Participate in the April 2018 Member Challenge – Fingerpicking Themed!

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    Hi Everyone,

    Here’s my entry for the April challenge. I’m playing Etude #11.


    Here is my entry. I thought id challenge myself with Daydreaming. Wasn’t sure id get anywhere close in a month so im super happy 🙂 apologies for the super serious face!

    Edit: Also, as a first time challenger I just want to say a big thank you for creating the best lessons on the web, and for this awesome community. I first picked up a uke in November and thanks to this community ive had it in my hands every day since!

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by smartinuk.
    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by smartinuk.

    Hi. Another first time entrant in the April challenge. Phew! Made it. It was and interesting experience recording myself.


    immsy6, awesome job! Here is a short video with some tips on cleaning up your playing.

    kellyblackburn, great playing Kelly! Here is a short video with some tips on timing.

    marni11, well done! Sounds like you put a lot of work into it 🙂 couple tips, keep working on that second Melody so you can get it to flow a little smoother. The best way is to take a couple bars, slow down the tempo, and master it. Then do the same with the next couple bars, piece that together, and keep going until the entire Melody is there. Then start to boost up the tempo.

    Also watch out on the D7, as your middle finger should be curved at the first joint. But really good job overall, keep up the great work!

    lisadmh, big Improvement! Did playing along help with getting the feel down? Sounds much better!

    iris_peterson, cool 5-string and love the smile at the beginning 🙂 so your performance has elements of what we call rubato. This means – In a nutshell, you are not tied to a metronome and are free to speed up and slow down sections as you wish. This is a cool approach and I’m wondering if this was your intention?

    If not, check out some of these tips on the rhythm of this piece that I left for Erica, as the complexity of it can be quite tricky.

    andracass, nicely played! timing and feel on the first Melody is great and also on the triplet strum 🙂 I know you know how to practice, so keep working on the second Melody and you’ll get it down soon! Hope your finger heals quickly.

    sandigirl, very good job on the first Melody! Question, have you tried to fingerpick with more than just your thumb? Using three or four fingers is a really efficient way to fingerpick and introduces a broader timbre palette. Check out this course for some great exercises on getting started with using a multiple finger approach for picking.

    uku_on, great job and excellent form on the triplet strum! So it’s good that you noticed the timing issue. Now it’s actually not that bad, mainly just some pauses in the first Melody. So the best way to fix that is to slow the tempo down and loop a bar or two at a time. Then do the same with next couple bars. Master that before trying to tackle the entire Melody.

    But I also have another piece of advice for you, and that’s working to clean up some of your playing, as some chords and notes have string buzz. Check out the first video I posted (for immsy6)in this post for tips on that 🙂


    Hello all,
    Here’s my April challenge entry – DayDreaming. Except for THAT measure (yep, the one with the bar chord and two pull-offs in rapid succession) it’s a moderately tolerable rendition….. 😉


    So I tried to challenge myself, but that riff before the g chord was just too much and couldn’t get it up to tempo. Grrr… Sry for the quality, but its finally 70 degrees in Chicago and just couldn’t stayinside today.



    Hi Andrew!

    I just finished my semester and learn that song live, hope i’m in time for the challenge!

    thanks, you’ve been a big help to help me improve my uke skills 🙂



    Here’s the rest of the feedback for everyone on Page 6 🙂

    ukulelelady, my pleasure, I meant it!

    ultramom, I thought you did very well! I often get asked by members if they think they should try a song that may be beyond their current ability. And I always respond by saying yes! Because even if you don’t learn the entire song, you WILL get better in the process.

    This is a great tune for you, and I’m sure that you thought it was a great challenge. And I would keep working at it. Couple tips, try to lighten up on the strum, as strumming with the nail produces a harsher tone. We can alleviate that by strumming with the thumb, which produces a softer tone, or adjusting our Strum to be lighter.

    And I’d encourage you to continue working on barre chords. Check out this lesson from our beginner’s course for help on general barre chords and Also check out the lesson that covers proper right hand form.

    mayaqatsi, thanks for the kind words! I have to say, that was very impressive. Interesting to see you use a 3 finger approach that mirrors mine (avoiding the index finger). Curious why you prefer that? I only do it because I have nerve damage in my index finger which has unfortunately come back after a recent injury in the gym. 🙁

    I also hear what you are saying about skin noise. Two ideas: You seem to play with a lot of power in your plucking. Try a lighter approach. Or, maybe you have dry hands? Not sure what to suggest for that one.

    tessa84, great job! I feel you on the crazy busyness of life! And I know what you are capable of, so definitely keep working on it. You always impress me! As far as the barre chord, your form looks fine. So I think you were talking about the pull off lick on the D7. Make sure you keep that barre of the index finger intact throughout the entire lick. In other words, keep that index finger planted. This will also help to give you leverage to get those pull-offs cleaner.

    cheick, definitely big Improvement on new one!

    pup123, great job! Here is a short video with some tips for you on building Dynamics.


    Coming in at the wire, here’s my submission! First time submitting to one of these challenges, and it was fun! It forced me to stick to one piece, and really practice it. After many hours of practicing, this is the final result. Don’t mind the cat trying to steal focus. 🙂



    Thanks for the help, Andrew. I’ve been working on dynamics with Fly me to the Moon, as your feedback was a little similar for that one. I’m not that good at expressing my emotion so this is a chalenge. In fact, I started playing ukulele when I was caring for a dying pet this January and it really helped me through that. Anyway, thanks again for your thoughtful and appropriate guidance toward the next level. You are a great teacher!


