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View Full Version : Sometimes I wonder why I'm trying to play



Normagal
11-11-2012, 12:00 PM
The only uke group in my area is an hour away. I went once, but it's just not gonna work for me to go back, especially with winter approaching. So I see no future of ever playing with anyone, as I don't know anyone around that plays an instrument. I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time.
I suppose I could take lessons, but they are expensive, and they are quite a drive too.
Do any of you play only by yourself?
I do play a bit with my grandkids, and had hoped to teach them, but we don't really have much time for that. I think it's gonna take more than a few minutes each week to work on it with them. They would rather just pretend to play rather than learn.

cheesegasuki
11-11-2012, 12:16 PM
I play by myself most of the time. There is a ukulele meet-up once a month about a 30 min. drive away from me that I try to attend.

That's why I love UU. Even though I spend most of my time playing in a bubble at my house, I can always pop online and watch videos and play along that way. Making videos of my own uke playing and posting them here has been a big source of encouragement and motivation to keep pushing myself and learning new things.

philrab66
11-11-2012, 12:34 PM
The only uke group in my area is an hour away. I went once, but it's just not gonna work for me to go back, especially with winter approaching. So I see no future of ever playing with anyone, as I don't know anyone around that plays an instrument. I'm wondering if I'm wasting my time.
I suppose I could take lessons, but they are expensive, and they are quite a drive too.
Do any of you play only by yourself?
I do play a bit with my grandkids, and had hoped to teach them, but we don't really have much time for that. I think it's gonna take more than a few minutes each week to work on it with them. They would rather just pretend to play rather than learn.

Why are you trying to learn?
Good question why do you not answer your question.

costaricadave
11-11-2012, 01:18 PM
I would rather play alone most of the time....haha

OldePhart
11-11-2012, 01:35 PM
I play ukulele alone most of the time. About the only exception is at UWC or the couple of times I've been asked to sit in with someone's band on the uke.

Playing alone doesn't bother me. I play for myself. I find it peaceful and stress-relieving. Occasionally I do a video for fun but if YouTube didn't exist it wouldn't really impact me much.

John

Paul December
11-11-2012, 01:54 PM
:confused: Most piano & guitar players play by themselves, why would uke be any different?
...the grandkids sound still too young and/or immature for learning an instrument; why not have them sing-along?
1 uke + grandkids singing = fun & motivating

Newportlocal
11-11-2012, 02:11 PM
Don't be discouraged. I play ukulele by myself most of the time and find it very enjoyable lots of tabs and videos out there. My kids are 4-9 years old. They have strummed a little and one tries to play chords, but we have fun when I jam and they sing, play harmonicas, a handy toy bucket for a drum,a tambourine,etc. Everyone is giggling, dancing, and laughing. Main thing is have fun.

PhilUSAFRet
11-11-2012, 02:43 PM
Lots of playalong stuff online. Also, check out eMedia Ukulele Method...a little pricey, but DVD takes you step by step, shows you how, play along, etc.

http://www.emediamusic.com/dvdrsc.html - shop around for price. Had a workshop with this guy last weekend at a uke festival....he's great.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=easy+ukulele+play+along&oq=ukulele+playalong&gs_l=hp.1.3.0i10l3j0i5i10.0.0.1.5890.0.0.0.0.0.0.0 .0..0.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.hah5Sl2Zl0o&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=7c64ae5108e4478&bpcl=38093640&biw=783&bih=333

Normagal
11-11-2012, 02:57 PM
The cool thing about the kids is they don't know or care if I play well or not. Thanks for reminding me- that really was my goal-just to have fun with them. Hard telling how good I'll ever get at playing.

Caddy65
11-11-2012, 03:10 PM
I have played guitar and other stringed instruments for over 50 years. New to the uke. I played in bands in the past, but the last was in the mid 80's as the mandolin player in a bluegrass band. Since then I just play at home, with only a couple exceptions. I do still enjoy playing and doing some home recording.

In the past I have recorded annual Christmas CDs and have given them to friends and family. They always seem happy to receive them and for some it has become a family tradition to play the new one on Christmas morning. Even if you have just a simple recorder you can record one part and play a second part along with it. That makes it a lot more fun.

