Starting out

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  • #30541
    bradf
    Member

    I’m just starting out as a beginner Uke player and I think I might be on the wrong track. I was inspired by Aldrine’s rendition and tutorial of “Merry Little Christmas” on YouTube and set a goal of learning to play this advanced song by Christmas. I have been focused on this for the past couple of months, while also practicing some strumming patterns and fingerpicking exercises. I have gotten to the point of being able to play “Merry Little Christmas” from start to finish, but I have to admit it’s pretty rough around the edges!

    My concern is that I am focusing too much on the rote learning of a couple of advanced songs and not taking the time to learn the fundamentals that will enable me to build my skills. I find the very basic songs and practice drills boring and I really enjoy the challenge of learning advanced material. I suppose I need to learn to crawl before I can walk, or maybe mix it up to keep things interesting?

    Appreciate any advice on this. I just joined UU and look forward to a more productive learning method and community interaction.

    Thanks,
    Brad.

    #30542
    kahaikahai
    Member

    Hey Brad,

    there’s nothing wrong with learning things that interest you, but we do suggest at least taking a look at the fundamentals and basics. If you have solid fundamentals, it should be easier to build upon them and learn more complex techniques and skills. To learn the fundamentals, we always like to suggest Ukulele 100:

    Ukulele 100

    That being said, don’t force yourself to go through it. Watch what you can, take breaks if you feel yourself getting bored, and you can always come back to it later.

    We’ve had other members who have been playing for several years say that watching Ukulele 100 helped them realize some of the the things that they overlooked, and helped with their overall playing. It’s a really basic course, so I’m sure you’ll already know some of the things in it, but if you learn one thing from Ukulele 100, I would suggest focusing on having good playing posture. Most people’s difficulties with chords stem from incorrect posture, and some people even injure their hands because of it.

    Another thing we like to suggest is for people to learn 2 songs every week. Spend a week learning as much as you can of the 2 songs, but after that week is done, move on to a new 2 songs. It’s great that you have a solid goal, and that you can play Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, but we find that a lot of people burn out if they focus on just one thing too much. I would suggest keep Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas as your main overall goal, and return to practice it every so often. At the same time, you can build up your repertoire, and learn new techniques by checking out a couple songs every week. While you can always return to songs that you may have not fully learned in the week, we like to suggest people wait about a month before returning to older songs they learned. Learning new songs, and getting more comfortable with the ukulele should help with songs or particular techniques that you might have had problems with in past songs.

    We have over 300 song lessons in our song library, so there should be something there for you:

    Song Library

    You don’t have to narrow it down to skill level either; try a wide gamut of different songs. If you learn one new thing from any song, or if you just have fun learning a new song, then that in itself is great.

    Like I said before fundamentals are important, but having fun and being interested in learning new things is equally as important. Feel free to look around, and find things that peak your interest. If you run in to any difficulties, you can always message us, join the live coaching, check out the podcast, or book a private lesson, and we would be happy to help you out.

    Aloha,
    -Kahai (UU Staff)

    #30544
    bradf
    Member

    That is great advice Kahai. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. I did delve into the UU 100 course material and quickly realized that there is much that I overlooked. It makes sense to start from the beginning and also mix it up. I like your idea of learning a couple of new songs each week. I will work on that.

    I have long admired Aldrine’s musical abilities. Turns out he’s a terrific instructor too! Very high quality content and resources. I clearly came to the right place and I’m excited for the opportunity to take my playing to the next level.

    Thanks again. Aloha!

    Brad

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