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View Full Version : Progress...it bewildered me..



Komichido
03-10-2017, 04:07 PM
So as I have posted previously I have had my Cordoba for 5 months. The first month I just marveled at its beauty..held it lovingly..smelled it...etc...
The last three months I got serious. Sometimes I play like a champ! A beginner champ anyway..but some days I sound like a broken tire...what gives?
Is my ear off some days? Is it just part of the process? Looking for words of wisdom..lol...

Choirguy
03-10-2017, 04:19 PM
With practice, muscle memory becomes key. Three months is nothing in terms of the number of hours needed to master anything, instruments included. Just keep having fun, keep pushing yourself, and your playing will become more consistent over time and things that were harder will become easier.

Nickie
03-10-2017, 05:14 PM
With practice, muscle memory becomes key. Three months is nothing in terms of the number of hours needed to master anything, instruments included. Just keep having fun, keep pushing yourself, and your playing will become more consistent over time and things that were harder will become easier.

I 2nd that! When I play like a bag of doo doo, I go back to the basics, like I am starting over again. I just do scales and noodle, and don't worry about perfecting my skill, until my confidence is back.

bunnyf
03-10-2017, 05:27 PM
Just keep plugging away. Play songs you love, that suit your voice and not too far beyond your current skill level and keep enjoying your play. I recall that in the first year of playing, I sometimes thought "gee, that sounds pretty good". Other days I would think " am I kidding myself? I might just stink a little". Now, even 5+yrs in, I still think this sometimes...just not as often. I certainly have improved, even if i am still mostly rubbish. For me, it's really about entertaining myself, and I do.

Croaky Keith
03-10-2017, 10:31 PM
It's like with anything else, you will have off days, do something else on those days, then come back to your uke all refreshed. :)

DownUpDave
03-10-2017, 11:58 PM
Playing a musical instrument is not easy. It takes so many individuals talents and tasks to come together simultaneously. The biggest thing is the fine motor skills needed and how being off just a little causes a huge impact.

I heard an elite athlete talk about how our body changes for one day to the next. As an example he asked have you ever sat down in your car and then had to adjust the mirror. Yesterday they were fine for you, today your muscle tension is different and your posture is effected.

Learning is not linear either. We seem to make great progress, then plateau, then maybe slide back, then stand still, then leap forward. I am usually taken by suprised when all of a sudden I play a piece effortlessly, after months of trudging along.

zztush
03-11-2017, 12:30 AM
Learning is not linear.

https://s28.postimg.org/ylrfmb7xp/1489231511119.png (https://postimg.org/image/fgo6cjt9l/)image hosting (https://postimage.org/)

cml
03-11-2017, 12:34 AM
Learning is beating the plateaus.

peaceplayer
03-11-2017, 01:32 AM
I play the Uke fairly good but one problem i face is holding the Uke, it does not at all feel comfortable holding the ukulele while standing. I always need to sit down during my recordings :( Do i need to get a belt? And I don't know how i'll get my hands on one, we hardly get good ukulele here :(

peaceplayer
03-11-2017, 01:36 AM
I feel you.
I had this beautiful song singing all the time and i had even worked on a version of a finger style. Now i completely forgot my own arrangement, The biggest draw back for me is that i learned to play, not to read or write music. :(

crisson
03-11-2017, 01:54 AM
I think everyone has days where they sit down to play and it sounds like a bag of cats. On those days, I just put the uke down and walk away for a while. If you push too hard on those days you may just be practicing bad habits. Just my 2-cents.

Down Up Dick
03-11-2017, 02:53 AM
With practice, muscle memory becomes key. Three months is nothing in terms of the number of hours needed to master anything, instruments included. Just keep having fun, keep pushing yourself, and your playing will become more consistent over time and things that were harder will become easier.

I was in a slump for a long while, though on a different instrument, and felt like I was going nowhere. I even got a little down. My loving wife nagged me a few times that I wasn't playin' enough (sounded like my mother in the old days), so I thought about it and a week ago I began playing every day for at least an hour. And I'm simply amazed at my spurt ahead after just one week of serious practice!

I've always thought that we should practice more instead of the other uke stuff that we do, but it's boring and time consuming and blah blah blah . . . Reminds me of the good (?) ol' days of yore. Gee, Mom, I already been playin', and I'm tired, and my lips hurt, and . . .

So, to use one of my favorite phrases "Just Do It", :old:

PlastikUke
03-11-2017, 03:03 AM
I play the Uke fairly good but one problem i face is holding the Uke, it does not at all feel comfortable holding the ukulele while standing. I always need to sit down during my recordings :( Do i need to get a belt? And I don't know how i'll get my hands on one, we hardly get good ukulele here :(If you can't buy a strap where you live, you could always try improvising something. Like this super simple one, for example: https://youtu.be/aSQ3CJvHhXg

Down Up Dick
03-11-2017, 03:48 AM
I use parachord on some of my ukes and even on my mini-banjo. It's also usefull when you are waiting for something better to use.

