Beginners Journey

bilbo56

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Hi Fellow Beginners, how’s your journey progressing?

I’ve only had my Uke for 2 months and have to keep reminding myself that this will be a lifelong journey. I’m still working full time but will retire this year. This limits my practice time during the week.

I’ve picked up the usual accessories such as tuners and humidity solutions. Also purchased several books, but most are over my ability, with the exception of “The Daily Ukulele”.

I took James Hill’s Ready Steady Ukulele and Booster Uke courses, and Uncle Rod’s Boot Camp. My main focus now is getting muscle memory and learning (memorizing) chords. So far, I haven’t found any instructors or groups in my area.

At this point should I just start learning songs and strumming techniques, I'm not a singer? How about you, where has your path led?
 

Mfturner

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I got a ukulele in early April of 2021, so I'm a little further into it, 10 months into it. I am also self taught with YouTube to get started. I have a few more years until retirement, but I've found I can practice left hand if I strum or fingerpick very lightly while we watch TV in the evenings without driving my wife too crazy, so I've made decent progress with chord progressions, not as much with interesting right hand technique or lyrics. I'll even try to find keys and chords that work with soundtracks to movies while we watch. My goal for 2022 is to learn (memorize) several songs, maybe a dozen including lyrics. I'd like to add a half dozen Christmas songs maybe starting at the end of summer.

On a few weekends this past year I recorded myself, I would like to make that more regular in 2022, maybe just 5 min of one song every other week, but it's helpful for me to hear myself from an "audience" point of view.

I would never discourage anyone from getting an instructor, even online by zoom or whatever. I bet that would speed progress a bunch. That is not in my personal plans yet, but maybe I'll add it at some point.
 

Cadia

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Hi Fellow Beginners, how’s your journey progressing?

I’ve only had my Uke for 2 months and have to keep reminding myself that this will be a lifelong journey. I’m still working full time but will retire this year. This limits my practice time during the week.

I’ve picked up the usual accessories such as tuners and humidity solutions. Also purchased several books, but most are over my ability, with the exception of “The Daily Ukulele”.

I took James Hill’s Ready Steady Ukulele and Booster Uke courses, and Uncle Rod’s Boot Camp. My main focus now is getting muscle memory and learning (memorizing) chords. So far, I haven’t found any instructors or groups in my area.

At this point should I just start learning songs and strumming techniques, I'm not a singer? How about you, where has your path led?
The Daily Ukulele is a great resource! You can learn simple songs, with 2 or 3 chords, but progress to songs with more complex chords or fingerpick the songs as you learn some fingerpicking patterns. I have a new grandson, and I had some fun playing the children's songs for him when I visited. I seem to gravitate towards wanting to play songs, even though my voice isn't so great anymore (I can retire at any time now, lol). Enjoy your journey. You might want to document it in the subforum below. It's interesting to see how quickly you can progress, as we often focus on our shortcomings rather than our progress.
 

John Colter

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It's a very long time since I first took up the ukulele, but I remember thinking it would have served me better if I had concentrated more on the right hand (rhythm, strumming, damping) than learning lots of snazzy chords. You can make a lot of great music with just basic chords - it's the right hand that gives the bounce, the lilt, the timing and the flavour.

There'll be plenty of time to learn your Dm7b5 or G-wizz-demented when you've got the basics in place. ;)
 

man0a

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I played around with ukulele on my own for a few years without progressing very much until I started taking in-person classes and attending local jam sessions and festivals. That exposed me to a lot of different playing styles and skill levels and helped me to focus on learning skills that I find to be useful and enjoyable.

You say you are not a singer. You have 3 choices: learn to sing better, learn to enjoy singing without singing better, or learn to enjoy playing your ukulele without singing. There are many players who don't sing at all and seem to enjoy playing their ukulele and are enjoyable to listen to.
 

Tin Ear

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Hi bilbo56

Sounds like you are off to a great start. A year to retirement sounds wonderful. I am about 3 years away.

Your journey can be whatever you want it to be and at whatever pace you like. Have fun. Remember It's journey and not a destination and all will be well.

