PDA

View Full Version : I think I need more structure.



AirCanuck
11-12-2009, 07:31 AM
More from the musically challenged...

I am loving my Uke, I can tune it up, I am learning some chords, but that's where it ends. The only consistent thing about my strum is that it is consitently inconsistent, my chords stink and I just plain cannot keep up with the internet videos. So how does an amateur progress when there are zero fundamentals?


I feel like I should be in a class with some structure, but of course, I can't find local instruction. What would some of you suggest? Video series, DVD? Anything! I'd like to keep on truckin' but feel like I am drowning. What's a way to progress? I understand, practice practice practice, but you need the fundamentals for that and I feel I am lacking.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Neil

GrumpyCoyote
11-12-2009, 07:51 AM
The Ukulele Underground vids on the main site are a great place to start - Aldrine walks you through lessons step by step. I always find a good lesson in there. The early ones have plenty of fundamentals for you.

Also, now that there are video chats - private lessons could probably be arranged if you find a teacher you want to work with. Not as good as in pewrson of course, but better than nothing.

There is an adage that might help your informal work too:

"One tune at a time"

It means just latch onto one song you love - something simple you know well from listening to it. Practice the hell out of it, and then pick another.

This stuff takes time. Competance in music for most humans takes thousands of hours of practice - it just does. Don't be discouraged early. Take it slow - one tune at a time, and keep at it. In six months you'll look back at this post and be amazed.

ukeshale
11-12-2009, 07:58 AM
Grumps has it spot on.

Here's some a helpful read on some music theory by our very own NukeDOC

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11264

It could help to keep things fresh and give you some structured things to practise.


The main thing is that you're enjoying yourself - the rest will come :)

freedive135
11-12-2009, 08:28 AM
There are 2 things to be learning when starting to play one is skills the other is songs!
Learning songs will let you play songs, learning skills teaches you how to play the Ukulele.

When I was first starting all I did was learn songs, sure when I came to a chord I didn't know I had to learn it but I wasn't learning how to "play" just being able to mimic a song.

Then I started taking lessons...
One of the things my Instructor had us do as a drill is what he called the ABC's.
Move from the A chord to B to C... when we could do that it was Am to Bm to Cm and so on... then A7 to B7 to C7... see the pattern...
Also A to Am to A7 and so on.

Then we would play the circle of 5th's to learn what chords go well together.
http://ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11818

It took a while but made me a better player and now I am applying to learning guitar and I am using it to learn my 2nd, 3rd and down the neck position chords on the uke.
Something else I am now working on is lerning the names of the notes on each string...
examlpe the C string C C# D D# E F and so on down the string/neck, I should have been doing this when I first started. It will help you learn to improvise when strumming chords as filler.
http://www.ukulelestrummers.com/Ukefretboard.html

All this is called practice along and with playing songs its for learning the chords and moving finger shape speed.

As far as strumming relax the harder you try the worse you get!!!!

Spend some time each day working on skills AND playing songs.

rogue_wave
11-12-2009, 08:54 AM
I find Aldrine's lessons here to be the clearest and most enabling lessons out there. I suggest going through a few of the early lessons as well as picking through some of the Uke Minutes. I put a huge vote in for really learning to chunk- not only does it sound cool, but I found that it helped shape the rest of my strumming.

My epic fail is that I don't stick to one song until I have it, I tend to get frustrated and wander off to another concept. I am getting better about staying with a song until I have it, and if I need to wander, look for a technique lesson or practice exercise or something besides another song, so that I dont have a bunch of chords rattling around in my head.

A year or so on, I still feel like I am having to remind myself to relax my strumming hand and not get caught up in forcing it. Slow down, loosen up. If you have a death grip on the neck and you are chopping away at the strings you won't have any fun, which is the single greatest difference between the ukulele and everything else I have tried- it is fun to play.

My biggest advice is to try and play as often as possible. A lot of it is muscle memory and unless you are training regularly, you will get stuck. When you do get stuck- put it down when you get frustrated, and guaranteed when you pick it back up in an hour or the next morning- you will have rewired your brain and muscles to do better.

As for the speed of the YT performance videos- remember, people are posting their breakthroughs, their practiced pieces. Use them as inspiration, don't try and match them. (If I can ever get through a whole song, I swear I'll work up the guts...maybe one giant C Am F medley...?)

I remember seeing a post here recently with a way to slow down the YT videos- a plug in or something. Do a search through the forums and see if you can find it.

Last but not least, I am sure this will get typed here in almost every response-

Practice practice practice.
Play every day.

Go here for all of Aldrine's Lessons:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7224

spazus_maximus
11-12-2009, 09:17 AM
Personally I find getting completely wasted with my Uke does the trick....You will immediately sound better....I have found it hard to retain those good sounds....but all ya gotta do is get hammered again & viola..Your a Uke master as you were the night before....switch to cheap beer though....Sierra Nevadas can get pricy while learning the Uke!


seriously.....Time...Time...Time....pick it up every chance you get....Heck it usually takes me weeks if not months to get some tunes....Just stick with it!

uke5417
11-12-2009, 10:16 AM
Am I guessing correctly that you've yet to play a song? If so, I suggest you find the chords to the simplest song imaginable, with no more than three chords. and start trying to play it. Then play it and sing it. Watch someone on YT do it if you need help.

Once you've got your mind wrapped around how to sing over an underlying chord structure, the world opens up. When you've got that one song down, you'll want to try another, perhaps slightly harder one. You'll start grazing Chordie.com to see which of the songs you love are within your abilities.

The songs you pick will start teaching you new chords, which in turn will open up more songs to you.

After a while, you'll have most all of the open chords down, only to realize that there are second, third and fourth positions up the neck that make that same chord, but with a slightly different sound that might fit better in particular songs.

Perhaps you'll become fascinated with lead bits and take on the learning of scales. Perhaps you'll become fascinated with the idea of writing songs, so you start learning the basics of keys and chord progressions.

It just never ends. And that right there is a good part of the beauty of it. You're always learning something new, always getting a bit better. All you have to do is keep strummin.

Have fun

kailua
11-12-2009, 10:41 AM
The Ukulele Underground vids on the main site are a great place to start - Aldrine walks you through lessons step by step. I always find a good lesson in there. The early ones have plenty of fundamentals for you.

Also, now that there are video chats - private lessons could probably be arranged if you find a teacher you want to work with. Not as good as in pewrson of course, but better than nothing.

There is an adage that might help your informal work too:

"One tune at a time"

It means just latch onto one song you love - something simple you know well from listening to it. Practice the hell out of it, and then pick another.

This stuff takes time. Competance in music for most humans takes thousands of hours of practice - it just does. Don't be discouraged early. Take it slow - one tune at a time, and keep at it. In six months you'll look back at this post and be amazed.

:agree: Also, MusicTeacher2009 has some excellent vids. They start out very basic. Begin with lesson one: http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicTeacher2009

AirCanuck
11-13-2009, 04:00 AM
Maybe my approach has been all wrong. I went at it with, learn to strum, learn some chords, learn technique, learn to transition smoothly with the chords, repeat...repeat...repeat. The thought of a song was envisioned waaaaay down the road. I'll head and that direction and see how she goes!

Thanks for the feedback guys, although I have asked just a few questions, that search function has answered a million questions too. It's a great resource!

Again, thank you for the great responses.

RevWill
11-13-2009, 04:30 AM
Take a look at Uncle Rod Higuchi's disposable ukulele method (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19364). He has a free booklet to download at that thread.

He describes exactly what you are talking about, except that you focus on transitioning chords within the context of a song. Also take a look at ukuleletonya's booklet (http://ukuleletonya.com/files/beginner_lesson_pkg.pdf) which has a couple of pages dedicated to strum patterns.

Finally practice strumming with an online metronome (or a real metronome if you have one).

AirCanuck
11-13-2009, 08:26 AM
Outstanding resources, thank you for the links.


N