Participate in the January 2019 Member Challenge – You Decide What To Work On!

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    Hi Rock Class 101 Community!

    We are back with site member challenge #23! I am also beyond humbled to say that there has now been over 800+ members participating in our challenges! AMAZING! If you’ve sat on the sidelines, please join us for this month’s challenge! Challenges are a fun way to stay motivated and a great way to meet fellow ukulele players who are passionate about learning and becoming better players. 🙂 And, I offer feedback on ALL submissions!

    Please watch the video above and read instructions below carefully for details/instructions on this month’s challenge.

    This month’s challenge is a departure from our typical challenges in which you choose a preselected piece to learn, practice, and post a performance of. This month you are in total control of what you wish to work on! Examples of things you could choose includes: a certain technique, an element of music theory, or a song.

    Below are 3 guidelines you must follow. In your first post, please list all 3 in complete detail.

    3 Steps For Improving:

    1) Execution – List what you will be working on for the month of January. State what your current playing/musicianship ability is and what your goal is – i.e. where you want to be by the end of the month. Include how you plan to accomplish this; highlight your practice schedule.

    2) Application – How will you be applying what you are practicing to your playing? For example, if you are learning how to add a backbeat to your rhythm playing, you could apply this new technique by using it in a song, such as this one: 12 Bar Blues Strumming.

    3) Evaluation – Analyze how you are doing. I suggest to evaluate yourself week by week. Throughout the month, feel free to post updates on how your practicing is coming along (optional).



    1. You must create 2 posts. Post 1 lists the 3 steps in detail and must be submitted by Tuesday, January 15th. Post 2 shows your results for the month. Depending on what you choose to work on, this could include audio and/or video files of performances. Post 2 must be submitted by Thursday, January 31st, 11:59pm EST.

    The upload feature on the site only supports file sizes up to 5 MB. Members must host their own files. Creating an account is easy and free 🙂 Here are the links to create an account:

    YouTube (For Video) –

    SoundCloud (For Audio) –

    ** If you need assistance with how to record yourself check out our FREE course on recording audio/video and/or private message me and I will be happy to help you out. **

    2. Submit individually, as a reply, IN THIS POST.

    3. Feel free to submit more than one idea for the challenge, but additional ideas will not count as extra entries into the raffle for the prize.

    4. Have fun and don’t be intimidated by this challenge!!! Use this challenge to help you set goals and complete them by a deadline. You can also use this as an opportunity to chat with your fellow Rock Class 101 members and share tips or tricks on this challenge that you think are useful.

    * Note: In my opinion, it is better to show progress versus perfection with these challenges. Remember we are all here to support you no matter what your current playing level is.

    Participation Goal: 25 Rock Class 101 Member Participant Videos/MP3 posted.



    1) Check out Learning Paths. It’s a step-by-step guide which takes a look at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced player and answers the big questions; such as “Where do I start?” and “What do I work on?”.

    2) See what other members worked on when we initially ran this challenge theme in September of 2017 and again in January of 2018.



    1) The prize and the challenge is open to the entire world!

    2) Premium membership is NOT required to participate, but will make participation easier as it gains you complete access to the full video lessons, tabs, and the on-screen tab viewer.

    3) Basic membership (free) is required to submit a reply on this forum post. You can sign up for Basic Membership HERE.

    4) You are free to work on anything ukulele related. It does not have to be Rock Class 101 related.

    5) To post YouTube video links (in which they appear embedded on the forum) simply copy and past the video URL in its own line. For example:

    YouTube URL


    Giveaway Rules:

    There will be 1 winner, selected by random drawing on Sunday, February 3rd. To qualify to win, you must submit your audio and/or video links of your playing by the deadline listed above.

    Grand Prize:

    1) 1 on 1 Private 60 Minute Skype Lesson with Andrew. We can work on whatever you wish!

    Let’s crush this challenge!


    I just saw that it doesn’t have to be RC101-related. In that case, I’ve been working on a version of the Sound of Silence over the last few days. This is something that I looked at a few years ago, but I it put in the too hard basket. I just pulled it out of the basket, and I think I can manage it now.

    Here is a link to what I’m learning from

    I’d say I’m currently at an intermediate level. So far I’ve managed a few level 2 and 3 songs on the site, and I’ve been pretty happy with the results.

    This challenge will set me up to play more of Katie’s songs as she posts them through the year. It combines a bit of finger picking with somewhat challenging vocals. I’m playing it in a different key to the original, and like Angels we Heave Heard on High, I’m singing it at the bottom of my register and using a capo to bring it into a semi-comfortable range.

    I’m particularly struggling with the timing of the “still remains within the” line. I’ve actually changed one measure within that line because I feel that it is a bit repetitive, but the rest of that line is still a bit awkward.

    Anyway, my goal is to be able to do the whole song in time, without slowing down, and without my thumb cramping. I’m already well on the way, so I’ll post an initial video soon.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by robinboyd.