I play mainly for my own enjoyment and relaxation. after many years of playing in bands I was burned out with all the practices and performance dates, etc. What I do now, just play at home, is a welcome relief. I can do this when I want and for as long as I want.

ukuLily Mars
11-11-2012, 04:13 PM
I have been playing for just over eleven months and I have never played with anyone. I knew when I started I was going to be on my own, and that's fine. Next week I am going to England and I will get to visit an 'uke group! Woo-hoo! But when I started I never even thought about that.

There are fun ways to participate here; check out the Contests board if you haven't already. Posting videos can be a scary proposition (I was terrified with my first video!) but everyone is very supportive. It's also fun to send the videos to my family and friends -- as an expat it's a nice way to feel like they're still close by. Maybe this year I will try Caddy's idea and do a Christmas CD!

Ultimately you have to enjoy playing for yourself. It's possible your grandkids may be too young, as someone mentioned. I used to teach knitting and I learned to not try to teach anyone under the age of 8 (motor skills were not ready for it, and the kids would get frustrated) and not to teach for too long at one time. Maybe ten minutes is enough. Or maybe you can get some other instruments, like tambourine or something, or they can just sing along.

You sound frustrated, though, which is unfortunate. I would encourage you to just keep an open mind and see where things go. If you enjoy playing that is all that matters.

Freeda
11-11-2012, 04:24 PM
I think even if the kids aren't into it, and even if it's not a vector for you to meet other ukers, playing alone still has a lot of merit. Making music activates so many parts of the brain, and stimulates mental agility as we age. It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and memory loss...


... and it's fun! If you can keep from getting frustrated. Play for yourself first, for everyone else second. When I started I had delusions of getting my nieces and clients to play, but with a few exceptions, they just weren't as excited (or as capable, from a motor skills perspective) as I had hoped. And that's fine. I have adjusted my expectations and moved on to the next thing.

((hug))

Normagal
11-11-2012, 04:30 PM
I do like playing just for me. Guess I'm just frustrated cause I'm concentrating on some things that haven't paned out like I thought they would. First there was an acquaintance that I thought would provide some assistance, that fizzled out. Then there was my sister in law that said she wanted to learn too. We drove to meet her, and went to a music store, she's really not interested. Then there's the uke group-I loved it, but I just can't go that far in the winter at night. So, ultimately, I'll play by myself, and have all of you to share it with!

J'Ukebox
11-11-2012, 05:34 PM
Hi, Norma - i hear ya & feel for ya... i am @ 3 yrs now & have NEVER been to a uke group... I originally bought ukes together w/ 2 other women, we were all supposed to play together & have a blast, yeah, it WOULDA, COULDA been, but never happened, not even once! Have taught 2 other people to play, expecting to have a playin' partner, once they were up to speed, well... one lives so far away that even getting together is a rare occasion, & being able to play & sing together is really, really RARE... and, get this... even tho we were friends in high school, played guitar & sang in harmony together in college... she has just begun teaching her husband, got him a banjo uke, as he has always wanted to play the banjo, & son of a gun, he is a "natural", is picking it right up, has a great sense of rhythm, and soon she will have NO need to get together with me, LOL!) The other, even tho we are right next door to each other, our styles & interests in genres, etc . are SO DIFFERENT, (whoEVER coulda guessed this??) that she just has no interest in playing together, maybe partly becuz i am a couple of yrs ahead of her & she feels "less than", plus, i'm sorry to say, has NO sense of rhythm...) So, i too play all by my lonesome & at least for the time being live VERY rurally, meaning expecting to find another uker is like a needle in a haystack proposition, plus, to make me even MORE "different" I play baritone almost exclusively... so i have come to believe that giving up all expectations is the key... (something i'm still working on, by the way!... ) I had high expectations for all 3 of those situations, which have all been dashed, so really i think it's all about being completely happy strummin' my ukes ALL BY MYSELF, and if perchance, some day another comes along & we sync well together, then HALLELUJAH!! Meanwhile, just be happy w/ the instrument U are playin' and the music U make together, and if perchance someday another comes along that enhances that experience, then HALLELUJAH!! Enjoy it for however long it lasts!!

