PDA

View Full Version : Looking for Practice help.



Irish Uke Tom
10-07-2015, 04:35 AM
Hi guys,

I'm only really beginning to realise how much I love the ukulele and, although I love improvising and just making up things, I would like to keep improving so I think I should have some sort of level appropriate practice session.

I know a few scales and I go over them regularly, adding another one when I'm ready - this way I learn the circle of fifths along with the 7 main chords that belong to each scale. I also know a few pentatonic scales along with the 7th Chords. I go over these things regularly. Obviously I also teach myself songs.

Really, I'm wondering if there are drills or things that I should focus on aswell. Dou you guys have a go to practice routine that you have increased in difficulty appropriate to your own skill level?

I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this. Basically, is it enough to learn the circle of 5ths, learn songs, and practice whatever technique you most fancy? I enjoy myself no matter what I do but I just like to keep improving :cool:

Thanks for all you help

One Man And His Uke
10-07-2015, 04:59 AM
Hi Tom, personally I just play and learn songs, either from tabs or working out by ear. I just like to play and sing. Learning a new song often improves my technique without me even thinking about it. I also go to a weekly Uke group. I don't really learn scales but that's just what works for me :music:

VegasGeorge
10-07-2015, 06:34 AM
I find the most value in practicing for several short periods each day. It's gotten so that I need to make some kind of written note or record of what I'm working on least I forget it as I go on. I tend to pick up a new idea, work on it, apply it to a tune, then move on. When I go back to that tune, I often need help remembering what it was that I accomplished the last time I was working on it.

Irish Uke Tom
10-07-2015, 07:19 AM
I do the same vegas george - I always make a note so I can get stuck back in without any fidoodling about.
Currenty working through bluesy techiques/ scales.
I don't sing so I'm all about the uke playing. Nobody wants to hear me sing!

Mivo
10-07-2015, 07:31 AM
I try to stick to at most two books at a time, plus the varied, daily practices in "Ukulele Aerobics" (they increase in difficulty too quickly for actual daily practices, so I rotate through the weekly exercises and mix and match), plus one song. I also practice chord changes that I can't do cleanly or smoothly (which is a lot of them). My two books currently are Aaron Keim's Fingerstyle book and Lil Rev's Method book(s). Plus the songs in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning to Play the Ukulele.

I try to record myself once a week for a more realistic impression of where I'm at. Progress, or the lack of it, is more noticeable that way.

Sometimes I look up new strumming pattern and practice them with a metronome. I should do this more often as I feel that rhythm is one of my weakest areas, but yeah, the motivation isn't always there as it is a tad mundane.

I occasionally think I'd be better of working only with the interactive Dummies book (for iPad), but I typically watch shows on the iPad while practicing, so I need the paper books! :p I don't otherwise watch TV shows, so I like combining these activities -- and it makes repetitive practicing less dull.

Irish Uke Tom
10-07-2015, 08:14 AM
Hi Mivo,

Are you refering to this book -Johnson Chad Ukulele Aerobics For All Levels Uke or is it a website? This sounds like what I'm looking for.
cheers

Mivo
10-07-2015, 08:23 AM
Yep, referring to Chad's book. :) I really like it, but as mentioned, the difficulty curve is not smooth. If you try to do the exercises week by week, the book will almost certainly leave you in the dust a few weeks in. But I look at the individual weeks as "sets" of exercises that are independent of any actual time segment, and I just move back and forth as needed. It's the only book of this kind that I know of. I like how the exercises are very varied, so it's not getting same-y.

Rllink
10-07-2015, 09:52 AM
Yep, referring to Chad's book. :) I really like it, but as mentioned, the difficulty curve is not smooth. If you try to do the exercises week by week, the book will almost certainly leave you in the dust a few weeks in. But I look at the individual weeks as "sets" of exercises that are independent of any actual time segment, and I just move back and forth as needed. It's the only book of this kind that I know of. I like how the exercises are very varied, so it's not getting same-y.I wonder how many people started on that book, got half way through, stuck it on a shelf somewhere, and never looked at it again?

