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View Full Version : Testing the 20 hour theory w/Uncle Rod



Preacher
01-27-2014, 03:05 PM
Having been inspired by the "20 Hour" TED that was posted in another thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92384-Learning-anything-in-20-hours) I'm going to attempt to become competent on my ukulele.

I will use Uncle Rod's Boot Camp materials. I will attempt to do 20 minute segments, 3 times a day. That's one hour a day, but I figure it will take me about 25ish days to actually get the 20 hours in, just because my schedule can keep me away from my uke some days. I've made a little spread sheet to keep track of my time and I'll be reporting on here from time to time to report my progress, and also to comment on Rod's system. I'm making this public in order to put pressure on myself. (Feel free to write encouraging/kick-in-the-butt/"you lazy bum" comments to inspire me.) The 20-minute segments are manageable times I can fit in throughout the day.

"Competency" will be achieved when I feel that I can play in front of people without embarrassment. Let's see if 20 hours does the trick.

First update: I did my first 20 minutes this morning. And I'm already frustrated. (The Cdim, Dm7, and Fm6--really, Rod? On the first day? ;) )

Freeda
01-27-2014, 03:23 PM
Excellent idea!!

johnnyn2o
01-27-2014, 03:30 PM
Looking forward to your success!

focsle
01-27-2014, 03:41 PM
Cheesehead! Good for you. I still think of myself as one, being born there. You know you're from WI when you can tell a MI accent.

Thumbs up for Uncle Rod. I said the same thing, when will I ever use a Cdim????? He has his reasons however, trust him grasshopper.

I'm only about 11 months in right now myself, but it's fun and that's the point for me.

I look forward to your updates. I also thought the TED video was cool. I'm trying clawhammer strumming. I'm up to almost 8 hours already, and notice improvement. Seems to work so far.

Bum ditty...

JamieWG
01-27-2014, 04:04 PM
I wish there was a "like" button. ;) I'm subscribing to this thread! Looking forward to the results.

sugengshi
01-27-2014, 07:27 PM
Great idea of applying 20 hours to the learning. Looking forward to the result of Uncle Rod's bootcamp.

cya2marra
01-27-2014, 07:37 PM
I'm doing this too Mr. Preacher!

The dim chords are pretty tough. I practiced just going from C to Cdim over and over until I could do it without looking. I think that alone took 20mins of practice.

I'm down for keeping you accountable! :)

aman
01-27-2014, 09:21 PM
Great Idea!

I will try this method when I get my Uke

cheers
Paul

RatherBeInCabo
01-28-2014, 05:19 AM
I am gonna give this a shot as well. I have the first 4 down on page one and will focus on Cdim and Dm7 as a start. I will also record time.

Marc

cedarwax
01-28-2014, 05:44 AM
I've been using Uncle Rod's Boot Camp practice sheets for about 5 weeks. I'm finding it to be a great way to learn chords, and make smooth transitions between them. (I'm trying, anyway). I haven't been keeping track of time - I don't want to feel discouraged. I can say that I'm improving; I recommend Uncle Rod's material to beginners.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-28-2014, 06:34 AM
Yes, Preacher, and all Uncle Rod 'students', Cdim, Fm6, Dm7... all on the first day!

Remember, however, that you can vary your tempo to accomodate what you need to maintain a
tempo while making smooth transitions. Hey, it's called 'Boot Camp' after all.

Preacher, did you take Greek? need I say more? What about Hebrew? Just the alphabets would be
tougher than Cdim :) [ been there, done that, so I know:) ]

I appreciate you going public and using the Boot Camp materials. I teach a class on Thurs nights in
Edmonds, WA and I'm taking the students through a modified Boot Camp - they'll get the full Boot
Camp experience in the next series (4-weeks) in Feb :)

I'm seriously considering showing the TED (first 20 hours: how to learn anything) presentation as I
also found it inspiring.

Preacher, please keep us updated with your progress. We all know that in the beginning everything is hard/difficult.
I hope to see great improvement after the first 5-10 hours!

We're on your side and rooting for you!! :) None more so than me!

keep uke'in',

Preacher
01-28-2014, 07:25 AM
Preacher, did you take Greek? need I say more? What about Hebrew?

