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Friday, May 13, 2016

Ukulele Day 10 - Stand By Me

I've been working on this one for a couple of days, sort of.

I took Thursday off, didn't play at all. I was out of the house most of the day, and got home around 11 after a fun evening with Rick. It was supposed to be my life group, but everyone else dropped out. Happens sometimes.

On Wednesday I watched a video tutorial for how to play Stand By Me, by Cynthia Lin. (I really hope you watch mine first, because if you watch hers first you will have great difficulty sitting through mine.) The lesson actually centered around the strum pattern, which I had not been thinking of much. My strumming so far has been whatever I felt like. I started with my thumb, then found that the uke is traditionally strummed with the forefinger. So I'm working on this pattern. It's not that hard by itself, but combined with fingering in the left hand and trying to sing in a different rhythm,

I have dealt with minor variations on this problem playing other instruments, but I was never good enough at the piano to spend serious time on it. It's like drawing a square in the air with your right hand while drawing a triangle with your left: either one is easy on its own, but combining them is way more difficult than it sounds.

So I started working on this strum pattern, and added another chord to my repertoire. I now have six chords under my belt: C, F, G, G7, Am and the oddball Am6 (the one I used in "This Land is Your Land"). I'm not even sure where I got that Am6. Had to look it up on an extensive chord chart. So I'm working on solidifying my grasp of them by playing songs that use them. I struggle with remembering labels, but I am trying to keep the labels on these rather than just remembering how they sound or feel. So another goal to work on.

I hate to sound like an old guy, but people today have it pretty good. If I had been learning this 15 years ago, I would have had to seek out the expertise of people who happened to be nearby. Granted, I got started with some help from Conor: he sketched out four basic chords (C, F, Am and G), and taught me how to read chord charts, but then he went to his next class. After just a few minutes I did some Googling, to clarify some matters, rather than just experimenting or waiting until I could ask him some questions the next day. I don't have to buy an ukulele practice book, because I can find lots of instructions on the internet. And I can see and hear so many examples of how to play that I could easily be overwhelmed by all the options.

The toughest problem you face in learning a new skill is not a lack of teaching, but an excess of it. I suspect this is true for almost any skill out there, from language, to math, to playing the ukulele. Make the most of this information age! Go learn something!

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.