Mivo
10-07-2015, 10:34 AM
I wonder how many people started on that book, got half way through, stuck it on a shelf somewhere, and never looked at it again?

I think this probably happens to many instructional books (or maybe just to mine!), but yes, I feel that Aerobics missed out on the opportunity to be a little more streamlined, difficulty-wise. Still, if I could only have one Ukulele book, I think that'd be it (of the ones I have). Just doing a new week every real world week didn't work for me. I don't know a book that I feel is better from a perspective of offering varied exercises in clearly divided portions. Could have benefited from a field test for smoothing the difficulty curve and improved consistency.

Brian1
10-07-2015, 10:45 AM
Learning movable chord shapes and how they lead to one another on the fret board might be more/as useful than learning the circle of fifths.

When you take the movable "D" shape for example it doesn't matter what key you are playing in you will know the "IV" from it is the movable "F/G" shape on the same fret for example then you can move that shape up the fret board for the "V". When you learn top play your scales while holding these shapes on the fret board you have a new world opening up to you. Once you learn the scales in the new positions, you can start to pick out melodies (kids songs and Christmas song are the easiest) Often times you will find yourself playing and not even know what key you are in because it won't matter to you.

MARKbOC
10-07-2015, 12:21 PM
I'll second the suggestion for Ukulele Aerobics.

Its challenging for a beginner but builds great skills. I usually alternate between a fun practice (strumming songs) and the more tedious but very helpful lessons in that book. The book is laid out with daily lessons that introduce finger picking, new chords, short little riffs, etc. As the previous poster noted, depending on your skill level the "daily" thing might not work out as it takes me longer than one session to really grasp each separate lesson but I sort of bounce around a 2-3 page part of the book as I progress.

The best part is it introduces you to new facets of the uke/playing. Before i opened that book, my uke may as well have had four frets because thats pretty much all i was using but now im venturing down into all that fun real estate along the fretboard.

good luck!

MARKbOC
10-07-2015, 12:25 PM
haha. regarding my previous post: "tedious" is probably a little dramatic. :)

It's still fun and I get super pumped when I nail one of the little scale exercises. just not as much of a happy frolic as playing a tune i'm already comfortable with. in other words, it requires a different kind of focus and stretches your skill level but also has a very rewarding payoff.

ok, i'll stop rambling.

Irish Uke Tom
10-07-2015, 11:30 PM
Hi thanks guys.
Thanks for seconding it Markboc
Definitely be buying that book!

PhilUSAFRet
10-08-2015, 01:20 AM
Here's a good place to check out if you haven't already. Uke clubs are a great place to learn....up to a point.

https://www.facebook.com/belfastukes

Irish Uke Tom
10-08-2015, 01:32 AM
Yeah literally just found a regular club in Belfast...they play every fortnight and I think they might be the only regular one in the country haha! Unfortunately my work hours will have to change first before I can actually go. Would be fun to jam, especially if they're up for bluesy jamming. Thanks phil

CactusWren
10-08-2015, 08:13 AM
I think this "Basically, is it enough to learn the circle of 5ths, learn songs, and practice whatever technique you most fancy? I enjoy myself no matter what I do but I just like to keep improving" is a good plan.

Also learn chords/arpeggios all around the neck as those are just as important as scales. And whenever you hear another player doing something cool, whether a lick, a song, a sound, ****steal it****.

Phluffy the Destroyer
10-08-2015, 11:11 PM
I don't practice. I play for a couple of hours a day though, because my schedule allows me to. I find that I'm naturally inclined to learn the techniques that I'll get the most mileage out of by actually learning them for a purpose. Someone asked me recently how I play arpeggios smoothly. The answer is simply to play arpeggios. That's why I don't play scales. I have no interest in shredding like Yngwe Malmsteen or singing about notes that follow "sew".

But that's me. Your mileage may vary.