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Adobohobo
02-12-2012, 02:38 PM
Hey guys,

So I am still a beginner, probably only on my 3rd week of playing. I think I sound pretty OK (got some parts of some scales down fluently, chord transitions are smooth for the most part, I <hopefully> don't sound like a toddler tearing apart a piano...) but I still am nowhere near a level where I feel confident enough to play in front of others (I also am an extremely shy person).

Today however, I brought my uke in public for the first time. It was at this awesome restaurant in Islamorada, the Islamorada Fish Co. They had this nice little sitting area doubling as a dock/mini beach, and I just chilled in a chair and played around.

Suddenly, someone saw me and asked what kind of guitar was that (lol silly) and my mom and I told them it was a ukulele. They were intrigued and asked me to play. Now, I knew they weren't too versed in what sounds good on a uke and what doesnt, and like someone here on UU said, it's easy to get away with playing a not-so-impressive song on the Uke vs a guitar.

I was just too shy and too uncomfortable with my abilities to play. I don't know any -complete- songs that are impressive (ie: Guitar Gently Weeps, On to california, Staten Island Slide, Stairway to Heaven, etc, fingerpicking stuff) enough, and playing a few chords seemed to basic to fulfill their request...

So yeah, I still won't play anything for anyone outside of my immediate family, who has to bear with my 24/7 uke-ing. I wanted to know when exactly you guys who have played in front of others have felt confident enough to (just so I can gauge where I am at in terms of development). For me, when I learn any of those impressive songs I mentioned, that'll be my 'pocket-song' for emergency mini-concerts like that lol.

Tudorp
02-12-2012, 02:49 PM
For me, it seems to be different now than it was years ago. Being a 35 or so year guitar/bass veteran, I found it easier to play organized gigz than I do today. I just did what I did, and it wasn't any big deal. But, even that said, it has always been much easier for me to play in more of a intimate atomosphere. That can mean a few people, or many. A better word is "Informal". When it is spontanious, and informal, I play better, and just have more fun with it, than I do in an organized setting or scripted event. Today, with the uke, is just the same. I do better just being with a bunch of people, then upon requests, cracking out the uke and having fun with it.

Tudorp
02-12-2012, 02:54 PM
To add to that, I would like to mention. Just continue playing it, and have fun with it. Appreciate everything you do play. Like I mentioned I seemed to have always had something with strings in my hands, but now these days, I can't play much anymore due to a couple issues (athritis and recently a stroke). I have lost much of it, and you seem to take it for granted until ya loose it. Play like you will loose it tomorrow and enjoy and have fun. Fortunatly, I have my daughter whom is keeping me involved, and I appreciate each and every note. ;)

Adobohobo
02-12-2012, 03:06 PM
To add to that, I would like to mention. Just continue playing it, and have fun with it. Appreciate everything you do play. Like I mentioned I seemed to have always had something with strings in my hands, but now these days, I can't play much anymore due to a couple issues (athritis and recently a stroke). I have lost much of it, and you seem to take it for granted until ya loose it. Play like you will loose it tomorrow and enjoy and have fun. Fortunatly, I have my daughter whom is keeping me involved, and I appreciate each and every note. ;)

What a great philosophy Tudorp!! I actually went ahead and wrote that quote 'Play like you'll lose it tomorrow' on my wall near my bed (I have a few quotes up there too).

OldePhart
02-12-2012, 03:07 PM
Playing with others can be a huge boost for your confidence. If you can find a club or just a couple of friends who play (and not necessarily ukulele) and play with them you'll find that from there the transition to an "audience" is really no big deal.


John

Nickie
02-12-2012, 05:18 PM
For the first few weeks, I played with other ukulele players, or folks with guitars or keyboard, or bass. That was a nice comfort zone when I had no confidence.
It was almost a year before I felt comfortable playing in front of my freinds that were holding only drinks or chicken wings....
I still feel most supported playing with other ukeists...

Teek
02-12-2012, 10:18 PM
I could take a horse over a 5or 6 foot fence in a stadium in front of tons of people ( I could Roman ride too), and I can ride my moto through the canyons with other riders with little sweat, but put another person in front of me when I have a uke and forget it, I just freeze up.

I don't understand it, except I remember when I was maybe 17 going to my grandpa's house and most of the family is / was musicians (gramps was a bandleader), and I took a new to me guitar to the family gathering. So my aunt said play something, and I could at the time play a simple version of Meadowlands or Cossack Patrol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWfbOY7vtLA), but couldn't remember crap. I was shocked by myself.

So there is something there trauma wise I guess (my mother was abusive and snotty to me about my ukes after at first being positive so maybe that has continued it) or a fault in my brain. :confused:

chris667
02-12-2012, 11:31 PM
Last night after going to our workshop, a few of us went for a drink.

We were all a bit high from playing and singing along together, so we were super confident. The ukes came out and we started messing around.

Eventually people started to come over, and we were ended up doing a little performance. And a girl gave me her phone number.

