A quick-n-easy tip today to keep your ukulele practice going strong.
If you struggle with ukulele practice, let me share a notion: The best time to practice a new skill is…
When the new skill is non-essential.
Let me sidetrack and entertain you with a tale from my misbegotten youth, when I heard the siren song of sleight of hand magic. (You can see what a fascinating pre-teen I was!)
Now I'm not supposed to tell you this, but a trained magician can make you pick a specific card from the deck. It's called forcing a card, and it's really hard to do.
Because you can't let anyone know you're doing it, and if you don't do it right, your magic trick fails.
You use Mr. Sullivan Philosophy of Non-Essential Practice.
Practice when it doesn't matter, so you'll be ready when it does.
Most card tricks don't require a forced card. When El Mystico says, “Pick a card, any card,” 99% of the time, he really means it.
So, using Mr. Sullivan's PONEP, the time to practice forcing a card is during those 99 tricks where it doesn't matter. If you succeed in forcing the card, hooray, you've gotten One Better. If not, who cares?
Now, let's say you've grown up, changed your name from El Mystico, and taken up the uke and need to focus on ukulele practice.
Let's say you just learned how to make a second position C chord (frets, from ceiling to floor, 5433), and you want to master it.
Well, the time to practice it, is not in that one song that specifically calls for it and will be ruined if you fail.
The time to practice it is in all the OTHER songs that call for C (any ol' C). Well, throw in the new one. If it works, great. If not the song continues, and you can play standard C till you work up your courage again.
Fancy strum? Non-essential, so apply the PONEP. Use the simple strum when you're on display, but throw in the fancy one when nobody's looking. Do that for a while, and soon you'll have full control and can fancy strum when ever you want to.
That's my EZ way to think about ukulele practice.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to 1984 for a magic show.