Participate in the December 2018 Member Challenge – LAST CHANCE to Win Kanile'a!

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    Here is everyone on page 7.

    stinyuke – well done! I too, am a soft player. The thing that I think would make your performance pop more, would be the focus on dynamics. I left a video feedback yesterday titled “light vs. strong thumb attack”. Watch that video, and think of how you can use the ideas taught in it to make some of the chords/notes pop (hit louder) and some softer.

    A good analogy: when someone delivers a speech sometimes their voice raises or lowers depending on the context of the material. It’s the same with music, we want to accent some parts and others perhaps not so much. This will add more expression to your playing.

    curlyuke – you did so well! 🙂 I want you to check out the feedback video I left yesterday titled “light vs. strong thumb attack”. Now you’re doing both strum attacks taught in that video in your performance – one is strumming quickly so that the chord is heard in unison and the other is to arpeggiate the chord. The latter is what you did the most. My recommendation is to use that strum attack more sparingly, as it has a more “distinguished” effect. Keep up the great work, you are sounding awesome!

    annefgodfrey – this video has a tip that I believe will be a breakthrough for your playing.


    Yay feedback! Thanks Andrew, even when I think I know what to work on you always find something to suprise me! 😁


    Andrew, thank you so much for helpful video. I will give it my best shot. Thank you for the huge amount of time & interest you give to each of your students. You are an amazing “teach” & a caring, giving person!


    Andrew and Curly – I long for the day when I don’t have to go to the dictionary to look up words that Andrew uses. Like Arpeggio. I do this a lot and I know when I do it because that’s part of my challenge practice to make the chord ring as one note. I think it’s do to a heavy thumb and/or uncertainty of what I’m playing next resulting in just the slightest hesitation that breaks the chord or should I say arpeggiates the chord. A short future lesson on smooth strumming may help many of us.

    And now I have an extended phrase to use other than “DARN IT”. Now I can say: “Darn, I arpeggiated the chord”. And I can use this when playing for friends. That will really impress them. HA.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by rickeymike.

    Oh, Andrew, can you give an example of when Arpeggio (I love my new word) is appropriate?


    My pleasure, guys! Rickey, it’s like syrup on pancakes – it’s up to you how much you like, I prefer the “less is more” motto.


    Thank you Stephen, and the new feedback links work great! Thank you both for trying it!

    I had no idea what was going on with the sound, so I appreciate pointing me at gain and eq! I can only fix the track after it’s recorded right now, but I think Audicity, or NCH Wavepad, might have a way to mess with the tracks eq after a scan? I’ll definitely look into it asap.


    Here’s everyone on page 8:

    rickeymike – I enjoyed your rendition of Noel a lot! Great job singing along and playing! You really know the melody and the chords well! My only advice would be to add the notes back in that are in between the melody notes (chord strums and pick up notes). I know that it’s easier to leave space rather than to put a chord in between sung notes, but the chords and pick up notes will fill out the sound nicely! Thank you for sharing this, and I hope your holidays were Merry. Happy New Year!

    lisadmh – You sound great, and the right hand technique is awesome! Sometimes to get the multi-string pluck to be equal in volume, you have to pluck certain strings harder rather than equally. The thinner strings will project better most of the time, so with the C string especially, you may have to pluck just a bit harder to even it out with a thinner string. The contrast between strums and plucks is cool, but the thumb will make for a more consistent sound over the whole piece. The strums do add a nice percussive elements, though! Wonderful job! Happy New Year!

    rpina61 – Take 2 definitely had better sound quality, and I think you played a bit stronger on that take as well! Your timing is pretty good over all, it’s just a few spots, and some of slowing down (even in unintentional places) works very nicely! If you want to get those sections in time a bit better, it takes some quality time with the metronome at a much slower speed to get all the tricky transitions. You are well on your way, though! It just takes a bit more time. Awesome work on the fingerpicking!

    cconuku – I’m amazed at how well everyone is doing with Noel! Yours is awesome like many of the others! Every now and then, you are cutting the half note in measure 4 (and a few others) just a little bit short. I would recommend counting two full beats as to not rush those sections, but everything else sounds great! If you want, you can also add some dynamics (like volume swells) to make the peace more dramatic, but it sounds great as is! Thanks for joining the challenge! Happy New Year!

    hlglazi – You have a very nice touch with the right hand thumb, and a natural sense of how hard to strum. I would play the song several more times with the metronome to get a feel for the timing, then abandon it…but even with a rubato loose time feel, you would get a stronger phrasing from practicing through each phrase in time. You sound great, and I totally agree about recording! I don’t know what it is that makes it so different, but it certainly does! Happy New Year!

    kellyblackburn – Way to rise to the challenge! That’s not an easy arrangement! Over all you are doing great. There are just a few sections to keep working on, and then play to the metronome to get some of the rhythms a little more solid! I notice that the pull-offs are giving many people trouble on this song. This technique requires slow practice to make sure you have the mechanics right to hear each individual note. Then by gradually bringing the metronome up to speed, you should retain the dexterity at the faster tempos. It’s a lot of work, but it will carry over to other arrangements. Thank you again for joining the challenge!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Stephen.

    Thanks for the feedback Stephen! I never did practice with a metronome and I will take your advice!