I'd never have had the nerve to do any of that on my own, but when there were a couple of us we were great!

So if you want to start playing in public, perhaps you should start playing in a group!

elisdad
02-13-2012, 12:46 AM
Finding someone to play with was a key thing for me. More so than playing, I had a very difficult time singing in front of other folks. I have a buddy that I play with that gave me the best advice ever, "just belt it out man". I have taken that to heart and I think it applies to playing as well. Find songs you like, then play and sing them and have a good time. If you are having a good time, other folks will too. One of the things I did to help me get through the dread of singing in front of other folks was to start a youtube channel and challenge myself to post videos. If you check out my channel, it is clear that I am not much of a singer, but I have found that most folks that don't pay to see you don't mind, as long as you can all have a good time. The first step in everyone having a good time is you strumming that uke. Oh, and you don't have to play like Jake, Aldrine, or others to have a great time.

garyg
02-13-2012, 01:42 AM
Hey, many of us have a difficult time playing in public. I teach a class of 140 college students every year with no trouble but put me up in front of an audience playing uke and I'm nervous as hell (and I've only really done it once). Of course this is obviously a confidence issue, I'm an expert in my lecturing field but a relatively new uke player who hasn't played a musical instrument since back in the mid- last century. Practice always makes perfect, the more you do it the more confident and better you will get. Certainly a sense of shamelessness and lack of fear of making mistakes helps <g>. Lately I've been making uke videos for youtube and I hope that will help with playing in front of an audience. A camera allows do overs but my blood pressure definitely goes up when I see that little red light. So maybe try that and see if it helps, but more importantly master some songs and that will boost your confidence and abilities. The uke sounds so unusual that they don't have to be the fancy songs you mentioned, simple two chord folk songs sound pretty good. You can also try easy audiences to start with like the old folks home, or just noodle around at a restaurant with an open deck like you were doing. I may be unusual but I have a much more difficult time playing with others than by myself, they seem to throw me off, especially if someone throws a wrong note. cheers, g2

Kem
02-13-2012, 03:07 AM
I think one of the biggest reasons I don't mind playing in public is that I can improvise. Nervousness does affect memory; ask any seven-year-old at a piano recital. If you depend entirely on memorisation, you may end up freezing more often, as one forgotten note can stop a piece dead. However, if you get to the point where you can make up music on the fly, you'll be able to work through the fear of freezing.

Weird sort-of-relevant story: my band was meeting yesterday night. We were playing "Wildwood Flower." One of the singers (who plays the guitar kind of minimally...mostly just really simple chords) grabbed my mandolin, demanded I show her where the chords were, and started playing along. She had never touched a mandolin before. By the end of the song, she was improvising the melody. The guitarist and I were just sort of taking this in stride (he's always grabbing my mandolin too, and both of us tend to bounce around between various stringed instruments); the bassist and the other singer were staring at us all in disbelief. I think fearlessness is important in music. If you're constantly worried about sounding perfect the first time out, you'll be defeated before you begin. If you're the kind of person who can steal someone's mandolin in the middle of a rehearsal and screw around with it until it starts to sound good, you're going to be fine.

mendel
02-13-2012, 03:28 AM
The beautiful thing about making Uke music is that the only one you have to make happy is you. Play for yourself, and look at it as a blessing to others if they are close enough to hear it. In my opinion, even a bad Ukelist makes beautiful music by strumming or picking those 4 strings. As long as you are happy. no one else's opinion matters at all.

Papa Tom
02-13-2012, 03:36 AM
>>>>I could take a horse over a 5or 6 foot fence in a stadium in front of tons of people...<<<<<

...but you freeze up when you're asked to play your uke for two or three people. I know that feeling, too, having played drums in sold-out coliseums with not a touch of nerves for many years. I started playing uke about five years ago, and when I get "in the zone," I think I'm pretty good. However, hand me the instrument in front of my 3-year-old granddaughter and I can't even remember the changes to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

I'm not sure what it is with the uke; perhaps it's the fact that it's such an intimate little instrument that puts you so "out there" with nothing to hide behind, like a horse or a set of drums. I don't feel like I've moved off square one with regard to my inability to play for any group of people without being totally self-conscious. If you find a solution, please let me in on it!

EscapeTheClouds
02-18-2012, 02:03 PM
I'm a naturally shy person. What's helped my comfort level is video recording myself playing, and of course rehearsing as much as I can. That way I don't need to think about the music and it flows naturally.

Last year, I released a new CD and wanted to perform some of my originals live with nothing but an electric uke. So, when I'd be alone in the house, I'd setup my amp, mic stand, and my camera out in the middle of the living room and play and play while filming it. Not that I'm a great live performer now or anything, but it helped me get more comfortable with some*thing* watching. I wouldn't have any problem anyone asking me to play a song now.

The fun part is posting it up on YouTube for the world to see, LOL. :) Here's one I shot at 3am when I was fighting a bit of insomnia.

Warriors Without a War

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on7bqra2I04