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onlyablur
01-02-2016, 03:27 AM
Hello all! I'd appreciate some advice regarding how to structure my daily practice.

I am able to set aside half an hour a day to practise, but I feel it's somehow random and not as productive as I'd like. Sometimes I got so immersed in a new piece that I didn't have time to practise what I already know, and after a week I found that I play the old piece worse than before...

Is it better to break the half hour in two fifteen minute sessions? How do you plan your daily practice, would you do 5 minute on old songs, and 10 minute on learning new ones, say? What works for you?

Thank you very much!

Nickie
01-02-2016, 04:54 AM
Hi! Congrats on practicing! Most people don't.
I'd love to have a full hour every day!
Here's what I do with the little time I have:
1. Hand exercises, with and without the uke. I learned them from Craig Chee and Aldrine, and a Classical guitarist who's a friend.
2. Scales, fingerpicking them up and down the neck.
3. Then I sing/play a song I know, trying to perfect it.
4. Then onto the fingerpicking songs I am learning.
Very very slowly learning to be better, and increase my tiny repertoire.

onlyablur
01-02-2016, 10:39 PM
1. Hand exercises, with and without the uke. I learned them from Craig Chee and Aldrine, and a Classical guitarist who's a friend.


Thanks for your reply Nickie! Did you mean exercises to strengthen the fretting hand? Could you describe them briefly please? (or maybe there are some videos out there?)

actadh
01-03-2016, 04:43 AM
Here are some good hand exercises - you can start with this one and then look on Ukulele Mike's You Tube channel for more. These have really helped me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8

Joyful Uke
01-03-2016, 07:13 AM
I like articles by this individual, so here are a few on how to practice:

http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/research-tested-practice-strategies-that-will-help-you-learn-new-pieces-faster/

http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/for-more-perfect-practice-trylongerpauses/

http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/why-talking-to-yourself-could-help-you-become-a-more-effective-practicer-problem-solver/

Joyful Uke
01-03-2016, 07:26 AM
This may not be the type of answer you were looking for, but just in case:
There are free courses like this one, called "Learning How To Learn"

https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn

"This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. We’ll learn about the how the brain uses two very different learning modes and how it encapsulates (“chunks”) information. We’ll also cover illusions of learning, memory techniques, dealing with procrastination, and best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects. "

You can do courses like this for free, with no need to do the assignments or quizzes, if you don't have the time or interest in that part of the classes.
I often play the videos for courses and just listen while eating, reading email, and so on. When something catches my interest, I can replay that part if I think I missed something by not giving it my full attention.

There are free courses on Coursera, edX, openculture, Udemy, and more. Just google something like "free on-line courses", and the links should show up.

JustinJ
01-03-2016, 11:03 AM
@Joyful Uke,

Wow, thanks for the links. I had no idea about some of these websites. I signed up for the courserea course .

Joyful Uke
01-04-2016, 04:47 AM
There are often music courses like music theory, music composition, and more (string quartets, the Beatles, and all kinds of things.)
Those won't be as directly related to structuring a practice session, but still can be fun and helpful.

wykhuh
01-04-2016, 06:28 PM
I like how justinguitar.com lays out the practice schedule for each stage. You can adopt some of those ideas into your ukulele practice.
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-000-BeginnersCourse.php
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/IM-000-IntermediateMethod.php

onlyablur
01-05-2016, 08:06 AM
There are often music courses like music theory, music composition, and more (string quartets, the Beatles, and all kinds of things.)
Those won't be as directly related to structuring a practice session, but still can be fun and helpful.

Thank you for reminding me of coursera! I used them before, took a song writing for beginners course and found it interesting. I will check out the other websites you mentioned.

onlyablur
01-05-2016, 08:09 AM
I like how justinguitar.com lays out the practice schedule for each stage. You can adopt some of those ideas into your ukulele practice.
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/BC-000-BeginnersCourse.php
http://www.justinguitar.com/en/IM-000-IntermediateMethod.php

Thank you for introducing me to this website! It looks really well put and clearly laid out. I will try some of the exercises, starting with the "1 minute change" :)

Nickie
01-05-2016, 09:44 AM
Thanks for your reply Nickie! Did you mean exercises to strengthen the fretting hand? Could you describe them briefly please? (or maybe there are some videos out there?)

