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View Full Version : Practice - How and How Much?



Mandarb
09-30-2010, 07:17 AM
There have been some interesting threads recently about practice. I am curious how people practice - quiet room with no distractions vs. while watching tv, scales/technique vs. just noodling/playing songs, or maybe something else. How much time do you practice in a given day?



I have only been playing for a few months. I find that most days I practice an hour or two while watching tv - just trying to get my fingers to cooperate and make some chord changes smoothly.

janeray1940
09-30-2010, 07:39 AM
I practice for a couple hours, pretty much every evening, but I don't really view it as "practice" so much as just something I like to do. I take private lessons (in an attempt to learn to improvise, play by ear, and play lead) and when something is especially tricky I do "practice" it repeatedly - I'll single out a few measures of a song and focus on that for a while, then mess around playing less challenging pieces. I do play scales, but probably not nearly enough!

fitncrafty
09-30-2010, 07:42 AM
I have had my uke about 7 weeks, almost 8 now. I have pretty much practiced everyday with exception a few days. I go back and forth with what I practice. Boot camp, books, tabs, etc.. I do try to practice scales for a few minutes, chords for a bit and songs. I am mostly finger picking because my strumming isn't so good, but I am working on it.
I generally practice in quiet, but sometimes I practice while the family is home and then there is guitars, violins, flutes, televisions, fighting you name it. I prefer to play when everyone is gone.
I don't have a set time, usually when my hands start getting tired or my fingertips are tingling, or when I realize that I have a deadline to do my schoolwork and I have barely touched it since I have gotten my uke...(oops!) then I stop. I may put it down and pick it up several times a day, when I need a break from studying too...
I will be curious to hear what others say!

joeybug
09-30-2010, 10:23 AM
I practise my Uke after school work, if I don't have school work them I'll practise all day between doing things online. Our house is never quiet so usually the TV is on or something else is going on. I don't practise chords (although I really should!) and right now I'm working on perfecting a song, but will switch between that and whatever practise sheet of Boot Camp I am on. When I'm actually playing, I'm not trying to do anything else, but when I'm just fiddling with chord fingering I might be reading a web page or something....

fitncrafty
09-30-2010, 10:59 AM
[QUOTE=joeybug;481599 I don't practise chords (although I really should!) and right now I'm working on perfecting a song, but will switch between that and whatever practise sheet of Boot Camp I am on. When I'm actually playing, I'm not trying to do anything else, but when I'm just fiddling with chord fingering I might be reading a web page or something....[/QUOTE]


Boot camp is practicing chords... :) I am doing it too!

DAPuke
09-30-2010, 01:01 PM
I try and practice each day. Sometimes for only for a few mins. sometimes all day, (on the weekends) with many breaks in between sessions. usually my practice consists of playing though "my songs" about 20, three to eight chorders. To practice barre chords I play a few songs that are all barre chords. I incorporate techiques i want to learn into the songs I practice. Like specific strums and picking patterns. When I come to things that are difficult I focus on that, (the evil 'E', or B flat) working hard chord progressions over and over. I'll sit with my wife watching tv, mute the strings and pick or work on strums, she's super supportive. Some things I know will take many hours of practice, for example the triplet strum, so this am I had a spare 10mins before leaving for work so I sat with muted strings and worked on that. At times I am overwhelmed with how much i have to learn to become even an OK player, but I use you all, my UU family, for motivation. This evening I'm getting together with a couple friends, a stand up bassist and a guitar player to work up a few songs to do at a local open mic... Got to go practice a little more, the feeling has come back into my wrist and thumb, (you know, barre chords) :)
DAP

Chris Tarman
09-30-2010, 06:45 PM
For me it depends. I sometimes practice specific things. I sometimes noodle while I'm watching TV or messing about on the computer. I use the noodling time to try to get things committed to "muscle memory", or to just train my ear to chords and intervals (I'm a bass player, so fairly new to this whole chord-playing thing). I usually either noodle or work in a more disciplined manner for at least 1/2 hour per day. Sometimes a lot longer. It depends on how I feel. I want ukulele to be fun, so I never play unless I feel like it. But I feel like it most of the time!

