Practice – your experiences

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    Hello forum.

    The past week or so I have been looking a lot into how to practice. It all started with feedback from the monthly member challenges and my wish to become a consistent ukulele player. I was wondering where I want to get too with my uke skills and how to get there and since I wonΒ΄t be able to compose my own music and sound like John Butler playing Ocean I noticed that I have to focus on the “how do I get there”.

    So I searched the internet and watched tons of videos. On the train to work I would sit and listen and write down what I found useful. First thing I noticed was that the live lesson from rc101 really boils it down to the essence (would have spared me a few hours of youtube had I watched it earlier). But someone also told me about this guy:

    He has a very…. intense way of talking about practicing. And then I watched tons of Matts webcam sessions which I find great and so on.

    All in all I received so much information that I felt kind of paralyzed by it and actually found myself practicing less! Like right now πŸ˜‰ Before I would just be learning this one song I want to be able to play and once I was able to play it somehow would tackle the next. I believe this is not the route to becoming a well rounded player.

    So I tried to create some kind of practice schedule incorporating most of what Andrew talked about in the live lesson. (I am not much of a scheduled typ of guy so I quickly moved away from the idea of having a strict daily routine). Other than that I thought about where I ultimately want to be (itΒ΄s nice to have dreams πŸ™‚ ) and what I want to be able to do in the next weeks and months (be able to play clean an consistent and after that with more feeling – level of songs is not important). I also looked into what was or is still hindering me to get there – just making some of these hurdles more conscious to me made them easier to handle.
    Besides all the things that were mentioned in that live lesson I found two points to be very helpful:
    1. Organize – not having to search for the right tabs every time is a tremendous help to me πŸ™‚
    2. Teach – Someone who recently had to study for a big test told me that the best way to memorize stuff is to explain what youΒ΄ve just learned to other people. I found that true for teaching ukulele to children, even at my beginner level felt like learning from that too.

    Now when I sit down to play / practice I do a little warm up, then do my finger picking (which I combine with learning etudes) and finally I do the music theory course. And what happens is not necessarily what I intended all this research to be. I still feel somehow swamped by all the information and possibilities that I have a much greater hurdle to actually pick up the uke compared to the time where I just wanted to get this one song going.

    Ok.. that turned out to be quite the testimony πŸ™‚
    The short version could be: I am really interested in how you folks go about becoming who you want to be as a ukulele player.

    After all I find the ukulele, more than any other instrument I know of, is nearly supposed to be taken “laid back”. (On the other hand when I watch Even playing and how he smiles while he plays this crazy hard stuff I guess that is pretty laid back too..).


    (And for those who know it: you just lost the game) πŸ˜‰


    Okay. guessing this was the lost in space post.

    This is highly embarrassing but I embrace my inner child lol!

    This is super long but I get to the point eventually. Which doesn’t help you probably because i’m kinda doing the same as you. Basically it became babbling becky’s storytime like usual.

    The first rock band I pleaded to my parents to buy me tapes of was Heart… I wasn’t allowed to listen to FM radio when I was little because of my older sister. I knew girls could sing in bands from the radio. It didn’t really occur to me they were also epic guitar players until I saw Nancy. ☺ I just loved the music and band though.

    Tell me this video isn’t epic! I’m highly embarrassed but not ashamed to say I fantasized of what it would be like to be like her! She’s awesome!πŸ˜πŸ‘

    And after you’re done laughing picturing me running around pretending I was Nancy or Anne as a kid, NO ONE can say they don’t have at least ONE influence like that! If anyone denies it they’re totally lying! πŸ˜„

    Yeah Evan is really laid back playing! 😁 Remember he’s been playing like Jake since he’s pretty much been able to count how old he was on one hand. He’s also from a family of great musicians who can help him learn from and play with, which most of us don’t have the luxury of. He’s one of the special ones we look at and say “DANG!” πŸ˜‰ He also has perfect pitch. Jealous of that!

    Perfect pitch is something I wish I had since I think music in tones and most of the intervals are really hard for me to hear, seperate and properly ID still. It’s hard to play what you hear in your head if you’re thinking it wrong or can’t properly hear what someone is playing! I can’t even hum a low G off the top of my head and get it right. I can replay notes in my head from stuff I hear and remember, but I’m not thinking them correctly in a lot of cases.

    I just tried to think really hard about what open low G sounded like, hum my open low G cold from memory without playing anything yet today and actually NAILED the note F on the guitalele a string lower…. Which is actually interesting and kind of cool I nailed ANY note dead on actually. Maybe my effort is starting to pay off… No cigar still, but I was dang close this time!πŸ‘ I didn’t really have a way to check lower off-notes before easily… Still proves I can’t nail a G though lol. Got sidetracked there for a minute and wrote a novel about it, sorry.

    After a ton of babbling THE POINT! πŸ˜„

    I have been trying to look at players I like and determine WHAT EXACTLY it is they have that I want or need to accomplish my own goals. Like why do I admire the player, and what am I noticing that they’re doing that i’d like to be able to do? Then I try to figure out what direction I need to go to start going there. (Since I just started, There’s so freaking much! Convinced Theory is the owners manual for music though imo. It makes fuzzy things clearer. Ear training because maybe i’m old school? I want to be able to play what I hear which is a freakishly high bar I probably won’t ever reach. Learning how to actually PLAY helps a ton lol! Andrew and the gang are helping with that. He’s a freakishly good teacher! And I can have a lesson at 3am if that’s when I want. Also been digging up info from all over the internet as you all see in some of my crazy posts that helped me understand junk. So i’m in the same boat as you except i’ve been told 2 different places now, I’m going about making sense of stuff very strangely. I really don’t know what’s actually wrong with me but it is why I always sucked at school things. (Again ty Andrew and the community here for putting up with me!)

    Sadly in my case almost everything I want to do or play is stupidity difficult. The fun part is seeing how close I can get to where I want to be, and running around with my inner child screaming “Wheeeeee!” Like a kid in a candy store.

    My avatar is a Jacobs Ladder flower I grew and photographed. It got ripped out by a family member. Thought it fitting for doing music since if music is the supreme thing at the top of a ladder I never will stop climbing those rungs and life seems to be all about putting all kinds of things on that ladder to make me fall off or stop me from going further. I may suck at music and playing, but i’m going to have it in my life. It’s fun, i’ve always loved and been highly passionate about it, and it makes me happy. If I can get good enough and muster enough nerve to play one song with my friend, or solo, for a bar full of extremely drunk people a couple years from now i’ll be happy. πŸ˜‚ I’ll get there eventually hopefully.


    Hey Becky – You might like this. I have been enjoying it, and it really helps me with my listening. Also, they feature a Heart song at one point!


    Hi Becky, thank you for sharing so much of your inner child πŸ™‚
    Rc101 just feels so homely, people are so appreciative here, I appreciate that a lot! It is nothing to be taken for granted.

    I agree with you that everybody probably has a muse / influence like Nancy is for you. Between all that looking up to people / admiring their skills and listening to different people teach the same thing I find it hard to focus on what I find best for myself. But I guess that comes with time.

    For now I will just work on getting the tone out of my uke that I really like to hear. The faster I moved forward the less I enjoyed my music for it sounded sloppy to me. During my search for the “how to get a good tone” I stumbled across Herb Ohta Jr. He is honey to my ears.

    Next step: Playing clean πŸ™‚

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