I'm back. LOL.
Yes, for my chording hand. Craig Chee may have some on his site. They're about impossible to describe.

ukulelego
01-05-2016, 12:48 PM
A while back I put together a 20 minute beginners practice routine which I found to be a decent platform to work from http://ukulelego.com/tips/20-minute-beginners-practice-schedule/

onlyablur
01-06-2016, 08:06 AM
A while back I put together a 20 minute beginners practice routine which I found to be a decent platform to work from http://ukulelego.com/tips/20-minute-beginners-practice-schedule/

Thanks! That's very useful!

ukulelego
01-06-2016, 10:03 AM
No probs, hope it helps

Donalson
01-06-2016, 11:05 AM
back in my days as a music major (trumpet) I improved by leaps and bounds and I attribute that largely to learning how to practice... my private instructor gave me a specific structure for what I needed to practice... when you are just playing by yourself it's easy to "practice" what your already good at... it sounds pretty playing songs where practicing scales and exercise that are difficult for you don't sound nearly as nice and aren't as enjoyable (until you get proficient at them... but at that point you need to have moved on to something else to work diligently on)

right now on the uke I'm in the very early parts... getting some finger dexterity and building up callouses (few finger exercises I saw on youtube and uncle rods boot camp... once I get a little further I want to get a few lessons from a local uke player.

as for splitting lessons, at 30 min I'd think you prob can play though the entire session without too much issue, but longer practice sessions if you are fatiguing it's time to put it away (in the case of trumpet once the chops go it all goes downhill very quickly)... for me personally right now on the uke if I'm practicing finger exercises it's prob as hard on my head/brain as it is on my hand/fingers... right now I leave the uke sitting out in the open next to my computer and when I have a lull I can pick it up and run though an exercise... one of the things I love about such a small and quiet instrument :)

*edit*
er also I'll add this... occasionally recording your practice session or just a specific exercise that you are actively working on can be a great help... you can go back and see how you've improved and it also can let you hear where you can/need to improve... in the heat of the moment it can sound great but looking back things can become far more clear.

Dr.G-Uke
01-27-2016, 07:48 AM
Thank you everyone for this useful and interesting thread. Really helps me. A music teacher once told me that practice in itself does not always lead to progress. Practicing with purpose isn't enough. We all learn from our mistakes, but we also learn by recognizing and not repeating them. To practice correct technique, reinforces correct technique. To practice incorrect technique reinforces incorrect technique. Make a miss-step, slow down - change to better technique. Good advice Donalson, to slow down, and stop when tired or making too many mistakes.
Finger and dexterity exercises - thanks.

JMort847
02-16-2016, 04:44 PM
This is a great thread with a lot of solid information and sources. It's good to spend some time on warming up and working on the mechanics, but variety is the spice of life. Above all, just have fun!

strumtheory
02-16-2016, 04:56 PM
Yes - awesome thread. In particular thank you ukulelego - great schedule/article!

I am at the stage now where playing the uke is so new (novelty hasn't worn off yet? ;) ) that I can easily get carried away and look at the clock and not realise that an hour has passed by. At the moment I am nutting out songs, which is really helping keep the motivation and interest, but I have just signed up for UU+ so wanted to focus on more structured stuff.

zztush
02-16-2016, 08:48 PM
The most important thing in my structure daily practice is metronome. I use Beat On in my iPhone.
88461

Strumming or finger picking with metronome is not boring. I often dance with metronome and I can repeat strumming as long as I want, because it is fun. Without metronome, I could only practice 3 or 5 min per chord. With metronome, I can strum more than 1hr. Thanks to metronome, I can control my speed lately. There are many metronomes on line or on phones. I heard that simple metronome is better than drum machine. Because we can arrange emotions on beat with metronome.

ukulelego
02-17-2016, 10:51 AM
Yes - awesome thread. In particular thank you ukulelego - great schedule/article!

No probs, glad it helped!