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Alloalexandre
05-06-2014, 03:49 PM
Just read that article, i find it very interesting and applicable to the ukulele not only the oboe.

http://www.public.asu.edu/~schuring/Oboe/practice.html

What do you think is the best way to practice? What resources do you use?

Icelander53
05-06-2014, 04:41 PM
While this is geared to someone aiming at great proficiency that most are not hoping to achieve or are willing to work like that toward there is very useful information here for most everyone imo.

If you take the "practice slowly enough to not make mistakes or rarely make mistakes formula" you are most of the way to becoming a decent player. This was and is still a major error in practice for me and one I have been taking steps to correct.

But for me and I practice with a partner, sometimes really goofing up an exercise brings us to the floor in howling side ache laughter. That has benefits in my life that are priceless. I try to find a balance. If I were trying to be a pro however I would take your article deadly seriously.

DownUpDave
05-06-2014, 05:26 PM
Thanks for sharing, really thanks for sharing that. I printed it out and will stick it in my practice binder. Going really slow has so many benefits but most don't have the patience and discipline to really do it. I am going to make a golf analogy, something I am actually very good at and have taken lots of lessons. When you swing the club at 40 - 50% of your normal speed all your flaws will be shown. At full speed there are a lot of compensations that occurr to end up with a half way decent result.........sometimes. Slow everything down so you can Identify the faults and then you know what to work on to improve.

Slowing down helps you to learn how to relax and play your instrument in a relaxed state instead of all tensed up. As the author said It also allows your brain to function faster than your fingers and give them commands.

I do follow his three part practice regime. Early mornings are 30 minutes of slow relaxed finger dexterity exercises. My main focus is eliminating tenson, in particular sympathetic tension. After dinner is 30 minutes with Ukulele Aerobics book, then 30 minutes or more working on a song. Lots of fun noodling around as well, got to have some fun

sukie
05-06-2014, 06:13 PM
It's a great article. My teacher says many of those same things. I try really hard to do those things. I find if I really pay attention to HOW I practice, as well as what I practice, I have a lot more success. I find it really fun to practice. Is that weird?

Brad Bordessa
05-06-2014, 07:51 PM
This is great. Really great. I keep wondering if I am going overboard by always making my students play slow. The answer is: absolutely NOT! Excuse me while I go practice....

Nickie
05-06-2014, 07:54 PM
It's a great article. My teacher says many of those same things. I try really hard to do those things. I find if I really pay attention to HOW I practice, as well as what I practice, I have a lot more success. I find it really fun to practice. Is that weird?

Me to Sukie!

kohanmike
05-06-2014, 08:12 PM
Practice is best for me with someone else. My very accomplished guitar buddy recently took up the harmonica and we've jammed a couple of times, it was great fun and fruitful. I'm getting much better practicing by myself after seeing the TED video about 20 hours vs 10,000 hours, broke some barriers for me.

artwombat
05-06-2014, 10:21 PM
Weeeelllll

Practice depends on your goal.

I am on record by my sons for nagging them with the saying = "practice makes perfect". But the uke is not a "con for music instrument" it is a folk instrument. It can of course be played skillfully and technically perfect but it can be played just for fun as the Folk instrument category suggests.

Practice should reflect your goal, simple as that.

If your goal is having fun then practice should be fun. If you goal is playing as good as you can possibly be, then your practice should be following a diligent practice regime.

sirwhale
05-07-2014, 01:03 AM
I'm a science teacher and use this method sometimes in lessson. At home I find it works for practising my playing too. It's cllaed Spaced Learning:

http://www.innovationunit.org/sites/default/files/Spaced_Learning-downloadable_1.pdf

Olarte
05-07-2014, 01:08 AM
Excellent Article. As a classical guitarist I find this very useful and right in target. Although it certainly applies to any instrument or type of music.


While certainly not as detailed or in depth as this article is, I wrote a short essay on my blog a few years ago. I thought you might want to check it out http://ivanolarte.com/2010/06/22/the-zen-of-practicing/

xyz
05-07-2014, 01:33 AM
A big thank you for sharing this excellent article. It's well written and it says it all. One of the virtues of practicing is that you develop your patience over time... but at least for me the temptation to go fast is always there... even after decades of practice on different instruments... I always have to fight against it.

I agree with some that have said you often have to hide to practice. When you have a public you are always tempted to speed up and skip practice.

Icelander53
05-07-2014, 01:57 AM
Weeeelllll

Practice depends on your goal.

I am on record by my sons for nagging them with the saying = "practice makes perfect". But the uke is not a "con for music instrument" it is a folk instrument. It can of course be played skillfully and technically perfect but it can be played just for fun as the Folk instrument category suggests.

Practice should reflect your goal, simple as that.

If your goal is having fun then practice should be fun. If you goal is playing as good as you can possibly be, then your practice should be following a diligent practice regime.

