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Loveiz
10-23-2018, 10:03 PM
Just wondering how often and for how long do other beginners practice?
At the moment it's every day for an hour or more for me. But I'm right at the start of things.

TopDog
10-23-2018, 10:10 PM
Every day is good,but do what you are comfortable with! We had a learner group once, and I suggested an hour a day; one lady said she couldn't manage that, but was two hours on a sunday okay? I laughed and said no. Even ten minutes a day would be better for her.
To gain the muscle memory in your fingers, you need regular contact with your instrument,such as you are doing;and many folk need to toughen up their skin on the fingertips too.Keep playing,and be happy!

jimavery
10-23-2018, 10:15 PM
As a beginner, I would practice most days, rarely more than an hour, but often only for ten minutes or so; which is often all that's needed to reinforce whatever I learned the day before.

For me, the important thing isn't so much the time spent practicing as the project I'm working on. For example, I learned a lot building a repertoire of railway-themed songs for a performance at my brother in law's birthday party.

Now I'm not so much a beginner, I practice whenever I feel I need to, and that depends on whether I have a performance coming up or whether some new (to me) song or technique has grabbed my attention.

robinboyd
10-24-2018, 12:17 AM
I've never practiced. I'm allergic to practice. I just pick up my uke when I'm bored and try to do things with it.

Graham Greenbag
10-24-2018, 12:22 AM
Just wondering how often and for how long do other beginners practice?
At the moment it's every day for an hour or more for me.

I would second the comments made to you by Jim and Topdog as being a good guide for a beginner. I didn’t learn the Uke as a child but I did learn another instrument from a peripatetic (traveling) teacher. On practice that teacher asked for fifteen minutes everyday of structured practice, more was not unwelcome but he sought regularity and structure most and accepted that people also had other time commitments too. So little and often is good and structure will see you working with direction.

Robins comment set me thinking. I find his way of working more right for an intermediate or an experienced player. It would seem that I’m bored a lot as I often go to an instrument and just try out things on it, the time seems to fly by and I have a smile on my face as it does.

Croaky Keith
10-24-2018, 01:11 AM
I used to do about 15~30mins, 2 to 3 times a day, but not every day, when I started. :)

Put the uke on a stand, & pick it up every now & then when passing by. ;)

The Pashmeister
10-24-2018, 01:18 AM
I practice every work day for about 20 minutes, every other Wednesday at the ukulele club for a couple of hours, and then (in agreement with Croaky Keith) I have one on a stand that I pick up whenever passing.
I sometimes spend 10 minutes or so just randomly changing cords without actually playing a tune.
One bit of advice I would give is to not shy away from the difficult cords, but try changing from "easy" cords to the more challenging ones, then back to easy ones. You soon find that they become easier.

Rllink
10-24-2018, 03:03 AM
When I first started it was a half hour to forty five minutes a day. I practiced most every day and I was somewhat structured as I was following Uncle Rods Boot Camp. I play longer now and practice is more spontaneous and less structured. I agree with many of the others who say that the frequency of practice is more important than time.

Swamp Yankee
10-24-2018, 03:33 AM
I've never practiced. I'm allergic to practice. I just pick up my uke when I'm bored and try to do things with it.

^^^ this

It's like fishing... if you love doing it, you'll fish more often and become more proficient as a result.

Loveiz
10-24-2018, 05:50 AM
Thanks for replies

Swamp Yankee, you made me smile as I am also an avid fly fisher and have been for many years.




^^^ this

It's like fishing... if you love doing it, you'll fish more often and become more proficient as a result.

