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PLUCking Ukes – Ten Minute Practice Tips

When you are busy it can be good to find more effective ways of using your practice time. Fiona Berry from Learn Music Together runs two Facebook groups called Music Lessons & Practice: Learning & Understanding and Musician in the Making where she shares daily tips, ideas and videos from her experience as a music teacher, to help people improve their skills. In addition to answering questions in the groups, she also runs workshops & gives individual tuition sessions.

Metronome - get a free practice guide from Fiona Berry
Photo of Metronome by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For example, when making mistakes many people either just ignore them & keep playing, or start a song again from the start. Instead, you should stop, examine where you’ve gone wrong & play that part through slowly several times until you can reliably play it correctly, working up to the correct speed for the song. Subsequently, when playing the piece you should return to the places that give you difficulty and play them a few times first, before going back to play the tune in full. This means you rehearse the tricky sections more frequently and it will become easier to play the entire song accurately & smoothly.

You can download Fiona’s free Practice Tips Guide with ten useful ideas to try out.

Written to suit any instrument, it’s particularly good if you are venturing into playing chord melody, as she gives several examples using sheet music, which would aid you to focus on the detail efficiently. But the suggestions also work well with songsheets or tab, as you can take small portions of a verse, chorus, riff or solo section and work on those individually where you are having issues with chord changes, rhythm or singing a melody.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Why not whip out your ukes and have a go at Ukulele Hunt’s Annual Chord Quiz?

There are twenty-five questions, covering five different areas – from naming the chord in the diagrams to identifying different chord progressions (that’s where your instrument might come in handy!).

Good luck.

More Uke Hunt quizzes.

More PLUC Weekend Workouts – including a fun way of seeing how many chords you know & the list of songs you can play with them, using UkeAbility‘s website.

 

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New Venue In The Pipeline

We’re happily in the process of finalising a new local venue for when Covid restrictions relax. If you want to join our waiting list to be informed when we can play face-to-face again, please get in touch.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2021 in PLUC News & Info, Uke Night

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

James Hill's ukulele practice game - Strumble

James Hill has released a free ukulele board game called Strumble

It’s to make practicing more fun but is very practical too, as it splits up working on a piece into: getting yourself familiar with the lyrics; singing the melody of the tune correctly; strumming the rhythm (ie with proper accentuation / dynamics, like you’d use when playing percussion) and changing chords accurately.

I enjoyed listening to him demoing it in episode #29 of his Uketropolis podcast. He picks a song with the Bo Diddley / clave rhythm and shows how focusing on just one or two areas at a time can really help, your performance, instead of rushing in & trying to master it all at once.

I can certainly see how it would be useful splitting up a new tune into sections (e.g. verse, chorus, middle eight) and practicing it this way over a few days. Or when trying to master something tricky. Why not give it a go and see how it works for you?

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

One of the most popular articles on this site is Chris’s Very, Very, Very Basic Understanding of Music for Absolute Beginners.

The other day he spotted an excellent YouTube covering the same topic from film, games & TV composer Guy Michelmore, who explains it whilst playing examples on a keyboard:

Join composer Guy Michelmore as he explains the essentials of music theory in just 16 minutes! What is an octave? How do you make scales? What are intervals? What’s the difference between major and minor? What is the circle of fifths?! All explained in less time that it takes to make and drink a fresh cup of tea.

A free supporting guide Music Theory In Under 30 Minutes can be downloaded from his main website too.

Guy has many interesting & informative videos on his YouTube channel including a playlist of Music Theory ones; how to write music and working with sound samples.

Here is Music Theory in 16 Minutes :

 

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Pandemic PLUCking – Ukulele Gent

One of the nice things that’s happened throughout the various lockdowns is that many uke groups and performers have set up regular online strumalongs and workshops, which are open to people wherever they are round the world.

The latest to get in touch with us has been Gregory Gent from Ukulele Gent:

Hi. If any of your uke friends are looking for a fun play-along, we do one every Wednesday at 7pm Eastern Standard Time (midnight GMT). We bring in guest teachers/performers, use percussion on some songs, teach new strums, and always have the chords/lyrics scrolling on the screen.