I did indeed, Uncle Rod! Was actually just reading an article about the newest edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Learning those languages was a bit easier though because I didn't have to move my fingers in certain ways while translating!

I'll be posting an update later today. Still frustrated, but also have the added bonus of my finger tips being really sore due to our cold, dry weather. (19 below this morning.) Using lots of hand lotion. Oh well. Onward!

cdkrugjr
01-28-2014, 08:10 AM
I might be biased . . . I already knew Diminished chords and how there's "really only 3" (not really...) of them.

One trick I figured out pretty quick is to use my pinky for that occurrence of C, then just drop the other fingers down for the Cdim.

Then I went nuts and transposed to the other keys (except Cb and C#) . . . Right now, E and B are daily, then I roll 1d6 for the other "new" keys . . .

Preacher
01-28-2014, 08:07 PM
Update on day two: I'm still frustrated, but seeing some slight improvement. Of course, I've only finished one whole hour now, so it's still quite early. But I'm noticing that any of the chords requiring 4 fingers pretty much require me to stop strumming and set them up. I'm also wondering if I have correct fingering in the first place. Another issue is the buzz. I'm buzzing a LOT because I don't have a string pressed all the way down. (I've got new Aquilas on here. Are they going to soften up or am I that much of a weakling? My hand just about cramps up pressing down as hard as I can to get clear notes.) I'm doing this on my Mainland Mahogany tenor. Maybe I should try on a concert? Today was one of those days where I could only get 20 minutes with my uke. Hoping for 3 full sessions tomorrow.

On the positive side, I'm looking less at my fingers for the basic notes. I also don't have to look at the diagrams anymore to remember most of the positions. And while I don't know the chords by ear yet, I DO know if the chord doesn't sound right as I progress through the first worksheet. Small steps, but they're all forward.

sirwhale
01-28-2014, 08:32 PM
Maybe you need a strap? I have one on all my ukuleles - I don't want to be thinking about my ukulele falling over while trying to get into complicated chords, like the second position of Am for example. I couldn't play without a strap and I'm not really bothered what other people think about straps...

FOr the buzzing problem, make sure your fingers are placed just behind the frets.

Inksplosive AL
01-28-2014, 08:59 PM
The TED video was so inspiring I passed it off to my two artists at my shop to light a fire under their butts. I was also about to start the Uncle Rods's boot camp myself but the past two days I have done nothing but what is contained in the following video. Many years ago I was taught this by my best friend and simply forgot the lesson it taught in muscle memory.

I find as I try to get back into playing a stringed instrument that my fingers want to lift off the strings when not in use, way off. This simple exercise helps teach the fingers how to sit on the strings better as well as builds hand strength and takes zero work to achieve. Understand I'm only explaining what I'm doing and why not trying to challenge any other way.

I was taught to noodle up and down the fretboard stretching using different patterns etc. This gentleman teaches three exercises that show this and I really think its the same flavor and can only add to the teaching of URB. Hope it helps you.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pse641zHpP8

Good Luck

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-29-2014, 07:02 AM
Preacher, making great progress.

remember point #2 was to make enough progress to 'self-correct', and it seems you're there!

Please take it slowly... at first, and work harder on the transitions you find more challenging.
that way, when you put them together (ie, play the practice sheet) those, well-practiced transitions,
may get easier and easier :) (promise!)

If you can drive a stick shift/manual transmission... it's like getting past the jerkiness (definitely NOt
calling you a Jerk. But if the shoe fits... :) ) and being able to shift more smoothly.

BTW I had the privilege of attending MBI (Chicago) and WCBS (Portland) if you know what the acronyms
mean :) Sorry, can't correspond with you in either Greek or Hebrew. English will have to do:)

keep uke'in',

ohmless
01-29-2014, 01:38 PM
i found it a bit easier to do his "test" before the meat of the bootcamp.

Ukejenny
01-29-2014, 01:48 PM
I love Uncle Rod's Bootcamp and am using it with our ukulele club. So far, so good! I had one gentleman there say, "I've learned more in the last hour than in the last year." Thank you, Uncle Rod!!! It is amazing how things that feel impossible start to improve, and then it starts happening. My fingers are doing things I never thought they could do.

