View Full Version : Favorite ukulele related achievement of 2016

Joyful Uke
12-28-2016, 06:43 AM
To go along with the other year-end type of threads, what was your favorite ukulele related achievement of 2016?

Was there a song that you wanted to learn, and now you've accomplished that? A chord that had been difficult to play, but you've got it now? You made progress with creating your own arrangements? You worked on your sense of timing, and have made progress? Performed somewhere? Took part in a ukulele group? Or...?

I think for me it was learning this:

I had been wanting to learn that for quite a while, and can now play along with the video, and have it memorized.

12-28-2016, 08:17 AM
Conquering my fear of playing and singing in front people. And it was not easy, I might add.:)

Joyful Uke
12-28-2016, 08:21 AM
Conquering my fear of playing and singing in front people. And it was not easy, I might add.:)

Congratulations! My fear of playing and singing in front of others is big enough that I don't think it can be conquered.... I respect that you were able to beat that fear.

12-28-2016, 08:36 AM
I play in an esemble but never solo. I did a solo performance of Pink Floyds "Wish You Were Here", with fingerstyle intro and outro. Did that at our Uke jam open mic.

A few weeks later our Uke Jam group held a Christmas Party at the main floor of the pub. It was a Christmas Carol strum and sing along with members, family and friends in attendance. Some random locals were there as well. I was the only open mic act and I did two instrumental pieces in front of about 100 people, many of them I did not know. That was a big deal for me.

12-28-2016, 09:46 AM
I almost made it through the year without adding a ukulele to the collection.
In November I played and bought a tenor banjo uke.
It is a high quality custom by M.L. Neal.

12-28-2016, 10:25 AM
Pursuant to my interest in fifths tunings, I actually learned and can play about a dozen different chord 'shapes' for fifths tunings, that apply to both CGDA and GDAE (they are just different keys like the C6 and G6 of tenor and baritone uke), and now have 4 different ukuleles in fifths tunings, as well as a 22" steel string tenor guitar that I converted from a 6-string.

I am happy about the chords shapes being under my belt...

In addition to that, using my newfound ability in fifths tunings, I've also written 4 full songs, which started almost immediately upon learning about 5 different chord shapes and the associated major and minor scales.

So in this regard, the fifths tunings has been a huge pleasure for me, and one that I am proud of my progress.

Kudos to fellow UU brother SteveZ for helping me get started with fifths tunings...

This approach to the fretboard has effected a huge paradigm shift for me, and every time I go back and forth between a standard-tuned uke and a fifths-tuned uke, I see and hear things on the fretboard which guide me to understand more about note intervals, and the string-to-string relationships, and thus finger position and chord voicings than ever before, which for my songwriting is a true gift and something that I never would have or could have expected.

The differences between the two tuning systems also appeal to both sides of the brain, the technical, as well as the creative, which keeps the neurons firing and hopefully postpone the decline that begins as the typical mid-life mental atrophy.

It's a whole new world, and very satisfying. :)

12-28-2016, 10:33 AM
My accomplishment on the uke for 2016 is that that I scored the first three pages of Franz Liszt's piano transcription of Beethoven's 5th symphony in C minor for the uke. I haven't recorded it yet because I just finished my final arrangement and I am working out the glitches. That was the hardest arrangement I've ever done. I wlll record it in early 2017 and do some tutorials vids on it.

I also have done the notes, the TAB and fingerings because fingerings are the key.


12-28-2016, 10:58 AM
The most favorite songs I played this year were greensleeves and hymn to freedom. Another favorite achievement was to start to teach ukulele to my friend.

12-28-2016, 11:10 AM
For me, the accomplishment I'm most happy about is that I let the ukes go that I didn't play. This may sound trivial, but I felt I had too many, yet unable to decide which to let go because I worried I might regret it. It was quite liberating to thin the herd a bit as it put more emphasis on the ukes that I chose to keep.

12-28-2016, 11:18 AM
I almost made it through the year without adding a ukulele to the collection.

That made me think. This is the first year since I started playing in 2008 that I *didn't* add (and/or subtract) a ukulele to the collection. Maybe my achievement is that I've finally achieved satisfaction with what I already own!

Chopped Liver
12-28-2016, 12:01 PM
My achievements were getting back to playing the ukulele on a regular basis (I stopped during seminary - no time) AND getting a really nice ukulele - a solid wood Mango Pono (soprano). I may have a third accomplishment if I restring one of my ukuleles before the new year. Never done that before.

12-28-2016, 12:26 PM
At the West Coast Ukulele Retreat, I got to play a song I'd written, accompanied by Gerald Ross's Fly-By-Night Band, which included Gerald Ross, Daniel Ward, Victoria Vox, and a bassist and drummer (whose names I forget at the moment -- sorry!) Gerald even played a solo on his guitar.

12-28-2016, 01:54 PM
Still being able to play, despite arthritis left fingers and a reconstructed left index finger. Getting more comfortable with chord shapes and barre chords (still have work to do!)

mountain goat
12-28-2016, 11:41 PM
Having the gumption to just press the record button and play improvised music.
A very liberating feeling; progress on the learning curve.

