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FrankenNeko
05-21-2011, 09:37 PM
Hey everyone!

I just got my ukulele a couple months ago. I've been coming to this forum religiously looking at the clickable list of tabs. However, I'm wondering how you guys practice to improve on your basic skills. I try to look up different chord progressions and practice different strumming techniques. What do you guys do?

FrankenNeko

gritstone
05-21-2011, 10:32 PM
I've been playing uke for about 2 months also.

My practice involves playing a mixture of stuff I can play well (for the fun of it), then some I find difficult (learning) and also new stuff (more learning).

I've been really pleased and surprised how quickly I've progressed.

Oh, by the way, I haven't bothered learning a single chord, and probably won't even try to - I'm more interested in fingerstyle.
I can play though...

mm stan
05-21-2011, 11:33 PM
Aloha Frank,
Welcome to the UU and our forums and have fun and enjoy....google Musicteacher2010 and Keonepax for awesome ukulele tutorial videos and Dr uke for songs, chords and instructions..Happy
Strrummings...MM Stan

tgaines
05-22-2011, 05:03 AM
I am also pretty new at the uke and I usually first practice switching from chord to chord to build up fluidity, stretch out the fingers and hands, and make sure that my finger positionings are good. Then I alternate between practicing a song that I'm learning, and songs that I know well, and songs that I know on guitar.

kenikas
05-22-2011, 06:55 AM
Practice? Whats that??......really I just feel lucky when I can get a chance to pick up one of my ukes and plink around! But the sites MM Stan recomended are quite helpful, and as tgaines said just practicing chord changes seems to help me a lot. I've also found Ralph Shaw's Essential Strums DVD, and Ukulele Solos DVD (from the UU store) very good.

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
05-22-2011, 09:11 AM
Welcome to UU!

Everytime I pick up the ukulele, I play at least one song for fun. When I want to improve, I find that learning new chords, progessions, picking and strumming techniques works best for me in the context of a song. Lately, a couple of great 50s method books ("New Ukulele Method" by May Singhi Breen and "Collection for the Ukulele No. 3" by Cliff Edwards) and a couple recent Jim Beloff collections ("Ukulele Favorites", "Ukulele Gems") have provided plenty of material to stretch my abilities.

OldePhart
05-22-2011, 09:55 AM
Frequently.

PhilUSAFRet
05-22-2011, 10:09 AM
If you haven't mastered your chords (hey, B.B. King didn't until later life) then you may still need to bone up with something like Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp. I now use it as a warm up. Also, Google Dr. Uke's Waiting Room, a great one-page listing of links for uke theory pages, etc. etc

http://www.4shared.com/dir/QB7udDJq/Free_Booklet_.html

blender
05-22-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm a new uke player also. So far I have all of 5 months experience practicing so take my advice FWIW.
I second Uncle Rod's Boot Camp as a warm up and going over basic chords/keys. I'm trying to relearn theory so there's an e-book or two over on http://ukulelehunt.com that I'm looking at.
Next I try to learn/play a few songs I like. My goal is to memorize 10 songs (then I'll work on 10 more).
Finally, my next objective is to begin working on finger-picking. Somehow my fingers are *still* not cooperating.

That's just *my* way of practicing and will likely change.

Sesska
05-23-2011, 02:26 AM
it all depends on your musical objectives... there is no general receip that we could apply on everybody.

haolejohn
05-23-2011, 03:30 AM
Hey everyone!

I just got my ukulele a couple months ago. I've been coming to this forum religiously looking at the clickable list of tabs. However, I'm wondering how you guys practice to improve on your basic skills. I try to look up different chord progressions and practice different strumming techniques. What do you guys do?

FrankenNeko

I just play. Play a lot. Then play some more. Structured practise has never worked for me.

Sesska
05-23-2011, 10:56 PM
Structured practise has never worked for me.

i'm definitally in this view too... some people see their musical way as an obstacle course, with objectives to reach, medals to get and sweater to soak... i just see mine as a nice and pleasant walk in the woods, where it's ok to stop for a while on a rock to listen up what's going on with closed eyes, or getting back on my path, taking some unplanned ways... with no real plan between point A and B (even a very vague idea of what ''point B'' can be...)

ukulele does allow this ''careless attitude'' much more than other (usually classical) instruments which require a true discipline.

all depends on what one wants to achieve as well... masterlevel fingerpicking and out of space choruses do require as much work on a ukulele as you would do on a piano or a clarinett.

