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icepick
12-21-2011, 08:27 PM
i have owned a ukulele for about 2 months, during that time there are only 3-4 days i haven't practiced with it, i can stumble through a couple of songs,but it sounds like crap. I decided to learn one song and one song only, i practice the song for at least 1 hour everyday, sometimes 3-4 times a day for about 30 min. still having trouble with chord changes/strumming/timing.
how do you go about learning a song so fairly quickly so it sounds like a song?
how long does it take, (on average) to learn a song?

RawrGazzawrs
12-21-2011, 09:42 PM
the time in which someone can learn a song varies from a person to another. it took me 3 months to start learning while my guitar gently weeps and 3 weeks to learn it. the main reason was the amount of practice i put into it. at 3 months i wasn't so good either. i was just strumming chords and learning everything off the ukulele lessons aldrine did. i put a lot of time and effort into the song to learn it, and so will anyone who wishes to learn a song like that. and if you're still having trouble with transitioning from chord to chord then practice more and more. the way i learned how to transition chord to chord was just learning as many songs as i could. I looked for chords for a lot of songs on my itunes playlist and just went from there.

spookefoote
12-22-2011, 12:30 AM
Try to remember that you are learning two things at the same time. How to play a tune and also how to play the ukulele. There will come a point where you feel more confident about your playing and will therefore be concentrating on the tune. It all takes time and we've all been there. Enjoy and if it's any help you practise about the same amount of time as me.

tmm200
12-22-2011, 12:43 AM
A metronome is a big help. I plug some earbuds into mine and stick an earbud into my left ear. I then set the metronome for a tempo at which I can cleanly hit all the chords in time; in the beginning it's pretty slow. Over time muscle memory kicks in, and I can set the metronome a little faster and a little faster. Eventually, I work up to the actual tempo of the song.

PhilUSAFRet
12-22-2011, 01:00 AM
If you haven't, check out Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp. It's hard to learn a new song if you are not proficient at chord changes. Uncle Rod points out that for some of us, just trying to learn via playing songs isn't the best method. I too had this problem in the beginning and had to start over with Ukulele Boot Camp. Good luck.

Ukulele JJ
12-22-2011, 02:06 AM
What song is it? And are you using any particular strum pattern?

It could be that you're simply biting off a lot, and that there might be more appropriate "first songs" to learn at this stage.

JJ

Uncle Rod Higuchi
12-22-2011, 03:35 AM
Hey icepick, ditto the above.

In case you don't have a link to the Boot Camp, it's below my signature.

Spookefoote, my point exactly. Learning one thing can be difficult and to try to learn 2 or more simply multiplies the difficulty.

PhilUSAFRet, thanks for the love man! I truly believe if we can help newbies to learn commonly-played chords and encourage them to practice changing from chord to chord smoothly, in time with the tempo of a song (the song they really want to learn), that they will not only progress more quickly, but that they'll have a lot more fun doing it.

Icepick, we're all on your side rooting for you.

Keep uke'in',

icepick
12-22-2011, 04:25 AM
I downloaded the "Ukulele Boot camp" looks like it will be a big help, the song is "Do you want to know a secret", I may put it on the back burner and focus on some two-three chord songs, the see what happens!
Thanks for all the positive input, there may be hope after all!!

PoiDog
12-22-2011, 04:25 AM
Try to remember that you are learning two things at the same time. How to play a tune and also how to play the ukulele. There will come a point where you feel more confident about your playing and will therefore be concentrating on the tune. It all takes time and we've all been there. Enjoy and if it's any help you practise about the same amount of time as me.

This.

The good news is that (for me, anyway), learning how to properly form chords and move between them was enhanced by trying to learn a song. It provided a solid destination, rather than just a series of repetitive exercises - even though that's really what it was in the beginning.

Perhaps you can break the song into bits (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc), and just focus on those elements until you're comfortable with them, then put it all together.

But really, until you develop some "muscle memory" for where to place your fingers and seamlessly switching between chords, playing a song will be a bit of a challenge. And that's not even counting working in the proper strum patterns, timings, & techniques!

I've found that what worked for me is the chopping up thing, where I basically turned a song into a series of exercises and just worked on one part at a time.

What I tell everyone that tries to learn about anything is that while they are trying to reach a specific destination, it's the journey that's important.

Oh, and remember to have fun while doing this. Even if all you're doing is moving between C and F, enjoy the process!

icepick
12-22-2011, 05:05 AM
Great info very helpful, I plan to do the boot camp, then Uncle Rod's song book. looks better than what I've been trying, (can't keep up with Ukulele Mike's YouTube videos) My goal is to learn mostly Beatles songs,then move to other genres.
People say the uke is only a toy, my opinion is that if you enjoy playing with it, it's a toy. but we all gotta have toys.

ogg
12-22-2011, 05:46 AM
I'm on my third month learning the Uke. Having never played anything musical I was completely awestruck when I realized I was actually changing chords on the fly while playing. I've been working my way through that 'Boot Camp' program. I replaced the diminished chords with more useful chords in the same key (seventh's). At this point I don't think dim's will be very useful and I wanted to spend my time on more frequently used chords. I usually stay on the same sheet until all the chords are clean sounding. C and G were easy, F not so easy. You will see the C key chords repeated on all of the other sheets so at least get all of the C sheet down solid and at speed before expecting your playing to sound too sweet. Plus the less you have to think about chord changes the more time you will have to focus on strumming/singing and generally looking like you know what you're doing.

I never heard anyone call the uke a 'toy' but I guess all musical instruments are just toys for making noise...jus saying

manapualabs
12-22-2011, 07:42 AM
I downloaded the "Ukulele Boot camp" looks like it will be a big help, the song is "Do you want to know a secret", I may put it on the back burner and focus on some two-three chord songs, the see what happens!
Thanks for all the positive input, there may be hope after all!!

Hello! If you are trying to play "Do You Want To Know A Secret" like this:
http://www.beatlesite.info/rick/beatlesite/doyouwanttoknow.shtml
IMHO, this is a really difficult first song to learn! I've only been playing for about a month and I started by going through Uncle Rod's Boot Camp several times a day. (Uncle, t'anks, eh?) I found that this helped with chord changes and also strengthened my fingers so I didn't have to stop every ten minutes and shake my hand!

I also like Richard G's Ukulele Songbook:
http://www.scorpex.net/Uke/
It's got a lot of different kinds of songs/chords at different levels.

Good luck and have fun!

cantsing
12-28-2011, 03:54 AM
Lots of great advice here. I'd add one thing--we all learn at our own pace, so don't compare your progress to others. You sound motivated to learn, so you'll get there!

SailingUke
12-28-2011, 04:49 AM
I downloaded the "Ukulele Boot camp" looks like it will be a big help, the song is "Do you want to know a secret", I may put it on the back burner and focus on some two-three chord songs, the see what happens!
Thanks for all the positive input, there may be hope after all!!

Go through your song and just write the chords on a blank sheet of paper (make an Uncle Rod practice sheet).
Practice the chord progression by strumming 8 strums per chord. When you get proficient at the chord changes then reduce
the strums to 4. As you get smoother you can increase your speed, when you can make all the changes then start humming the melody and see if you can make the proper changes.
Before you know it you will have a new song.

So keep working on "Do you want to know a secret", but shorten your practice time to maybe 10-15 minutes at a time.
Work on some other simple songs and exercises while you are learning. Most of us find that numerous short sessions accomplish more than one long session.
Good luck and welcome aboard !!