Preacher
02-13-2014, 08:04 PM
Update to the 20 hour Uncle Rod attempt:
Still frustrated--I haven't posted in a while because I've hardly been able to get to my ukulele. I figured that it would take me 25 days to get in 20 hours of practice, doing an hour a day. Well, I've already had a 4-day gap between sessions. The simple explanation: life happens. I've gotten back to it finally and it's led to ....

More frustration! I'm still not able to do any of the 4-fingered chords on page 1 of Rod's exercises. I mean, I can do them but I pretty much have to stop to get them right. I'm more and more convinced that I'm not doing the fingering right. I have no idea how to make the transition smoothly between a couple of them. And my wrist and thumb on my fret hand are pretty sore after playing, which again makes me think I'm not positioning my hand correctly. I've actually almost given up a couple times. I really wish I had a teacher that I could sit down with face to face who can show me the proper positions.

Now, having said all that, I AM only 2 hours into this, and those 2 hours have been spread out over a couple weeks. If I can find a way to get some time EVERY day, I'm hoping I'd see much better results. And it may have to be 20 minutes a day if that's all I can get. So my plan now is to get a little uke time in every day, no matter how short. If I CAN get an hour, great.

I've also ordered another ukulele. I'm getting a "cheap" one from Mim and it's going to stay at my office. This should really allow me to get in some time each day, even when I'm trapped at the office several days in a row. I'll probably also be able to bring this one on the road when I have some traveling to do in the next couple weeks. (I don't like taking my Mainland out when the weather is as nasty as it is here.)

I'm hoping I'll have a much more upbeat report the next time I post here. I'm getting the easy chords down and remembering them fairly well. I just don't seem to be making any progress on the hard ones yet. But, it will come. (At least that's what people keep telling me.) Onward!

Icelander53
02-13-2014, 08:55 PM
Having been inspired by the "20 Hour" TED that was posted in another thread (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?92384-Learning-anything-in-20-hours) I'm going to attempt to become competent on my ukulele.

I will use Uncle Rod's Boot Camp materials. I will attempt to do 20 minute segments, 3 times a day. That's one hour a day, but I figure it will take me about 25ish days to actually get the 20 hours in, just because my schedule can keep me away from my uke some days. I've made a little spread sheet to keep track of my time and I'll be reporting on here from time to time to report my progress, and also to comment on Rod's system. I'm making this public in order to put pressure on myself. (Feel free to write encouraging/kick-in-the-butt/"you lazy bum" comments to inspire me.) The 20-minute segments are manageable times I can fit in throughout the day.

"Competency" will be achieved when I feel that I can play in front of people without embarrassment. Let's see if 20 hours does the trick.

First update: I did my first 20 minutes this morning. And I'm already frustrated. (The Cdim, Dm7, and Fm6--really, Rod? On the first day? ;) )

I use something similar that I came to on my own. I spend a lot of time just moving between chords. My training partner and I just switch off calling out chords to move though but I"m pretty sure I have over 20 hours in and still cannot move smoothly between all chords.
Maybe starting to learn an instrument at almost 61 has something to do with it but for me at least 20 hours is unrealistic. And at the end of our sessions we always play some simple songs and sing. I think it harms nothing to do it this way. Like Rod said, it should be fun and playing a simple song and singing is fun and encouraging actually. But in general I think he has a good system.

kohanmike
02-13-2014, 09:46 PM
I'm the perfect candidate for the 20 hour "rule." I always believed and have been very intimidated by the 10,000 hour thing. Because of it, I never could sit myself down to practice with that number always in mind. Once I saw the Ted video, I left that behind, now I find myself practicing all the time, and getting better and better as a result. Some stuff takes longer to get, some comes more quickly, but I just keep doing it now that I don't have that "barrier" looming anymore.

Icelander53
02-14-2014, 03:02 AM
Doesn't the 10,000 hour thingy refer to TOTAL mastery? That's what it takes to play on a top pro level and may be near to the truth. I never even considered that relevant to my self. It is encouraging to have someone put down a 20 hour benchmark for playing however. Even if it doesn't turn out to be the actual case. By the time the 20 is up you're hooked on practice and progress.

johnnyn2o
02-14-2014, 05:02 AM
More frustration! I'm still not able to do any of the 4-fingered chords on page 1 of Rod's exercises. I mean, I can do them but I pretty much have to stop to get them right.