Bill Mc
11-11-2012, 06:22 PM
Normagal, I never play only by myself. Wouldn't think of it anymore than reading by myself. You are in the company of an artist when you play a good piece of music whether it be Bach, Ellington, or Berlin. Nor are you alone when reading a worthy piece of literature by Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck .... You got my drift hopefully. Enjoy the music, recite the lyrics in your head even if you can't sing for crap - like me. My grandkids and I like to get together and I play and they sing. We've done performances of Young Love and Chattanoga Choo Choo at family get togethers and do many other songs as well. My girl friend loves to sing and we have a good times playing together. As for playing in a uke group - I could not care less. You've got to shine your own light on things.

OliviaW
11-11-2012, 07:24 PM
Hi Normagal,

I feel your pain! I decided (read: became obsessed) with the uke while in California this summer, and as a proud UAS card-carrying member immediately purchased one in each size but the baritone. There's a huge uke community there and I only had time for two private lessons before I came home to AZ. NOTHING here for ukesters. It is just depressing. I signed up for a month of 1/2 hour weekly lessons, which I just finished, but they are more than double the price I paid in California, and the 30 minutes goes so fast I feel like I'm not getting anywhere. I am convinced that hard as I try, I will never be able to contort my hands and fingers into some of the chord shapes, never mind pick the strings.
I sit and strum while watching TV, but I really need help, and I'm starting to get discouraged. :(
What kind of uke do you have?

kaizersoza
11-11-2012, 10:38 PM
Hi Norma, have you tried posting on here to meet ukulele players in your area? Thats how I got started, it was slow at first and I was ready to give up hoping to find anyone to play with, but eventually I met up with another member and we have started our own club, so keep the faith, everything takes some time and often doesn't happen overnight, I actually closed my thread at one point due to lack of enthusiasm, then I met up with a guy called Roblat on this wonderful site and we went from there, we now boast 70 members of all ages and ability, I have pasted the link to the thread so you can see the problems that I had due to people saying they were interested but really were not, so Norma don't give up one day it will all work out, link below

kaizer

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?52115-ukulele-get-together-in-swansea-south-wales-uk

Barbablanca
11-11-2012, 10:51 PM
Normagal. Relying on people can be so frustrating and disheartening, can't it?

After our successful Catalan rock band broke up, in the early 1990s, I thought I'd be in another band in a matter of days. To date I have been in a series of short lived collaborations that often have led nowhere (rehearse, build a repertory then a member gets cold feet about performing and storms off in a huff type scenario). I have tried to form duos and trios and was a member of a country band (with arguably the worst name in country history "The Good, the Bad & the Uglies") and a folk band.... BUT both hit the rocks after only a couple of gigs! I was left, like you, questioning what I do this for. But I came back to the only real answer, I do it because I love it and because something in me drives me to make music to keep sane!

I know that it knocks the stuffing out of you to be let down, but don't let that undermine the fun you are having with your instrument on your own, nor the joy of playing for your grand kids (and the subtle influence you are having on them letting them experience you playing for them).

I recommend you check out a section of the forum here called "The Seasons" - This is a "competition" - but only in a very loose fashion - in which members here respond to the theme of the week by posting videos to youtube (very easy procedure) that we can all hear and appreciate. The range of skills is from absolute beginner to "wow!" - but the shared feeling is one of enthusiasm. For a lot of the regular contributors, the Seasons are their only outlet to an audience (in my case to an English speaking audience). So, the "Seasons" provide you with a reason to learn a song that week, a focus to get better and a ready made and open minded audience. You should come over and join us. No special video gear expected - many record their contributions on their webcams!