    Here is everyone on Page 9.

    casadot349 – great job, you’ve got some speed! Here’s the thing with playing quickly, we want to make sure that even though we have the dexterity to play fast; that we try to keep the tempo steady. Try and play along with a metronome or the on-screen tab viewer. Take a section at a time and follow the advice in our practice guide.

    The big thing that I want to point out in your video is your form. First, the way that you are holding the ukulele is incorrect. Check out our guide for proper holding posture in these two lessons:

    1) proper left hand form
    2) how to hold the Uke (from our Beginners Course)

    For your right hand, I’d recommend to scoot your hand back a bit. Check out this lesson for our placement recommendations.

    marni11 – very beautiful playing! Great timing and excellent form. The only suggestion I have is to scoot your left hand thumb a little bit down the neck, so that it is slightly above the middle, instead of hanging over. Check out form 2 for a better look at this.

    strizaldo – bravo, well done! The only suggestion I have is the same as I left for Marni above. Keep up the great work!

    benjamin – you are doing so much better with timing, I am proud of you! For the next challenge, I want you to choose an easier song. You have a habit of choosing the most difficult ones, which is totally fine; but for the next one, I want you to pick an easier one and continue focusing on timing, but also focus on clarity of the notes. In other words, getting each note and chord to ring crystal clear. Keep up the great work!

    incywincy – here is a video with some tips for you.

    springer1 – cool idea to start with that intro 🙂 I think you’re doing an excellent job, I can definitely tell that you’ve put a ton of work into it, as well as your playing in general. Form, tone, and feel are awesome. Keep up the great work!

    lynettejd – Very nice! Sustain sounds lovely. The only suggestion I have is to revisit that section you stumbled a little on. Keep up the great work!

    lisamcc – I loved it! Vocals, brisk tempo WITH clean playing and great timing! Wow – especially since it was barre chord heavy. And to top it off, that sweater 🙂 I must hear you sing more!

    gstriph – Well done, Jerry! So couple things I noticed:

    1) it looks like you were reading the music. Try to memorize the piece, this way you can focus on how you are playing it – which was the topic of this lesson.
    2) in a previous feedback post (page 17), I left a video titled “thumb attack”. Check that video out, it talks about subtle and strong ways to strum. Changing the attack creates dynamics, which simply means changes in volume. This helps to create more emotion in our playing.
    3) last little thing, I heard a few notes buzz. This usually happens if we lift up prematurely. So keep an eye out for that.

    But overall really good job this month, keep up the excellent work! And thank you for your donation, you rock!

    wongbrown – Beautiful playing and great tone! I definitely wouldn’t agree that it needs lots of improvement. I thought it was one of the best ones I’ve heard from you! Your form is looking great too, I believe we’ve talked about that in the past. The only thing that stood out to me was the little pause in the middle, no big deal. Keep rocking, it sounds like you’ve been practicing, Sheila 🙂

    felixpitterling – Dude, congrats again on winning! I should be swinging by UR to drop off the Kanile’a for Mike to ship this coming week. I meant to do it last week, but things got a little crazy trying to get the Reading Course ready for a release on Friday.

    So onto your performance, awesome job! The one big thing I would work on is timing. Break it down section by section, use a metronome or play along to the on-screen tab viewer, and follow the steps in our practice guide. Tackling chunks at a time is the most efficient way to improve timing, as well as, learning songs quickly.
    timstacks – Tim, that was awesome! I can definitely tell that you put a lot of work into it. I’m going to shoot a little video for you with one tip, but here is a copy and paste of feedback I left the other day for extra help on barre chords:

    There are generally two reasons that a barre chord does not ring out properly:

    1) finger strength – not enough is applied.
    2) form – incorrectly applied.

    We dive into both of these areas (in complete detail) in our Beginners Course lesson on Barre Chords. Review that lesson and see if you can apply these tips to help clean up the chords.



    Thanks for the critique. Working on this piece was the first time I used the on-screen tab viewer … in particular when I was trying to get the vamp timing down. I’ll look into trying to add the metronome to my practice sessions as you suggest to improve the consistency in my tempo.

    Thanks again and Happy New Year!



    Robert, you can also switch it to “synthetic” mode and activate the metronome. This way it will playback the music alongside the click, which acts as a guide. 🙂

    There’s a guide on how to do this half-way on this page.


    Thank you so much, Andrew. It was so encouraging😆 I will work hard to improve.



    Andrew, many many thanks for your super helpful feedback (I was chuffed to get a video :)) and encouraging words, I really appreciate it. It’s hard trying to learn on your own, when you’re never really sure if you’re doing things right or making it harder work than it should be. I had to go and watch my vid to see what I did as I wasn’t aware. But yea, you are spot on. I did slow down a little there and I guess it’s just the way I felt it. So, my question is, when is it okay to add a little rubato? Is it down to personal interpretation or are there some rules to bear in mind? Meanwhile I’ll try and keep to a more even tempo in future – and pay attention to playing more over the sound hole. I noticed that so I’m happy you’ve confirmed I shouldn’t.


    @incywincy – Oh, that’s a tough one to answer. It’s really up to you. Last year I focused a lot on improving my timing – which is an area I’ve always struggled with. But sometimes it sounds nice to cut loose and play by feel – which is something my friend Dan does extremely well. Here’s a tune that I transposed from his arrangement. But if you listen to it, the intro is rubato and when he kicks into it, he gradually builds speed. I love his interpretation.

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