PDA

View Full Version : How long did you play before you were "good"



FairyGodmartyr
02-14-2013, 04:35 AM
Ok, I know that "good" is totally subjective. I got my first uke in July and started lessons around Thanksgiving. I'm about to finish my second Hal Leonard methods book. I'm not to the point where I would post myself on YouTube, but I've felt pretty good about my progress so far.

Then, my new music books came yesterday. I got Understanding Ukulele Chords by Robert van Renesse, The Classical Ukulele by John King, and Learn to Play Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele by Mark Nelson. Holy moly, I feel like a beginner again! I guess it is because I could easily sight read through my other books (the fingerpicking was mostly one note at a time). These are going to take so much more concentration and work. Which is good.

I'm curious, though...how long had you been playing the uke before you felt like you were "good"? And did you play another fretted instrument first? I'm starting from ground zero on fretted instruments (although I've played other instruments in the past).

Uncle Rod Higuchi
02-14-2013, 04:48 AM
I started in 6th grade and played a lot by myself until I could duplicate the Rock-N-Roll songs I learned from the radio.

Being a young'un, I didn't have many opportunities to play for others until a few years later for Youth Group at Church.

By then, I was 'comfortable' playing the uke. Whether that means I was 'good' or not... it's for others to say. Since there were no other players, they got what they 'paid' for :)

Most us us who have been playing for a while simply got more and more comfortable with the instrument and have begun to make our peace with our own level of skill. Since we may feel and behave 'confidently' it may appear that we are 'good' [got you fooled, haven't we?].

Anyway, this is from a Strummer/Singer not a Finger-picker :)

keep uke'in',

bodhran
02-14-2013, 04:48 AM
Started from zero about 12 months ago and am still very much a beginner. Seems that the more I learn the less I find I actually know. Each question answered opens another set of questions. It's all good though - a fun journey.

I played pipe and tabor, side drum and bodhran before taking up the ukulele.

Nicko
02-14-2013, 04:57 AM
“Relying on God [and playing the ukulele?] has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” - CS Lewis

Mxyzptik
02-14-2013, 04:59 AM
Ok, I know that "good" is totally subjective. I got my first uke in July and started lessons around Thanksgiving. I'm about to finish my second Hal Leonard methods book. I'm not to the point where I would post myself on YouTube, but I've felt pretty good about my progress so far.

Then, my new music books came yesterday. I got Understanding Ukulele Chords by Robert van Renesse, The Classical Ukulele by John King, and Learn to Play Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele by Mark Nelson. Holy moly, I feel like a beginner again! I guess it is because I could easily sight read through my other books (the fingerpicking was mostly one note at a time). These are going to take so much more concentration and work. Which is good.

I'm curious, though...how long had you been playing the uke before you felt like you were "good"? And did you play another fretted instrument first? I'm starting from ground zero on fretted instruments (although I've played other instruments in the past).

I'll let you know.

coolkayaker1
02-14-2013, 05:01 AM
Every time I think I'm getting "good", something happens to let me know that I suck again.

wendellfiddler
02-14-2013, 05:17 AM
When you can make sounds that you recognize as musical, you're good. It's all about enjoying the process. What's good to one person may not be to someone else. The question I ask myself is: if I was on an island by myself and no one else would ever hear me, would I still play music?

Duk

LifesShort
02-14-2013, 05:28 AM
You will always be more critical of yourself than anyone else. My wife thinks I play great. I think I'm mediocre at best.

Ritata
02-14-2013, 05:30 AM
Great question and I Love all the answers. I had the same question in my mind. I started playing on Christmas with no prior musical instrument knoweledge. I am not shooting for finger picking at this time but I will consider myself "good" when I have memorized two or three recognizable songs and can play them at tempo, and follow other songs on paper at tempo. I am getting there. I can follow most strumming songs on paper and know a lot of chords, I just have to train my strumming hand to make the right strums and I think I will reach my own definition of "good". Then I will think about starting to learn finger picking.;)

Dave-0
02-14-2013, 05:46 AM
Good question.

