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JessicaM
06-16-2016, 02:43 PM
Once you know the chords and can happily strum along & sing or fingerpick using a few finger picking patterns. What next?

I'm feeling a little bit of a beginner's plateau. I think ukulele is like so many things where it's fairly easy to learn enough to get going and you're learning so much so fast that it feels really good, but then once you've gathered all the low hanging fruit, it starts to get a little slow. Both because that learning curve gets steeper, but also because I'm not really sure what to learn next.**

I've been playing through Aaron Keim's fingerpicking book (man, it's awesome). I'm doing my scales. I'm trying to find tab for ever-so-slightly harder stuff (though I'm not quite sure where to look). I'm working on memorizing any chords I'm likely to run across. I could definitely just work on playing /faster/ and with more feeling. I could also work on intonation and some technique stuff.

(1) What next?
(2) Tips for pushing through the plateau?



**I KNOW, I know I need to find a teacher. I'm still hunting for a local one as my preference is strongly for face-to-face instruction. I've already asked a couple times for tips on finding a local instructor so I think I've bored y'all enough with that for now!

robinboyd
06-16-2016, 02:59 PM
Once you know the chords and can happily strum along & sing or fingerpick using a few finger picking patterns. What next?

I'm feeling a little bit of a beginner's plateau. I think ukulele is like so many things where it's fairly easy to learn enough to get going and you're learning so much so fast that it feels really good, but then once you've gathered all the low hanging fruit, it starts to get a little slow. Both because that learning curve gets steeper, but also because I'm not really sure what to learn next.**

I've been playing through Aaron Keim's fingerpicking book (man, it's awesome). I'm doing my scales. I'm trying to find tab for ever-so-slightly harder stuff (though I'm not quite sure where to look). I'm working on memorizing any chords I'm likely to run across. I could definitely just work on playing /faster/ and with more feeling. I could also work on intonation and some technique stuff.

(1) What next?
(2) Tips for pushing through the plateau?



**I KNOW, I know I need to find a teacher. I'm still hunting for a local one as my preference is strongly for face-to-face instruction. I've already asked a couple times for tips on finding a local instructor so I think I've bored y'all enough with that for now!

I really need specific songs to work on when I practice. There is no way that I could sit there and try to memorise chords or practice scales. I'll happily spend hours playing a part of a song though (just ask my wife about the hundreds of times I played the intro from "Under the Bridge" last week). Is there a specific song that you want to play well, that you can't quite manage at the moment? I find that Aldrine's song lessons on Ukulele Underground are a good place to look if I want to push myself. That's where I got "Under the Bridge" from, and I definitely pushed myself to learn it.

Gary52
06-16-2016, 05:43 PM
I'd recommend joining a uke group in your area. If you've been playing alone, playing in a group will give you new songs & chords to learn, and give you the chance to play alongside more experienced players.

For solo skills, James Hill's Ukulele Way, available on-line or through a series of books/CDs, is good.

Mivo
06-16-2016, 05:51 PM
You seem to progress fairly fast, though. Have you considered joining the weekly seasons? It would give you a specific goal every week, an audience, and others to indirectly make music with.

I think playing faster and more accurately (in time, e.g. practicing with a metronome) is always something to work on. Well, at least for me. Knowing chords is the easy part, transitioning between them smoothly and in time is what is hard for me, so I work on that a lot. :)

bunnyf
06-16-2016, 07:12 PM
I'd recommend joining a uke group in your area. If you've been playing alone, playing in a group will give you new songs & chords to learn, and give you the chance to play alongside more experienced players.

For solo skills, James Hill's Ukulele Way, available on-line or through a series of books/CDs, is good.
I consider myself an early intermediate player and I felt like I was plateauing, so I backed up a bit and started with "The Ukulele Way" too. Very good for getting down some fundamental skills in an enjoyable, structured way. I'm digging it.

Mivo
06-16-2016, 08:43 PM
I consider myself an early intermediate player and I felt like I was plateauing, so I backed up a bit and started with "The Ukulele Way" too. Very good for getting down some fundamental skills in an enjoyable, structured way. I'm digging it.

Do you feel the course is very reliant on C tuning?

Croaky Keith
06-16-2016, 11:08 PM
Come & join in on the Seasons threads. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?47-Seasons-of-the-Ukulele

If I had been just learning/playing on my own, I might have lost interest, but having a group of like minded people has helped me progress, & you get a new challenge every week & that keeps me going. It's fun as well. :)

DownUpDave
06-17-2016, 01:56 AM
As robinboyd said find a song that really grabs you. If you are now working on fingerpicking I suggest finding chord melody arrangments, they are beautiful sounding and fun/challenging to play. Check out the site "ukefever", it is put up by one of our members and its fantastic, great arrangments.

Going the other route and finding a uke group to join gets high marks from me, I do both.