REI has some colorful, good lookin' paracord for pretty cheap. :old:

bikemech
03-11-2017, 05:13 AM
Two pieces of advice from me to go on top of the already good advice you've gotten in this thread:

1. Practice twice daily, time permitting, and for shorter time periods. This will ease the burden of frustration that longer practice sessions might induce and breaking up your practice routine will help you focus on one or two things specifically during each practice session. Set aside an allotment of time at the same times every day.

2. Don't expect perfection on the material you are currently studying. In other words, move along to another series of studies or different music each week and put your focus on the new material. You may not have mastered the techniques or song from the prior week but you will still have plenty of time to work on those in your regular practice schedule.

JackLuis
03-11-2017, 12:17 PM
Join Seasons of the Ukulele and force yourself to learn a new song each week. I can't always do a new one every week, but after six months I can play my first songs again. Plus you get feedback and encouragement to try again every week.
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?47-Seasons-of-the-Ukulele

jnorris235
03-18-2017, 09:14 AM
Learning is beating the plateaus.
Good point.

Ukecaster
03-18-2017, 10:13 AM
It''s like golf, sometimes you hit it great, get inspired, and can't wait to play again. Other times, not so much. But, continued practice raises your baseline, and you keep reaching for better playing.

Down Up Dick
03-18-2017, 10:34 AM
It''s like golf, sometimes you hit it great, get inspired, and can't wait to play again. Other times, not so much. But, continued practice raises your baseline, and you keep reaching for better playing.


Boy, not for me. I finally realized that golf was making me a grouch and a drunk and that there was no use in reaching anymore. A little later, I took up target archery again and had a great time wid it.

I've quit other failures that were ruining my free time too. I think there's a time to face facts and get on wid it! :old:

Mivo
03-18-2017, 06:17 PM
Reminds me of the good (?) ol' days of yore. Gee, Mom, I already been playin', and I'm tired, and my lips hurt, and . . .

I too suck when I play ukulele!

On a serious note, for me, the problem with practicing has always been finding materials that work for me. I'll pick a book and get bored of the exercises that are either too hard or too easy, then I get another book or video, with the same result. If it's a course, most of the songs don't interest me and I lose interest, even though I believe a structured approach should work best (but doesn't seem to). Scales and such feel like tedium. (I sound like a millennial!)

I conversed with DaddyStovepipe a while back, and he recommended to just learn songs that resonate with me and practice those, even if they seem hard at first. He said he never did exercises or scales, only songs. I think I might try this.

Down Up Dick
03-18-2017, 08:14 PM
Mivo, I think one has to have a plan and stick to it and push him/herself. It doesn't matter whether one is bored or discouraged or whatever. When I taught myself to play the flute, I played the C scale from my trumpet book over and over until I could play it by ear. Then I went on to the F scale and did the same. After I learned the keys I wanted in the first octave, I went on to the next octave. I didn't bother playing tunes for a long time. I did about the same thing learning bass clef for my tuba. Once one learns to read the notes, reading music is easy-peasy.

When I began the ukulele, I only wanted to sing with it, but I kept slipping into playing melodies. So I learned scales and began finger picking mostly by by ear.

All my learning has been pretty routine--and boring. My only trouble is remembering stuff and chords are a pain too. On my banjos and my new mandolin, I'm having a lotta memory problems. I play stuff over and over, and then, I sorta have it. Ahhh, well . . . It's comin' along.

I guess learning to do new stuff takes some effort and determination. Kids get bored and frustrated easily. . . ahhh, well. :old:

kohanmike
03-18-2017, 08:19 PM
I played guitar for almost 50 years and was reasonably good at it, then I started playing uke 4 years ago. One of the first songs I wanted to learn was Iz's version of "Over theRainbow" but when I tried to play along, I could not get his strum pattern. I tried for days, then just decided to put it aside and just continue to play along with the uke group I meet with two days a week. About 4-5 moths later I tried to play "Rainbow" again, and what-do-you-know, I got it. Just needed some time to warm up to the uke.

jnorris235
03-19-2017, 01:49 AM
All my life I've given up things I shouldn't have. What keeps me going with the uke is indeed playing a song I like, however simple or chord bashing it is, but then replacing chords with alternatives up the neck, altering the rhythm and some words. And then, what I hope to do next is turn it into a chord melody so I can pick put the bass or melody. Least thats what i'm hoping, and maybe ill keep going for a second year! Mostly due to Matt Steadman

Croaky Keith
03-19-2017, 02:15 AM
Learning to play any instrument takes time & a lot of practice. I am only now, in retirement, making progress.
This is because I am not in a hurry any more, it's not even the fact that I could devote more time to it, because I don't.

It has taken me 15 months with my ukes to get to a point where I am satisfied, I'm not good, but I am now passable.
That, to me, is a great achievement.