Brad Bordessa
09-30-2010, 07:35 PM
I think the best thing to practice is songwriting. It covers most aspects of playing plus you end up with songs and your own voice.

Swanny
09-30-2010, 08:07 PM
I've carried over my practice methods from my drumming years. I always practice the stuff I can't do well. It's funny how most people will find a certain aspect of their playing naturally easy and then practice that over and over. Sure you'll be great at it but you'll also be pretty one dimensional in your style.

I also always practice slow, slow, slow. You are basically imputing data into the old memory banks. Put in the wrong data more often than not (which happens with speedy practice) and it makes it so much tougher to cement that muscle memory in place.

I also practice in dead quiet so I can hear the nuances in my technique. Ever wonder why two good players can pick up the same uke but one guy just has such great tone over the other? That comes from really paying attention to the details of sound. The angle the strings are struck, the correct position of chording hand, etc.

And I stick with it because the rewards come in bunches, and most important I have fun doing it!

joeybug
09-30-2010, 08:14 PM
Boot camp is practicing chords... :) I am doing it too!

I meant scales, darn fingers! Yes, I am practising chords! :D

fitncrafty
10-01-2010, 12:28 AM
Joey I only know 2 scales right now.. and one I am not sure of the correct fingering (F major)
However I found a great printout of the major scales (which I love that it has music and tabs) so I can start learning more. I try to practice each one, all two of them, a few times when I sit down to play. It is a good way to warm up! Here's the link if you want http://liveukulele.com/tabs/scales/

Hippie Dribble
10-01-2010, 12:49 AM
hi Mandarb

truth is, I used to practice a lot till I joined UU a couple of months back...:)

These days, practice time is on the toilet ( I even put a uke wall hanger next to the dunny roll holder!!! sad, but true :p) and lately, on a Monday afternoon before our weekly uke meet-up.

Really though, I don't have much time to practice that much - not cause I'm any good - but because with a young family and children much time is accounted for, and also I'm one of those lucky few who gets to play uke as part of my job every day (as a Diversional Therapist and carer in a nursing home) so I'm real blessed that way...

joeybug
10-01-2010, 01:16 AM
Joey I only know 2 scales right now.. and one I am not sure of the correct fingering (F major)
However I found a great printout of the major scales (which I love that it has music and tabs) so I can start learning more. I try to practice each one, all two of them, a few times when I sit down to play. It is a good way to warm up! Here's the link if you want http://liveukulele.com/tabs/scales/

Thanks! I found the C major scale on Uke minutes and had a go at that, but this will come in very handy! Shall print it out and add it to my learning book!

joeybug
10-01-2010, 01:20 AM
hi Mandarb

truth is, I used to practice a lot till I joined UU a couple of months back...:)

These days, practice time is on the toilet ( I even put a uke wall hanger next to the dunny roll holder!!! sad, but true :p) and lately, on a Monday afternoon before our weekly uke meet-up.

Really though, I don't have much time to practice that much - not cause I'm any good - but because with a young family and children much time is accounted for, and also I'm one of those lucky few who gets to play uke as part of my job every day (as a Diversional Therapist and carer in a nursing home) so I'm real blessed that way...

I know that one! UU is addictive as the Uke!

I would practise on the loo, but I'd never get out, so...I practise at my desk instead!

Mandarb
10-01-2010, 03:33 AM
Thanks for all of the feedback so far. Would love to hear some more thoughts on the subject.

penel
10-01-2010, 06:54 AM
#1) Listening to recordings of whoever you want to sound like counts as practice.

Feed your ear worms.
If you're learning a new tune or song, loop it. Don't frustrate yourself trying to learn from printed music or tab until your ear worms know it by heart.

#2) Keep your uke handy.

This is permission to decorate every room in your house with an uke if you like. If you have to go through all the trouble to get your uke out of a case, it will be just that. A trouble.

They make uke hangers. Get one for every room and hang an uke on it (plus a tuner for every uke if possible). If an uke is always within arm's reach you will reach for it.
Its amazing how much practice one can get in while waiting for water to come to a boil, pop corn to pop, or your spouse to find the car keys.

If people question your sanity tell them you were advised to hang ukuleles on the wall to adjust the fung shui, what ever.

