Participate in the January 2018 Member Challenge – You Decide What To Work On!

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This topic contains 119 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew 1 year, 7 months ago.

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    Small technical problem so this is audio not video….. it’s very very stumbling with mistakes. I need another week on it, but it’s a massive improvement from my non-slapping, non-strumming self!




    Here’s my final submission for the January Challenge. I see some improvements from my first video from December to my latest video but there are still areas that I need to work on. Jingle Bell Rock has been quite a challenge to play.

    I’ve been enjoying everyone’s videos and seeing everyone’s improvements! Way to go!



    Hey Guys. I was not even going to post my finale because I got so down on myself with the coordination of strum/slap/pluck. But here goes anyway.



    I can’t believe the end of the month has come!

    Latest run through can be viewed at:

    Execution – probably haven’t spent enough time focussed on the most difficult sections.
    Application – Partly successful
    Evaluation – Still not perfect although I’ve been trying to make sure that the left hand fingers are better positioned. The transition from the F chord to the G5 still isn’t smooth but hey I couldn’t play any of this 4 weeks ago.

    Here’s to the next challenge! Good luck everyone ….. into the breach …………..



    Good job folks! I love to hear the variety this time around, and clearly lots of practicing had gone into it all.

    Rickey, that little riff at the end of that song is my favorite thing ever. ☺



    Here is my January entry:

    The first week of January I was so busy that I was barely able to get any training in! I have a tenor ukulele so that stretch from the second fret to the seventh in the last part of the song was a battle. I replaced a couple of up-strums with picks instead; I thought they sounded nice. Practiced non-stop last night until my left hand was buzzing and felt tingly; so I’m glad that I finally got a decent recording.



    Rickeymike. I thought it was great.
    I am impressed



    Wow! This is amazing to see so many posts come in today 🙂 I’m looking forward to going through and watching everyones! Most likely will be this weekend, as I seem to have bitten off more than I can chew for this weeks lesson, LOL.

    Friday’s lessons goes VERY in-depth into vibrato! Hope you guys dig it 🙂



    Jlbross, thanks. you’re too kind.

    LIsa, learning the cheesy riff was what kept me going on this challenge! LOL



    I am blown away by everyone’s submissions this month! This is my favorite challenge theme and we definitely are going to do it again this year!

    I am proud of everyone and this month shows that hard work really does pay off. Bravo to everyone who participated! I have left feedback for those that submitted over the final days of the month below 🙂

    But before we get there, we have to announce the winner of this month’s challenge!

    **Drum Roll **

    And the winner is… jlbross! Congrats, I’ll send you an email and we’ll set up a Skype lesson 🙂

    Our February challenge is LIVE and it is Blues Themed! This will be another fun challenge, click HERE to check it out!


    edward – great job! Notes are sounding clear and resonating. What I’d work on moving forward is to focus on one section or phrase at a time. Work on increasing the tempo, but keeping the notes clean. Then you’ll want to rinse and repeat. So, when you get that one section down, do the same with the next, and then piece them together.

    Keep working on the strumming section, that part is the most difficult in this tune! It sounds like you have it memorized, so that’s always helpful when breaking down tunes and working one section at a time. Keep rocking!


    jlbross – awesome progress! I think your videos show how beneficial these monthly challenges are and prove just how far you can come in a handful of weeks 🙂 if I were you, I’d turn my focus towards timing. You’ve got a great base established and we want to work on making the piece flow more seamlessly.

    So the same advice I left for Edward above, would be very beneficial for you as well. You can also use the on-screen tab viewer or a metronome to help you keep in time. If you use the tab player in synthetic mode, you can activate a metronome to play alongside the music. This is really helpful because it gives you the beat plus a guide (the music) to follow along with. Check out the second video on this page and jump six minutes into it, if you need to learn how to do this.

    Keep up the good work, it’s exciting to see you progress!

    Kay – this final video, I’m guessing it wasn’t the first take? You seemed a little tense and frustrated. Which is exactly how I get when I can’t nail a recording in the first few takes.