Rllink
06-17-2016, 03:49 AM
Learn to play chords up the neck. Learn to strum tremolos, rolls, and triplets. Learn lead ins to songs and how to close them, hint, tremolo. Learn new songs, and start memorizing a set list of songs. Start working on presentation.

stevepetergal
06-17-2016, 04:01 AM
A great next step would be to start learning to play the chords you've been using in different positions on the neck. This becomes a real panacea for both playing more interestingly and for learning to play in other keys. When the barred chords are working, you're making music.

jollyboy
06-17-2016, 05:18 AM
I've been playing for just over a year and I feel like I've been on that plateau for a while now :) I'm mostly pretty happy about it - I'm now at a point where I can pick up my uke and strum along to songs, and it doesn't sound too horrible.

On the other hand, it's always nice to improve, to experience some sense of progression. One thing I've been looking at is some basic music theory. I actually don't think that trying to absorb a lot of theory as an absolute beginner is that helpful, as it doesn't seem particularly intuitive and can, frankly, be a bit confusing. However, once at the plateau... the basics actually start to make some sense when looked at within the context of personal playing experience. Explanations of chord families, progressions and the circle of fifths no longer appear to be written in Chinese ;) And learning this stuff helps you to better understand the 'why' of what you're doing. And thus improves your confidence and allows you to get a little more creative in your playing, imho.

bunnyf
06-17-2016, 05:22 AM
Do you feel the course is very reliant on C tuning?

I'm most used to D tuning, but do switch back and forth w C. I recently changed over my Pono Bari to linear C Southcoasts. You can toggle between reentrant and linear. I'm concentrating on linear. I find it easier to instinctively visual where I'm going on the fretboard. If you used different tunings I'm sure it would screw up most method books. He does have standard notation (and tab) on the lessons and I am concentrating on becoming much more fluent in st.not. If you had very different tuning, I suppose you would just use the standard notation too, and just apply the lessons to where the notes would be found on your fretboard.

JessicaM
06-17-2016, 07:00 AM
I'd recommend joining a uke group in your area. If you've been playing alone, playing in a group will give you new songs & chords to learn, and give you the chance to play alongside more experienced players.

For solo skills, James Hill's Ukulele Way, available on-line or through a series of books/CDs, is good.

I really want to play w a group but sadly the local group in Columbus, Ohio, is strictly no-kids-allowed which means I'll pretty much never be able to go. I'm not at a place where I'm confident enough to start a group of my own. Someday maybe.

JessicaM
06-17-2016, 07:01 AM
A great next step would be to start learning to play the chords you've been using in different positions on the neck. This becomes a real panacea for both playing more interestingly and for learning to play in other keys. When the barred chords are working, you're making music.

Yes! This seems like a nice baby step: playing songs I know in a different way. I remember that this unlocked some stuff for me on the guitar!

JessicaM
06-17-2016, 07:02 AM
Come & join in on the Seasons threads. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?47-Seasons-of-the-Ukulele

If I had been just learning/playing on my own, I might have lost interest, but having a group of like minded people has helped me progress, & you get a new challenge every week & that keeps me going. It's fun as well. :)

Keith, this looks fun -- if a bit intimidating! Do people play original songs?

jimavery
06-17-2016, 07:52 AM
Do you feel the course is very reliant on C tuning?

I've just started James Hill's online course myself - at the start you can choose whether you want to follow C or D (I chose D as that's what I prefer), but I think you can flip to the other when you need or want to, too.

Regarding plateau, there was an interesting discussion on the subject on the Ooktown Ukulele Podcast recently (Episode 42). Well worth a listen, and James Hill was on the panel too. My own thoughts on Plateau are it's a nice place to stop and think about where to go next. Personally I've learned lots of chords, can play quite a few of the songs I enjoy, but whenever I should really do an "Instrumental" section I don't know what to do other than just play the chords again - and that's why I started James Hill's course as I feel it can teach me to do just the sort of ornamentation I need. Importantly it's not too costly either.

Croaky Keith
06-17-2016, 07:55 AM
@ JessicaM

Yes, you just have to jump in, no other way. :)

It took a lot for me to do that first one - but once you've done your first one, it gets easier. ;)

If you can do an original, kudos to you, & I'm sure it will be welcomed with open arms.

robinboyd
06-17-2016, 01:01 PM
@ JessicaM

Yes, you just have to jump in, no other way. :)

It took a lot for me to do that first one - but once you've done your first one, it gets easier. ;)

If you can do an original, kudos to you, & I'm sure it will be welcomed with open arms.

Yeah, lots of people do originals. Barbablanca does nearly exclusively originals.

JessicaM
06-17-2016, 03:33 PM
@ JessicaM

Yes, you just have to jump in, no other way. :)

It took a lot for me to do that first one - but once you've done your first one, it gets easier. ;)

If you can do an original, kudos to you, & I'm sure it will be welcomed with open arms.

