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View Full Version : My biggest piece of advice for beginner Ukers



greatone88
12-19-2016, 03:18 PM
Howdy all,

I have only been playing music (all Uke) for 10 months now find that since I did not use a metronome while learning, my timing is way off and I cant really advance much further. Don't make the mistake I did thinking that "I don't need a stinkin' metronome". I didn't develop a sense of timing and what 80bps, 100bps, 120bps, etc felt like. If I had done that I would not be back tracking and could keep in time with others. I just purchased the Ukulele Aerobics book by Chad Johnson and I will be doing all exercises using the metronome. After I am done the program, I believe I will be on track and can play nicely with others. I currently use this online metronome https://www.8notes.com/metronome/ If you aren't naturally gifted in timing, please don't make my mistake, USE A METRONOME when you practice.

Thanks,
UkeTruck

actadh
12-19-2016, 04:00 PM
Thanks! I like the drums, too.

Brad Bordessa
12-19-2016, 05:49 PM
Very few people are naturally gifted in timing from what I've seen. Some people "get it" easier than others, but even the quickest kids on the uptake usually need to practice timing too. I've found in all my teaching that hands-down, the number one thing people struggle with is timing. Even decent musicians surprise me by how bad their timing can be. Dropping beats and bars and speeding up and slowing down - all terrible things to be doing. So avoid being that guy at all costs! Practice with a metronome!

bunnyf
12-19-2016, 08:11 PM
First, let me say that I'm not a great player. Second, I'm not a great singer. But, I do have a sense of timing. I can't say that I work hard at it, but I can naturally keep a steady beat. I play with a lot of smaller jam groups (10+folks, often mixed instruments) and am surprised when folks who are pretty good players struggle with timing. If one could work it into a casual conversation, you'd want to bring up how helpful a metronome is. Even though timing is not generally a problem for me, if I am working on anything difficult or unusual (like complex, tabbed out pieces) I will nearly always use metronome. At the very least, I will count and tap it out. I like to start super slow and get it very comfortable and then start slowly increasingly the speed. I find it very helpful to gauge how fast I am playing something, in order to set graduated practice goals. Using a metronome keeps you honest. It keeps you fron kidding yourself that you have really learned a piece.

Croaky Keith
12-19-2016, 10:30 PM
I have a Korg MA1 for when/if I really get into strumming, that is my weak point, melody playing is just about OK. :)

strumsilly
12-20-2016, 03:56 AM
I knew someone in a ukulele group who was very difficult to play with. She was actually a song leader and had a very poor timing sense. I suggested she practice with a metronome and she was greatly insulted. She eventually went for some lessons, and the teacher told her she needed to practice with a metronome! She apologized.

JackLuis
12-20-2016, 05:17 AM
I've never been a singer, until recently when I took up the Seasons, but I've always danced a lot and love it. When I took up the Uke and learned the left hand, I found that the right hand was easier to learn because I looked at it as a finger dance. I got a metronome and that gave me a way to measure my strumming however I seldom use it any more, batteries kept dying.

RichM
12-20-2016, 05:54 AM
I used to take my banjo uke to my uke group and play really loud-- the goal being to establish a beat that people could actually follow. Without that loud beat, people would be all over the place. I haven't been in a while, but if I go back, it will be with a bass-- for the same reason.

Rllink
12-20-2016, 07:06 AM
I used to take my banjo uke to my uke group and play really loud-- the goal being to establish a beat that people could actually follow. Without that loud beat, people would be all over the place. I haven't been in a while, but if I go back, it will be with a bass-- for the same reason.

I'm kind of an aggressive player and singer myself. We did a Christmas Carol sing-a-long and I think that everyone was playing off of my beat, which isn't good. The thing is, I really need to work on my timing. It is going to be a priority this winter. Tick tick tick tick.

Choirguy
12-20-2016, 07:18 AM
Rollie...unless you weren't being "real," you're not aggressive at all in your playing or singing. I wish I could have been there for the carol sing-a-long!

