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

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    January Challenge – The Outline- Offical mandatory post #1 of at least 2

    I’m not sure ever prompting me to write a long post intentionally is wise.. 😯 gads.

    Niel Gow’s Lament For The Death Of His Second Wife. The entire song, and making it sound great, is my year long goal and uke resolution. I don’t plan on tackling the entire thing this month.

    A) Skill level- Beginner. Song level: NOT Beginner. (I’m really curious where it might place in the rock class level system.) The version and tabs done by Ukulele Secrets.

    By the end of January I’d like to be able to make the song – up to ‘ending 1 sound like music, and hopefully be able to play it at any speed of 3/4 time with a metronome. (Hopefully close to the 100 bpm but I’m not going to stress on that.) Additionally, successfully play the ghost notes correctly which means achieving some form of dynamics my playing totally lacks.

    How I will hopefully acomplish this: 1) Practice through the tabs until I’m sort of comfortable with what’s coming, and when. Get the correct fingerings down from the video, because it makes life easier, and the tabs assume the person attempting this song isn’t a newbie uke player like me. 2) Slow down the Ukulele Secrets video and attempt to do what he does on it when I can access my device that can use that YouTube feature. 3) Beg in the forums here for help if I get desperate, and hope someone has enough experience playing to have a clue. (being totally serious here..)

    Practice Schedule: I can get in a bare minimum of 15 minutes a day. I’ve managed this since I began playing in October. I usually get in about an hour (sometimes more) total ukulele practice. (Challenge song, and other stuff I’m working on.)

    B) Application: Better understanding, and ability to make a Scottish song SOUND Scottish. Feel great playing the first part of a song I absolutely love? If things go wrong, i’ll at least hopefully have ghost notes down.

    C) (pre)Evaluation: I found the Ukulele Secrets version and got so excited he did a great job with this song that I posted here. Then I promptly found out his version is a ‘bit’ beyond my skill level and got discouraged I couldn’t play it. (It didn’t sound like music or anything like I know the song should sound in my hands.) At the time i’m posting this, I can play an out of time, limping rendition reading the tabs, up until the tricky bit where it still goes completely and non-musically wrong.

    Hopefully I won’t regret choosing my higher bar challenge instead of my alternative choice. Guess I’ll find out lol! It’s on now!


    Hey @becky7777 – Remember if you put something in the too hard basket, it doesn’t mean it has to stay there. My challenge for this month has been in my too hard basket for a while, too.


    This one has fallen really well for me. I had planned on playing for the next 30 days without any tab or chords being given to me. The reason? I want to develop my ability to play by ear.

    With that in mind…

    Aim to improve my ability to play by ear (riffs and chords).

    I’ll be working my way through a list of 50 songs. I’ll do my very best to work them out before checking to see if I’m correct. Only when I think I have it will I move on. I’ll be noting down every song that I work out in a notebook.

    This one should be relatively easy to evaluate, I’ll make a note of how successful I’ve been on a weekly basis. This will allow me to see where I’m improving and where I need more work.

    Looking forward to it!


    Execution: I play the uke since April and I have been working with a book until I found Rockclass101. I would say I’am an advanced beginner player but still have to work on my foundations. The songs I’ve learned so far still don’t sound clear through the whole song and especially when I have to use barre chords or when I have a difficult transition between two chords, even though I’ve been practicing them for weeks or for months. I’ve memorised them well enough but I’m still not happy with the sound. My goal for the month is to focus on that and play the songs as clearly and smoothly as possible. My plan: I’ll study the lessons “Proper Left Hand Form”, “Proper Right Hand Form” and practice the hammer ons and pull offs. I’ll work on the barre chords as well.

    Application: I want to apply my practicing on 3 songs I’ve learned the last 3 to 4 months. That includes a song I’ve learned on my practicing book, it’s called “Etude in E minor”, “Daydreaming” and Canon in D (Only melody 1 to 5). Canon in D is a real challenge for my level but I just love it and sometimes you need a challenge to improve, right?

    Evaluation: I will record myself every week and post my recordings here depending on how often I’ve got WiFi.


    Here are my recordings of the songs I’ve mentioned earlier how I play them at the moment. The first one is called “Etude in E minor”, it’s “e-minor” because it was originally written for guitar. For the ukulele it’s in the key of a-minor.

    The other songs are “Daydreaming” and “Canon in D”


    I’m excited about the January challenge. Although I love learning new songs and techniques, I’m looking forward to spending January on refinements.

    I’m looking to focus on smooth, clean, in time playing with no gaps. Currently, most songs I play have a gap or multiple gaps/delays throughout the song. Sometimes it’s due to memorization snags…and other times it’s a challenge with the chord change/fingering. I take quite a bit of time to memorize a song and with work travel, I can learn a song and post for the challenge but I feel I’m at 80% for performances.
    I’m a beginner on the edge of “seasoned beginner”. I’m aspiring to hit “seasoned beginner” status with this challenge (or soon thereafter).

    I’m going to be working on Waltz in C for the month of January. Memorization will be minimal since I’m familiar with the song. Although a level 1 song, I find it to be challenging. There is movement up/down the neck, there is alot of flow in the song and includes staccato and some fingering that can hinder timing. My goal is to play the song smoothly and in time…and with feeling.