Rosendust
10-24-2018, 06:24 AM
For me personally, I like to practice to wind down for bed. But I find if I've done lots of typing & the like, I find I can only practice for 10-30 minutes at a time.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-24-2018, 07:09 AM
I encourage my students (Basics I) to practice each Practice Sheet (Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp - link below)
ONCE a day for official homework - more if they like, but it's their choice after the first go through :)

by the end of the 5-week course, they will have gone through the Practice Sheets for the Key of C (35 times).
Key of F (28 times), Key of G (21 times) and the Key of A (14 times), and of course on the 5th and final week
we would be formally going through the Key of D - although, since they get the entire syllabus at the beginning
they can practice ahead any time they choose to do so :) [I encourage that as prep for the upcoming lesson]

please check out ( ukulelebootcamp.weebly.com ) and try out the SET-UP (Self-Examination Test for Ukulele
Proficiency) just for fun :)

keep uke'in',

Swamp Yankee
10-24-2018, 07:50 AM
Thanks for replies

Swamp Yankee, you made me smile as I am also an avid fly fisher and have been for many years.

...especially fly fishing... as one's first forays with a fly rod are often quite frustrating :D
I hear you though... I've enjoyed fly fishing since the late 70s when I first began teaching myself the rudiments of casting.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-24-2018, 08:11 AM
at the beginning, everything is hard!

1) we are unconsciously incompetent - we don't know, and we don't know that we don't know
2) next we become consciously incompetent - now we know we don't know
3) with practice we become consciously competent - we're getting better
4) in time we become unconsciously competent - it becomes natural for us :)

Spaced Repetition is part of the key - little by little, day by day, keep on keeping on!

"Nice and Easy does it every time" - Francis Albert (Sinatra)

keep uke'in',

Arcy
10-24-2018, 10:33 AM
I don't practice for a set amount of time each day, but I try to keep instruments around (excuse for UAS! ;) I do need one I can leave in the car...) so that when I have a gap in my schedule it's easy to get some time in. I can usually get several 10-15 minute sessions in throughout the day before even considering an active "play & practice" time.

I try to keep those practice times directed: what is it that I need to work on, and how can I work on it. At this point I mostly target three things: new chords, smooth chord changes, and strumming patterns and rhythm (love / hate Mr. Metronome!). Specific activities are generally a mix up between Uncle Rod's boot camp practice sheets (thank you sir!), playing through songs, and improvising through chord changes. Details depending on my mood and what I have at hand.

I find chords and chord changes to learn based on what gave me trouble at our weekly jam (again, thank you Uncle Rod ;) ) or in songs that I want to learn. I note down the chords and changes that give me trouble so I can come back and work them out. Trying to learn a song well enough to record for the Seasons of the Ukulele (https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/forumdisplay.php?47-Seasons-of-the-Ukulele) has really pushed my skills up, and it's a real thrill when I can find a new (to me) fingering which turns a chord change from a stopper to trivial.

At all times I try to be mindful of what I'm doing and to stay in the sweet spot where I'm pushing my skill level while still being able to play correctly. As an instructor told me:

Practice doesn't make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.

RafterGirl
10-25-2018, 01:18 AM
I play (is it practice???) about 30-60 minutes a day give or take. I'm always working on songs for my various ukulele groups, for church worship band, and songs I want to learn for myself. I don't force myself to maintain a strict practice routine. I just play to make music & make myself happy. During the workweek, I often play first thing in the morning while my coffee is brewing, and right before bed to help me relax.

My biggest piece of advice is to find a ukulele group to play with. I was fortunate to find several local groups that include a teaching aspect with each meeting. I learned a lot as a beginner just from YouTube, but once I found the local ukulele groups, my playing really took off.

Rllink
10-25-2018, 03:52 AM
I play (is it practice???) about 30-60 minutes a day give or take. I'm always working on songs for my various ukulele groups, for church worship band, and songs I want to learn for myself. I don't force myself to maintain a strict practice routine. I just play to make music & make myself happy. During the workweek, I often play first thing in the morning while my coffee is brewing, and right before bed to help me relax.