So, now I have gone back to my harmonicas, that I gave up on before picking up the uke, & I'm making progress with them as well now. :)

Mivo
03-19-2017, 02:59 AM
I think acceptance probably helps with improvement. When I try too hard, I usually just hit a wall. If instead I just make peace with where I am right now, learning comes more easily. Likely true for other areas of life, too.

Rllink
03-19-2017, 03:15 AM
I think that a lot of people set their sights too high to begin with and then set themselves up for failure right out of the box. A good friend of mine went through it this summer and I watched it unfold. She became interested in ukuleles because I was playing it. So she found a video of Iz playing Over the Rainbow. She bought a ukulele and found the music for the song on the internet, and set off to play it just like Iz. But after a week, she made no progress. She asked me for help, and I directed her to Uncle Robs Ukulele Bootcamp. But that isn't what she wanted to do, she wanted to play Over the Rainbow like Iz. So the last time I talked to her about it she said that she hadn't played her ukulele since back in August. I'm betting that she's done with the ukulele.

Down Up Dick
03-19-2017, 03:25 AM
I think that a lot of people set their sights too high to begin with and then set themselves up for failure right out of the box. A good friend of mine went through it this summer and I watched it unfold. She became interested in ukuleles because I was playing it. So she found a video of Iz playing Over the Rainbow. She bought a ukulele and found the music for the song on the internet, and set off to play it just like Iz. But after a week, she made no progress. She asked me for help, and I directed her to Uncle Robs Ukulele Bootcamp. But that isn't what she wanted to do, she wanted to play Over the Rainbow like Iz. So the last time I talked to her about it she said that she hadn't played her ukulele since back in August. I'm betting that she's done with the ukulele.

Ha! I did that when I first started learning to play the trumpet. The first song I bought was Hoagy Carmichael's "Star Dust". It was up in the second octave, and there was no way I was gonna play it. I kept it, and others that I bought at the local drug store, for years.

But we never get over it, I guess. I still buy music that I can't play . . . Ha! . . . YET! :old:

jollyboy
03-19-2017, 07:55 AM
All my life I've given up things I shouldn't have. What keeps me going with the uke is indeed playing a song I like, however simple or chord bashing it is, but then replacing chords with alternatives up the neck, altering the rhythm and some words. And then, what I hope to do next is turn it into a chord melody so I can pick put the bass or melody. Least thats what i'm hoping, and maybe ill keep going for a second year! Mostly due to Matt Steadman

I think that is an excellent way to improve. I do this often - learn a very basic no-frills version of a song ("chord bashing") then slowly start to introduce more complex elements. I'll add in a picked intro or outro, play around with bits of technique - dynamics, legato, muting etc. I find this much more enjoyable than just plodding through drills.


I think acceptance probably helps with improvement. When I try too hard, I usually just hit a wall. If instead I just make peace with where I am right now, learning comes more easily. Likely true for other areas of life, too.


I think that a lot of people set their sights too high to begin with and then set themselves up for failure right out of the box.

I think it can be tricky to set yourself a good pace for learning. Aim too high and things can quickly get frustrating. One of the best ways to stay motivated imho is to see yourself steadily improving and, for that to happen, you need to be setting yourself realistic goals. Another issue with this is that some learning resources, such as method books, aren't always successful in providing a smooth learning curve (again imho). I have Ukulele Aerobics (bari edition) and I feel that things start to get pretty tough after just the first few weeks - I'm really struggling to keep up. I feel as though the difficulty suddenly spikes and I'm left floundering, way out of my depth.

Down Up Dick
03-19-2017, 08:58 AM
Well, JB, that's what some of us tried to tell people about Ukulele Aerobics. It not only gets wicked difficult very quickly, but, IMHO, it teaches stuff that the "regular" ukist will never use.

Mine's in the "Wasted Money Pile" with a few others. Maybe, when I become a Uke virtuoso, I'll look it over again. :old:

jollyboy
03-19-2017, 09:45 AM
Well, JB, that's what some of us tried to tell people about Ukulele Aerobics. It not only gets wicked difficult very quickly, but, IMHO, it teaches stuff that the "regular" ukist will ever use.

Mine's in the "Wasted Money Pile" with a few others. Maybe, when I become a Uke virtuoso, I'll look it over again. :old:

Well DUD, I think that the book certainly has some issues in terms of pacing. I haven't completely abandoned it though as I do feel that there is some useful stuff in there. I don't believe that it is for 'all levels' (as advertised) though and personally I consider it may be best suited to the advanced player (more advanced than me for sure :)).

Down Up Dick
03-19-2017, 12:08 PM
Well DUD, I think that the book certainly has some issues in terms of pacing. I haven't completely abandoned it though as I do feel that there is some useful stuff in there. I don't believe that it is for 'all levels' (as advertised) though and personally I consider it may be best suited to the advanced player (more advanced than me for sure :)).

Yeah, JB, I thought that too. I even marked some pages that I might find useful--but didn't. Finally, I gave up.

I think that if one is gonna work that hard he/she oughta take private lessons. :old: