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Lori
09-28-2010, 06:25 PM
This is an interesting article about how long one should practice, and how to enhance the effectiveness of that time.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/09/how-much-should-we-practice/

–Lori

mm stan
09-28-2010, 11:24 PM
Aloha Lori,
Mahalo for sharing, it was an intresting read..
MM Stan

joeybug
09-28-2010, 11:39 PM
Thanks for sharing the link, looks to be a good article!

GreatGazukes
09-29-2010, 01:39 AM
Well having just walked in from a ukulele lesson, where I confrimed my strumming is WOEFUL, I had been considering using my metronome for strumming practice, so I think I will use it for background noise whilst engaged in other tasks as well....will prove an interesting experiment at least....

fitncrafty
09-29-2010, 01:45 AM
Love this! Thanks for sharing Lori... I have always been fairly relaxed about practice for my kids... they are still excelling. Some days we all practice/play more than others.. progress is still there!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-29-2010, 04:42 AM
You know, Great Gazukes, that might be a good practice for people who may feel that they have rhythm challenges. I mean, how bad can it be to become synchronized with a steady metronomic beat?

I have a reputation in our (SUPA) song circles of perhaps going a bit faster than is comfortable for many people (Uncle Rod's march-tempo). Perhaps I could do as you're planning to do, to become more used to a more moderate beat/rhythm.

Also, I find that when I'm trying to learn a new song, melody and lyrics, it helps me to both practice it (the new song) and to listen to it more than a few time. I play by ear so I need to bolster my audio-memory anyway. It is interesting to me that after a few hard practices, intense, start and go, etc., that a day or so later, it all seems to come together.

I learn Hawaiian songs in the Hawaiian language, and even though I grew up in Hawaii, I don't speak or understand Hawaiian. Like most local people, I can pronounce the syllables and I might understand a word or two, but it's mostly memorizing sounds.
And, like I said, after a few hard practices, and after listening to several renditions of the song, it does seem to come together rather quickly. I must say, however, that these are songs I really want to learn for myself so the motivation is there.

Thanks for sharing the article!

Keep uke'in',

Kanaka916
09-29-2010, 04:50 AM
While we're on the subject, 12Tips For Practice by Wynton Marsalis. BTW, this was originally posted by GrumpyCoyote . . .

I saw this over on another board and had to immedietly steal it and repost. I couldn’t agree more with the list, unfortunatly it's hard for me to do them all.

Number 7 really jumps out at me, as does 9...

Originally from Wynton Marsalis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wynton_Marsalis):

1. Seek out private instruction. It could take years to figure out what a good teacher could show you quickly.

2. Write/work out a regular practice schedule. Always include the fundamentals.

3. Set realistic goals. Chart your development.

4. Concentrate when practicing. Don't just "go through the motions".

5. Relax and practice slowly.

6. Practice what you can't play - the hard parts.

7. Always play with maximum expression. Play as if you are singing it.

8. Learn from your mistakes. Don't be too hard on yourself.

9. Don't show off. Expression, not tricks or gimmicks.

10. Think for yourself. Respect your teacher, but think things through for yourself.

11. Be optimistic. There is nothing worse than pessimism coming out of an instrument.

12. Look for connections between your music and other things. Try to find concepts or ideas that connect with each other.

Kanaka916
09-29-2010, 04:56 AM
And from Jake's Japan site

A Few Ukulele Tips.../ウクレレ弾きの掟

1. Change your strings at least once every 2 months.

2. File the finger nails of your strumming hand and use a buffer to really make them smooth. You'll get a better tone when you pick and strum!

3. Keep the nails on your other hand really short. It'll be easier to hold your chords.

4. Practice playing really soft/quite and be very gentle with the strings. This will help you with your control and dynamics.

5. Work on one hand at a time. For example, if you're learning a new chord progression, practice holding the chords first without strumming. Then once you get that down, then add the other hand.

6. Play songs that make you happy! That way you'll always be inspired to practice!

7. Make sure to take breaks during your practice sessions! Don't practice for more than an hour without taking a 10 minute break. Your muscles need time to rest. Also, if your fingers get too tired and you can't concentrate, you'll start developing bad habits.