My biggest piece of advice is to find a ukulele group to play with. I was fortunate to find several local groups that include a teaching aspect with each meeting. I learned a lot as a beginner just from YouTube, but once I found the local ukulele groups, my playing really took off.I think that this is the case of many ukulele players. I was talking to someone about when a ukulele player could quit calling themselves a beginner and my thought on it was when the ukulele player is no longer practicing to learn to play the ukulele and is practicing to learn to play songs. But I think that only applies to people who are playing the ukulele to play songs. There are different approaches to playing the ukulele. There are some people who are playing the ukulele as a discipline and who are challenging themselves by perfecting established techniques and playing more articulate pieces. I suppose in that case they measure themselves by testing themselves, That they reach their goals by attaining a specific level of competence based on their ability to play difficult passages, and use a scale to label themselves. I imagine those people are much more structured in their practice and set aside a specific period to practice. I don't know that, I'm just talking from what I've observed and heard. My point is that what is practice really depends on your approach to the instrument.

sunshiNee
10-25-2018, 06:44 AM
I just play.

I was structured in the beginning did online courses and books like ukulele aerobics but that became labourious for me. I get more satisfaction learning songs, focusing on rhythm and timing. I try to use my ear first and foremost to hone my skills. In the early stages I played all the notes too evenly........... probably what most beginners or non musicians do so the songs never sounded right :). But I do see marked improvement on my playing and started tackling tougher solos now like Beales Street Blues from Fred Sokolows book.

Bottom line is that whatever you do is make sure you enjoy it. Don't make it a chore.

UkingViking
10-28-2018, 08:33 PM
I probably can't call myself a beginner, but I still play/practice.

I probably pick up my uke about once a day, perhaps twice or none, just to spend 10 min going through whatever I am trying to learn. At these sessions I dont try to find new stuff to learn, it is only repetition.

Then I do a longer session of half an hour to an hour two or three times a week.

Graham Greenbag
10-28-2018, 10:14 PM
I probably can't call myself a beginner, but I still play/practice.

I probably pick up my uke about once a day, perhaps twice or none, just to spend 10 min going through whatever I am trying to learn. At these sessions I dont try to find new stuff to learn, it is only repetition.

Then I do a longer session of half an hour to an hour two or three times a week.

I can relate to this though not on the Uke, the Uke isn’t what I play best or even most but it is what I enjoy most (club nights are really a ‘blast’). On what I play best I’m now using some old music, that I thought I’d mastered years ago, and finding subtle ways in which to noticeably improve the music now produced by me. Building on old knowledge with what you have later learned is good and simple music is a good medium on which to incorporate those subtle skills/tricks/refinements.

Time is a funny thing. I can pick up an instrument for an intended five minute session and half an hour later I’m still happily playing, and doing so whether working away at something or just taking pleasure from the music produced. I never expected that practice time would be anything but a chore but these days it seems to be virtually a pleasure.

I’m all for leaving an instrument out ready to play somewhere, nowhere obviously unsafe but ready access. More expensive instruments I do try to protect, but having a cheaper second hand one (eg. Dolphin) that’s messed up a bit already is very liberating. Well I find that so because any further damage won’t affect their (resale) value, they cost little and they look like they’re played - to my mind instruments should virtually always be played and not (just) displayed. Playing between work and chores, for rest times and short periods in the day, works for me.

Thinking a bit further I find all playing is, in a way, practice. If I’m either performing or attending a rehearsal (not on my Uke) it’s also a practice session because you notice what you could have played slightly better, what came across well as a result of practice and ways in which you could alter other things that you do to help you deliver better music.

Edit. Did a few trivial refinements of my post earlier but for some reason they didn’t take then, they’re here now though.

Rllink
10-29-2018, 03:16 AM
Thinking a bit further I find all playing is, in a way, practice. If I’m performing (not on my Uke) it’s also a practice session because you notice what you could have played slightly better, what came across well as a result of practice and ways in which you could alter other things that you do to help you deliver better music.You bring up a good point here Graham. For some of us the ukulele is part of the package and there is a lot more that needs to be worked on. I need to practice my ukulele for sure, but I also need to practice singing the songs, I work on my presentation, and there is no way to practice stage presence without getting on stage. So as you say, in essence that is practice too, getting up and putting it all together.

Graham Greenbag
10-29-2018, 09:47 PM
Just wondering how often and for how long do other beginners practice?
At the moment it's every day for an hour or more for me. But I'm right at the start of things.