I know that playing the ukulele, or any instrument for that matter should be more about the journey and not about the destination (my favorite way to travel BTW), but I think it's human nature to want to compare yourself to others or at least to some sort of standard. I picked up the ukulele early last month with zero fretted instrument background (played the drums in grade and high school). I'm trying to learn a chord a week and some easy finger picking also, and trying to learn and momorize easy Christmas carols and nursery rhymes. I'll sit on the couch in the evening with my wife and strum/ fingerpick my uke while she watches TV, and last night I got through Silent Night at a good tempo with only very minor mis-steps. She smiled at me and said, "you're the only guy I know that plays Christmas music in February!" The fact that she actually recognized the tune made me smile for the rest of the night!

I think though, that I'll never be as 'good" as I want to be.

Barbablanca
02-14-2013, 05:53 AM
If by good you mean familiar with all the notes on the instrument, confident about improvising, assured knowledge of all common chords and their combinations, happy to strum along at an Irish session in 9/8 time, or else finger pick like James Taylor... Well... 42 years and counting ;)

chrimess
02-14-2013, 05:53 AM
the frustrating part is that it does not necessarily happen gradually overtime- sometimes things just open up overnight and it all falls into place, both from the perspective of coordination of your hands/fingers as well as from the musical knowledge/understanding.

ukemunga
02-14-2013, 06:12 AM
About 2 years now and I consider myself "ok"... still striving for "good." But I'm having fun!

Sporin
02-14-2013, 06:17 AM
It took 8 or 10 months of playing before I felt comfortable with my strumming skills, but I feel like I haven't progressed much since.

I'm sort of shameless so I do enjoy playing open mics and with groups. I am a competent enough singer and player to show off a few tunes that folks recognize as music. I guess I am considered one of the "better players" at my local uke club but it's all relative when most are beginners.

The next big step for me is to learn the notes on the fretboard and start fingerpicking so I can freestyle solos and such.

Overall, I've always focused on just taking the next step I want to take (learn a particular song or something) and I'm far less about accomplishing tasks in books or mastering musical theory. I do this for my own personal enjoyment and pleasure, so where ever I'm at in my learning curve, I'm happy to be at that spot.

FairyGodmartyr
02-14-2013, 06:53 AM
I am loving all of your answers so far. And I love the perspective. Learning the ukulele has been so different than my experiences with piano/trumpet/voice throughout my life. With those, I learned very little theory and focused just on notes. Learning ukulele, for me, has had a lot more to do with theory and how the notes interact with one another. Learning the fretboard has been easy for me since I have a lot of experience with notes, but I would be lost in a jam session where I would need to know what chords are in which keys. I am loving the experience, though. I find it amusing that an instrument that so much of the world sees as somewhat of a joke is stretching me so much more musically than all of my "serious" instruments have in the past.

OldePhart
02-14-2013, 06:55 AM
I'll let you know when (and if) I ever get there...

Uncle Rod Higuchi
02-14-2013, 06:59 AM
Dave-O, if you haven't already, please click on my Ukulele Boot Camp link in my signature.

I hope you'll find it interesting and helpful :)

keep uke'in',

BillMo
02-14-2013, 07:04 AM
It's kind of like surfing. To me whoever is having the most fun is doing it the best

dhoenisch
02-14-2013, 07:09 AM
Every time I think I'm getting "good", something happens to let me know that I suck again.

My feeling (for myself) exactly. I've been playing the uke for roughly 6 years or so, and played other instrument before that, and every time I think I'm getting good, I watch a You Tube video to see how someone else plays a song, and I learn how much I really do suck :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4jGSvxCRp4

Dan

Dave-0
02-14-2013, 07:22 AM
Dave-O, if you haven't already, please click on my Ukulele Boot Camp link in my signature.

I hope you'll find it interesting and helpful :)

keep uke'in',

Thanks for the invite! I'll check it out tonight!