Teek
05-24-2011, 11:43 PM
I like to fingerpick so I practice patterns I know, try a few new ones over chords. If I'm tired I just go through Boot Camp a few times to just keep building flexibility and muscle memory. When I'm ambitious I tackle a YouTube lesson or two, and some tabbed songs I have been trying to be able to play from memory for probably 6 months now. I don't mind going through 10 times or more in a row. If nothing else it does sink in and build speed. I usually have big chunks of a song I can remember but there are a few sticky points I have to practice the measures of a few times in a row. The problem is I often can't do it more than once a week for a few hours. The rest of the week is maybe an hour here or there, plus a few minutes on the couch before I go to bed. I feel daily practice would be more helpful.

I just got a blues guitar lesson set and really like the looks of it as a lot can go right to uke. That will be my daily 20-30 minutes and I'll see if it helps me not having gaps in the process.

Kat
05-30-2011, 10:36 AM
Hello there! I am not going to tell you how you should practise, but I will tell you how I practise and you can take from this any ideas that may be helpful to you :)

Full disclosure - I am in the beginning-to-intermediate category of playing but seem to be bumbling along at a steady pace so far. I have two types of practise:

unstructured play, where I just do whatever I want, such as practising songs or just plinking around. I try to play with my ukulele every day. I even bring it to work sometimes because I work night shift and at 4:00 AM I've got the whole cafeteria to myself so I can quietly plink away without bothering anyone or being embarrassed!

structured practise - I have a sort of format that I stick to a couple of times per week so that I can make sure that I am pushing myself to learn new things. My structured practise doesn't have a time limit or anything like that - it's not like I say "I am going to do XYZ for 15 minutes"...I just work on one thing until I've felt like I've done it enough for the day and then move on to the next thing. My practise sessions are structured as followed:

1. Tune my ukulele

2. Warm up with some scales

3. Practise chord changes. This can include Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp, but it can also include just grabbing a random chord from a chart and practising switching between that and other chords repeatedly (like going C, Ebm, C, Ebm, C, Ebm...), or practising chords from a song I've been working on.

4. Work on a lesson or two from a lesson book. I have a couple of different lesson books on the go so that I don't get bored. I sometimes work on a new lesson or sometimes I review an old lesson - I just do whatever grabs me that day. But once I have picked a lesson, I try to really study and work on it, even if it's something I think I already know.

5. The fun part - songs! I keep a list of songs that I am working on so that I can glance at it and see if there is anything I haven't played in awhile that maybe I ought to refresh, but I don't limit myself to just practising songs on the list. If I try something new, I just add it to the list ;) I have both easy and difficult song books handy, some with tab and some with musical notation. I work on a few easy songs, and then push myself with something really hard, even if it's way beyond my skill level.

This is how I have been practising thus far, but of course it is subject to change as I keep learning and growing. :)

ItsMrPitchy
05-30-2011, 11:23 AM
1. Practice scales to get m fingers warmed up
2. Practice chords and chord progressions
3. Learn new chords or new music theory that i can use to help my uke playing
4. Improvise/ play songs I already know
5. Learn a new song

I will usually do this a few times a week and not all in one sitting often between 2 or 3 sittings. Sometimes I will do more of one than another or sometimes i will leave one out. Its just what works for me but their are so many diffrent ways you can practice.

gnomethang
05-30-2011, 11:58 AM
I do like Kat's approach and endeavour to do the same. I also cannot recommend Uncle Rod's Boot Camp too highly. I have been playing about 7 months and havong practiced with these charts regularly I am finding a great payoff when it comes to approaching new material or even just 'busking' chords.

Laouik
05-31-2011, 06:56 AM
Hey everyone!

I just got my ukulele a couple months ago. I've been coming to this forum religiously looking at the clickable list of tabs. However, I'm wondering how you guys practice to improve on your basic skills. I try to look up different chord progressions and practice different strumming techniques. What do you guys do?

FrankenNeko

Personally - do it until I like it, play along with YouTube videos for timing. Then once I have a version I like I video myself and listen to see if it matches up to what I thought I was doing.

For twiddly bits I can practice for up to 2 weeks before it becomes how I want it... and I don't like songs without twiddly bits :p

bazmaz
06-01-2011, 01:05 AM
Regularly and structured, but always be aware if you think you are overdoing it - you could put yourself off practice.

I blogged about this here - http://www.gotaukulele.com/2010/11/how-much-should-i-practice-ukulele.html - hope it helps you