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View Full Version : The fake book is frustrating me, tabs frustrate me...



pixiepurls
03-10-2014, 02:17 PM
I need to learn how to figure out strums and melodies... suggested links? I don't get very far with anything. I would ADORE to play california dreaming but the very good youtube tutorial is just too fast, and the fake book version of it has different chords and they are far more complex then the youtube version. Either way... I am frustrated. I can't seem to learn an actual sons beyond the 21 songs in 6 days and those songs are barely songs and probably am not even playing those right.

I know how to do a "strumming pattern" and I've practiced 6 or so of them, but that doesn't do me any good when I go to play a song.

itsme
03-10-2014, 02:28 PM
You got some good answers in the last thread you started about this.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?93741-What-should-I-do-next

pixiepurls
03-10-2014, 02:44 PM
omg I didn't even remember starting that thread.. LOL! thanks :)

sam13
03-10-2014, 02:49 PM
Mastering anything takes time. Give yourself a break and learn something new every day or so ... in a few months you will be amazed at how much you have learned.

I am a nubie as well and I am just enjoying the process ... cause while I hope to play awesome some day ... I am pretty limited in my ability right now.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
03-11-2014, 05:59 AM
in my Ukulele Boot Camp I suggest that rhythm and strums would be the LAST thing to work on when learning, especially as a beginner, to play the uke to accompany yourself singing.

Why the last thing? Because strumming and rhythm assumes that you already know the Melody, the Lyrics, and can do the chord changes smoothly in time with the tempo of the song. Once you have those variables down, cold, you can begin to experiment with the rhythms you hear and feel and the dynamics of loud or soft playing, slow or faster strumming.

I agree with those who offered suggestions in your other post that perhaps you're biting off more than you can comfortably 'chew' at this time. While California Dreaming is a beautiful song with a haunting melody, it is also not the easiest song to learn to play. Keep at it, by all means, but also work on simpler, less challenging songs to build your reperatory or treasure chest of songs.

There is a learning curve which can be steep, especially if you choose songs and styles that, while impressive, demand a level of skill and sophistication that beginners need to practice to develop. There is a saying in the science and art of Teaching (pedagogy) which goes: you cannot impart what you do not possess. It applies to performers as well, in the sense that if the performer (teacher) does not possess (has not mastered) the content of what they wish to convey/impart... it won't, yea, can't happen. the desire might be there, but it still won't happen.
It's like vaguely remembering a joke and desperately wanting to share it, but not having shared it before, and only remembering parts of it... any attempt to 'tell' it could be catastrophic :)

Not to say that your playing is 'catastrophic'... :)

keep uke'in', we all want you to get 'there'... and have fun doing so!

PS I'm trying to learn James Taylor's/Carole King's 'You've Got a Friend' and my first order of business is to learn the song (cold) without even picking up my ukulele. I think I'm more of an Auditory Learner and I feel the need to have the song (melody and lyrics) in my head/memory so that I can work on 'fitting' the lyrics and the suggested chords into the way I will probably be singing the song (as a performance). Without a full familiarity with the melody and lyrics I will not even attempt to 'play' a song, as I don't 'know' it yet.

At song circles, I'll strum along and listen intently, but I generally don't sing songs I don't know. Learning songs takes time, and learning to play songs or to accompany yourself (and others) singing those songs, well it can take even more time & practice. But it's worth it, as you'll find when you finally play California Dreaming! :)

katysax
03-11-2014, 06:18 AM
You have a lot of different issues going on. It seems you have no musical background, and not a modicum of music theory. You also don't have the muscle memory to fluently change chords.

Almost any melody will work with a number of different chords. You might play it in a different key, or you might add in more chords for "color". It's best to start by learning how to play songs using three or four chords. Almost any melody will work with three chords. Check out Jim D'Ville's "Playing Ukulele by Ear" web site. What will also help is finding a uke group locally if possible, some group classes or go to some ukulele festivals. In my experience playing music, getting together with others who play will cause your progress to leap ahead faster than anything.

I learned to play guitar when I was 14 years old. I spent months, literally months, trying to play two and three chord songs and get the changes fluid. I'm in my sixties and I still remember it took me a long time and playing every day. It's still easier to play by ear than it is to play out of a book. And if I can't play something it's because I can't hear how it is supposed to be played in my head.

Put it down for a week or two. You'll be surprised how much better you'll be after a break.

Kayak Jim
03-11-2014, 06:40 AM
omg I didn't even remember starting that thread.. LOL! thanks :)

If you're jumping around in your learning the uke the way you've jumped from that thread to this one in just a few days the comments that you're trying to do too much too fast are right on!

Uncle Rod's Boot Camp is the best start in my opinion.

OldePhart
03-11-2014, 06:50 AM
If you're jumping around in your learning the uke the way you've jumped from that thread to this one in just a few days the comments that you're trying to do too much too fast are right on!

:agree: - there is real danger in jumping about and not sticking to one or two things until you have them down cold. That is why most beginners quit - they become frustrated because something they expected to be really easy turns out to seem overwhelming and then they convince themselves that they just don't have talent. That is rarely true of anyone. Yes, music will come easier to some than others, but when you see Jake Shimabakuru or James Hill play, or even a neighbor who just seems really talented, you can be absolutely certain that years of steady practice and dedication preceded that performance.

I don't put myself in those guys category (not even of the talented neighbor, come to that) but as an example I spent year before last working on nothing but right hand technique. That's right...didn't even attempt to learn one new song...made almost no videos...but I practiced one-to-two hours a day for an entire year on just improving right hand technique.