The thread continues to prompt my own thoughts on practice and two points come to my mind that might be a help to someone. Of course YMMV.

I’ve noticed that I’ll pick up an instrument and happily play it if the ‘music’ played is easy and / or familiar. Once started I’m likely to move onto more difficult things but the most important thing done is the retention of familiarity and comfort with the instrument; the second most import thing done is that I’ve started to play and might then do some focused work. So ensure that you’re never overfaced by the instrument and target yourself at enjoying what you do over all other things; improvement will follow by itself if, within what’s still fun, you add small amounts of structure and focus.

The Uke is, as I’ve already said elsewhere, not my first instrument and not the one I play best. However playing the Uke has helped me to play other instruments better and playing other instruments has helped me to play the Uke better. So, for want of a better expression, ‘cross training’ is helpful.

kkimura
10-30-2018, 02:02 AM
Once in a while I go back to some of the stuff that used to baffle me in the beginning. It's a nice way to check your progress.

Loveiz
11-01-2018, 12:03 PM
Well the response from this question has helped me. In reality I don't do one one hour straight. Because I'm now retired I'm lucky in that I can keep picking my Uke up at times up through the day which I imagine would equate to around an hour. I'm happy that my chord changing is improving but I'm very consous of being very linear and lacking rhythm. I'm hoping that will come. It's small steps

Chopped Liver
11-03-2018, 02:35 AM
Thanks for this thread. I haven't touched my ukes in a LONG time. Been too busy with life and 2 jobs. I often download all the resources out there and I download songs, etc - but then I have so much I get overwhelmed and I don't know where to start.

Uncle Rod, again, thanks for your Boot Camp stuff. I have downloaded it all again and I will start going through it today. I am going to use it solely until I have worked through it.

Rllink
11-03-2018, 04:51 AM
Thanks for this thread. I haven't touched my ukes in a LONG time. Been too busy with life and 2 jobs. I often download all the resources out there and I download songs, etc - but then I have so much I get overwhelmed and I don't know where to start.

Anyone ever get all excited about something, download tons of resources to get ready to take yourself to the next level, then look at it and then say to yourself, "nope, that just looks like way too much work"? That's me.

Chopped Liver
11-03-2018, 06:11 AM
Anyone ever get all excited about something, download tons of resources to get ready to take yourself to the next level, then look at it and then say to yourself, "nope, that just looks like way too much work"? That's me.

Um . . . yeah! Do it way too often! Ukulele, alto recorder, knitting, yada, yada, yada.

It's lots of fun to find the resources but way too much work to wade through all the resources!!!:uhoh::rofl:

jimavery
11-03-2018, 08:55 AM
Once in a while I go back to some of the stuff that used to baffle me in the beginning. It's a nice way to check your progress.

Absolutely, and this time of year I'm dusting off those Christmas tunes and discovering how I can play them that bit better than last year, incorporating some of the skills I've developed during the year.

Kyle23
11-07-2018, 01:31 PM
When I first got my uke, I didn't have much going on in my life sadly, so I would practice about 6 hours a day. Sometimes it would reach 10 hours haha. Definitely made for fast improvement! But man did my back hurt.

peanuts56
11-09-2018, 07:09 AM
As far as time goes I generally do 20 minute sessions as many times as you as I can get in. Generally it comes out to be 2+ hours. One day a week I back off to no more than an hour to give my hands a break. At 62 I feel it when I overdo anything.
I like to use a metronome for faster, technically challenging pieces. I'll start a good 20-25 beats slower and over the course of a week or two speed up to the desired tempo.
Be patient and have fun.

Chopped Liver
11-09-2018, 10:42 AM
As far as time goes I generally do 20 minute sessions as many times as you as I can get in. Generally it comes out to be 2+ hours. One day a week I back off to no more than an hour to give my hands a break. At 62 I feel it when I overdo anything.
I like to use a metronome for faster, technically challenging pieces. I'll start a good 20-25 beats slower and over the course of a week or two speed up to the desired tempo.
Be patient and have fun.

