1. Set Practice Goals
One of the most overlooked ways to improve on the ukulele is to set progress goals
for your practice.
• Identify a techniques, strum or song part that you stumble on when playing through
• Set a five minute goal to focus and improve on that part during your practice.
2. Practice songs as if you were performing to an audience
If you practice slumped on a couch with your feet up while watching TV you will need to bring your couch and your TV to the gig to sound the same.
Practice a 3 song set until you know it inside out. Pretend that you are playing to an audience whenever you practice. Memorize the words and chords.
Practice playing and imagine you are
looking just above the heads of all your fans going crazy in front of you. Remember to smile.
3. Play along with your favorite songs
Playing with a recording of your favorite artist is fun and it will help you gain skills.
First try and strum along.
At first you may not be able to keep up with the chord changes. Don’t get discouraged…
keep strumming and fake it until you make it!
After that try and hear the strumming pattern and simulate it.
Then try and sing and play along.
The more muscle memory you develop, the better your chord changes become.
4. Try to learn songs by ear
When learning a song by ear you will learn more by making mistakes than you do by learning the song. It’s fun and you will discover some accidental mistakes that sound really great and add them to
your Ukulele Tool Kit. This is a great way to develop your musical ear!
Not sure how to do it?
Search the internet for a tune. Search: Song Title + Ukulele chords.
List all the chords used in a that song.
Then search: Song Title + lyrics. Copy the lyrics and print them out.
Pull up a recording of the song. Play along.
Use the process of elimination by trying chords from your list until you get the correct one.
When ever you find one – write the chords on the lyric sheet where it belongs.
5. Mimic fellow players. The Monkey See Monkey Do Technique.
Who needs a song chart? Get together with fellow ukulele players. Try and watch the chord and strum someone is playing and follow along.
Soon you will be able to spot and anticipate chords and play along with anyone.
6. The Great Humbler. Record Yourself.
Take out your smart phone and record yourself playing for a minute or two. Watch the video.
It’s going to be scary! Our brains are thinking a million things as we play, especially in the beginning. Where do my fingers go?
How is my hair? What are the words? The only way to see how you are ACTUALLY playing is to record yourself.
Recording yourself is difficult for many people. You need to work through it. Watch the video and take notes on what you need to improve on.
Then get to work and practice! Leave your ego at the door. You can always delete the video!
7. Perform in front of an Audience.
The only way to get really good at performing in front of an audience is to perform in front of an audience. Performing is a whole different animal than playing in the safety of your own home.
Try going to an open mic and playing a song on stage. Use it as a learning experience and remember to smile! People won’t remember how you played or if you made a mistake… they will remember how you made them feel.