Each show is recorded and also uploaded to YouTube. We’ve had some really great guests (ie Victoria Vox, Stu Fuchs, Lil’ Rev), so people can go back and watch the tips and tricks from the guests as well.

Feel free to pass this information on.

Hope to have some of your folk join us soon.

Ukulele Gent (YouTube / Facebook)

At the time of writing, I see their guests next Wed (13th Jan) are The Naked Waiters, whom I’ve seen live a couple of times. They are lively performers and certainly worth watching!

Here’s the recent session with Lil’ Rev:

 

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Happy 2021!

Jack & The Vox (mouth-trumpeting ukulele-player Victoria Vox & her guitarist husband Jack Maher) have been creating their crazy The Best Medicine Shows on Twitch full of music, fancy dress & japes to cheer up folk throughout the pandemic (live-streamed & also available afterwards there & their YouTube channel).

Their latest end of year number is Closer Together, Farther Apart, showing footage of people keeping in touch and still playing music despite the lockdowns.

Here’s to a better 2021 for everybody! Stay safe and take care. Jeanette

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Interesting Uke Sites

 

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New Uke For Xmas (2020)

If you’ve got a new ukulele for Christmas or are considering taking up playing one, you’ll soon find there are lots of on-line resources to help you, whatever your level:

Day & SummaryDay & Summary
01 –  Helmut Bickel – Fingerstyle02 – New Uke For Xmas – Useful sources
03 – Bernadette’s 30 Day Challenge04 – Songs & Songbooks – eg MUJ
05 – James Hill’s Uketropolis06 – Danno Sullivan – Play It Daily
07 – Cynthia Lin – Tutorials08 – Phil Doleman’s Two Minute Tips
09 – Samantha Muir – Classical Uke10 – Ten Thumbs Productions – Tutorials
11 – Richard Hefner – ezFolk Lessons12 – Stuart Fuchs  – Tips & Tutorials
  • Have a general look around this website, as we pick out a wide selection of our favourite tools & tips, on-line uke lessons, songbooks, chords, music theory, forums, equipment & other website resources. In particular, my musings on what helped me when I first got my uke as a complete beginner may prove a useful summary if you’re totally new to playing.
  • Joining a local group is always a boost – whether you are a beginner, improver or expert player. Due to the pandemic, this might not be an option face-to-face currently – but look out for the many online gigs, strumalongs, lessons and festivals that are happening wordwide from groups, tutors and performers.
  • If you need advice on buying an instrument, Barry Maz has a wealth of independent reviews on Got A Ukulele as well as other handy info to help get you started.

Good luck & happy strumming!

Jeanette

 

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Future of PLUC?

Sheila's 50th - PLUC

Pre-Pandemic PLUC – Sheila’s Fiftieth

PLUC Tenth Anniversary

PLUC Tenth Anniversary – out in the beer garden with Julie

Just a reminder to current members that you’ve been sent an email asking if you wish PLUC to continue meeting up as a group or not. If we resume sessions next year post COVID restrictions we’ll be requiring a new venue, so need your response on how much you’re willing to pay for this.

Thanks a lot.  

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2020 in PLUC News & Info

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

UkeAbility - https://ukeability.org/chords

UkeAbility – Select the chords you know & be shown tunes with just those in.

UkeAbility has a nice twist on the standard playalong site!

You’re presented with a page of chord diagrams. Click to select the chords you know & you’ll be given a list of the tunes they have containing just those ones.

It’s interesting to look through & note which chords you can play without any thought – & likely to be far more that you expected! Scan through a second time: you’ll spot chords you do actually know, either through using them in context in a song you perform regularly or just ones you use occasionally & might need a little memory jog to recall.

Also, most of the moveable chords aren’t on there so, once you’re able to use those, that increases your repertoire up the fretboard giving you new voicings for familiar chords. Thus, if you know three ways to play C that gives you an even larger number of chords at your fingertips.

UkeAbility - https://ukeability.org/chords

UkeAbility – If you select 3 chords, they have 72 songs you can play

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2020 in Playing Help – Sites & Resources

 

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