That's a good idea! :)

EddiePlaysBass
12-20-2018, 08:05 PM
Interesting thread. As a long-time bass player, practising that instrument has become so ingrained in my life that I hardly second-guess it. Although there is always the choice between 4- and 5-string, fretted or fretless, and what about my electric upright? But still, I practice on average an hour a day, most days.

With the uke, I have found it very hard to actually get started. Every now and then I will get a boost of excitement and pick one up for a one hour session. That goes on for two to three days and then it's back to zero practice again. Recently, I realized it is because I am afraid of the instrument. Or better said, afraid to find out where my limitations lie. On the bass, I am pretty secure in what I can and cannot do - been playing it for close to 20 years by now.

On the uke, the proverbial sky is still the limit, because I am just taking my first baby steps. I could turn out to be very good, or incredibly mediocre. Then a friend of mine, who recently took up guitar, commented that if I never practice I definitely will not improve. As simple as it sounds, it was sort of a light bulb moment. He asked me what I hoped to achieve, and based on the response I gave, I decided to commit to 20-minute sessions 4 to 6 times per week. It's more manageable for me, and leaves time for bass and other stuff.


Anyone ever get all excited about something, download tons of resources to get ready to take yourself to the next level, then look at it and then say to yourself, "nope, that just looks like way too much work"? That's me.

The chase is better than the catch, huh? I have made my own instruction manual by collecting Uncle Rod's bootcamp, a free book on right hand techniques, Hanon for uke and some other free resources. For a while it sat in my collection of music instruction books, but given my newfound desire for regular practice, and a clearer view of WHAT I want to work on, having these resources already available has enabled me to build in some routine AND variation into my practice regimen.

EddiePlaysBass
12-20-2018, 09:17 PM
You don't have to practice. Its your uke and your life, you can choose how you spend your time.
Often with something that is difficult and inconvenient, you are not going to do it unless you have some motivation. if you just own a uke and play it for yourself why do you practice for an hour every day? Why don't you use you uke for some musical exploration and recreation for an hour every day instead?

Not sure if this is directed at me or the OP. In my own case, practice is what makes me evolve and become better at what I do. It works on bass, it works in the gym and I know it will work with the uke. For me, anyway. As always, YMMV. I have some (vague) ambitions re: where I want to take my musical explorations on the uke, and what I hope to achieve from learning to play this specific instrument.

As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, there is benefit to be gained from cross-training. Again, that works in the gym. It will work - for me - with regards to uke & bass playing.

Davoravo
12-21-2018, 07:28 AM
I have made the transition from beginner to intermediate; at least I like to think so :-)

At the start I played 10 mins twice a day, that was all I could handle. Then 15 min, then 20, then 30. You do have to build up. When I first learned to chuck I was strumming too hard too long and sprained my finger. I had to learn to strum all over again with my middle finger. So take it easy.

From a neuroscience learning perspective regular small sessions are better. We consolidate our learning wit a good overnight sleep so the more sessions you have followed by sleep (ie daily practice) the more you will retain.

A pile of songs is overwhelming. Much better to approach it one song or even one chord transition at a time. I usually practice a song but sometimes I just practice the chord transitions of that song. I will slow it down to get the timing and rhythm, then I will play it really fast to challenge my hands, then I will play it slow again to get the best possible resonance and sound quality. I have Been shocked how many times I have to practice one song to get it right at a performance. Playing in front of other people distracts my fingers! Even at as shop trying instruments I get put off a bit. I need extra practice to be confident on the day.

When I am just fooling around or “noodling” I tend to practice random chord transitions, especially ones I think will be difficult. In those sessions I will experiment with finger placement and barring and getting a good sound.

Chopped Liver
12-21-2018, 01:29 PM
Interesting thread. As a long-time bass player, practising that instrument has become so ingrained in my life that I hardly second-guess it. Although there is always the choice between 4- and 5-string, fretted or fretless, and what about my electric upright? But still, I practice on average an hour a day, most days.