Manalishi
02-14-2013, 07:27 AM
Like everyone else,being realistic,I believe that
I am competent.But I know a few people who
are kind enough to consider that I am 'good'!
Don't believe your own publicity and just keep
playing,just keep enjoying it,and if others do too
that's a bonus!

wallyboy
02-14-2013, 07:29 AM
i've been going since october last year, i would say i am not good but a tryer, really enjoying the uke i have made some B movie vids on YT with uke, my singing is crap and playing needs lots of spit and polish, i am hoping after a year i will be somewhere near resonable, i realise i have a long long way to go before i can call myself good

whatevershebringswesing
02-14-2013, 07:40 AM
Seven minutes and forty two seconds.

sukie
02-14-2013, 08:15 AM
I, too, will let you know. There is way too much to learn yet. But it totally depends upon what "good" means.

Hippie Dribble
02-14-2013, 09:03 AM
Seems that the more I learn the less I find I actually know. Each question answered opens another set of questions. It's all good though - a fun journey.


This is how I feel too.

Mandarb
02-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Another....I will let you know.

haolejohn
02-14-2013, 09:06 AM
I'm so good I don't need to practice.
























J/K I've been playing since september 2001 and I am no where near where I should be.

buddhuu
02-14-2013, 09:11 AM
I'm still crap.

In fact, I'm so talented that I am not just crap at 'ukulele; I'm crap on a huge range of instruments. I am crap at more instruments than anyone I know.

I've been playing guitar for 40 years and I'm crap.

Er... Actually, maybe I'm not the best person to ask... :/

ChaosToo
02-14-2013, 09:39 AM
In a little over 6 weeks, I can play a couple of handfuls of songs (using the basic C, G/G7, Am and F common chords, with the odd A, Cm, Db7, Em, etc thrown in for good measure) and can sight read chord tabs enough to bluff my way through a few more songs.

As someone who has only ever really played the drums in the past, I'm pretty chuffed with myself - but good? Not even close.

But the main thing is I'm LOVING it! I play every day, I take my uke to work (if you knew what I did, it might raise an eyebrow....), I walk around the house playing, I sit watching TV and quietly strumming random chords.

The destination is irrelevant as long as you love the journey!

And to borrow a phrase from my other passion - 'The best Uke player is the one having the most fun!'

:D

Skinny Money McGee
02-14-2013, 09:44 AM
My instruments are way better than I am :confused:

Newportlocal
02-14-2013, 09:48 AM
We shall see. Certainly not there yet. I have thought about the 10,000 hour rule before. I think what is important is enjoying yourself. I am certainly doing that. I am having a blast.

What Is the 10000 Hour Rule?
The 10000 Hour Rule is just that. This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill.

wendellfiddler
02-14-2013, 10:15 AM
I'm a multi-instrumentalist, and I play out a lot on several instruments - fiddle, chromatic harmonica, banjo, and occasionally a uke or banjo uke - I guess I'm good, I don't think I suck anyway -but I suggest that if you study music theory some, so you aren't just learning chord shapes and names but rather trying to understand the function and origin of chords, you might find the journey to be more interesting. It might even help avoid the comparison thing, as everyone who gets to any level of virtuosity knows there is always something new on the horizon and thinking about that, and looking for it, is a lot more satisfying than concerning yourself with how good or bad what you're doing is.

Duk

Karasu
02-14-2013, 10:27 AM
I agree with the 10,000 hour rule 100%. I try to play every day. I've played for about 1.5 months and I know quite a few chords, and can do some simple fingerpicking. I can play through, at just a bit slower than tempo, "My Heart Will Go On" as taught by our own Aldrine, and the first section of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as demonstrated by Corey of HMS. On ukulele, I'm nowhere NEAR good. But I LOVE to play the uke, and it's about the journey. The destination is important, but it needs to be fun to get there. I'm having a blast.

That said, I am a bit critical of my musical skill. I graduated from college with a minor in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music. I've played Rachmaninoff's "Piano Concerto #3", Moussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in Dm" as jury pieces. I can sight-read, at tempo, just about anything that's put in front of me. Am I a good pianist? Hardly. But it's fun.

Good is in your own mind. In my other life (one of my other lives) as a portrait artist, I've always gone by the simple criteria...."Do you like it? Does it speak to you? Did you enjoy creating it? Then it's good!!!"