Link to last week's seasons (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?72354-38th-Season-of-the-Ukulele-Saudade&highlight=38th+season) to give you an idea of what is involved:

Hope to see you there,

Cheers,

Berni
(A Scouse Exile in Catalonia)

Ipsofacto
11-12-2012, 12:21 AM
I have, as of yet, not played Uke with anyone. Hell, for the most part (short of you fine people via youtube), I've not really played in front of anyone. I just enjoy doing it, and that's why I will continue to play. Never, ever, in all my years of trying to play an instrument have I felt such an affinity in playing one. It's relaxing and as John said, relieves stress. I'd say if you don't enjoy doing it, then don't do it. But if you DO enjoy it, then stick with it!

Normagal
11-12-2012, 01:18 AM
Thanks,all.
Olivia-I can relate to what you are saying. I feel kind of stuck in kindergarten! Although, really I've come a long way in a little over a month. I should look at it that way. I even restrung my uke all by myself-with the help of some great videos. I have a Yellow Makala Dolphin.

lovinforkful
11-12-2012, 08:18 AM
It's a hobby! and not all hobbies have to be social, unless that's what you're looking for. I play to entertain myself, for stress relief, and to back myself up singing. I don't play with other people or go to groups and I've never taken lessons.

Harold O.
11-13-2012, 05:06 AM
Take a uke with you whenever you go somewhere. It's rare for me to not have one at the ready. I have a reasonable sounding concert laminate uke that I've taken a lot of places and can pull out at a moments notice. Whenever I have a few minutes, I pull it out. You needn't play a complete song. Just strum through a chord progression or two, then get back to the business at hand. Sooner or later someone will see what fun you're having and insist upon joining in. And if they don't it's their loss.

Q: Who are going to please with that little thing?
A: Me.

Lori
11-13-2012, 07:18 AM
I do like playing just for me. Guess I'm just frustrated cause I'm concentrating on some things that haven't paned out like I thought they would. First there was an acquaintance that I thought would provide some assistance, that fizzled out. Then there was my sister in law that said she wanted to learn too. We drove to meet her, and went to a music store, she's really not interested. Then there's the uke group-I loved it, but I just can't go that far in the winter at night. So, ultimately, I'll play by myself, and have all of you to share it with!

Playing with others makes you stretch your skills, so don't give up on that idea. You, know, you can play with other instruments besides ukulele. Depending on the kind of music you like to play, look for non-ukulele players. Many instruments sound great with the uke, including voices. Perhaps you can get with a singing group that you could accompany, or find a guitar, banjo, cello, violin, harp, harmonica, or bass player to play with.

Have fun!
Lori

dannyman
11-13-2012, 08:08 AM
I play by myself frequently. Ukulele is an amazing way to soothe angry feelings, or let out any latent creativity that could be coursing through your veins. As for lessons, unnecessary. I taught myself how to play, and now I play the ukulele professionally. I teach lessons to. There always has to be the first inspired ukulele player in a greater area. That could be you! Keep your chin up!!

siauke
11-13-2012, 08:52 AM
Hi Normagal -- I guess I'm pretty lucky to live in an area with lots of 'ukulele groups, which I enjoy, but also like to play by myself -- for myself.

I know that lessons can be expensive but the ones on the Ukulele Underground are great and well worth the money. Also Daniel Ho has an instructional DVD -- it forces you to play along and keep up. Really improved my chord changes.

Jim Beloff has a DVD that goes over some of the songs from his 365 daily uke book. Fun to play along with him and he gives performance tips. You'll be ready to perform for you family and friends in no time. Who knows maybe you'll interest some folks into playing the 'uke.

Anyway, I figure as long as you enjoy it -- kept on strumming.

Doug W
11-13-2012, 04:59 PM
Normagal,

1. Definitely go with kaizersoza's idea of posting here:

Regional-Get-Togethers (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?21-Regional-Get-Togethers)
2. Lori's idea of playing with non-uke players is also a great idea:
You could offer to host a class through community ed. of beginning musicians, (guitar, uke, banjo and others).

3. My wife and I started a uke group in a town of 5,500. Most of the people who joined had never played before. Now there is a group of 4 or 5 people who are still playing uke. One of those ukers is now teaching a weekly class of 15 kids at the boys and girls club.

4. Put an ad in the local paper "looking for musicians".

5. There are uke players hiding out there in the bushes waiting for an opportunity.