View Full Version : What Motivates You to Practice?

Uke Don
04-06-2018, 07:57 AM
What motivates you to practice? I don't mean just playing stuff you already know and enjoy, but keeping your skills sharp and learning new things. Do you have a specific practice routine? A special approach that motivates you?

04-06-2018, 08:26 AM
Coffee shop gigs and busking. I don't have a practice routine, except I practice most every afternoon. No time limit, I play as long as I feel like it and I work on whatever needs improvement. But I am always trying to add something to my play list, or to do what is there better. I try to get a little fancier each time. I do a gig or go out busking, and afterwards I have a list of things that I want to do better next time. I would find it hard to stay interested if it wasn't for that. I would have no direction. I would just be lost. I have a gig tonight. It is the downtown music walk, and I am playing in a clothing store. People go from store to store, listen to the music, then vote for who they like the best. I've been getting ready for six weeks. It has driven me, and it will drive me for a while afterwards too. Tomorrow I will wake up thinking that I can do better and when I get the chance I'll go down to the basement and start working on it again. I'll add, it is not just the ukulele playing, it is everything. Singing, presence, equipment, everything factors into it. So when I practice my ukulele, I'm usually practicing it with that thought in mind. But I'm always practicing and looking forward towards the next time.

Croaky Keith
04-06-2018, 08:34 AM
The Seasons challenges - they're good to get you out of your rut. :D

04-06-2018, 08:41 AM
The Seasons of the Ukulele.
When you don't play gigs, and practicing just to play for yourself isn't rewarding enough, the seasons gives a good motivation for learning new tunes.

04-06-2018, 08:46 AM
An upcoming performance and fear of making a fool of myself. Tomorrow morning I am going to make my solo Open Mic debut. I have done open mic’s with a group, performed with a group but tomorrow it’s just me and the ukulele on stage. I have been practicing the song every day for two weeks.

04-06-2018, 09:08 AM
An upcoming performance and fear of making a fool of myself. Tomorrow morning I am going to make my solo Open Mic debut. I have done open mic’s with a group, performed with a group but tomorrow it’s just me and the ukulele on stage. I have been practicing the song every day for two weeks.Good luck to you. I hope that it goes well.

04-06-2018, 09:56 AM
Good luck to you. I hope that it goes well.

Thanks, It’s a tolerant crowd. I still want to do well. I think I’ll go practice now.

04-06-2018, 10:19 AM
When I found a song that I like. I just play and play all day long. I don’t set a time on how long I need to practise. I simply play until I am satisfied with the result!
Sometime I will make a video and post it here ! I usually never play the song again once the video is made !
Then it’s time to move onto the next song !

04-06-2018, 11:46 AM
This sounds kind of like me. I come across a song I like, that’s got something new or challenging, and I play it a lot. I attend a weekly workshop where I learn new stuff. I also play in my church band, so I have new music to practice for Sundays. Overall, I just like to play. My day isn’t complete if I don’t play one of my ukes for at least 30 minutes every day. I often play at bedtime to relax.

04-06-2018, 01:08 PM
An upcoming performance and fear of making a fool of myself. Tomorrow morning I am going to make my solo Open Mic debut. I have done open mic’s with a group, performed with a group but tomorrow it’s just me and the ukulele on stage. I have been practicing the song every day for two weeks.

I remember my first solo performance, i practiced that song so much I could do it standing on my head. Rememeber to smile and have fun, you'll do great.

Break a leg Cliff.......are you playing your baritone?

Much like Rllink live performances motivate me to practice. Also like Solorule and Raftergirl when I discover a song that makes me say "Love it, I HAVE to learn that one" I get obsessed and learn it. New songs always seem to contain something new which add to your pallet of skills

04-06-2018, 01:45 PM
That my group meets twice a week with 5-10 songs rotated from a list of about 200, plus new songs every couple of weeks.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

04-06-2018, 04:49 PM
For me, a serious lack of free time for anything musical alleviates the need to build up motivation - by the time I get time to play I'm itching to play! Unfortunately I play several instruments, so I get just a bit of time with each - I am decent on guitar, piano, drums and ukulele, but am a master of none. Someday in my golden years I will sit in a rocking chair on the porch and play the uke all day - hopefully my hearing holds out for it.

