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View Full Version : When Did You First Find Out You Weren't a Beginner Anymore?



Kyle23
03-01-2013, 10:26 PM
How long did it take you? What milestone did you "hit" that made you say "hey, maybe I'm not really a beginner anymore". It's a tough question because it's really all about opinion. I must say, after 2 months, I really hate the beginner tag that's put on ukulele players who have been playing for a little, but I can't decide where the beginner tag ends. Like for me, I pick up my uke, and I like to mess around and come up with my own chord progressions and I really have a feel for it. I don't want to think of myself as a beginner and most of you would probably still call me a beginner. I just think I've reached the point where I'm not a beginner. For an example when I watch beginner tutorials on youtube, I can't do them anymore, it's just too basic to have fun with. I like the challenge of learning harder stuff. I'd really like to hear opinions on this matter. Is it just the amount of time you've been playing? Could you be a beginner for 2 weeks, be amazing and be above that beginner status? Could you be playing for 2 years, and still be a beginner? Where's THAT line?

So I'd like to get your opinions on both. When did you decide you weren't a beginner and also when do you think that line is crossed into "intermediate" playing.

bodhran
03-01-2013, 10:43 PM
Been playing for a year now and still very much a novice. I don't really regard myself as a musician as such - just a chap who happens to enjoy playing the ukulele as a hobby.

I would love to reach a standard at which I would feel confident playing in front of others but that is a very long way off.

Kyle23
03-01-2013, 10:47 PM
Been playing for a year now and still very much a novice. I don't really regard myself as a musician as such - just a chap who happens to enjoy playing the ukulele as a hobby.

I would love to reach a standard at which I would feel confident playing in front of others but that is a very long way off.

That's exactly how I feel. But the beginner label is just weird to me and I don't know where it ends or really what it means.

anthonyg
03-01-2013, 10:58 PM
I think the answer is mostly in your own head. You also have to answer, beginning WHAT?

I started performing in public busking fairly early. I tried to start busking by singing only but I didn't feel that I could pull it off. I needed an accompanying instrument. I cant quite remember the timeline now but soon after I had learn't to play enough songs on the ukulele and remember them all I was out there busking. Not long after that I was no longer a beginner.

Anthony

Brad Bordessa
03-01-2013, 11:00 PM
When I duped someone in a Wipeout pickoff. [/SARCASM]

I saw Santana live last night. I can assure you that despite my 7 years of steady practice and gigs, I feel very beginner as of right now.

An expert will always try to find areas where he can be a beginner. That's how you get improve. Find what you don't know and work on it. If you only practice C F and G7, you will know C F and G7 really well, but that's it. At some point you have to be willing to suck at Bb and E if you want to improve, right?

What is the hurry to "move on up" to the next level? A title is just that - a title. If you let something like that get to you... Then don't... Because the music mind trips are only beginning. (Shoot! There is that beginner title again!)

Herb Ohta Jr. has, over the years, blasted me with one simple concept: "Practice the basics, Brad" he'd say. And he's right. If you're foundation isn't solid then you are going to have to pay your dues down the road. Santana is great because he has spent the last 50+/- years perfecting the basics (even if he wasn't focusing on them the whole time). He doesn't sound the way he does because he practiced the locrian b2 mode in 6th position sweep arpeggios.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that being a beginner is not a bad thing. As long as you are improving, it's all good. Good music takes time.

Kyle23
03-01-2013, 11:19 PM
When I duped someone in a Wipeout pickoff. [/SARCASM]

I saw Santana live last night. I can assure you that despite my 7 years of steady practice and gigs, I feel very beginner as of right now.

An expert will always try to find areas where he can be a beginner. That's how you get improve. Find what you don't know and work on it. If you only practice C F and G7, you will know C F and G7 really well, but that's it. At some point you have to be willing to suck at Bb and E if you want to improve, right?

What is the hurry to "move on up" to the next level? A title is just that - a title. If you let something like that get to you... Then don't... Because the music mind trips are only beginning. (Shoot! There is that beginner title again!)

Herb Ohta Jr. has, over the years, blasted me with one simple concept: "Practice the basics, Brad" he'd say. And he's right. If you're foundation isn't solid then you are going to have to pay your dues down the road. Santana is great because he has spent the last 50+/- years perfecting the basics (even if he wasn't focusing on them the whole time). He doesn't sound the way he does because he practiced the locrian b2 mode in 6th position sweep arpeggios.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that being a beginner is not a bad thing. As long as you are improving, it's all good. Good music takes time.

I see what you're saying which and it shows that the word "beginner" isn't that same between me and you. Like I said it's just that I don't understand where the line is. When I think of a beginner, I think of someone struggling to play a simple progression. SOme people might think you've been learning for years and you're very good, but you're not on that expert level. You're a beginner. I guess I'm just trying to get opinions on what people think is a beginner and when they finally (if ever) got rid of that label. Sorry if I'm wording this weird, it's tough to put into words.

I didn't do a good job or explaining it in my OP, so I hope I cleared it up.