PeteyHoudini
02-14-2013, 02:11 PM
Learning the uke with me has been inevitably linked with singing.

As for getting good.... I sing well, so people often hearing the nice singing overlook my uke playing (whether good or bad). However, I've reached the point now after 6 years of uke practise where people compliment my playing now and I didn't even realize it sounded that good. That's a good spot to be at. 8-) However, I keep trying to get better so I feel I'm never good enough for my own ears. hehe I keep wanting to learn more like I just spent a month learning the "rumba flamenca" strum.

I did take guitar lessons from the age of 12 so I had already played a stringed instrument, but it took 6 years of uke playing to "get good." However, I played mostly rock electric guitar in my youth so I never learned finger-picking, Spanish guitar techniques, so I've been learning non-stop and very happy for it!

The 10,000 hour certainly makes sense…. only 9,999 hours to go! hehe

Petey

okidiver
02-15-2013, 12:26 PM
Every time I think I'm getting "good", something happens to let me know that I suck again.

Hilarious, I can so relate.

My 2 cents to the original poster: most of us play to soothe our souls, so when you are enjoying yourself, you are good.

pdxuke
02-15-2013, 12:33 PM
I was GREAT from the very first time I picked up a uke. I mean, superstar great. Play the vaudeville circuit great.

Wait... what I meant to say was--I SUCKED.

But I'm getting better.

One thing that's more important to me, though, is that I ALWAYS HAVE HAD FUN. So, while it would be great to be Krouk, I can have really nice instruments, enjoy the heck out of myself, hang out here with you fine people, and little by little--get better.

But being good isn't my primary purpose for playing.

After all, there's more to fishin' than catchin' fish...

ukemunga
02-15-2013, 01:20 PM
In a little over 6 weeks, I can play a couple of handfuls of songs (using the basic C, G/G7, Am and F common chords, with the odd A, Cm, Db7, Em, etc thrown in for good measure) and can sight read chord tabs enough to bluff my way through a few more songs.

As someone who has only ever really played the drums in the past, I'm pretty chuffed with myself - but good? Not even close.

But the main thing is I'm LOVING it! I play every day, I take my uke to work (if you knew what I did, it might raise an eyebrow....), I walk around the house playing, I sit watching TV and quietly strumming random chords.

The destination is irrelevant as long as you love the journey!

And to borrow a phrase from my other passion - 'The best Uke player is the one having the most fun!'

:D

And another drummer heard from!!! Doesn't it feel good to play something akin to a melody? I LOVED being a rock drummer, but you can't really just chill out at home and enjoy playing drums all alone. But doesn't that drumming contribute to the strumming and accent kinda rhythm playing when jamming?

Mandarb
02-15-2013, 01:52 PM
Another....I will let you know.

Nope - still not there. Ok - I will get back to you later. Much later.

mm stan
02-15-2013, 02:46 PM
I think the journey is more important than the destination... having fun comes first.....

lotrisneat
02-15-2013, 03:55 PM
As someone with no innate musical talent, I don't think I'll ever be "good." I still can't figure out my own strum patterns. Every time I think I got it, I find a version on Youtube with some amazing strumming pattern that makes mine sound completely pathetic. I don't get how people can just figure that stuff out.

However, every time I get discouraged, I think back to my first day with my uke when I absolutely could not make an F chord without deadening my A string. My hand fat kept squashing it. I've come a long way since then in only 7 weeks, so I'm excited to see how much further I can go.

Ritata
02-15-2013, 04:10 PM
I want to third the suggestin to check out Uncle Rod's Bootcamp, and thanks to you Uncle Rod for putting it together. I went from really pathetic, to my friends recognizing what I was playing after only a week of practicing his bootcamp. Now if he could be convinced to put together a video of strumming practice excercises to go with it!
:confused:

Mandalyn
02-15-2013, 04:24 PM
We shall see. Certainly not there yet. I have thought about the 10,000 hour rule before. I think what is important is enjoying yourself. I am certainly doing that. I am having a blast.

