Updated: May 7
If your reading this, you’re probably stuck along your ukulele journey.
No worries, beef curry!
You’re not the only one who’s experienced this. At points in our ukulele journey we all go through this. In fact, if you take part in any of the arts you will probably get stuck in the weeds at some time. I’m sure Mozart, Van Gogh, and Alfred Hitchcock got lost in the fog as they revolutionized music, painting, and film. So you’re not alone! Haha! So to help you get out of the weeds here are three reasons why you might not be getting better as a ukulele player. After reading this, I hope you are able to find your bearings, and get back on your musical pilgrimage.
Reason #1: Goals and Bullseyes
In high school I was a lean 135 pounds (61 kg, and 9.64 stone if your a Brit or Irish). I could eat whatever I wanted and not lose my six-pack. Among my brothers I was the ‘skinny’ one. Then in college I ballooned up and gained a bunch of weight. Everything changed. For the first time in my life I struggled to button my pants! So let me get honest with you. I went from 135 pounds to 205 pounds. Thats 70 pounds! After seeing the shock on the faces of my long time friends, I decided to make a change. And in order to do this I needed to set goals and commit to a plan! I followed the plan and saw progress. It wasn’t easy, but I was able to drop 35 pounds. Planning, setting goals, and aiming at targets was what I needed to move forward.
So now that your back from shock, where do you want to be as a ukulele player in a year, six months, one month, or even a week? What songs do you want to be able to play? What chords do want to know? What style of playing do you want to master? Are there any areas in your playing that you need to address and work on?
Whenever I find myself banging my head up against a wall in frustration with my skills as a ukulele player, it’s usually because I can’t answer these questions. And this is because I didn’t take the time to set goals. I don’t have targets! Because of this, I have nothing to shoot or strive for, so I tend to stay stuck in the same old place.
I’ve heard it before that sometimes it’s best to slow down. Even stop at times in order to think, re-evaluate, and reset plans. This all for progress. If we keep running forward, we may overlook areas that need attention and maintenance. Or maybe we are running in the wrong direction! Sit down and write up a plan. Set some goals and targets. Examples of this would be to learn one new chord a day, learn a new song every week, or learn how to transpose songs. Goal setting will guide your steps until your miles along in your ukulele journey.
Reason #2: I Aint Got No Time To Practice!
Now that I have a family, a wife and 3 kids (with one on the way), I feel like I have absolutely no time to invest in my ukulele playing. This is why it’s important that I carve out time in my day to spend towards music.
For you this might mean cutting some other things out of your life. For example, how easy is it to waste an hour or two (or five) throughout the day on your phone watching YouTube or stalking... I mean checking in on Instagram? It might even mean waking up half an hour earlier to strum some chords. If I can get up at 4:30 in the morning to run (aka kill my body), I’m sure you can do it too!
Though it’s not just that you find time to practice, but that you are consistent in practicing. Even if you can only carve out 15 minutes a day, it makes a world of difference. If you need some proof of this, check out this video from Elise Ecklund and her ukulele skill progression over a few years.