Don't sweat UAS either - it's ok if you keep a little handle on it. ;)
 

VegasGeorge

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I've been at it for a while now. But, I try to keep a beginner's mind. There is always something new to work on. And, I never feel as if I have perfected anything. And, you know, I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm having too much fun as it is!
 

tm3

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Starting on ukulele led me to the book First Learn to Practice, and it has been extraordinarily helpful.

I can't help but look back and wonder what might have been had I had some of the gold in that book years ago.
 

bilbo56

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Starting on ukulele led me to the book First Learn to Practice, and it has been extraordinarily helpful.

I can't help but look back and wonder what might have been had I had some of the gold in that book years ago.
Thanks, I just ordered it. I did buy and read "The Practice of Practice: How to Boost Your Music Skills", but thought it was geared more towards professionals.
 
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tm3

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Thanks, I just ordered it. I did buy and read "The Practice of Practice: How to Boost Your Music Skills", but thought it was geared more towards professionals.
I think that P of P is also helpful in a conceptual kind of way, but for me FLTP has been much more practical. Good luck with it!
 

Kenn2018

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I have been at the uke for 4 years now. I am not as far along as I should be. I am, maybe, an advanced beginner or a beginning intermediate. In skills.

Here are the things I found useful:
1. Learn what the 4 strings are 0000 ie: GCEA. It's surprising how many people at my uke club don't know this.
2. Learn your basic Chords: C, D, E, F, G, A, B once you have those down, the 7th chords and then the minor chords. (Instead of sheep, picture your chords in your head when you go to bed.)
3. Learn some basic strum patterns for 4/4 & 3/4 time. DDDD, DU DU DU DU, etc.
4. Tap your foot when playing your chords until 4/4 & 3/4 is ingrained in your head. Use a metronome if you can.
If you get this down, you will be able to play a lot of songs. Picking up the odd chord along the way.

Learn to read Tab (tablature) so you can pick individual notes.
Memorize the major notes on the fretboard. Break it down a little at a time. (I'm still working on this.)
Learn scales. (I'm still working on this.)
Finger picking patterns. And how to use them. (I'm still working on this.)
Do hand & dexterity exercises every time you pick up your uke.
Learn the other commonly used chords major7, sus4, some flat & sharp chords.
The 1, 4, 5 (Nashville) system

Find an online instructor you like and can follow. There are several that make me crazy but other people love. Almost all have some free lessons online so you can decide if you like the way they teach.

Keep yourself interested by playing songs you like.
Don't get discouraged. It takes a lot of repetition to get to the point where you don't have to think about chord shapes, where the notes are, or the strum pattern, or picking pattern. And you don't have to look at the fretboard to play most chords or notes. Think abut how long it took before you could drive a car smoothly without thinking about each and every thing you had to do.

Have fun.
 
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IslandSounds

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For me the way I started was by pulling up uke tabs and just singing a load of songs that I liked.
My goal was just joy. So I played what I felt like. Billie Eilish. Dua Lipa. The Beatles. Anything and everything.
It didn’t really matter what it sounded like to others - I was making music and it was fun.
I ended up having daily jam sessions with my wife - I would awkwardly play chords and she would sing.
Don’t convince yourself that you’re not a singer - be comfortable with your voice. Your body is the best instrument you will ever own.
I learned fingerpicking by just starting to break down the chords into notes and arpeggios. I wanted to imitate what I heard on the radio.
Ultimately for me it’s just about joy. If you love it, you will get better. I’m no expert ukulele player by any means. But that’s not the point :)
 

clear

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At this point should I just start learning songs and strumming techniques, I'm not a singer? How about you, where has your path led?

If you like learning songs, then why not? You don't have to be a good singer to sing. I sing terribly; yet, I enjoy singing so I sing.

The ukulele (IMHO) is best suited to accompany singing. So, by not singing, you may be missing out on the uke's strong points. However, as long as you find fun in the uke, then all is well.

As for me, I learned all I needed for the uke in about 6 months and haven't improved my uke skills since then. I have this easy uke songs book containing a lot of the songs I like; after 6 months of learning, I can play all the songs in the book. So, my path for the uke is just to play those songs. However, the uke has inspired me to improve my singing, and I'm actively working on that.
 

rustydusty

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I'm not a singer either, so I accompany myself with the harmonica while playing the ukelele...20211115_105419.jpg