Reply To: How do you learn?

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Hi Charles and everyone,

Here is my approach to learning the uke based on experiences on other subjects, like chess, where I actually achieved something worth mentioning.
Quiet a long post even if I tried to be to the point, but there’s so much to be said about learning so…

I can give you a link to a very interesting article about learning, here, but I also recommend Andrew’s video about ‘how to master practicing”, here. He speak there about the Feeback loop for example.
also, one of the most useful idea in any field you want to learn is to divide the whole in smaller parts to focus on, that’s what they call “Deliberate practice”.

You can do it independently from your actual level, all you need to do before is to define REALISTIC goals with a timing.

And that’s I think the most difficult part, the second one being finding appropriate and good material to reach them. Two things made harder by learning by yourself. But even with a professor, unless a committed one, this remains awkward. By realistic I mean : I want to play like Andrew in 2 months. This isn’t. but wat is ? is 2 years realistic ? 4 years ? probably I ll never will  That’s a difficult part.

And then, what did he did to get there ? where to find the same material to learn ?

So let’s get a bit more concrete now.

My situation is easy, I am new to the uke (and music in general), so I start from zero 
I plan to play 6 days a week, for at the very least 30 minutes, but I am ready to play two hours if I can.

My goals are :
– Being comfortable with my playing position and trying not to take bad habits.
– Learning the most used chords and switching between them easily…. …on a few different strumming patterns…
– … This to be later able to play “any” simple song ( by this I mean like three or four chords songs” )
– Learning basic rhythmic things, key signature, and play it accurately -> metronome and counting loud
– Learning some basic fingerpicking patterns and play them sounding cleanly before thinking of speed
– Learning music notation and some important concepts (intervals, scales, how are chords made,…)
– Learning the fretboard and where are the f.. notes 
– ….

I want to do this in the next 3 – 6 months, before trying my hand at other stuff. Accordingly, I divided my study plan in different topics, namely :
– Chords
– Fingerpicking
– Strumming
– Songs or music pieces
– Theory

Then dividing my practice time between those different topics, learning theory on my way to work or on lunch break.

For the material part, I am using the book ukulele exercices for dummies, divided in three main topics : Strumming, Fingerpicking and learning the Fretboard.
And for the repertoire part, Andrew’s site is top notch.

I will stop here, you got the picture I guess. And I can always tell more on request 
I have reached the 100 hours playing mark after roughly 10 weeks of play. We ll see if my recipe is working 

Just a little advice of my own experience, worth what it is. Focus on a few things to give you enough variety, but not more. Jumping from one thing to another without mastering it is worthless and a fast track to nowhere. Having fun learning is important, mainly in something you are the only one forcing you to learn. BUT, short term fun should not overcome long terms goals in my eyes. I see the fun part when I can do something I could not the week before. This is priceless 

Good luck and keep strumming 😉