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philrab66
10-04-2015, 09:52 AM
Hi all
After a bit of advise again. I have stuck around the first 3-4 frets for a while. I am trying to be a bit more adventurous but it is hard work. Could you share with me please how you learn a new song and say for instance there is a part where it takes forever to get your fingers in position. This is where I normally give up and try to find another song that I can actually play straight through but it is time to knuckle down. I think I have worked out that if you do not know in your head what you are going to play when reading the music your going to be playing slowly.
how do other people tackle this.
Thanks Phil.

Gary52
10-04-2015, 10:31 AM
If you find a particular chord change to be difficult, practice that chord change. Start out very slowly, speed up as the muscle memory develops. Also, try to form the chord all at one time, not finger-by-finger.

Don't play through a new song making the same mistakes over and over, you'll only train yourself to make those mistakes. Work on the difficult parts until they aren't tripping you up anymore.

Play the song only as fast as you can play the most difficult part.

deschutestrout
10-04-2015, 10:31 AM
If a song I'm working on, particularly a tab, has a more "difficult" part. I slow everything WAY down. I work to play it smoothly, as slow as needed ... once I can play it clean at a very slow speed, I ever-so gradually speed things up. Hope this helps!

Rllink
10-04-2015, 10:41 AM
I agree with the other two. Slowly work into it. Take the parts that are tripping you up, and work on them alone, work on the parts, then put them together. But I might add, be stubborn. When I hit a rough spot in the road, I just get determined. If your attitude is that you are just going to give up if it is hard, then you will be giving up a lot, because as you progress, things get harder. That is just the way it is. The easy stuff is behind you, no matter where you are at. That's all I have to say.

philrab66
10-04-2015, 10:42 AM
If you find a particular chord change to be difficult, practice that chord change. Start out very slowly, speed up as the muscle memory develops. Also, try to form the chord all at one time, not finger-by-finger.

Don't play through a new song making the same mistakes over and over, you'll only train yourself to make those mistakes. Work on the difficult parts until they aren't tripping you up anymore.

Play the song only as fast as you can play the most difficult part.

Thanks Gary and Desch
I do the slow down part but I just want to be able to play it fluently. I have been playing a long time and every time I try to learn something different it feels like I have just started all over again. I do only fingerpick which makes the changes even harder. I can play the first 3-4 frets without looking but when I go further up I just feel like a fish out of water. I just keep going over the hard parts but not getting very far with it. As you say just repeating mistakes. So should I just keep on the hard parts really slowly switching from one phrase to the next and keep going over them. Then do you go and play something else and come back to it.
Thanks Phil.

Mivo
10-04-2015, 10:43 AM
Speed is a result of precision, as a musician recently told me. In other words, yes, you have to play it at a pace that allows you to play accurately (which in my case can mean: painfully slow), and then increase the tempo while minding accuracy (if you play fast and sloppy, you practice playing fast and sloppily, he told me).

If you have too much trouble with a song, the song may also be too difficult for the time being. Apparently, we learn best when we practice things that are just a little outside of our comfort zone, but not so difficult that we get frustrated or annoyed.

philrab66
10-04-2015, 10:44 AM
I agree with the other two. Slowly work into it. Take the parts that are tripping you up, and work on them alone, work on the parts, then put them together. But I might add, be stubborn. If your attitude is that you are just going to give up if it is hard, then you will be giving up a lot, because as you progress, things get harder. The easy stuff is behind you, no matter where you are at. Be determined. That's all I have to say.

Thanks Rllink that is my drawback but I have stuck at it longer than anything else so I do have the determination there somewhere.

Gary52
10-04-2015, 02:40 PM
Thanks Gary and Desch
I do the slow down part but I just want to be able to play it fluently. I have been playing a long time and every time I try to learn something different it feels like I have just started all over again. I do only fingerpick which makes the changes even harder. I can play the first 3-4 frets without looking but when I go further up I just feel like a fish out of water. I just keep going over the hard parts but not getting very far with it. As you say just repeating mistakes. So should I just keep on the hard parts really slowly switching from one phrase to the next and keep going over them. Then do you go and play something else and come back to it.
Thanks Phil.

I've been playing about 4 years and mostly fingerpick. Each new song is a new challenge. I start playing a new song very slowly, and work on a small part of it (e.g., the first line) until I can play it (slowly) with some competence. Then I add another section or line, building up until I can play through the whole song (but still slowly). Then I start working on increasing the speed, and practicing the short bits where I stumble. It can take me months to learn to play a new song at a speed and skill level that I'm happy with.

As for playing up the neck, it requires practice and a willingness to listen to yourself playing wrong notes over and over until you learn to feel where those frets are.

So spend some time on a new song or two, practicing systematically, then have fun playing the tunes you're fluent with.

johnson430
10-04-2015, 04:28 PM
I read something recently in an article entitled: Failure is the Worst Way to Fail.