04-06-2018, 05:22 PM
Not bragging here...I’ve had formal lessons on instruments since elementary school through my doctoral program in music. I have always LOVED rehearsals, and have never really enjoyed any part of practicing. I also had enough natural talent that an ounce of practice would result in success in music far beyond my peers. It was rare that I came across anything that required more than a minimal amount of practice. Even for my final collegiate recitals, I would practice as much as I needed to, and no more. That said, I do know how to practice effectively—which again can reduce the amount of time that you need to practice—but I will say that I did no more practice than I had to. Also...all of my instruments required a specific location or other instruments—piano required me to sit at a piano, tuba required me to pull out the horn and to sit in a particular room, and even voice required a piano as well. Practice wasn’t very flexible.

I’ve said this before, but I went into ukulele as a way to deal with a gap in our educational year between concerts. Music is required in our school, and I get all of the kids who aren’t in band or orchestra, whether they want to be in choir or not. I decided to try ukulele in 2015 (fundraiser for very cheap Mahalo instruments) and two things happened. First, I fell in love with the instrument myself. I didn’t expect to, but it (pun not originally intended, but I like it anyway) struck a chord in me. Second, I attended a local ukulele jam. I’m not going to say that the jam was musicially rewarding in the same way that “formal” music ensembles had been (I can still remember those spine-tingling moments of awe which are so rare these days). But what I saw was people—many who had left music after elementary school or middle school—picking up an instrument and singing—and building community with each other. That, my friends, is what music education is supposed to be about. I wanted that for my students—to give them the core skills to be able to make that choice even if they leave music for forty years.

And the challenges of my job had been robbing my love of music. The ukulele brought it back, and made music interesting again for me.

What I didn’t expect was that the ukulele would be something that I ALWAYS want to play. Not only do I play it all day long at school (we now sing all of our songs to ukulele accompaniments—and why not, as students can join me in a concert—and why is a ukulele any worse an accompaniment as a guitar or piano for choirs?) but I pick one up all the time at home, and I work on techniques (I’ve been slowly trying to master the Formby splint stroke), or I play songs, or I watch videos and try to learn new things. And I don’t mind any of it—and this has been going on for two years, so it isn’t a mistake. I even bought a sopranissimo recently so that I could fit it in a bag that Spirit Airlines allows us to take on the plane.

I think the portability of the ukulele helps, as I am not tied to a specific room, or a specific lesson book, and as a music teacher, I can assess my own skills and know where I am lacking and I also know where to go to find help. YouTube doesn’t hurt, either (I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if we had YouTube when I was a kid, and I wonder what my boys will be able to do that I cannot as they are growing up with the tool).

That’s probably too much of an answer for this topic, but I really am thinking about it—and with the ukulele I don’t need a reason, place, or time to practice. All I need is a ukulele and my iPad (my iPad has my music AND the Internet, of course).

04-06-2018, 06:54 PM
I play fingerstyle (melodies with chords) for years. I don't sing and have occasionally done the strum along in a large group.

I originally started working on early Jake stuff and then added a some songs I put together myself. Sometimes I'll use a YouTube to get me going in the right direction.

My wife and I are part of a neighborhood Bible study group. Four or five years ago I started bringing a ukulele every now and then and spent more time learning worship songs. I've been asked to bring it more often lately and so I figure out a new song and like everyone else just work on it and the arrangement till it comes together. Even though it is a small group, I get really nervous and my brain sometimes goes blank, but like DownUpDave, I practice it enough to not have to think.

But the real practice happens when I try to remember nearly everything I play. As I age it has become increasingly harder to retain it all, I play from memory. I'll start with Blue Roses or Guitar Weeps and work through as much as I can to Christian stuff like Revelation Song or I Can Only Imagine. I don't play Money For Nothing anymore and I forgot Losing My Religion, which I wish I could remember as it ended up as a decent rendition.


Uke Don
04-07-2018, 03:38 AM
Very interesting range of responses. Seems like fear is a good motivator (as in many other areas of life :)). Thanks to all for taking the time to respond. Now I just need to get in gear!