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Podcast Slider - Motivation Series Ep 1

Hey everyone, in this special podcast episode, we discuss our thoughts on why people quit when trying to learn a new instrument. If you're having trouble keeping your motivation up, or you feel yourself starting to become frustrated with your progress please give this episode a listen.

Check out all the past Podcast episodes in the Podcast Archive.


  1. Great podcast, I had some other thoughts I wanted to pass on. One thing about the learning curve, and plateauing: It’s a right brain vs. left brain thing. When you start out, you are introducing yourself to new ideas, which stimulates your right brain more. The repetitive exercises, or the wall of “now I know this chord exists, but I can’t get to it fast enough,” means you need to start doing more with your left brain, which is not as fun, and it’s discouraging. A lot of people who aren’t used to learning new things get more discouraged because they can’t see the other side.

    When I was younger, I hated sports and competition. I still do in a lot of ways. I learned to appreciate the boring repetitive side of discipline first by working with kids, and relearning the joy of taking your time, appreciating each little step. If something gets stressful, slow down and find something humorous or fun in it. Playing in groups is good for this. If things are still stressful, just stop. You can take a break and not be a failure. It doesn’t mean you won’t come back to it. You can show up to a group and you don’t have to play or even sing. Find the fun again.

    Learn how to appreciate the mundane steps. When you go hiking, you’re better off appreciating the scenery than thinking about the top of the mountain the whole time. I work on my house a lot, and I’m good at it. I used to be bad and get easily intimidated. When I start a project, I don’t know every detail starting out, but now I have confidence in the process, in my ability to get it done, and I know what to pay attention to.

    I used to think that the only way to be good at guitar or ukulele was to know the neck up and down, know the scales, and all the chords. The pressure of not knowing these things held me back. I used to think that 2 or 3 chord songs weren’t good enough or interesting enough. I used to not appreciate the little things you can do within those songs, and it kept me from moving forward.

    Anyway, that’s my 3 or 4 cents. Thanks.

  2. Really liked you podcast and it was both helpful and entertaining, but the one thing I heard that hit me was… have to practice! I practice/teach judo 4-5 days a week and it’s natural now. That’s where I want my uke playing to be. Setting my goals now. Thank you UU+!!!

  3. Really enjoyed listening to the podcast at work! I can’t really watch videos or haunt the forums while I’m at work but I can put in my earbuds and listen to a bunch of people talking about ukes. It’s sort of like hanging out in the forums while I work but my boss doesn’t know. 🙂 I also really like the way UU pairs lesson videos with playalong videos. I find that really motivating. Playing along with Aldrine is like a personal challenge. It may only be a video in my own living room and not a public performance or anything, but I take the challenge seriously. It’s like playing Guitar Hero: I just want to get through clean! Keep up the good work, I’m loving my UU+ membership!

  4. Great podcast. It’s easy to lose motivation when faced with all busy life’s demands: job, kids and their extracurricular activities, etc. as I listen to this podcast and type this… I floss two teeth 😉 Okay, seriously, what I love about UU+ is that I can come here and practice as little or as much as I want. The thing is, once I sit down and start practicing with the UU+, I spend hours one day and then stop. Perhaps what I need to do is just take a lesson a week and practice that one skill for a week, instead of watching three lessons in one sitting and then feeling overwhelmed. You were talking about the “getting in the zone.” I need to shift from the and on multiple lessons to one lesson at a time. Okay, enough causing after rabbits. Thanks for the podcast. I will renew my subscription. Love your lessons!

  5. I have no intentions of quitting this program! I’ve been busy trying to get my songs, (Brown Eyed Girl and Let It Be, (had some trouble withe the strum on that one) perfected and I’ve since started on the inversion chords and inversion chord progressions and took time out to get the C and G inversion chords down, to the speed that is needed. I will start up again.
    Thanks for your concerns!!
    Love this course!!
    Hey, do you think that you guys will ever consider a guitar course?
    Thanks for keeping ukulele fun!!

  6. Wonderful podcast! I picked up the uke at age 55, always wanting to learn to play a stringed instrument. My other motivation is just wanting to have fun making music.

    The tip about setting specific goals is a great one. I participate in the seasons just because it requires you to perform a song (even if you haven’t learned it inside out) every week.

    When you were talking about everything slowing down when you’re about to nail a performance, it sounds a lot like what you hear coaches or athletes discussing how they know they’re successful when the game slows down for them.

    Thanks for doing this!

  7. Hey guys!

    Awesome podcast. It was really interesting. I am actually in Japan now! Come to Beppu, Japan’s hotspring town!!!
    I am learning both ukulele and Japanese. My power hour consists of 30 minutes of ukulele and 30 minutes of Japanese. I try to do it every day. My big goal is learning 1 song a month.


    Originally from California

  8. hi everyone, im from california. I remember owning a soprano ukulele during highschool and I was getting into it with my friends. Then we went to a ukulele festival in cerritos. I remember Aldrin playing there. I tried my luck to win a ukulele through raffle that day and luckily I wont a kala- ukulele tenor acacia. I felt so blessed. But i stopped playing for a few years and watching Aldrins video’s and play-along sons keeps me motivated. Thanks for continously sharing your videos!

  9. Thanks, right when I needed it! I’ve been playing 2 months and all of a sudden feel like I’m making no progress. I will keep practicing along with you! I do love playing so mcuh.

  10. I really enjoyed the podcast, and like most people I struggle with maintaining motivation. You made some very good observations and I agree with what you discussed:

    1. Set specific goals, not vague ones – “I want to play this piece of music by this date.” That’s very specific. That goal can be broken down into several smaller ones – “I want to be able to play the introduction by this date.” – that will combine to get you to your major goal.

    2. Once you’ve accomplished your goal, it’s ok to take a break, but don’t make it too long a break. And that means taking a break from setting your next goal, not necessarily taking a break entirely from your activity. Now that you’ve learned that piece of music, enjoy playing it for a little while before you decide on your next piece.

    3. Know how each practice session will contribute to helping you reach your goal.

    Thank you guys for the great job you do and for providing all these resources for us!

  11. Love a good podcast! Everything about this site is exactly what I was looking for. Keep up the good work and keep the podcasts coming!!
    I think my main motivation for starting the uke came about because of travelling and wanting to get back into music. Having played guitar for a while and funnily enough losing motivation, I wanted something I can take between countries (Australia and Canada). Also have started learning a language (Portuguese) so I feel everyone’s pain!
    Love everything you guys do! Much appreciation! Keep up the awesome work!

  12. Great podcast folks! Don’t ever stop!
    Growing up in Hawaii I always wanted to play ukulele! But I guess I wasn’t that motivated. You know having kids etc, your priorities change. Long story short, we left our home in hawaii. ended up in California, last time we visited our family on Oahu I decided I’m going to learn! For me! I mostly wanted to play hawaiian music. Then I was lucky enough to find you folks. I think that was three years ago. Maybe only two. It’s taking longer than I thought, but SO worth it! Your timing is always perfect when I feel like I’m getting stuck! I’m so fortunate to have found you! Yesterday on the live lesson, someone said to play thorough the spots when you feel like you have not been making progress. Progress is right around the corner! That is true for me!

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