In the article they talk about success in anything, here is the key.
Repetition+Slow=Genius

On playing slow-
Meadowmount Music School, where Yo Yo Ma and other greats studied music, has a technique:
"The students were encouraged to play each note
so slowly that it would be impossible for a passing
stranger to guess what piece they were playing."


Here is the article in full:
http://www.thealtucherreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/JAR-2015-10-v2.pdf

spookelele
10-05-2015, 01:44 AM
muscle memory just takes time, and practice.
Usually awkward is a better description than difficult.
Like.. when you're a kid learning to write your name in cursive. At first it's "difficult" but soon you do it without thinking.

Sometimes with some chords there's little tricks to work out, like is there a different way to finger this so that moving in or on to the next thing is easier. Or, is an inversion that's farther but simpler to finger still going to sound like what you want. But like.. if you're learning a tab that someone's already figured out, it's usually muscle memory you just don't have yet, but you will.

Alot of times, there's no short cut, just practice, and in the end that's all you really needed anyway.

Mivo
10-05-2015, 03:30 AM
Here is the article in full:
http://www.thealtucherreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/JAR-2015-10-v2.pdf

Interesting read, thanks for posting this!

It seems the author recommends both "slow and deliberate" and "fast and sloppy" as equal ways of improving, for different reasons. The examples for chess, math, and other activities where you can and should look up the right answer clash directly with the accepted Asian ways of learning, at least as far as the "looking up the right answer" is concerned -- the rest is the same. Korean schools for Go (board game) produce their world class professional players by having students go through large numbers of Go problems (like chess puzzles), but don't permit students to look up the solution. If a pupil can't solve it within a short period of time, the puzzle is too difficult and should be skipped (and that if the solution is looked up, the puzzle becomes useless).

Well, what to take from all of this is that most roads lead to Rome, as long as there's a challenge of any kind involved. The only thing that doesn't seem to lead to improvement is doing stuff that we are already good at and that we get 100% right all the time. (Though I'd argue that in case of ukulele playing even playing the same songs over and over improves finger strength, which will assist with challenging goals.)

Rllink
10-05-2015, 04:27 AM
Alot of times, there's no short cut, just practice, and in the end that's all you really needed anyway.I agree with this statement. I think a lot of time, energy, and money is spent trying to get around the hard stuff. People will go to great lengths to avoid the effort of working through it, and frankly, when things start getting hard, there is no "easy" on the other side. It just gets harder. And honestly, the value is in the struggle. Things that come hard are worth more than things that come easy. To get a little philosophical, everything in my life that is worth while, came hard. Just saying, the ukulele is no different. Sometimes, it is just hard, and there isn't anything you can do about it, except work through it.

DownUpDave
10-05-2015, 07:52 AM
Everybody has hit on slow and deliberate and I agree 100% with this.

Another way to go about it comes straight from Uncle Rod's Bootcamp. Write out a chord sheet of all the chords in the song and play them non-tempo. Just continue to go through those progresses as slow as needed, hard parts are slower and get more repetitions.

When you can play through it cleanly you can speed it up and play in tempo. This might be done gradually and in steps

Ukejenny
10-05-2015, 11:50 AM
The types of songs that have taken me beyond the first three frets are cool riffs in songs, jazzy stuff, and finger picking tunes that go on up the neck.

Slow and focused is the way to go. Studies done on piano majors show that the players who slowed down, and even stopped to concentrate on a new selection of music did better, retained quicker, and improved at an advanced rate over those who slopped through the excerpt and didn't stop to get it right. If you make a mistake three times, your brain is now hot wired to do it "that way". It is much better to stop, get it right (even if it is painstakingly slow) and repeat it correctly. Once it is perfect, you can begin to increase the tempo. It is much harder to play faster with mistakes and try to weed them out after you've been "learning" the wrong way.

philrab66
10-06-2015, 10:50 AM
I read something recently in an article entitled: Failure is the Worst Way to Fail.

In the article they talk about success in anything, here is the key.
Repetition+Slow=Genius

On playing slow-
Meadowmount Music School, where Yo Yo Ma and other greats studied music, has a technique:
"The students were encouraged to play each note
so slowly that it would be impossible for a passing
stranger to guess what piece they were playing."


Here is the article in full:
http://www.thealtucherreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/JAR-2015-10-v2.pdf

Very interesting read nice to figure out what the brain is doing.
Thanks to everybody for your comments and suggestions it has given me some encouragment.:D

Dearman
10-06-2015, 06:15 PM
Thanks Rllink that is my drawback but I have stuck at it longer than anything else so I do have the determination there somewhere.

If you are in a rut you may want to try some different exercises than your preferred ones. You might like the book ukulele aerobics for that. Like many, I went through it for a while and then put it on a shelf but it did help me break up my routine and try different things.