8. Don't get frustrated. If you start feeling discouraged or angry because you can't play a song, just take a break and rest for a while. Remember, playing your instrument should be fun and relaxing.

9. If you're really having a difficult time learning a song, just break it down to the basics. Work on short segments. Just practice one measure over and over. Then add the second measure. Then later add the third. Keep going until you've got the whole song down.

10. Try to practice everyday. Even if you only have five minutes. As your finger muscles develop, you'll find yourself learning a lot quicker.

Have fun and enjoy! Ganbatte!!!

-Jake

joeybug
09-29-2010, 05:06 AM
And from Jake's Japan site

A Few Ukulele Tips.../ウクレレ弾きの掟

1. Change your strings at least once every 2 months.

2. File the finger nails of your strumming hand and use a buffer to really make them smooth. You'll get a better tone when you pick and strum!

3. Keep the nails on your other hand really short. It'll be easier to hold your chords.

4. Practice playing really soft/quite and be very gentle with the strings. This will help you with your control and dynamics.

5. Work on one hand at a time. For example, if you're learning a new chord progression, practice holding the chords first without strumming. Then once you get that down, then add the other hand.

6. Play songs that make you happy! That way you'll always be inspired to practice!

7. Make sure to take breaks during your practice sessions! Don't practice for more than an hour without taking a 10 minute break. Your muscles need time to rest. Also, if your fingers get too tired and you can't concentrate, you'll start developing bad habits.

8. Don't get frustrated. If you start feeling discouraged or angry because you can't play a song, just take a break and rest for a while. Remember, playing your instrument should be fun and relaxing.

9. If you're really having a difficult time learning a song, just break it down to the basics. Work on short segments. Just practice one measure over and over. Then add the second measure. Then later add the third. Keep going until you've got the whole song down.

10. Try to practice everyday. Even if you only have five minutes. As your finger muscles develop, you'll find yourself learning a lot quicker.

Have fun and enjoy! Ganbatte!!!

-Jake

That's great advice, thanks :D

Lori
09-29-2010, 05:57 AM
I got to sit in a beginner's class at Mike DaSilva's meeting in Berkeley, and he said that the practice information gets stored in the nervous system, not just the brain. I got a first hand experience with that when I picked up my banjo the other day, after a not touching it for a long time. I couldn't remember how to tune it (had to go the the internet), couldn't remember any chords (except open G), and had a very, very sketchy idea of how to start any song. But, once I started with the first few notes of Cripple Creek (the song I knew the best), I started remembering the song. The weird thing was that my brain was not remembering as much as my fingers were. It was like I was on automatic pilot, and the song was playing out my fingers without thinking.

Kind of amazing, we humans.

–Lori

DAPuke
09-29-2010, 07:34 AM
I understand there are many different styles and techiques with playing and practicing our ukuleles. The saying goes, "practice makes perfect", athough a good music teacher (Mike Johnston) said, speaking of technique, "practice makes permanent". so I try to think of technique while deciding "what works for me". something to consider. DAP

fitncrafty
09-29-2010, 08:48 AM
I understand there are many different styles and techiques with playing and practicing our ukuleles. The saying goes, "practice makes perfect", athough a good music teacher (Mike Johnston) said, speaking of technique, "practice makes permanent". so I try to think of technique while deciding "what works for me". something to consider. DAP

Love this DAP and I am going to start using it with my kids and their practicing too!! Thanks

CTurner
09-29-2010, 09:09 AM
"Practice Makes Perfect"

An NLP teacher I once studied with also said, "Perfect practice makes perfect"--quite a difference!

DAPuke
09-29-2010, 09:16 AM
Love this DAP and I am going to start using it with my kids and their practicing too!! Thanks

Please do:) Simple but so true.

DAPuke
09-29-2010, 09:17 AM
"Practice Makes Perfect"

An NLP teacher I once studied with also said, "Perfect practice makes perfect"--quite a difference!
Well said!

whetu
09-29-2010, 11:51 AM
I remember a counter saying that went along the lines of:

Practice does not make perfect, nor is it supposed to. Practice is about increasing your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes.

pulelehua
09-29-2010, 12:22 PM
The Zen approach I learned a long time ago about a different thing was, and this is fairly simple,

Practice when you practice.

Don't practice and talk to your girlfriend. Don't practice and watch tv. Don't practice and think about what to cook for dinner.

In Zen living, when you eat, you eat, when you walk you walk. You exist in the moment of the doing.

When you practice, practice. Nothing else.

You want enter what Zen masters call "mushin no shin", loosely translated as "no mind". You eliminate all mental and emotional interference where your goal is essentially to make yourself open to receiving the information that your practice is giving you.

pulelehua
09-29-2010, 12:27 PM
Just comparing what I just wrote to the article... can't decide if their opposite or complimentary.

Does passive experience substitute as a method for achieving a non-interfering state of mind? Dunno. Maybe. I guess I'm not sure they're mutually exclusive. That maybe it is the middle distance, where there's tension between doing and not doing, that creates problems.

Zen and neuroscience colliding in some dark alley in the middle of Kent...

SailingUke
09-29-2010, 01:27 PM
I tried sleeping with my uke under the pillow (in the case of course) hoping it would soak in.
Actually, I discovered by trial & error that 20 minutes practice on one thing is about the upper limit.
I break up a practice session to segments depending on how much time I have.

Mandarb
09-30-2010, 02:50 AM
Just comparing what I just wrote to the article... can't decide if their opposite or complimentary.

I am not sure either. I kinda got from the article that you could watch TV and just practice switching chords - essentially shutting down one part of your brain and have your fingers still develop muscle memory.

pulelehua
09-30-2010, 04:49 AM
I am not sure either. I kinda got from the article that you could watch TV and just practice switching chords - essentially shutting down one part of your brain and have your fingers still develop muscle memory.

Follow advice of Zen masters, or watch TV... well, the Western World has given its answer on that point. (Are these couch potato scientists trying to justify our current culture? ;) )

Lori
09-30-2010, 05:42 AM
I think they meant that you could listen to ukulele music, while doing other things, and that would somehow sink in and improve your playing. They weren't very specific, were they? However, when I was a teenager, and learning classical guitar, I spent a lot of time practicing in front of the TV watching various shows. Somehow, I am not as good dividing my mind between two tasks these days.

–Lori

Mandarb
09-30-2010, 06:48 AM
I think they meant that you could listen to ukulele music, while doing other things, and that would somehow sink in and improve your playing. They weren't very specific, were they? However, when I was a teenager, and learning classical guitar, I spent a lot of time practicing in front of the TV watching various shows. Somehow, I am not as good dividing my mind between two tasks these days.

–Lori

I agree - they were not very specific.

sukie
09-30-2010, 06:55 AM
Interesting conversation. I've slept with stuff under my pillow hoping to absorb by osmosis. It didn't work. I'm no expert, but you gotta do the work to improve. Really.

Keef
09-30-2010, 09:24 AM
forcing your self to practice to the point of not enjoying it sets up a mental block to progress
.
I have several art projects in the works right now but i only work on them when i am at my best the very second they start to aggravate me I stop and they sit as long as it takes until i am in the proper mood again. im thinking this nets me a better result. the nice thing about art is once its done its done forever !

rainbowjoe
09-30-2010, 04:48 PM
I'm a firm believer that an hour of jamming with friends is more effective than a month of solo practice. Makes it easier to get a sense of rhythm, plus you're more inclined to try harder and do your best in a social setting.

70sSanO
10-01-2010, 09:05 AM
I would think that the "additional sensory stimulation" would be listening to the piece that you are trying to learn.

If this is the case, then I can see some merit in it. We have all heard advertising jingles from years ago that we can recall years after the company has long gone out of business... if anyone wants to hear the Stanley Chevrolet jingle let me know.

I think the same can be applied to music, after listening to a song over and over again, we all know where the riffs and breaks are, even if we haven't learned to play the song yet. We can hear them in our heads. So it makes sense that listening to a song and then practicing it will help to improve our practice.

John