The ukulele is a wonderful instrument to learn and play, but it also comes with some challenges. Good preparation can be the best steps beginners can take to combat the challenges are bound to face.
In this article, we shall be looking at those 3 common challenges beginners usually encounter while playing the ukulele and ways to solve them. I like to call them challenges because they are solvable.
1. Sustaining Passion
Beginners always have what I would like to term “initial passion” when they start out with playing the ukulele.
The feeling of owning a new instrument and the appeal of the new instrument itself, can give them that initial passion to always wanting to pick up their tiny ukulele and play.
But the big question is, how long can the passion be sustained? The truth is learning any musical instrument can be frustrating and without passion, you may get tempted to put an end to your musical career.
After you may have tried to play some chords and failed the thought of quitting that’s creeping in.
Passion is everything you need to become a successful ukulele player. Without passion, there will be no love for the ukulele or anything that will make you practice consistently.
What drives you crazy should be more than just the looks of the instrument. It should be the determination to succeed like the likes of “Jake Shimabukuro” and other great ukulele players out there.
How to sustain your passion for learning the ukulele
Attending workshops will keep your passion for playing the ukulele alive as a beginner. You will meet new people who have similar challenges as you and also learn new things.
Listening to another instructor and not only your teacher that you see almost every week can help to rekindle your passion.
Play With Different People
Depending on your skill level, try to play or practice with other people. This is a very great way to rekindle your passion, as you will be learning something new from the other players and also rate how good you have become. A poor performance will give you the urge to work harder.
Get New Software
One of the reasons why starters go for the best ukulele for beginners is because nothing kills passion faster than a poor quality ukulele. But if you somehow purchase a poor quality ukulele, then get new software if that’s what is required. If the ukulele software has also worn out, get a replacement immediately.
Learn New Songs
Give yourself some challenges and aspire to learn new songs everything. This will keep you motivated and make you want to practice harder.
Re-learn Songs You Already Know
This is another great way to sustain your passion. You will see how easy songs you couldn’t play in the past becomes when you start practicing again.
Be around people of same interest
Just the way you like the ukulele, there are also people who don’t like the instrument and will discourage you in a single heartbeat.
Be around people who have the same interest to grow and become a successful ukulele player.
2. Know & Master Rhythmic Structures
One common problem beginners face is recognizing and mastering rhythmic structures. Some books teach beginners to count quarter, half and whole notes as one, two and four beats respectively.
However, teachers also teach students how to count beats but they forget the basics most times because their minds are clouded with strumming, finger picking patterns and how to read notations.
How to sustain beat and master rhythmic structures
As a beginner, one of the ways to stay focused and sustain the beat is to find songs that are rhythmically enjoyable to play. Select songs that will motivate you to maintain the beat, a song people would love to dance.
In addition, another great way is to use a metronome. This is a tool that can help you as a beginner to control the time as you perform. It will help you learn how to play evenly, create steady accelerando and retard as you play.
Besides the metronome, another great tool that can solve your reoccurring rhythm problem is the TakaDiMi. It was developed in 1996 by William Pelto, Richard Hoffman, and John W. White. The TakaDiMi teaches rhythmic skills.
A distinct syllable is assigned for each attack point within a beat.
3. Mastering the Ukulele
All instruments have their own challenges. For the ukulele, you will notice that the notes didn’t ring out well because much pressure wasn’t applied. This can also be as a result of your finger or hand placement.
Your thumb should remain at the fretboard’s backside. This will make the angle of contact between your fingers and the strings better to have great pressure.
The transition between chords faster on the fretboard is another major challenge you might face as a beginner.
However, the best way to achieve great finger motions is to practice consistently but slowly. Know that practicing for extended periods without consistency will not make any impact. Practice at least 30 minutes or 1 hour daily and increase as you make significant progress.
Playing the ukulele comes with tons of happiness but there are challenges too. Please feel free to share the challenges you are encountering below let’s work together to proffer a solution.