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Thread: How long can the excuse be used?

  1. #1

    Default How long can the excuse be used?

    OK. I've now been 'playing' the uke for 2 and a bit years. I tell people I'm not very good 'cos I'm starting to learn the uke. In my mind, after 2 years of learning I should be pretty good by now. I'm not. I am better than when I started, but still very much a learner. So just how long can we hide behind poor playing with the "I'm learning the uke" tag?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014


    I am in the same boat and hoping it lasts at least a couple more years. My original plan was to not tell people until I was good enough to tell them, but friends of friends saw me at a uke club meeting and put a damper on that idea.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Southern California


    I'm in the same boat too. I've been playing for about a year and a half, and I think I should be much farther along than I am. I keep telling myself that it's my old age that's slowing me down, but I dunno. The ukulele is much different than the other instruments that I play. I don't think it took so long to learn them, but they were all wind instruments. The ukulele is with the fingers, and I didn't do all that well with the piano either.

    I guess we'll just have to learn to be more patient.
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBE- Fingerstyle
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Lo F BbDF Fingerstyle
    Luna “Peace” concert - CGDA (5ths) Fingerstyle

    Kala tenor eight string - gGcCEEAA Strum
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-F BbDG Strum
    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B Strum

    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift)
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift

    Old age should rather be feared than death. - Juvenal
    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    Who you are comparing yourself to, though?

    Are there people who are much better than you? Of course. Are there players who progress much faster than you? Absolutely! And are there people who have given up long before they got to the point where you're at now? Yes, and there are many, many more of those than there are people who are better than you!

    If you enjoy yourself and you notice that you improve (or even if you stagnate and still have fun), that's all that (should) matters. Presumably, all of us here are too old and clumsy to ever become an Ukulele star, so the only thing that matters is that you're having a good time making noise! Expectations can be poisonous, and comparisons to others are even worse -- at least that it's how it is for me. It doesn't feel good, so I avoid doing it. You're better today than you were a month ago!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    After 18 months of playing, I'm pretty happy with how I'm doing (I've played guitar for 50 years). I'm 99.9% strum, with the idea that some day I'll learn involved finger picking of specific songs. I'm a member of a strum and sing senior group and playing along with them has made me improve a lot, some are better than me, many are not. It helps keep me in perspective.

    I was a member of an advanced instrumental group (that also did some vocals), but I would get so stressed out trying to keep up that ultimately realized I bit off more than I could chew and dropped out. I'm much happier strumming along with the other group.

  6. #6


    Cheers! I appreciate the responses - its all good. Another lesson tomorrow night will hopefully 'flick the switch!'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Pickering, ON, Canada


    You might not be as good as you think you should be or as good as you want to be but you are better than you use to be. Progress can be so slow that we forgot how incompetent we were at the beginning. We must not be in a race, that only leads to disaster. I am guessing non of us are getting as good as we would like as fast as we would like. We are all "learners" and will always remain that way.
    Currently enjoying these ukuleles : *LdfM tenor, *LfdM 19" super tenor. *LfdM baritone, *I'iwi tenor , *Koolau tenor, *Webber tenor, *Kimo tenor, *Kimo super concert, *Mya Moe baritone, *Kamaka baritone, *Gianinni baritone, *Fred Shields super soprano, *Kala super soprano, *Loprinzi super soprano, *Black bear ULO concert , *Enya X1 concert, *Enya X1 pineapple soprano, *Gretsch tenor, *Korala plastic concert

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Massachusetts, USA


    To be an artist a musician you have realize you are one despite or because of your abilities.

    Instruments and artist tools are just that. Tools so you can express what you feel see and hear.

    It is said that to become a master of any skill you need an average of 10,000 hours of practice.

    After seriously studying classical guitar for over 6 years Ive come to realize the points above are totally valid

    But to sum it up here is a quote I came up with that I try to live by: "Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward..."

    Practice consistently, don't be too hard to yourself, and enjoy the journey.
    You might want to video yourself from time to time and it will be easier to see your progress over time.

    Last of all you don't need to explain youself or make excuses for your playing to others. Others see you as a musician you need to see that too and just play.

    One difference between the people that play and the ones we admire on stage is that a good performer does make mistakes but he or she does NOT stumble over them they simply keep going and make it part of the fabric of music.

    I invite you to visit my YouTube channel in my signature below. When I recorded many of the early videos all I could focus was on doing a perfect take and see the mistAkes. I now record with less than 5 takes and am much more comfortable mistakes and all. And now I appreciate and enjoy more seeing my early attempts.

    I took the time to write all this because we all go through this. Yes even the pros.

    While I know I'm far from where I wish I were in my music journey I know I will never stop learning but appreciate my humble efforts along the way.

    Best of luck on your journey
    Last edited by Olarte; 02-02-2015 at 12:59 AM.
    YouTube channel
    Personal blog

    Instead of anticipating the goal, learn to enjoy the Journey for this is where we spend 99.9% of our time.
    The Journey is the reward...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Lake Villa, IL


    It's not a race and it's not a competition. No matter where you are at in your skill level there will always be something to learn, and something to get better at. We will always be students in that regard. So just keep having fun, which it sounds like you are already doing.
    Tenor Ukes
    KoAloha KTM-00
    Pono MTD-(All Mahogany)
    Big Island BI-MO-TR-(All Spalted Mango)
    Compass Rose Style B Tenor-(All Claro Walnut)
    Boat Paddle ML style Tenor-(Red Spruce/Cocobolo)

    Baritone Uke
    Pono MHBSSC-(Spruce/Mahogany)

    Tenor Guitar
    Ibanez AVT1-N-(Spruce/Mahogany)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Sumter County, FL


    The question is not how good you are, but how much enjoyment are you getting out of playing the instrument.

    "Good" is a subjective rating, and we all have personal definitions of what "good" is - and it's a floating standard.

    Enjoyment is what keeps the amateur going, and that too is a personal thing.

    So, if playing the instrument brings a smile to your face and some joy overall, who cares what others think?

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T)*, Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)**
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    Tuning: *Reentrant C CGDA. **DAEB. ***GDAE. The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

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