If you think your uke is too precious to hang, fine. Keep the case open and ready.

70sSanO
10-01-2010, 09:38 AM
I probably won't give a good answer, but I play the ukulele just about every day so I don't have to practice.

When I was 8 I started playing piano (practice), then at 13 guitar (practice), about a dozen years ago I was asked to play bass at the church we were attending, so I learned to play bass (practice).

The thing is that when I started playing the ukulele a few years ago, I had some background that I could fall back on, so now I play for the fun of it. For once I don't have to worry about timing, or getting the riffs and fills just right. I can just pick it up and play. And quite frankly, lately I usually learn a song and then forget it and have to re-learn it again.

Every now and then I will dedicate myself to learning a song, I did that a couple of years ago with Guitar Gently Weeps, (although not exactly the same as Jake's), but I don't remember a note of it today.

Kudos to the really good dedicated ukulele players out there. But for me the ukulele is a way to just kick back and relax, and I hope to keep it that way.

John

UkuLeLesReggAe
10-01-2010, 06:04 PM
I play once a day, generally at night because the ukulele sounds a lot better ? I practice by learning to use all 5 fingers on my right hand, which I've learnt to do over the past few weeks..

I duno, I just play songs over and over again... Change technique all the time.

ichadwick
10-02-2010, 02:10 AM
Every spare moment. I keep a uke beside my computer so I can strum and pick while waiting for downloads, etc. I have one beside the couch so I can strum during TV commercials. I have a couple in the dining room so I can strum any time... I often spend an hour or so at night just working through some songs after Susan's gone to bed and I can practice quietly downstairs.

Mandarb
10-02-2010, 06:56 PM
I probably won't give a good answer, but I play the ukulele just about every day so I don't have to practice.

When I was 8 I started playing piano (practice), then at 13 guitar (practice), about a dozen years ago I was asked to play bass at the church we were attending, so I learned to play bass (practice).

The thing is that when I started playing the ukulele a few years ago, I had some background that I could fall back on, so now I play for the fun of it. For once I don't have to worry about timing, or getting the riffs and fills just right. I can just pick it up and play. And quite frankly, lately I usually learn a song and then forget it and have to re-learn it again.

Every now and then I will dedicate myself to learning a song, I did that a couple of years ago with Guitar Gently Weeps, (although not exactly the same as Jake's), but I don't remember a note of it today.

Kudos to the really good dedicated ukulele players out there. But for me the ukulele is a way to just kick back and relax, and I hope to keep it that way.

John

Good feedback. That is another element that I was curious about - how many people play vs. practice. I still practice as I am still learning but I would love to get to a point where I can just play. Either way I am having fun. I hope others - whether they define their uke time as practice or play are having fun.

70sSanO
10-02-2010, 08:22 PM
Mandarb,

Because I had a number of years playing guitar, I didn't have to learn how to fret the strings and strum or pick the notes, although good ukulele strumming is an art I have not fully mastered. For someone just learning, it does take practice to get the basics down well enough to enjoy playing.

John

CoLmes
10-03-2010, 08:07 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPQfwx_t7Pg

Mandarb
10-04-2010, 04:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPQfwx_t7Pg

I remember you and I discussing this concept. How much time do you spend a day working on those things? Do you spend more time "perfecting" songs or techniques you already know or new stuff?

CoLmes
10-04-2010, 05:03 AM
I remember you and I discussing this concept. How much time do you spend a day working on those things? Do you spend more time "perfecting" songs or techniques you already know or new stuff?

Well I play the uke for an ungodly amount of time everyday. I'd probably guestimate for at least four to five hours. I'm starting to get better at making the time more about practicing though. I'm doing the things Aldrine said on the video a lot now.

As far as perfecting.. I play the same songs all the time. I kind of go through medleys and try different things that might sound good. I really only know maybe about 15-20 songs by heart and only a few I don't have to think about anymore.. and i'd say I don't really know how many I have perfected. I probably spend a lot of time making the song seem second nature to me. I've noticed once I get to that point I'll figure out how to add little parts to songs that make it mine. Garage band does wonders to really hear what you sound like. Other time is spent trying to figure out songs by ear as I'm realizing more and more that being able to do that is a huuuuuuuuuuge tool to have.