As in my post above I agree wholeheartly. This path, in total, is not for everyone. Some might give it up were they to feel they needed to be this serious about learning this fun instrument. It's often stated here in the boards that having fun is the only prerequisite for ukulele membership. For some getting down and serious is that fun. For others banging out a few chords on the beach between beers is the fun. For some something more in the middle suits best. To each their own and who's to say who gets the most out of their path?

KnowsPickin
05-07-2014, 02:27 AM
It's a great article. My teacher says many of those same things. I try really hard to do those things. I find if I really pay attention to HOW I practice, as well as what I practice, I have a lot more success. I find it really fun to practice. Is that weird?

You will probably become the best player of us all. You ENJOY practicing. Virtuoso players did not get that way because they force themselves to practice long hours simply for the sake of becoming better. Most virtuosos practice because they cannot NOT practice. Playing is their joy. They practice and play because they enjoy it and then, by default, become very, very good.

I wish to God I had that gene. I enjoy playing as such, particularly jamming with other people. But practice itself is work for me. I hope that as I become a better player and a better music/tab reader that practicing will become more of a pleasure. I have always had trouble learning music from a page. And doing something I am not good at hurts.

Keep playing and good luck.

1931jim
05-07-2014, 02:27 AM
You wrote......""you often have to hide to practice"" I guess that is what the old saying ""Woodshed"" must mean.

A big thank you for sharing this excellent article. It's well written and it says it all. One of the virtues of practicing is that you develop your patience over time... but at least for me the temptation to go fast is always there... even after decades of practice on different instruments... I always have to fight against it.

I agree with some that have said you often have to hide to practice. When you have a public you are always tempted to speed up and skip practice.

wodan22
05-07-2014, 03:06 AM
Thanks for posting this! It was an interesting read with some very good ideas. The point about slowing something down to the point that you can play it perfectly is something I have heard a million times, but only recently grasped.

In addition to ukulele, I play clawhammer banjo, and I have recently begun to deconstruct and reevaluate the way I practice in order to practice more efficiently and get more out of practicing. Quickly playing through every song I know is probably not going to make me "better". Working on fundamentals and techniques, rather than just learning songs, will make me better. Breaking down songs I think I know and playing short phrases slowly until I can play them from memory perfectly will make me better. These are the kind of things I've been thinking about when I practice and trying to figure out in order to have a more constructive practice session.

I do disagree slightly with the section about metronomes. If you've been playing an oboe for 10 years and practice with a full concert band or ensemble everyday, you probably don't need a metronome as much to work on your rhythm. If you are a relative novice who struggles with consistent rhythm and does not have other people to play with (i.e. me), then the metronome can be extremely helpful in helping you develop consistent rhythm.

pixiepurls
05-07-2014, 03:11 AM
Good read! Some days my fingers won't chord right so I tend to give up on chording on those days and I used to feel bad about it but now I think its a good choice I do something else on those days so I am not doing it wrong :)

bonesigh
05-07-2014, 08:49 AM
Funny, I don't ever "practice". I just play every chance I get. I love it so much and I just don't ever see it as practice (:

janeray1940
05-07-2014, 09:20 AM
Funny, I don't ever "practice". I just play every chance I get. I love it so much and I just don't ever see it as practice (:

And that makes two of us!

I have to admit I couldn't get through the whole article due to the poor design (white text on dark background is never a good idea IMHO - oh my aching eyes!) but what I did read makes sense in its particular context (college music major? darned right you'd better be disciplined) but quite honestly, for me would just suck the joy right out of everything. Timing my playing to something like an hour of warm-up, an hour of scales, etc would just feel like another job - and I've already got a full-time one of those.

Since I started playing 5 years back, I've pretty much stuck with playing for 2 hours a day, every day. Sometimes that doesn't happen; other days I play for far more. I play songs, I play scales, I improvise, I try to pick out melodies and chord progressions without looking up the sheet music. I don't warm up, I just start playing whatever feels right at the moment.

I suppose there are those who would say I'm doing it all wrong, but - hey, it's what works for me. YMMV!

The bit about playing SLOWLY and emphasizing accuracy, though, is spot-on. I've come across a few pieces that seemed like they were WAY beyond my abilities and that I could never play well, only to learn that if I disregard the tempo I'm accustomed to hearing and just work through it slowly, eventually I'll get there. Maybe not this week, maybe not this year :)

janeray1940
05-07-2014, 09:23 AM
Actually, there is one thing that I sort of disagree with in the article. Yes, try to play it perfectly every time, but when I screw up I rarely stop and start all over again. I feel that you should just play through because if you're playing a show and screw up you're not going to be able to start over. It's a little embarrassing, sure, but no one will probably notice. If it's real obvious make light of it and move on.

My instructor would agree with you (and thus, I do too). For a long time I had the habit of starting over when I messed up, and then found that I couldn't just pick up from wherever I had stopped - the only way I could get through it was by starting from the top again. And as you noted, when you're playing in front of others, that's not really practical. I've learned from experience that they seldom notice.

sukie
05-07-2014, 09:43 AM
I have learned to plow through mistakes, too. Man, it's hard. But you do have to keep going. That is something people do need to think about.

