What I learned about my fiddle from playing the uke

This week I embarked on taking a finger-picking class on my ukelele. Monday night was the first class of three. Mostly what I know on the uke are songs I learned from Youtube, so taking a class from a real live teacher is pretty cool and is also forcing me to practice instead of just winging it.

As with any instrument, it takes time and lots of practice to get really good at it. The uke is no different. In this week’s class the teacher stressed the importance of training your body. I talked about this in a previous post, that sometimes you just have trust your body to know where to go and what to do. But you first have to train it, and repetition is key.

Here are some ways to train your body to play the music.

  • Start slowly – Start slowly until you got the pattern (or tune) down and don’t speed up until you can play it a handful of times without a mistake.
  • Use a metronome – Always a good idea to use a metronome to train your body to keep time. You can also speed the metronome up once you have locked in the piece you were working on.
  • Multitask – One of the things our uke teacher suggested is to walk around the house, have a conversation, listen to music, all while finger picking the pattern we learned. This trains your body to do automatically do it while you’re thinking of other things. This could also be applied to learning a tune. Try to play it while walking, or with your eyes clothes, or while you’re talking.

I’m looking forward to the next few uke classes to see what else I can learn. Until then I’ll be utilizing these same concepts on my fiddle. Speaking of…

Here is this week’s tune.

Sonny’s Mazurka: Tune 42 of 52

This week’s tune is a Mazurka I learned from Kevin Lees. It’s an easy tune to learn and an easy tune to train your body to. I hope you enjoy.

Join me next week for tune #43 from A Tune A Week. After that only 9 weeks left. This year flew by. What tune should I learn next?


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