    Hmmm. Any song. This requires deep thought and consideration….


    Since joining RC101 in late June 2018, I’ve learned 14 pieces (12 of which are memorized). 6 of them are the July through December monthly challenge songs. I’ve forgotten Day Dreaming and I couldn’t ever get Ode to Joy to stick. 😝 All but one of these are Beginner or Level 1. I’m going out on a limb to work on the ONE Level 2 piece in my arsenal (Allegro).

    As the months have passed, I’ve become more serious about not just being able to play through from memory but to play it cleanly and in time (with dynamics would be a bonus). I’ve never gotten that far with Allegro because I didn’t have the accountability (like in a challenge). Only recently in the last couple of months have I consistently started using the tab viewer. Playing along with the metronome and looping sections has really helped me play smoother. It was an undervalued tool that I should have been utilizing sooner in my learning.

    The classical-themed challenge was ending when I joined and I just wasn’t at that level of capability. I’d only been playing the ukulele two months at the time and not only is it quite fast in pace, but I could not get the stretch chord without pausing a million years (exaggeration, sort of)! Then there’s that bar chord at the end…forget about having done that 3 months ago. Now I feel like I might be ready and it’s such a beautiful piece…I think this is the one for January 2019!

    I would love to be able to play it close to Andrew’s set pace with dynamics. I might be in over my head, but I won’t grow if I don’t push myself, right? 🤷🏻 And I guess that’s kind of the whole point of these challenges. 😉


    Robin- Great song! Eventually when you get a handle on it you and Tiffany would sound great harmonizing the vocals on that I bet! (I’m not saying do it for the challenge, just eventually it would be awesome!!)

    Andrew- This is kind of a scary challenge! It fits with my uke resolution but argh! (Hard) LOL!!! After I posted for December I printed up The Entertainer, (really hard) and Game of Thrones (Hard) Still working on Moon (Hard) and I was completely delusional thinking “I” could turn Coin Operated Boy into a uke song any time soon! ROFL!!!! (But I got a little understanding of theory before becoming lost again)

    So hmmmmmm I accept the challenge but need a day or two to think on it. 😅


    Becky – I agree that it would be awesome. We probably won’t do it this month because I’ll have my hands full learning my part and Tiffany is hoping to post her own entry this month, but I think harmonizing would be the next step.

    By the way, I have also tried and given up on Coin Operated Boy.


    Okay – this is tough.
    I don’t do challenges, because public challenges put such pressure on me that I balk and quit (I am a perfectionist, and I cannot even achieve near perfection).

    So my eucalele (eucalyptus ukulele) challenge is to: “BREAK MY FIXATION ON PERFECTION” and to be part of a public challenge.

    EXECUTION: current playing ability BEGINNER finger style.
    GOAL: Complete “CHOPSTICKS”, memorised, consistent playing, 75% speed.
    PLAN: daily practice “Chopsticks” 30 minutes (I am on holiday);
    but… also usual practice schedule, AND strum for fun every day (it should not be all about
    learning, and struggling to learn).
    Add one NEW lesson/piece each week to break the fixation on perfection. I will not be able to
    complete a whole piece, therefore have to accept learning one bit at a time.
    MINOR PLAYING GAFFS – I must just keep playing through it! I am not allowed to go back to the
    EVALUATION: I shall record myself more often, and will post weekly video of progress with “Chopsticks”.

    (Note: I have been fixated on this challenge for some hours now, and have written a draft copy of this post including Beloved Husband’s critique on my learning habits plus my own critique. Sigh!
    Obsessive, fixated behaviour continues 🙂 🙂 🙂 )

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by miztaken. Reason: added January practice schedule
    1. IMG_4987.jpg


    Ok. I’m going to have a packed month, but I’d like to try “Uke Blues” from last February’s challenge.

    I think I’m only a seasoned beginner, so it may be a ways out of reach for me. But my goal is to play at least part of it, slowly, well, and in time. I don’t like herky-jerky, out-of-time playing, so I’ll be working on steady rhythm, no matter how slow. (Hell, I like mellow blues, so maybe it’ll even sound nice! lol).

    I don’t yet know how much I’ll be able to do; I’ll have to start learning it to tell. But I’ll be happy if I can simply play any part of it and actually sound really good (as opposed to heroically getting through the whole piece while sounding awful).

    If things are going well, my additional goal is to learn how to record better.

    To reach my goals:

    1) I’ll be using an online metronome, I think quite a lot.
    2) I’ll watch/review any lessons on a) good execution (hitting notes clearly), and b) accomplishing any nasty barr chords. I have recurring tendonitis, so want to test how much I can stretch without irritation. I expect that I may need to find substitute chords now and then if flares up too badly. I want to avoid that, but if I have to, so be it–as long as my playing is smooth, stays in time, and sounds good.)
    3) I’ll study class tips on recording.


