Help I can't stop noodling!

Eggs_n_Ham

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I sit all day and noodle with my ukulele. do a little practice, try to improve what I can but start noodling.

I've searched for cures and have tried to apply anti guitar noodling techniques but I am weak. Weak you hear?

What's a good ukulele anti-noodling regimen/technique for beginners?
 

JJFN

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Noodle away and enjoy every minute of it.
 

Arcy

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If it’s not causing problems it’s not a problem.

Don’t noodle in classes. I keep a hook on my music stand so I can stow my instrument when the teacher is talking and remove temptation.
 

donboody

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You're not noodling, you're playing ukulele. Have fun.
 

Mivo

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Noodling does get a bit in the way of improvement, at least for me. I used to think that any kind of ukulele playing helps with improvement, but I’ve found that noodling didn’t really make me better. It just kills time, but there’s no actual progress because what I do doesn’t stretch my limits, so nothing is learned, no challenges are overcome. It’s like idle doodling when you’re on the phone.

I don’t think noodling is bad or anything. If you enjoy it, keep on noodling. The only downside I see is that people think of it as practicing and then get frustrated when they don’t get better in spite of the many hours they have spent with the instrument. That happened to me, until I realized that improvement requires overcoming of challenges and deliberate effort. Solutions? Practice material or stuff that is hard, just around the edge of your ability. Use a metronome. Do the things that are difficult for you. Not all the same, just when you actually want to meaningfully practice.
 

achutch3

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I noodle quite a bit (mostly). I run through the chords and progressions I know and if and when something inspires me I'll turn to "learning" it. The new thing I learn then goes into the noodling library and the cycle repeats.

This is how I progress and I'm not sure I would enjoy just learning constantly. Go at your own pace, noodle, and enjoy. It's a life long thing, don't burn out on thinking you need to be learning a new song every few weeks. Great players aren't made in a few months. Take your time and enjoy the discovery.
 

Ukulele Woodshed

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I have the same problem - so I set myself little goals and objectives. Learn a new song, practice reading rhythm, spend time ear training - whatever it is, you just have to be disciplined and stick to it. Start by writing yourself a list of things you would like to learn to do or do better and then pick one a week/fortnight/month to work on. A habit tracker could be a good way too? Allow yourself some noodle time but don't let it be the only thing you do.
 

captain-janeway

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I've been looking for way to set up a good way to do actual practice. I'm in the same situation that others have mentioned where doing the same few songs in "practice" will have you play those few songs really well but not do much else.
Uncle Rod's bootcamp is good for learning chord transitions. I'm also trying to learn moveable chord shapes. I also noodle picking patterns while I watch the idiot box just so I build the muscle memory. I like picking much more than strumming.
 

Nickie

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Get a Ubass. I got one for my wife, now her noodling is useful.
 

ripock

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just be mindful of your noodling to give it some significance. When playing the same old chord progression you've always played, drop the pinky somewhere for a beat and see how it sounds. If you find something you like, you can remember it for future reference or even look up the chord you created with some online chord finder so that you'll know what it is you've formed. I don't really have any advice on noodling while picking because I find that impossible personally. I play scales so much that it is quite beyond my ability to just throw some notes together; I always know what I'm doing. I do improvise all the time but I am always at least somewhat conscious of what key I'm in or what scale I'm playing. But give the chord noodling a try
 

VegasGeorge

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When I noodle I tend to go over and over the same old stuff. Maybe I get a little bit of benefit from it, but not much. I spend most of my Uke time playing off of lead sheets, and I'm always adding to them. Perhaps making yourself use some paper or digital lead sheets would give you the instrument time you obviously crave, and get you away from the aimless noodling all the time? In case you're not familiar with the term, "lead sheet" means simplified sheet music, technically a notated melody line, chord symbols, and lyrics. But most of mine are just the lyrics and chord symbols. Which means I have to already know or learn the melody some other way.
 