During lessons I am asked to play the song at full speed. I have hated that for 4 years. But last Friday I learned why -- so he can tell what needs to be worked on. Then during the week I slow those sections down to work on playing the notes correctly. Sometimes it's tone or technique those parts need work on.

One part of the article I didn't agree with was the part disagreeing with "But it sounds better at home". I am much more relaxed when I practice/play. The minute he says. "Start" I get really nervous. But I guess it shows where the trouble spots really are.

I just love playing the ukulele. I love ukulele club because it's fun to get together and just play some music. It's pretty much strumming and it's great. I also love to learn how to really play the instrument. I love my lessons. There is much to learn. I hope I am alive long enough to hit the 10,000 hour mark.

bonesigh
05-10-2014, 05:54 AM
Yep (; I agree also about the "slow it down" really helps. I've been playing for 5 years too. I feel so empty on those days that I haven't been able to pick up the uke!


And that makes two of us!

I have to admit I couldn't get through the whole article due to the poor design (white text on dark background is never a good idea IMHO - oh my aching eyes!) but what I did read makes sense in its particular context (college music major? darned right you'd better be disciplined) but quite honestly, for me would just suck the joy right out of everything. Timing my playing to something like an hour of warm-up, an hour of scales, etc would just feel like another job - and I've already got a full-time one of those.

Since I started playing 5 years back, I've pretty much stuck with playing for 2 hours a day, every day. Sometimes that doesn't happen; other days I play for far more. I play songs, I play scales, I improvise, I try to pick out melodies and chord progressions without looking up the sheet music. I don't warm up, I just start playing whatever feels right at the moment.

I suppose there are those who would say I'm doing it all wrong, but - hey, it's what works for me. YMMV!

The bit about playing SLOWLY and emphasizing accuracy, though, is spot-on. I've come across a few pieces that seemed like they were WAY beyond my abilities and that I could never play well, only to learn that if I disregard the tempo I'm accustomed to hearing and just work through it slowly, eventually I'll get there. Maybe not this week, maybe not this year :)

BigMamaJ40
05-10-2014, 08:27 AM
Great article. I am home on medical leave, and am excited now that I can now sit long enough to play both my uke and my guitar. I see this recovery period as a once-in-a- (working adult's)-lifetime opportunity to improve my playing. I do not have a teacher, but I have been looking for a way to structure my playing time so I start improving.

Spud1$
05-10-2014, 05:10 PM
I get discouraged when I practice with the UU classes because Aldrinne is to fast for me. Thank you for this article

Ukejenny
05-11-2014, 09:21 AM
I tried to read all of it, but for some reason, the lavender background made my eyes blur.

I work with a lot of younger instrumentalists. My first lesson with a new student, I tell them that they are allowed to make as many mistakes as necessary in order to learn new things and grow. Yes, be prepared, but also be willing to do the things I throw at you. We all learn from mistakes, in music and in life. If you are doing something perfectly, you aren't learning, you are reviewing. Reviewing is a great thing. Learning and growing is also great. It takes some of the kids a while to build up enough trust to really jump off and soar.

I tell them to practice consistently. Make it a routine.
Don't just run through songs, but isolate trouble spots and repeat them slowly, as slow as needed to play correctly.
Jump between trouble spots, slowly, with focus and play them. Increase the tempo as you get better.
Take a break if you get frustrated or angry.
Don't sit on the same spot for too long - it leads to burnout and frustration.

I read an article discussing practicing and it said that jumping between problems (or measures, or sections of music) actually helps your brain retain the information quicker than just sitting on one problem forever before trying the next one. I'm trying to find the article now and can't locate it. Gah!

Ukejenny
05-11-2014, 10:04 AM
I found the article! This is really interesting...
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/why-the-progress-in-the-practice-room-seems-to-disappear-overnight/

This article discusses random practice and blocked (or repetitive) practice. It also discusses how our brains process changing information as opposed to repeated information. Very interesting stuff that can make practice sessions more enjoyable, effective and efficient.

Spud1$
05-11-2014, 03:01 PM
I found the article! This is really interesting...
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/why-the-progress-in-the-practice-room-seems-to-disappear-overnight/

This article discusses random practice and blocked (or repetitive) practice. It also discusses how our brains process changing information as opposed to repeated information. Very interesting stuff that can make practice sessions more enjoyable, effective and efficient.
I found this article very interesting as well! Thank you for sharing. I wish there was a teacher close to me.

ichadwick
05-12-2014, 02:52 AM
I used to practice a lot with other musicians. We called it "jamming." However, today I tend to practice alone (if you don't count the cats, dogs and my long-suffering wife who's in the living room trying to read her book in peace....).

For me that means playing a song over and over, experimenting with fingering changes, chord changes, strumming changes. Then playing another song, over and over. Rinse and repeat until I can play the song without looking at the chords or tablature.

Of course, next day, I've probably forgotten something and have to do it all over again. That's the fun of aging. At least my callouses get a good workout...