My advice to beginners is the same as Danielle Ate the Sandwich: keep your ukulele in tune, learn your basic chords and how to switch between them.

Rhythm IS important...but it is also somewhat natural as well. A good percentage of my students don't like to sing (it makes you wonder why they take CHOIR), and when we work on ukulele, they try to play without singing. Nearly all of the time, playing without singing leads to a rhythmic mess. Guess what...when kids sing along, the rhythm clears up.

So...if you are a beginner and rhythm is an issue, SING.

greatone88
12-20-2016, 07:56 AM
You know what Choirguy, I am one of those who chose not to sing because I am not very good at it. I bet that has a lot to do with my issues too! I am starting to sing now much to my wife's chagrin :)

jollyboy
12-20-2016, 11:33 AM
I agree that singing and playing at the same time helps greatly with your sense of rhythm and timing. I've noticed that, when creating chord sheets, the best way to figure out exactly where a chord change should come is to sing the song out loud.

hal1001
12-20-2016, 04:36 PM
Just a suggestion:

While a metronome should be something that everybody should at least have some practice with (usually I use it to slow myself down : ), as long as you have the rhythm down, tempo usually isn't too hard to fix.

I sometimes catch myself speeding up a bit as I play a piece (this kind of thing won't happen with a metronome) , but if I tap my foot (instead of counting), I can keep the tempo much better. I think it may have something to do with breath control while counting or something; or I just get excited and my count goes faster; don't really know. But I'm used to tapping. Maybe give tapping a try?

Nickie
12-21-2016, 09:25 AM
When I started playing in our group the Uke-A-Teers, I was quickly accused of speeding up the songs I sang solo. At first I didn't believe them, so I asked them to play louder (especially the bass), and I tried practicing with a metronome on my piano. I found out, much to my chagrin, I was beating the thing by half a beat by the end of a song! I was not easy to play/sing with. The other members kept yelling slow down! They said that speeding up is very amateurish. I was embarrassed, to say the least.
So I became a better listener, and now they say I am very slow! But I'm on tempo, and I'm not in a hurry anymore.

bunnyf
12-21-2016, 09:49 AM
I knew someone in a ukulele group who was very difficult to play with. She was actually a song leader and had a very poor timing sense. I suggested she practice with a metronome and she was greatly insulted. She eventually went for some lessons, and the teacher told her she needed to practice with a metronome! She apologized.
Absolutely, a difficult thing to bring up. In fact, I've heard a group leader say to someone who has a problem with timing to play quieter and don't bring their banjo uke until his timing improved (funny thing is that her timing is not good either; not as bad, but certainly not spot on). Needless to say, the guy was hurt and didn't come back for a while. I would never do it directly. It would be like suggesting singing lessons to someone. I can only say in general casual uke conversation something like "I struggle with timing sometimes and often find it helpful to occasionally practice with a metronome".

Brad Bordessa
12-21-2016, 01:51 PM
Absolutely, a difficult thing to bring up. In fact, I've heard a group leader say to someone who has a problem with timing to play quieter and don't bring their banjo uke until his timing improved (funny thing is that her timing is not good either; not as bad, but certainly not spot on). Needless to say, the guy was hurt and didn't come back for a while. I would never do it directly. It would be like suggesting singing lessons to someone. I can only say in general casual uke conversation something like "I struggle with timing sometimes and often find it helpful to occasionally practice with a metronome".

Yes. My general gameplan at all my workshops is to teach like it's a fact that everyone's timing sucks (mine included). No pointing fingers. No names. Just simply: we all can improve at this in our own way (and absolutely it's true). Anybody who is so amazingly arrogant that they can't find the means to humble themselves and work on their own timing with the group - even if it's already "okay" - probably won't like my classes anyways ("There's the door..."). Keep the critique group-oriented and cross your fingers said hack-timer gets the hint. If you keep it stiff enough, everyone will dread being the first person to the note and looking silly - problem solved, in my own experience.

Elessar
12-28-2016, 04:47 AM
I appreciate your advice and will be incorporating this into my lessons very soon. Thank you.