View Full Version : How do you stay motivated?

04-01-2011, 01:52 PM
I started playing about 5 months ago and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I have come from a bluegrass background so I have a lot of songs already between my ears. I have gotten relatively proficient in the major chords and am picking up new songs pretty fast but am starting to get a little bored. What I mean is I need to learn different strumming techniques, maybe scales???? My question is what do you do to increase proficiency and keep your playing fresh? Any suggestions??? I am really wanting to increase my learning so I appreciate your help in the learning curve.

04-01-2011, 01:55 PM
I try to make YouTube videos. If you do more than just simple strumming and singing its pretty challenging (for me anyway). Try multi-tracking, singing and playing all the different parts, fancy screens etc etc. You can also try working up a repertoire to do at an open mic. Nothing sharpens the senses like an open mic on the next evening lol.

04-01-2011, 02:06 PM
+1 for hitting the Youtube, and an hour a day dedicated entirely to sounding like Ukulele Ike or George Formby...because that stuff is not written down

04-01-2011, 02:14 PM
I'm with SweetWaterBlue about the vidoes and open mike. I go to a place that does an open mike every two weeks, and videotapes the shows and puts them up on YouTube. It makes me want to keep working on different parts of my repertoire, and learning more songs, so they're not just putting up repeated videos of the same songs. I also look for songs that both I want to play because I like the song, and at the same time give me a playing challenge.

Another thing I like to do sometimes is try to play a song that I know I can't possibly play. I've got some sheet music of Dixie Dregs songs, and of Zappa's "Peaches en Regalia". I can't play them. But I'll try. On one hand, it forces me out of my comfort zone and makes me a little more proficient when I go back to the stuff I usually play. And it also helps me to be less intimidated by challenging music, so I find that some things I used to assume I couldn't play are now possible.

I've also got an instrumental I wrote many years ago. It's not that great a song to be worth ever playing live, but it's really technically challenging to play. When I get to where I'm playing it well during practice, it means I'm staying sharp enough that my overall playing is in good shape.

04-01-2011, 02:33 PM
Listen to Kalei Gamiao, Kris Fuchigami, Brittni Paiva, Aldrine Guerrero. And try following them :D
(Yes, i have strayed away from Jake, but it's only momentarily!)

04-01-2011, 02:44 PM
Move up the fretboard. If you're playing a song with open chords, try it with all closed chord positions. Work with turnarounds and other chord progressions that can push you through a song. If you have more than one ukulele size, try the songs with different uke scale voicings. You say, bluegrass, if you can, invest in a banjo uke. Its a whole different kind of animal.

Just a few thoughts...

04-01-2011, 03:10 PM
try playing songs with finger picking tabs like staten island slide, blue skys etc... and memorizing the songs... thats a challenge for me.

04-01-2011, 03:14 PM
Until I become proficien at campanella ukulele (http://ukulelehunt.com/2010/03/31/campanella-ukulele/), I will always remain motivated :)

04-01-2011, 04:05 PM
Until I become proficien at campanella ukulele (http://ukulelehunt.com/2010/03/31/campanella-ukulele/), I will always remain motivated :)

I'm with Jane: find a difficult style and try and master it.

I also like learning and recording songs--I'm not a youtube guy but I like sound recordings, so soundcloud is for me. I jazz the chords, make arrangements, learn new strums. I have a goal of a couple songs a month.

04-01-2011, 04:32 PM
Working on fingerpicking style, I find that if I <not> try to bite off too much to learn in one session at one time, this keep me pleasantly stimulated and moving ahead, without frustrating me. My temptation is to play long bits of a song before I have really heard them well and, often, try to play too quickly. So, my rec is to set aside a bit of time and fit the learning amount to that time. This is also how I teach juggling.

04-01-2011, 04:44 PM
Find published music. I'm currently going thru a Herb Ohta song book published by Jumpin' Jim. Very nice arrangements for solo uke. I also like John King's book in the same series... Bach's music can keep you busy for a lifetime.

04-01-2011, 06:20 PM
You might try a bit of time away from the uke. Re-discover a hobby that has taken a back seat to your "uke time" or find a new hobby or outlet. I have done this a few times and when I come back to the uke, it's fresh again to me. Just a thought...

04-01-2011, 06:45 PM
The uke continues to surprise me.

I am learning to read music and I'm continually surprised about how much the song changes the closer I can actually perform what is read. What I mean: is my hands can't seem to grasp the timing right away. As I continually try to perform the music as written, I keep getting surprised about the sounds that come alive.

There are so many aha moments.

So, because of that, I usually try to learn a number of songs at a time because if I just practiced one song, I'd get too frustrated.

I also now try to slow down and envision the music on sheet while I look away and play blind. That's a great drug when used properly.

mm stan
04-01-2011, 08:05 PM
I'd watch other people styles and try them out...and You tube is a great place for inspiration and motivation..Happy Strummings...MM Stan

04-02-2011, 02:29 AM
Great info guys (and ladies :) ) i am going to give them a try. I would love to find an open mike around here. I will give YouTube a try, should be quite humbling. The finger picking would be great. I want to take lead breaks on some of the tunes we play. Thanks for the help, rem

04-02-2011, 02:38 AM
Great info guys (and ladies :) ) i am going to give them a try. I would love to find an open mike around here. I will give YouTube a try, should be quite humbling. The finger picking would be great. I want to take lead breaks on some of the tunes we play. Thanks for the help, rem

I do a lot of things that everyone has said but something else that is motivating is getting a NEW UKE! It is very motivating to get a new one, one you really love. I don't have a collection like some people however, I do really love to switch around which one I am playing. I will play the same song with 2 or 3 different ukes and it sounds different but I am still learning the song...
Good luck... I hope to see some videos from you soon!

04-02-2011, 03:57 AM
Fitncrafty I like how you think!

Uncle Leroy
04-02-2011, 04:12 AM
I try and pick songs and styles that are out of my league so I have something to work toward. I also try and come up with some stuff of my own. Hanging out here really helps too.

04-02-2011, 04:50 AM
rem50 - an alternative to YouTube (mentioned by PDXUke) is SoundCloud. I find its much easier to throw a sound file together than a video, and the sound is better on SoundCloud. I can make sound files in my underwear and don't even have to clean up my uke room first lol.

I just wish UU would add the capability to have the SoundCloud embed like they do YouTube. We can embed a SoundCloud file in FB, so I know it can be done.

04-02-2011, 05:59 AM
Fitncrafty I like how you think!

Me too. Just wish I had a bigger bank account.. :)