Persevere, you've just started and will soon see improvement.

ogg
02-14-2014, 06:46 AM
Stay with the Boot camp - there is magic in it. I used the chord sheets for practicing chord changes when I first started and I found it to be an excellent learning method. Now I use it with strum patterns and fingerpicking patterns. Once I go through all of the chord sheets a dozen times (or so) with a new pattern I'm ready for some real time playing. Great stuff!

Flea concert

keod
02-15-2014, 02:48 AM
Hang in there Preacher! I'm a fellow newbie and have felt similar frustration with the 4 finger chords but I can attest that "perseverance pays off".
Uncle Rod's boot camp is teaching much more that the chords. It is training my ear to recognize good and bad notes and untraining my fingers that, for years, have not had to operate so independently LOL.

I started out with a Mahalo just to see if this was something to pursue. Then I picked up an Oscar Schmidt OU5LCE long neck concert acoustic electric. Found that a lt easier to play but thought it might be too much of a stretch for my fingers with the tenor neck. On a whim, based on comments from ukemunga (and huge thanks to him), I picked up a Kala KA SLNG long neck soprano dirt cheap. I am IN LOVE with this uke and it is so easy to play that I am finding the chord transitions much faster. I too find I stop at the four finger points but it will come with time. I'll keep the OS because it is a thing of beauty and I am trusting I will learn to play it as easily as the Kala.

Until then I alternate between the boot camp (thanks Uncle Rod) and test, scale and finger exercises, some very easy songs (that don't yet sound like songs), some strumming exercises and some elementary picking. Most importantly I had to suppress frustration when I muffed chords etc and just "play on" with faith that it will come eventually. I stress less about my progress and focus more on just enjoying making sounds LOL and recognizing good and bad ones. Since then improvement has been much quicker.

Hope these words offer some encouragement. I think you're doing great so keep it up...and keep us posted.It takes time and lots of practice to develop any new skill!

hibiscus
02-15-2014, 07:37 AM
Do you all try to "memorize" each page or just play it? I memorized the first line of each page to start with, but I think it would take me too long to memorize the entire book.
Nice video from Mike, too.

ogg
02-15-2014, 03:04 PM
Do you all try to "memorize" each page or just play it? I memorized the first line of each page to start with, but I think it would take me too long to memorize the entire book.
Nice video from Mike, too.

Hibiscus:
Using the boot camp - Everyone probably does this differently but I haven't tried to memorize the boot camp. I started by playing each chord of the first line maybe 6 times each before moving to the next chord, after you reach the end of the first line, repeat it, but this time through play each chord only 4 times (play the chords at your own speed) keep on repeating that first line until you can move smoothly to the next chord after 2 strums each (at your own speed, of course) Then move to the next line. Once you reach the bottom of the sheet add in a metronome and return to the first line. Use the metronome to help you ramp up your chord transition speed each time through the sheet. You will soon find that your fingers no longer need any help and that's when the real fun starts.
You can repeat this sequence to learn new strums and picking patterns. Start real slow and don't be discouraged. Try to keep up a practice notebook to jog your memory about what goal(s) you're trying to achieve by summer. This helps you keep on task when there are so many little skills you'd like to try out...

Inksplosive AL
02-16-2014, 11:20 AM
I haven't paid attention to how many hours I have put in since my first reply in this thread but I'm impressed with the method. Granted I had noodled with a guitar and bass many many years ago I have never before this time been able to just play without looking at my fingers. I'm working my way through a couple slow rough versions of songs that I'm having fun noodling through now. The thing is its fun not learning now. A few minutes learning the next few bars of a song soon becomes just fun figuring out how to play it smoother. Thank you uncle Rod!

The Cdim to Dm7 was a pain in the butt to get down and its still only passable. When I get stuck on chords like this I go back and forth between the two chords until I work it out then I'll move on. The next time through if its rough I do the same thing by going between them until they smooth out a bit. I just started moving past the second and third sheet and find its much easier now. I'm also just starting the exercises again in the video I posted to this thread previously. My fingers still sit too far away from the fretboard in the resting position.

This video helped me a lot also. I was playing the other night without using my thumb on my left hand it really helps with hand strength.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldLxOrrJ3Ck

~Peace~

EDIT: I have the first page memorized. It does show what chords lead into others naturally.