    The problem that happens is that we start getting upset and it comes across in our playing. What I found that works best for me, is to record myself during the practicing phase and listen back to hear what is working and what isn’t. This helps me adjust as I go along to fix the performance until it is where I want it to be.

    Now that doesn’t mean that I play perfectly. I put five to six hours of practice into Havana and still managed to mess up the beginning, hence the splice of two clips for that performance. The same thing happened for Canon, except that time it was the 2 last melodies.

    It’s more important to aim to be a solid player over a perfectionist. For example, some of the most famous baseball players, like Babe Ruth, averaged a .3 batting average. That’s 3/10 balls hit. Far from perfect, but what they were, we’re solid players.


    Tony – very solid performance! The only critique I have is the same they gave us at music college for this piece, which was to perform it at a slower tempo and focus more-so on sustaining notes and playing every note at the same, equal volume.

    I can’t remember how fast I did it in my performance, but I probably could use the same advice 🙂 I tend to play faster then I should.


    ser_ser – Wow, bravo! It’s awesome to hear how you’ve progressed on this piece. Well played and great job on the last two melodies!


    James – great job! And no worries, I still get nervous playing in front of the camera. It usually wears off after a take or two 🙂 the only advice I have for you is that it sounds like the C string is being played a bit too loud. That string tends to ring louder than the others, and the goal for this piece is to play everything at an even volume. So I would adjust the attack of that note to be a little lighter, and it should produce a sweeter tone. Keep up the good work!


    Lisa – awesome job on the percussion! It’s a fun technique, isn’t it! One thing that stood out to me though was the strumming rhythm in the beginning was played at a different tempo than the percussion. So I’d work on keeping the timing steady, so that transition is a bit more smooth. But, great job overall!

    Wow, and good job on Sultans! That’s a toughie, keep at it, it’s sounding great!


    ukuleleloo – I was looking forward to hearing this! First off, that uke sounds so much sweeter than the dolphin. And second, I’m always a fan of your playing because you have a great feel on the Uke. I think you did a tremendous job, well played!


    Rickey – you got it, more cheesy endings coming soon, LOL! You made a huge improvement on the slap rhythm, very good job! Here’s what I would do to get it to sound a bit more natural. First, it looks like you were reading and playing, so make sure you have it memorized. The blues follows a 12 Bar form, so you want to memorize that. The form is laid out in detail in this lesson.

    Next, make sure you have the mechanics memorized. As in, the order of strum/slap/pluck, etc. Then, take four bars at a time (1/3 of the tune) and loop it in the tab player at whatever speed is comfortable for you. This should help you get it to flow a little more naturally. But very good progress this month, I’m impressed!


    foster_maclean – much better in that section! One thing I noticed this time around, and I’m not sure if I remember you doing it the last time, is that you seem to be laying your finger on the fret bar in the first walk up melody section. And that’s kind of what we touched on in the last advice I left for you, is to make sure that you’re not on the fret bar, so that the note rings crystal clear.

    Also, watch out for the A minor chord in the second section, it looks like your finger curves down too much and is muting the third string. But overall I thought you played it quite nicely 🙂


    zukulele – well played Zion! You’ve got a good feel in your playing! And I feel you on that stretch, I was lucky to play it on a soprano, lol!

    I think the only thing I can suggest for you is to touch up a couple sections that were tricky. If you look at the advice I left for Edward above, you can apply the same tips to help smooth out the tricky sections. Keep up the great work!



    It was about take 4356! So a little frustrated. I think melody 3 in general had me frustrated which didn’t help. Will keep working on it through the coming months as I’m determined to get it!



    Congrats Jlbroos. Go to the new challenge.



    Thanks Andrew for your advice! This was my favorite contest also. I will definitely apply your suggestions in February’s challenge.



    Hi Andrew, Thanks again for taking time out of your day to work with me. it really helped. Also I tried using the google chrome browser and slowing the song down and it definitely was better then Firefox. Looking forward to playing along. Thanks again. Jennifer



    My pleasure! I enjoyed our lesson 🙂

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