View Full Version : The Dreaded First Plateau

08-09-2011, 05:53 AM
Well 6 weeks into the uke and I think I have hit my first plateau. I have gone through multiple plateaus on the guitar and suck so bad at mandolin, I don't think I have hit any plateaus on it-ha ha.

On the guitar, I just keep plugging away and eventually you get through it. I am curious as to whether anyone has a "method" to break through these frustrations. I can strum and play about 8 songs and can finger pick Happy Birthday and Twinkle Twinkle and am working on another one; so I have made good progress. I just don't want to stall out, but then again that may be inevitable as from what I understand that's how music learning goes. Any ideas? :confused:

08-09-2011, 06:26 AM
whats your plateau?

08-09-2011, 06:27 AM
Hitting a plateau is a fairly common event in music.
Sometimes you need to back up just a bit to a lower level and then whip past where you are.
I like to study a little theory to fill in what I have been playing I find it helps me move on.
I also find playing with others will get me motivated as well.
Go take a class or workshop on something new to you. Attend a festival where some of the pros are.
And the biggest hint is keep practicing, music (not just ukulele) can be a life long journey.

08-09-2011, 07:48 AM
Look for Jim D'Ville's Play By Ear Workshops - I think he's headed to the Pacific Northwest. Well worth your time, and a minimal cost.

While it may seem very basic, he refers to himself (and many of us) as "beginnerintermediateadvanced" players, and has great pointers. While the material itself isn't new, the presentation is fresh, and very helpful.


08-09-2011, 10:05 AM
What plateau? I'm a uke beginner (5 weeks), but not as far along as you are. I am a musician though and have played another instrument for years. To me, it doesn't sound like you've hit a plateau; It sounds like you're bored. When I'm bored, I either play music that I really like or get some new charts to try. Maybe even jam with some other folks. To keep fresh, I just like to go through different songs. I recently bought Beloff's, "The Daily Ukulele." It has 365 songs and is keeping me occupied for now.

08-09-2011, 10:52 AM
I was fortunate enough to have a great "Meetup Group" nearby, and our monthly get togethers keep me excided about improving my playing. I was also one of those folks that had to slow up, go back, and insure I was mastering the basics in addition to playing songs that I enjoyed playing.

08-11-2011, 11:06 PM
my advice would be two things: First as mentioned before, back it off...even (GASP!) but the uke down for a week...I find i only make progress with i'm really amped up about playing. Play stuff you know, but mess with it a little: play it faster, in a slow style, learn to MAKE music not just play the chords. Also, try something wildly new. If you don't feel like what you are playing is any kind of challenge, do something the feels completely unnatural...try working on finger picking (lots of good stuff on here to help you along or PM me) maybe try learning PART of a jake or aldy song...(it may not work, but it will challenge you)...work on memorizing scales...or pick a song with chords that make your brain freeze...Gm7sus38aug3add4.....More often than not these things help me out, when you challenge yourself you may "fail" in the short term...but some connections in your brain get made, and you'll come back to it a few months later and it will all make sense...Good luck and keep it fresh

Uke Whisperer
08-12-2011, 02:56 AM
I have tried to limit Plateaus during the Uke learning process.

Most of Plateaus are speed related. Practice is the key for me to get past those without getting hung-up on them. I use one technique I learned MANY years ago and that is to not practice anything, at or near, a speed that you are able to accomplish. I try to begin practice at a speed where I am below 50% successful. When I improve to where I'm "nearing" the speed I'm shooting-for, I raise the goal and go to where around 50% successful again. I use that for reading the music, strumming, picking, transitions, etc. The technique has always served me well. I used it in hitting "fast balls" in Little League, typing, racing, etc. I used it to become proficient at sending/receiving Morse code and that's when I realized that I was either not hitting many plateaus, or not realizing it when I did.

Good luck!

08-12-2011, 06:27 AM
Look for Jim D'Ville's Play By Ear Workshops - I think he's headed to the Pacific Northwest. Well worth your time, and a minimal cost.

I caught Jim's workshop about two weeks ago and it was very fun. I went on a whim because I saw the ad for his workshop on-line and being a beginner I was a little intimidated to attend. I didn't know what to expect. His presentation is entertaining and informative. Although it didn't improve my playing (not that kind of workshop), it opened my eyes to many possibilities and I would recommend it to anyone of any skill level. My two cents :o)