With the uke, I have found it very hard to actually get started. Every now and then I will get a boost of excitement and pick one up for a one hour session. That goes on for two to three days and then it's back to zero practice again. Recently, I realized it is because I am afraid of the instrument. Or better said, afraid to find out where my limitations lie. On the bass, I am pretty secure in what I can and cannot do - been playing it for close to 20 years by now.

On the uke, the proverbial sky is still the limit, because I am just taking my first baby steps. I could turn out to be very good, or incredibly mediocre. Then a friend of mine, who recently took up guitar, commented that if I never practice I definitely will not improve. As simple as it sounds, it was sort of a light bulb moment. He asked me what I hoped to achieve, and based on the response I gave, I decided to commit to 20-minute sessions 4 to 6 times per week. It's more manageable for me, and leaves time for bass and other stuff.



The chase is better than the catch, huh? I have made my own instruction manual by collecting Uncle Rod's bootcamp, a free book on right hand techniques, Hanon for uke and some other free resources. For a while it sat in my collection of music instruction books, but given my newfound desire for regular practice, and a clearer view of WHAT I want to work on, having these resources already available has enabled me to build in some routine AND variation into my practice regimen.

Good thoughts on the subject. Thanks!

Rllink
12-22-2018, 04:37 AM
With the uke, I have found it very hard to actually get started. Every now and then I will get a boost of excitement and pick one up for a one hour session. That goes on for two to three days and then it's back to zero practice again. Recently, I realized it is because I am afraid of the instrument. Or better said, afraid to find out where my limitations lie. On the bass, I am pretty secure in what I can and cannot do - been playing it for close to 20 years by now.

On the uke, the proverbial sky is still the limit, because I am just taking my first baby steps. I could turn out to be very good, or incredibly mediocre. Then a friend of mine, who recently took up guitar, commented that if I never practice I definitely will not improve. As simple as it sounds, it was sort of a light bulb moment. He asked me what I hoped to achieve, and based on the response I gave, I decided to commit to 20-minute sessions 4 to 6 times per week. It's more manageable for me, and leaves time for bass and other stuff.



I think that you bring up and interesting concept. The fear of failure is a strong thing to get past. I know that I struggle with it a lot. I think that most everyone does. The easiest way to not fail is to just not do it. I have to remind myself often that fear of failure it what keeps people in their basement instead of experiencing the joy of sharing their music with others. And I don't think that it is just music, I meet a lot of people who I'm sure are not finishing their first novel because they know that they face a pile of rejection when they do. It is easier to talk about writing than it is to face the reality of writing. Just something one has to push back on.

peanuts56
12-22-2018, 04:44 AM
Practice for me is mainly trying to learn new finger style pieces. I might warm up with a few exercises or scales. I do use a metronome with new pieces.
I would rather spend time working on music rather than technical exercises. I usually manage 1.5-2 hours a day in 20-30 minute sessions as many times a day as I feel like. I've been retired since June, 2016 so I don't have trouble fitting in that much time. One day a week I limit myself to no more than an hour to give my hands a break.
I also find that I need to go back and review pieces that I worked on in the past. I forget them pretty quickly, especially the finger style pieces.

ripock
12-22-2018, 08:00 AM
practice, to me, is everything that is pre-musical: scales and modes, patterns, licks, plans of attack, etc. I spend about 90% of my time practicing, putting it into repetitive music but very rarely.

Photodan
12-27-2018, 11:05 AM
I think that you bring up and interesting concept. The fear of failure is a strong thing to get past. I know that I struggle with it a lot. I think that most everyone does. The easiest way to not fail is to just not do it. I have to remind myself often that fear of failure it what keeps people in their basement instead of experiencing the joy of sharing their music with others. And I don't think that it is just music, I meet a lot of people who I'm sure are not finishing their first novel because they know that they face a pile of rejection when they do. It is easier to talk about writing than it is to face the reality of writing. Just something one has to push back on.

Good life advice. People tend to blow their fear of rejection into something much bigger than it should be. If they can screw up the courage to step out and take a risk, they find it isn't nearly the obstacle they thought it to be.