Croaky Keith
12-29-2016, 12:25 AM
Well at the start of the year I was only just learning to play, at the year end, I can pick a melody satisfactorily, plus I've played chords all the way through a song, which is/was an achievement for me. :)

Having joined the Seasonistas, I've learnt a lot more than I would have on my own, & been coerced into doing things I would not have done either. ;)

I wrote a few ditties - & even sang some songs! :eek:

I also 'hosted' a couple of Seasons - but now I have decided to go back & learn to play my harmonicas - then I will get on with improving my playing of both, & maybe even try 'singing' again. :cool:

Edit: I also learned to write out tab & can sight read a little bit, but that needs improving. So, I guess, I achieved quite a bit this year.

12-29-2016, 04:04 AM
Great thread. I came a long way this year. My playing improved dramatically. I built 4 cigar box Ukes which turned out pretty well. But the top of the list would have to be either teaching our home school co-op class and having all of the kids learn to play well enough to have a great concert at semester end, or maybe the top was when my 7 & 9 year old kids won reserve champion at the 4h talent county wide contest. It had been a great year. Thanks to you all for your advice and insight.

12-29-2016, 04:22 AM
I added a teacher to our school ukulele club. He's taking on the advanced students while I do the basics. It also means I get to play bass for the group -very fun.

12-29-2016, 04:46 AM
Some of the grandkids are now interested in the ukulele.

12-29-2016, 05:10 AM
I've successfully completed my first full year of ukulele playing (I got my first one in November 2015) by actually getting to the point where I can play some fairly complex songs, primarily finger picking and chord melodies. I've noticed that I can take a tablature sheet for a song I've never played before and within a few minutes, actually plunk out a recognizable version of the song. I've still got a loooooong way to go, but the improvement has been dramatic and quite satisfying!

12-29-2016, 11:58 AM
Discovering the ukulele! I bought my very first one at the end of September and have been having great fun. I have now learnt quite a lot of chords thanks to Uncle Rod's Boot Camp and am getting reasonable good at changing form one to the next. I can also play quite a lot of the beginners' pieces arranged by Wilfried Welti, and after a lot of practice can play his arrangement of Greensleeves - one of the chord changes at the beginning took me weeks to get into my head and under my fingers but I persevered with slow practice until it fell into place. At 65 this feels quite an achievement...

12-29-2016, 12:08 PM
Going to a few different Uke Fests, including the Midwest Uke Fest in Michigan and the Tampa Bay Fest. I enjoyed it very much and plan on going to more in 2017.

I was able to have sit downs with Uke favorites such as Kimo Hussy, Sarah Maisel, Daniel Ward, Heidi Sweiberg, and Jim Beloff and have been able to have questions at the end of class directly answered by the likes of Gerald Ross, Lil Rev, Jim DeVille, and more...

In 2017, I want to increase that and have plans for Midwest again, Tampa Bay again, and the Port Townsend Fest in Washington.

12-29-2016, 01:42 PM
Going to my first Uke festival and talking with Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel. Learning to play chords in the second, third, fourth positions; although still learning to play them without having to think about them. Singing through the mic (which I didn't think that I could do); playing a duet solo piece in front of a class.

12-29-2016, 03:49 PM
Finding sufficient comfort level to just play, rather than agonising over every note and chord. That was a really big deal for me.

12-29-2016, 04:10 PM
I got to play a duet with my nephew. And the Seasons of the Ukulele gave me an excuse to play a bunch of songs that had been on the wish list for years, from McCartney's "Live and Let Die" to Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science" to Royksopp's "Happy Up Here".

12-29-2016, 04:30 PM
It is so interesting how declaring a goal, is a huge part of achieving the goal. I saw the other thread about goals in 2017 and thought to myself, dang...I really need to master that fret board, maybe that should be my goal for 2017.Then I thought since I rarely post, maybe I will post the goal! But, cautiously...I didn't. I am very much a music novice.
Instead, I thought first to determine if it was even achievable, I got out my materials and looked into the approach, just what would be my plan if I was serious about learning all those notes? 2 hours later, I could name all the natural notes up and down and sideways. I did it at least 3 times in a row and toddled off to slumber very satisfied. Goal practically achieved as far as I am concerned. This morning I did it again faster. So...now to pick a goal of knowing all the flats and sharps, notes of chords and more scales than C. Finger picking old timey music is of great interest and inspiring. I love Jon's campanella materials, so that is where I am headed, if I am not being too presumptuous. And I love the old 20s material with clever lyrics and great strumming, so definitely want to get better at my strumming. Learning songs completely is hard for me, I tend to noodle. Therefore the goal for 2017 is to learn 2 old timey songs with chord melody(Grub Springs), 2 Heyday era "Ukulele" songs, 3 blues songs, 2 simple classical pieces in the entirety. Wish me luck! Best to you all in the 2017 ukulele journey. I guess this post answers the question of my best 2016 achievement and my goals for 2017.

12-29-2016, 06:14 PM
I became the 1st ever hospice nurse to become certified to play live music for patients and families.
I learned to pick Silent Night by Christmas.
I took voice lessons.
I studied Music Theory with a real music teacher.
I helped form the ensemble The Uke-A-Teers.
I became a board member of TBUS.
I was kinda busy.

12-29-2016, 09:48 PM
Having actually OWNED a ukulele for some four years, finally picking it up and trying to play it. Then, being dragged kicking and screaming, by the very dear Mr. Mountain Goat into performing in the Seasons. Now, nine months later, I still can't play but, by gosh, it's been fun! (Any complaints should be addressed to the aforementioned Mr. Goat!)