; I've always played guitar by ear, so I've carried that over to the ukulele, and can't seem to find the patience to learn tab or run scales. Heck, I still think of ukulele chords in terms of the guitar, even though I know they're not the same, pitch-wise.

I don't say any of this to brag. On the contrary, I have the greatest of respect for those who work at their instruments and actually progress. I've been playing guitar for some 50 years, and I'm a prime example of a perpetual intermediate.

Add perpetual romantic to perpetual intermediate and you've got me to a T!:o

Purdy Bear
07-23-2015, 02:57 AM
Thanks for this great discussion. I'm having my very first lesson on Saturday, and I've just about managed to get the Uke in tune. The lesson is just to give me the very basics, and then the teachers off for 6 weeks so it gives me plenty of time to progress.

The links were brilliant for me, I'd found two already but not the others. I knew about the importance of scales and arpeggios from playing the flute quite a few years ago.

It's going to be great seeing how I get on.


Ps I've just found this little printable pdf with a lot of arpeggios - they call it the Jumping flea arpeggiator:

http://mammothgardens.com/arpeggiator/pdf/JumpingFleaArpeggiator1stEdition.pdf