What Is the 10000 Hour Rule?
The 10000 Hour Rule is just that. This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill.
Deliberate practice is key. I think how you practice is just important as how long you play. I usually play around 2 hours a day and sometimes more. I start with whatever is stuck in my head, then play few it a few times. After that I pick something I want to improve and play until it is right. I enjoy the learning process. I am not where I want to be ability wise, but I feel like I get a little better each day.

Freeda
02-15-2013, 05:39 PM
No one wants to sound cocky. :)

I am good enough to enjoy myself!!!

buddhuu
02-15-2013, 11:28 PM
No one wants to sound cocky. :)

I am good enough to enjoy myself!!!

That's good enough. Anything else is a bonus.

beatlloydy
02-16-2013, 12:24 AM
It's kind of like surfing. To me whoever is having the most fun is doing it the best

I can really relate to this analogy having been a surfer for more than 40 years....some days when I surf I think I am king of the world...other days I think I suck big time...its all about environment, attitude and application.

I read somewhere it takes around 5 years to "master" a sport or discipline. I think this is probably similar to anything unless you are one of the few who have a natural talent in a specific field (unfortunately I havn't found that to be the case for either myself or my kids). However, what we do have is "stickability" and application.

I only took up serious ukulele practice 3 months ago..however, with a 4 year guitar background behind me it helped a lot (had a guitar and uke for nearly 30 years but only ever played 4 chords as too busy doing other stuff to do serious practice).. I am finding I am spending about 3 hours a night "noodling"...I know this isnt serious stuff but it helps as I am learning chord progressions etc. I like to sit with the TV on in the background (mostly so that its white noise and other things dont tend to distract me)...but when I want to do some serious songs I wait until no one is at home.

I am still a beginner on uke in many ways but now have all my major/minor/7th chords down o.k...its just my strumming which sucks...basic stuff is o.k..but that bleeping Reggae Chunk still has me beat. ;-) When I can get that licked I will be proud to call myself "not a beginner". ;-)

Pippin
02-16-2013, 03:22 AM
I have played since the 1960s, so, I really can't remember. I just had a natural sense of rhythm and it helped on both ukulele and guitar. The uke came first, but, like a lot of other people at the time, guitar followed shortly and by 1970, I was playing with Nashville musicians (Mom was a country songwriter with a Nashville contract). So, at that point, I played a lot more guitar and a lot less uke (but didn't really stop playing uke). In the late 1990s, I started playing more uke than guitar because I kept one handy. When my wife and I were first together, she bought me a baritone-- first I'd had in years. It had a bum neck and I replaced it. So, that replacement made its way onto an album I did in 2008 (but the bari is long gone-- replaced by two or three others since). I still play a lot of guitar. I play a lot of different instruments, though. For me, it's all about making music.

ScooterD35
02-16-2013, 03:56 AM
When you can make sounds that you recognize as musical, you're good. It's all about enjoying the process. What's good to one person may not be to someone else. The question I ask myself is: if I was on an island by myself and no one else would ever hear me, would I still play music?

Duk


Best answer so far, IMO.

I came to this party having played guitar for 15 years so the uke was pretty easy to me. After about ten minutes fooling around and getting a feel for the tonal differences of re-entrant tuning, I was able to play and sing along to a few songs. So I was good enough for Folk Music right away! (Always looking to improve, however.)


Scooter

gyosh
02-16-2013, 04:34 AM
For me, it's a lot like life. "The more I learn, the less I know."

OldePhart
02-16-2013, 05:17 AM
For me, it's a lot like life. "The more I learn, the less I know."

Yep, the older I get, the smarter my parents get, and they've both been dead for twenty years!

John

myrnaukelele
02-16-2013, 06:39 AM
Ha! I've been playing ukulele since the early 80s and I'm still no good! I'll never be a virtuoso ukulele player. But I sure have had tons of fun with my uke over the years. I'm playing every day and enjoying the music. And that's all that matters to me. :o

Sporin
02-16-2013, 08:41 AM
No one wants to sound cocky. :)

I am good enough to enjoy myself!!!


That's good enough. Anything else is a bonus.

Well said. :)