Oh no, you've misunderstood ! I meant: does it have to be an original? Sharing an original would be a whole 'nother level!

PTOEguy
06-17-2016, 03:47 PM
I really want to play w a group but sadly the local group in Columbus, Ohio, is strictly no-kids-allowed which means I'll pretty much never be able to go. I'm not at a place where I'm confident enough to start a group of my own. Someday maybe.

It doesn't have to be exclusively a uke group - my first experience playing with others was playing along with a piano player in the 0-5 yrs kids division at my church. The kids didn't mind if I messed up and the piano player helped cover. The leaders of the class were just happy to have music. The pianist favors a ragtime/early jazz piano style that sounds great with uke and I've learned a lot.

I've also gotten into a band that plays for the main church service once a month (1-2 guitars, me on uke, a bass player and percussionist) - that made me learn a whole different style of music. And made me learn to play in the key of E (not the easiest for me).

JackLuis
06-17-2016, 05:09 PM
It doesn't have to be exclusively a uke group - my first experience playing with others was playing along with a piano player in the 0-5 yrs kids division at my church. The kids didn't mind if I messed up and the piano player helped cover. The leaders of the class were just happy to have music. The pianist favors a ragtime/early jazz piano style that sounds great with uke and I've learned a lot.

I've also gotten into a band that plays for the main church service once a month (1-2 guitars, me on uke, a bass player and percussionist) - that made me learn a whole different style of music. And made me learn to play in the key of E (not the easiest for me).

Get a Baritone, or tune a tenor to dGBE and Key of E is easier, it's like playing in A on a C Uke.

robinboyd
06-17-2016, 05:40 PM
Oh no, you've misunderstood ! I meant: does it have to be an original? Sharing an original would be a whole 'nother level!

Oh yeah. Not at all. I've never done an original. I just cover songs that match the theme (unless the theme happens to be "originals," when I would be in serious trouble).

Croaky Keith
06-17-2016, 10:48 PM
My first Seasons post was a bad instrumental rendition of Edelweiss, I have never sung anything, so it's quite flexible & there is often what is called the Thornton Rule, which basically means anything goes. :)

bunnyf
06-18-2016, 01:45 AM
I've just started James Hill's online course myself - at the start you can choose whether you want to follow C or D (I chose D as that's what I prefer), but I think you can flip to the other when you need or want to, too.

Regarding plateau, there was an interesting discussion on the subject on the Ooktown Ukulele Podcast recently (Episode 42). Well worth a listen, and James Hill was on the panel too. My own thoughts on Plateau are it's a nice place to stop and think about where to go next. Personally I've learned lots of chords, can play quite a few of the songs I enjoy, but whenever I should really do an "Instrumental" section I don't know what to do other than just play the chords again - and that's why I started James Hill's course as I feel it can teach me to do just the sort of ornamentation I need. Importantly it's not too costly either.

Jim, this is exactly where I was at. I knew a lot of chords, lots of songs, some theory and occasionally ventured up the fretboard with some bar chords but when I played with others, someone else would have to take the instrumental. I knew that I was gonna have to learn my way around the fretboard better, if I was gonna be able to improve in this area.

JessicaM
06-18-2016, 02:52 AM
My first Seasons post was a bad instrumental rendition of Edelweiss, I have never sung anything, so it's quite flexible & there is often what is called the Thornton Rule, which basically means anything goes. :)

This is encouraging! Thanks for sharing!!

JessicaM
06-18-2016, 08:27 AM
So do people record themselves just using the camera on their phone? Is there are suuuuper simple way of doing two tracks (short of propping a boom box in the background like I used to do in high school)?

Croaky Keith
06-18-2016, 09:36 AM
So do people record themselves just using the camera on their phone?
Yes.

Is there are suuuuper simple way of doing two tracks (short of propping a boom box in the background like I used to do in high school)?
Use video editing software.

robinboyd
06-18-2016, 01:25 PM
Is there are suuuuper simple way of doing two tracks (short of propping a boom box in the background like I used to do in high school)?

I get my wife to play the other part. I know it's cheating, but the whole editing thing is kind of intimidating.

JessicaM
06-22-2016, 08:55 AM
Update of sorts:
I found a local teacher! He's a mandolin guy, but he plays enough uke and has a strong enough "syllabus" that I think I can learn a lot from him. Plus he seems to be a very nice guy, which is always great!
AND he's my husband's mando teacher so we can bring the kid and trade off at the playground while the other takes a lesson :)
I've still got my eye on the seasons thread. I think it'll be big fun once I take the leap.

WCBarnes
06-22-2016, 09:22 AM
I have found Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel's lessons on Artistworks (www.artistworks.com) to be great! I started at the very beginning and, while there has been some things that I knew well, I have learned some great tips! Both Craig and Sarah are great teachers!