    I travel for work; so I will have 18 days in January to practice. I am estimating 30 hours of practice time for my ukulele (6 of the days at 2 hours and 12 days at 1 hour). I plan on evaluating where I am at each week. After week 1, I will record a practice video to evaluate as I go. I will be using the tab viewer as I loop bars and sections of bars together.

    Happy New Year Everyone!!

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by mheiden.

    Hi Andrew,

    Here is my first progress video:

    Evaluation: This is completely raw and done in a single take, so obviously I can do better than this, but at this early stage, it’s not about doing a polished performance yet. I squeaked a lot of notes, played the wrong notes, and had to pause at one point, but that is all obvious stuff. One thing that you will no doubt pick up on was that I played an extra half measure in the sung version. That wasn’t deliberate, that was a mistake because I stuffed up the timing of the singing. I’ll work on that during practice and I should be able to iron it out. The other thing I noticed was that it’s still a bit low for me, so I think I’ll put the capo on the second fret from now on.


    Great start robin! That’s a lovely song.

    I’ve written my new song. I might make some tweaks along the way, but the basis is there. It turns out that it is loaded in bar chords. Jeez, who composed this darned thing?? I guess this challenge is also going to be about getting clean bar chords with that E string ringing out, without three stringing it and skipping the G string if I can manage it.

    It is a sad song as it’s dedicated to my much beloved 15 year old cat who might be in her final days of life. If I lose her before the end of the month, I might not have it in me to get it posted. If that happens, I’ll still post it eventually. She deserves it.


    I don’t know if I’m still a beginner or a seasoned beginner, but I’ve been playing for 7 months (3-4 on here I think) and I have 5 RC101 songs memorized plus some basic strumming ones from before. I completed the beginner course and started the theory course. I’ve been playing Level 1. I usually memorize pretty quickly and then keep playing without listening to the original or looking at the music. Again, I just like playing.

    My feedback is consistently about rhythm. I do know how to count and read music, but prefer to just play however I can/want and that shows.

    My goal for this month is to practice with the site, listen to Andrew, use a metronome (gross) and actually count. I’m gonna go for Eastern Uke, because I like it, it sounds challenging, but it’s still level one. Hopefully, it’s hard enough that I learn something and easy enough I can learn it well enough to focus on the rhythm.

    I practice at least an hour everyday. I’d like to spend half of it working on this song, counting and looping each section so I can play it in rhythm and comfortably.


    Happy New Year everyone….

    My challenge for January is to learn a complex piece off-by-heart and to improve my performance when that darn record button is pressed!!!! (Or better still in front of other humans!)

    Execution: I will use Jake’s arrangement of Hallelujah which I love. I already play it but struggle to do it without the TABS, and to do it without it all falling apart – especially in front of people or recordings.

    Application: Will be to record it this week with the TABS as I play it now. Maybe not the whole thing.
    I will practice and learn it in sections so as not to be overwhelmed. I will divide it up into three or four sections to tackle each for about 4 or 5 days.

    Evaluation: By the end of the month I will record myself playing it without the music – and hopefully have some smoothness with it. I may post different sections of it as I go ….

    Nice challenge Andrew.


    This is a great challenge for me to tackle something that should help my learning process from here forward: using the on-screen tab viewer. Everyone talks about what a great tool it is, but all I’ve ever had any success doing is slowing the pace down. I need to take the time to figure out how to loop difficult measures (there seem to be one or two in every piece that I never get comfortable playing, and I’m determined to learn how to get those done with looping).

    So here’s Post # 1 for the January Challenge.
    1) Execution – I will use the on-screen tab viewer as a tool to learn Fingerpicking Etude # 11, which includes two skills I have difficulty with — hammer-ons (they don’t ring out) and dampened string beats/slaps (they sound inconsistent).

    2) Application – I am familiarizing myself with the song now and can play Theme 1 almost without hesitation already. Theme 2 is where it gets tricky, with eighth note fingerpicking and the rhythm beats/slaps, as well as a couple hammer-ons. I will loop the two most challenging rhythm measures until they are consistently correct, then will play the entire song with the tab viewer, first at a slower tempo by mid-month and then up to speed, with consistently ringing hammer-ons and consistently rhythmic beats/slaps by month end.

    3) Evaluation – I will assess whether I can consistently play with the on-screen tab viewer at a slower pace by mid-month. When I post my final performance video at the end of this month, I will assess the difference my new practice approach has made. My standard will be that the song sounds fun and upbeat (versus like a struggle… 😉 ).

    I think this challenge will help me not only learn to play this piece very well, but will also give me a practice tool that I have not been using to advantage so far, and which I can then apply to future lessons and challenges.


    I decided to post where I’m at since other people are. It’s not great, and I didn’t get to the end because a certain kitty cat in whose honor this song is written interrupted me. But it’s her song, and she doesn’t have much time left in this world, so she can do whatever she darned well pleases.

    Written in the past few days by lisadmh for Kali, my little love who has cancer. May she live to hear me master her song.


    Lisa — Kali makes me smile! Everyone’s a critic 😉 Lovely melody; can’t wait to hear the final version.


    Wow Lisa (lisadmh) – that is a beautiful piece dedicated to a sweet cat. I’m impressed that you composed it. My partner heard your tune in the background and said “that’s really pretty!”

    I used to be in a music group called KALI – Kath, Annie, Lyndall (me) and Ini! We love those goddesses of change and turmoil and liberation…

    Look forward to hearing your tune at the end of the month.


    Sweet, Lisa.

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