Hippie Dribble
03-01-2013, 11:30 PM
Good question Kyle, though I must confess I despise labels of any sort...

Well, I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and ukulele seriously for about 4. I think I will always consider myself a beginner because there's so much that I can't do and a whole myriad of styles and techniques that are totally alien to me... The surest reality check for anyone is to simply watch someone else play who is can REALLY play...it's equal parts disheartening and inspiring.

I would like to learn to play fingerstyle solos, blues, different strumming techniques and so many other things - all of which are utterly daunting to me right now. I also think that each time I learn a new song or attempt to work out a solo or an instrumental arrangement I am a beginner all over again...and that's kind of a healthy attitude to approach music with I think because it means you are open to new challenges and always aiming to improve.

Kyle23
03-01-2013, 11:42 PM
Good question Kyle, though I must confess I despise labels of any sort...

Well, I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and ukulele seriously for about 4. I think I will always consider myself a beginner because there's so much that I can't do and a whole myriad of styles and techniques that are totally alien to me... The surest reality check for anyone is to simply watch someone else play who is can REALLY play...it's equal parts disheartening and inspiring.

I would like to learn to play fingerstyle solos, blues, different strumming techniques and so many other things - all of which are utterly daunting to me right now. I also think that each time I learn a new song or attempt to work out a solo or an instrumental arrangement I am a beginner all over again...and that's kind of a healthy attitude to approach music with I think because it means you are open to new challenges and always aiming to improve.

Yeah the whole label thing has my mind all jumbled up haha. Like I've seen vids of you play, I'd never in a million years call you a beginner. But if you call yourself one, then I'm a super beginner and I don't like to think of myself as that. It's all subjective because in your opinion you're a beginner because you can still learn more. And in my opinion, I'm not one because I learned the basics. Man, labels do suck.

barefootgypsy
03-02-2013, 12:17 AM
I think I will always feel like a beginner, though not an absolute beginner. There's always so much to learn, so many ways to improve, so many people more skilled than you.... the labeling thing is hard, and so very personal. I wouldn't even think about it - I have, a little, and it gets me nowhere. So just play! That's what I do now. And the more you play, the less of a beginner you'll be! And I think that's sort of what you just said!

good_uke_boy
03-02-2013, 01:23 AM
When my 19-year old son, now in college, said, "Dad, you don't suck any more."

Of course, he's wrong.

Kyle23
03-02-2013, 01:32 AM
When my 19-year old son, now in college, said, "Dad, you don't suck any more."

Of course, he's wrong.

Hahaha perfect. I feel like I reached it when my family stopped yelling at me to quiet down. And I heard my mom at the door listening to me play because she knows that I don't really like to play in front of people. Good feeling.

whatevershebringswesing
03-02-2013, 01:59 AM
December 2008

Nicko
03-02-2013, 02:08 AM
Some random thoughts...

Every day we get to begin again. At 21 we long not to feel like a beginner. At 51, 61, 71, or 81, we love feeling like a beginner. But either way, we begin again every time we play. Too philosophical.

Try this, a kind of social approach to the question: You're no longer a beginner when you've got more developed skills than many of the other people that you play with.

Makes some kind of sense even to just use a calendar: You are a beginner until you've been playing 1 year. I know, arbitrary.

If you can manage it, just patiently set the problem aside until it just stops being a thorn. Then you'll know for sure that you're no longer a beginner. In the mean time...don't worry, be happy!

ChaosToo
03-02-2013, 02:20 AM
You only ever begin anything once. Any time after that, you are just someone who is learning a bit more each time ......

BlueLatitude
03-02-2013, 02:28 AM
I've been playing for a year now and I still consider myself a beginner. I'm learning fingerpicking so I expect to be a beginner for a long time yet.

For me the beginner label can go away when I can play something musically and reasonably accurately in front of people.

Sporin
03-02-2013, 02:39 AM
After a few months when I had the basic chords down without staring at my hands and could move between them reasonably well I stopped calling myself a beginner.

2 years later I still very much consider myself just a "competent amateur."

anthonyg
03-02-2013, 02:46 AM
I think that some people are muddying the waters regarding the difference of being a beginner and being a learner. Yes you are going to keep on learning your whole life hopefully but as ChaosToo said, your only a beginner once.

Anthony

Dave-0
03-02-2013, 03:20 AM
Who cares? Labels and categories are limiting.

I mean....and I know it's a cliche'.......but I look at playing the ukulele like I do most things in life.....this thing is a journey to be enjoyed. I'm not looking to get "anywhere" specifically but enjoying every step along the way. I don't compare myself to others and don't give a $@% what others think of me.

I'm taking maybe a different approach to playing the uke and not focusing on strumming techniques and progressions etc. I love bluegrass and blusey tunes that are mostly fingerpicked, so that's what I spend most of my time on and my finger independence is coming right along. But I still spend sometime noodling around with new chords and strumming patterns - the basics.

As long as I'm having fun......that's all I care about.