LorenFL

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just be mindful of your noodling to give it some significance. When playing the same old chord progression you've always played, drop the pinky somewhere for a beat and see how it sounds. If you find something you like, you can remember it for future reference or even look up the chord you created with some online chord finder so that you'll know what it is you've formed. I don't really have any advice on noodling while picking because I find that impossible personally. I play scales so much that it is quite beyond my ability to just throw some notes together; I always know what I'm doing. I do improvise all the time but I am always at least somewhat conscious of what key I'm in or what scale I'm playing. But give the chord noodling a try
I'll preface this with a giant "I'm NFG", I just play to amuse myself.

But, what Ripock said is similar to what I do. I'll noodle all around different scales (but, I generally DON'T know what key I'm in... just how to play the "shape" of the scale that I'm playing to stay in a key). And I'll noodle different chord progressions that I've either found, or discovered. Simple ones, like any random I-IV-V progression, or a good 4-chord progression. Then, as I get good at transitioning through that progression, I'll "jazz up" each of those chords either randomly hunting for something that sounds good, or actually looking up variations of the chords.

For example, I like to play C-Am-F-G7. No idea where I picked that up, might have just lucked into it. It's surely very common, it sounds good.

But, I got bored with it. So, I jazzed it up to:
C & Csus4 (adding a finger on the first fret of the E)
Am & Am7no5 (adding a finger on the third fret of the E)
F & F7no5 (adding a finger on the third fret of the C)
G7 & G7sus4 (adding a finger on the 3rd fret of the A)

So, I'll roll through a couple bars of each of the main chords, then start mixing in the alternate chords with different strumming patterns. And what was a fairly simple and boring chord progression becomes a pretty fun little jam that sounds way more complex than it actually is. It's a really easy one to play if you finger it right, the moves are very fluid.

Nothing wrong with a little noodling. That's how a lot of songs begin. Noodling begets a riff. A riff begets a chord progression. And so on.
 

LorenFL

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Oh yeah, and once you've gotten really good at fingering a chord progression... you can add a fingerpicking pattern to it! Try to focus on the fingerpicking, and just do the chord fretting "mindlessly". If you can do the chords without flubbing them, AND keep up with your fingerpicking pattern... it can sound REALLY cool!

(yeah, real musicians are laughing at us... that's okay)
 

Nickie

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I can manage a few of those, like in the song Roseville Fair, I do it with my banjouke.
 

rustydusty

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I am not sure what is meant by "noodling". I play a lot of songs, and generally start with the slower stuff and work into the harder ones, playing each a few times, trying to get my timing and transitions as smooth as I can. I will also work on any new stuff we're doing with the band. At 70 years old, it's all about having fun with the uke, not trying to "master" it...
 

LorenFL

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Noodling is just freeform playing like a "solo" using a scale that you know, or bouncing around between chords that you know. Not really playing a song. Perhaps incorporating parts of songs or riffs that you know.

Just mindlessly playing "stuff" that might sound good to you, but not a song.
 

Wiggy

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A lot of "noodling" in this discussion :) That's good.

I spent about 2 years noodling around just learning chords that are used in most common sequences: (Maj, Dom7, min, min7, dim 7, and Maj7) in all "playable" keys. (For me, it's C-D-Eb-E-F-G-A-Bb.) During that time I collected perhaps a few dozen paper songbooks and twice that in .pdf songbooks. All were good resources, but I was completely overwhelmed.

After about 3 years, I bought the first (yellow) Daily Ukulele To Go. Everything changed. I knew many of the chords and could finally focus on learning songs! I am sometimes tempted to dig into all these other resources but I keep returning to this book.

Why? Because it has a huge variety of genres, tempos, strumming, and melody lines, and it has the most popular pop and "jazzy" chord sequences all in one place. Focus. Focus. Focus. What is in here is transferrable to many other songs you may want to learn.

Do I try to play them all? Absolutely not. I play only the ones I might want to try to sing along with.
 

glasspipe79

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If you think about it, there's really nothing wrong with noodling. The more time you spend playing the better you become. If you want to focus though, separate practice time and then apply your practice to your noodling session. maybe study key signatures and practice different positions of the same chord and then noodle away.