    Boy, that’s hard to know, because I’ll be teaching new classes this spring and unsure how buried I’ll be. Also, I just don’t know how hard the song will be.

    I guess I’ll aim for a good several bars per week–just some nice-sounding lick or two? (what exactly constitutes a lick, by the way?)–and possibly revise my expectations once I really get into it. It’s going to be an insane month, so I have to set the quantity bar low.


    With each week’s lick, I’ll report on whether it “sounds good” to me and ask others if it sounds good to them. That will be the main criterion: happy ears 😊👂🏻🙉

    Ok. I think that’s it! I totally welcome any and all feedback, Andrew! Thank you for everything!


    So here is my first video, unedited.
    It is pretty awful, and I got seriously lost in Theme 2 because I only started learning it yesterday.
    I will be going back to breaking it into bars to learn them properly – but I just wanted to get the first vid out.
    However, my “eucalele” looks gorgeous 😀


    I’m trying to break out of the advanced intermediate level and work on my finger style abilities, rhythm and dynamics. Also, it’d be great if I could memorize a long piece and remember it for longer than the challenge!

    I’ve been working on MAGIC UKULELE WALTZ for the last five days, so that’s going to be my song for this month. I’ve got the A and B sections (basically) memorized. I’m trying to be very methodical in learning bar by bar. I’m also really trying to focus on how the music feels; a waltz is pretty evocative and I want to be able to bring out the lyrical emotion that’s inherent in the song.


    Ok, so I think I’ve committed. There are so many things I could do.

    This month I’m going to compose a new original. I have three original songs and it’s such a hoot. I’m going to add a 4th.

    I am a total beginner at composing. On the uke in general, I think I’m a seasoned beginner or early intermediate. I’ll let Andrew be the judge of that.

    I’m at the beginning of this song. I just started trying to pick something basic out this morning. I’ve got a bit of something musical going on.

    Execution. I will write the song, including some form of written notation (I’m bad at this). I want it to have the same chords at different places on the neck and I want to know the names of those chords. I want it to have some slides because I love slides more than words can say. I want it to sound pretty. I want to give it a name.

    Application. I want it to be within what I can actually execute cleanly, but to push me in some ways. I will play it cleanly by the end of the month.

    Evaluation. I’m going to record myself weekly or more to hear how I’m doing and correct any playing glitches or notes that need fixing.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by lisadmh.

    Wow – this is a fun challenge! So many things I want to do – easy to work on now, but the second that school strikes again, time will just disappear, so I may be being a little optimistic!

    I have bought a ukulele bass! It’s really cool – the strings are sooooooooo thick! It sounds like a double bass but is so small!

    1. Execution: on the u-bass I am a beginner. I would like to work on reading bass clef, playing walking bass-lines and also doing some rhythm work (drumming) although this may be learning to run before I can walk!!! I have a double-bass book in French (!) that I’m going to use for practicing reading that has some nice jazz practice runs. I will practice every day, but the amount of time may vary when I’m back at school.

    2. Application: I would like to read and play some of the jazz bass-lines from my French book cleanly/fluently. Ideally – and this may be too optimistic, I would like to be able to play some form of a u-bass version of ‘keep on running’ by Adam Ben Ezra.

    I don’t know how the drumming is going to translate onto the u-bass rather than the double bass, but we’ll see!!! As I don’t know how to drum on either instrument, this could be interesting. I have bought a transcript of the music.

    3. Evaluation: I guess I will measure progress weekly. Seeing progress in reading speed will be easy as I’m really slow at the moment.
    I’m also starting to work on Danse Macabre as I’m not abandoning my little concert – although transferring between instruments is really strange, the strings are tiny on my concert. This is a crazy wild piece and may potentially take over my practice time!


    @miztaken – I love the eucalele!


    miztaken- Your new euc 😁 is sooo Sooooooo pretty! It sounds awesome! And boy it’s really making me twitch wanting to make the dive and invest in a instrument I don’t want to ever put down! Good job on the base evaluation video with chopsticks too!

    Gads, guess I’ll officially commit to my January challenge and hope for the best. Had an easier thing planned today but that’s a cop out on my part.


    1. Execution: My goal for January is to study Andrew’s course on how to write a song with emphasis on melody, harmony & rhythm.

    2. Application: With beginner status, I will only be able to scratch the surface of this course. I hope to learn the demo song, DayDreaming. Long term, my desire is to apply what I learn in the Songwriting Class towards creating my own fingerpicking versions of favorite songs.

    3. Evaluation: (optional) I will save weekly recordings of DayDreaming for comparison of progress. In a paperback (Ukulele Staff & Tablature Paper) are a number of my efforts at learning to create melodic line in conjunction with learning chords to various songs. Since day one of being given a ukulele in July, 2017, I have wanted to go beyond simple strumming of chords.

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