The result - I now am pretty confident that I can handle a great variety of rhythms fluidly and comfortably. I still suck, but my right hand is no longer something I'm ashamed of!

John

Icelander53
03-11-2014, 07:20 AM
in my Ukulele Boot Camp I suggest that rhythm and strums would be the LAST thing to work on when learning, especially as a beginner, to play the uke to accompany yourself singing.

Why the last thing? Because strumming and rhythm assumes that you already know the Melody, the Lyrics, and can do the chord changes smoothly in time with the tempo of the song. Once you have those variables down, cold, you can begin to experiment with the rhythms you hear and feel and the dynamics of loud or soft playing, slow or faster strumming.

I agree with those who offered suggestions in your other post that perhaps you're biting off more than you can comfortably 'chew' at this time. While California Dreaming is a beautiful song with a haunting melody, it is also not the easiest song to learn to play. Keep at it, by all means, but also work on simpler, less challenging songs to build your reperatory or treasure chest of songs.

There is a learning curve which can be steep, especially if you choose songs and styles that, while impressive, demand a level of skill and sophistication that beginners need to practice to develop. There is a saying in the science and art of Teaching (pedagogy) which goes: you cannot impart what you do not possess. It applies to performers as well, in the sense that if the performer (teacher) does not possess (has not mastered) the content of what they wish to convey/impart... it won't, yea, can't happen. the desire might be there, but it still won't happen.
It's like vaguely remembering a joke and desperately wanting to share it, but not having shared it before, and only remembering parts of it... any attempt to 'tell' it could be catastrophic :)

Not to say that your playing is 'catastrophic'... :)

keep uke'in', we all want you to get 'there'... and have fun doing so!

PS I'm trying to learn James Taylor's/Carole King's 'You've Got a Friend' and my first order of business is to learn the song (cold) without even picking up my ukulele. I think I'm more of an Auditory Learner and I feel the need to have the song (melody and lyrics) in my head/memory so that I can work on 'fitting' the lyrics and the suggested chords into the way I will probably be singing the song (as a performance). Without a full familiarity with the melody and lyrics I will not even attempt to 'play' a song, as I don't 'know' it yet.

At song circles, I'll strum along and listen intently, but I generally don't sing songs I don't know. Learning songs takes time, and learning to play songs or to accompany yourself (and others) singing those songs, well it can take even more time & practice. But it's worth it, as you'll find when you finally play California Dreaming! :)

This post has totally inspired me. Thanks for posting. :shaka:

pixiepurls
03-11-2014, 08:31 AM
Thanks guys! I love all the comments. My jumping around is due to the fact that I have a 4 and 6 year old kids. My youngest likes to give me a run for my money :)

I take them to Ukulele lessons (which for a 4yo is pretty simple stuff and I listen to everything he says and do it myself at home!) and then my older one has Violin and she is learning from someone who plays in a symphony in our city. I have NO musical background but I am good at research and I pay attention to all their lessons, I read the suzuki book as well. I think it would be fun to take a musical theory class at a college or something, to help my better "get it". Everything feels so complex when you are new!

I will work my way backwards :)

Here is my showing you I am listening:


http://youtu.be/ny-z9w0lX8c

:D

PhilUSAFRet
03-11-2014, 01:25 PM
I told my students to master the chords first. Trying to learn new chords, get used to chord changes, lyrics, strum patterns, tempo, etc. just too much to learn all at once...a common mistake of many new players. It just doesn't happen quickly for the overwhelming majority of us. When a new player asked what was the most important quality required to play uke well, a UU'er replied "patience." Nuff said

sukie
03-11-2014, 02:42 PM
Nice video. Now you are ready to add the up strum. :-)

pixiepurls
03-12-2014, 03:41 AM
Boot camp is harder then I expected!!!! :D but I like it, shows where I need to work and some of those chords even with the finger annotations seem impossible lol! This gives me something to work on, I like it :D I'm sort of messing around and making up my own "song" or strum pattern etc while I work on them in the proper order :)

Uncle Rod Higuchi
03-12-2014, 06:16 AM
one of the ideas behind Boot Camp is the concept of learning to use a 'tool' before using it to 'make something'.
If you visit a wood-working shop, for example, you'll see many 'tools' used to make furniture, for example.
In order to make furniture at the shop, you'll first need to learn how to properly use the tools.

Your ukulele is the 'tool' you use to make music. First you learn to make musical sounds (chords and chord changes) with your uke, then you use your uke to make music/play songs, etc.

Sometimes, in our haste to make our 'furniture' we sometimes lose sight of the need to get familiar with our tools, first. :)

keep uke'in',

Icelander53
03-12-2014, 06:22 AM
I tend to agree, to a point. Had I not been able to use a few chords to play some simple songs in the beginning even with very poor technique I doubt I would have stuck with the uke even this long. But I spend most of my practice time just moving between chords without songs with a friend. However at the end of every practice we let it all out and play some songs we like. It provides some stress relief from the harder work and a lot of laughs and connection. As in Buddhism I believe the middle path works.

pixiepurls
03-12-2014, 12:17 PM
I actually enjoy playing the "chord progression" if I am using the word right. The next one seems way more complicated though.


http://youtu.be/HY05Fen4DeA

OldePhart
03-12-2014, 04:23 PM
Yep...that's an extremely common chord progression and you can play many, many simple songs just with that.

John