    I’m just saying it as it is, Andrew — honestly…I agree with Nietszsche (“Life without music would be a mistake”) and maybe because of that I get so ultra-frustrated with myself when learning to play an instrument, which I dabble on my own, but with your lessons, I’ve found exactly what I’ve been looking for — a great balance of technical stuff and ways of improving/adding to technique, which I find most video lessons I’ve gone through lack, and bite-sized fun goals (often songs), and really really appreciate it the time you take out to critically comment on all our videos and answer all our questions! So, thanks to you, this is the longest I’ve stuck to playing anything on my own 🙂 I think the ukelele somehow suits me in spirit, too. If you ever start up lessons for guitar, which I will take wild guess you play (or whatever musical instrument for that matter), too, I’m there!

    Your 3-finger picking style — weren’t you the one who said that one of the key things you learned in music college was the importance of imitating? 🙂 When I saw you do it, had to try it, and I do prefer it to index and middle finger instead, because I noticed that with Travis-style picking, it’s easier for me to get it sound right dynamically and keeps me from strumming only with the first few fingers when switching between picking and strumming…

    Skin rub: :-PP Yeah, tried lashing on some hand cream. Kind of helped but still there…I was starting to think it’s the strings I have on my uke. Maybe it _is_ my attack, as you said, but I usually play super quietly (just trying to play louder for the recording), but maybe it is how I am somehow sliding the finger for a fraction too long on the string rather than placing-and-pluck?


    Thanks Andrew! I’ll continue working on that barre chord.


    Thanks Andrew! I play along with the on screen tab viewer daily, so it must be helping.

    Next up, lullabies.

    More first timers I see. This must be a record!


    I’ll be announcing the winner tomorrow as I just bought a last minute ticket to BILLY IDOL! Rebel Yell, anyone??? Here’s the rest of the feedback for everyone.


    ukuleleloo, excellent playing! Here is a short video with some tips on grooving to the beat. This will be very helpful for a lot of members, so I’d encourage everyone to watch.

    smartinuk, amazing job for 6 months of playing! I’m Blown Away! And thank you so much for the kind words 🙂 I think you are doing very well, but here are a couple tips I think will help you. First off, I noticed that you bend your wrist downward when playing. Take a look at how the wrist and hand are parallel in this article on proper right hand form. A more parallel approach should feel much more ergonomic. Also, you may want to scoot back a little, as your right hand occasionally strums over the neck. Again, that article will show you the positions we recommend.

    Lastly, loosen up on the tension in your wrist. There were a few sections where you looked tight, such as the triplet strum. A loose wrist will make Rhythm (and playing in general) easier. But truly great job overall! Again, amazing progress for 6 months!

    bklynsoul, great playing! Overall, everything sounds great: Timing, note clarity, form. But the trend that I’m seeing throughout this month, and I mentioned it in the first video I posted in this post (feedback for ukuleleloo), is finding our groove in the music. So I’d encourage you to watch the feedback I left for her and the video I’m posting below. Take these tips and see if you can groove a little bit more in your performance. Feel free to post a follow-up video after working on these concepts and I’d be more than happy to offer more feedback 🙂 and a big thing to point out, you’re definitely on the right path, keep up the great work!

    ukukelley1, Sheryl, way to go! That was excellent! Great feel on the first Melody. You nailed the playful vibe 🙂 keep working on the second Melody to get it a little bit smoother, and definitely match that feel to that section. I know you know how to practice, so keep up the great work!

    cornishdpt, Cory, great job! If you read some of the comments I’ve left for others, you’ll see a trend this month, as it seems the hardest challenge of these songs has been to nail the feel of the piece. I think you did a great job on that, and I definitely think your drumming background helps so much in that regard. What’s interesting is, if you watch Sheryl’s take above you, she has a playful, yet laid-back/behind the beat feel; while yours is playful, but on the beat. Same song with two takes on how to play it, very cool!

    The best advice I can give you for working on this is just to clean up some of your playing. So hone in on the tricky bars, you know the drill: Looped and slow.

    mody_guert, congrats on finishing the semester! And great job on this tune 🙂 check out the advice I left for bklynsoul above, as it will be very helpful for you. An extra suggestion for developing your feel for this piece, is to play along with me with the on-screen tab viewer. This will give you a guide and will help you develop the playful feel, because right now I’m hearing a lot of urgency and speed in your playing. And we just want to dial that back a touch.

    One other thing too, check out this lesson for extra help on understanding the eighth note triplet rhythm. That will help to get that strum section down.

    coffeespiral, awesome job and cute cat! I can definitely tell you put a lot of work into this 🙂 I think the best advice I can give you is to work on your timing when you transition from one section to another, as each section was in a different tempo. A great way to practices is to use the on-screen tab viewer and highlight the last two bars of the first Melody and the first two bars of the second Melody. This will Loop that section and provide a great way to practice the transition and develop timing. Keep up the great work!

    jhooddelsigs, great job! I dig the vibe it gets from plucking everything 🙂 it sounds like you just started working on the B Melody, so keep up the practice on that section. Also, I’d recommend to narrow the spacing Gap in your right hand. Keeping more of a “claw” shape should feel more ergonomic when picking. Check out this lesson for more advice on right hand form.

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