Perfect-a-Song 4: Playing Your Uke with Confidence

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series to help you Perfect-a-Song
  • Part 1 is here
  • Part 2, Simple Song Analysis is here
  • Part 3: Strumming, is here
  • You’re on part 4

Today let’s touch on something more important than your skill level to make your uke songs sound great.

In the last few emails we’ve talked about:

1. Choosing one song to focus on (for now)

2. Simple song analysis (so you know where you’re going)

3. Making an informed decision about how to strum ()

Yesterday, a several HUNDRED people from around the globe downloaded the Strum Cheatsheet —very gratifying!

Now—how to play like you mean it!

You can have all the strums, all the chords, all the fancy-pants tricks in the world, but you play like a high-schooler giving a presentation, you’ll never sound good.

Here’s what I mean.

There’s this weird thing that seems to kick in with kids around 5th grade.

It’s almost, but not quite, a weird LACK OF CONFIDENCE.

It’s not lack of confidence in every day life–you see these amazing kids doing great with studies, sports, and friendships.

But ask them to give a presentation of any kind, and suddenly they clam up, like so many, shall we say, clams.

Maybe it’s a science fair project.

And they know the material inside-out–they’ve been working on it for months.

You’d think they’d be excited to expound on “What are the health effects of ozone on patients with athsma?” or “How do horses keep warm in the wind?”

But instead they’re muttering like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. A mumbly, low, under-breath volume.

So, at first, you think that you just can’t hear them because they’re so quiet.

You focus in and listen hard, and then realize that even though you CAN just barely hear them, the words still won’t come in to focus.

Add in lots of ummms, finish with “so…yeah.”

And there’s your recipe for typical high-school presentation. 

You see, it’s NOT lack of confidence. It’s a weird kind of peer pressure.

No one EVER (apparently) has spoken loudly and clearly in a school presentation.

And so, no one can start doing it now.

It’s the weird way that it’s done.

It’s an institutional MEEKNESS.

And all this applies to uke players.

The uke is a small instrument, but just because it’s small, doesn’t mean you have to be MEEK.

You don’t have to be loud.

Loud is not the opposite of meek. 

You don’t have to be a show-off, a hot-dog or a know-it-all.

Those are not the opposites of meek. (They are the opposite of “not annoying.”)

Ask yourself–why do you play the uke at all?

Bet it’s something to do with the JOY it gives you.

So–harness that.

And then play.

Play for fun, with happiness, without concern for what the other kids think.

Make your mistakes, and accept that mistakes are part of the process.

Even if you’re brand new, still learning, you can play your one song with JOY, not meekness.

Doesn’t matter if it’s small–play it big.

your pal,
danno-with-uke-logo

ACTUAL SKILL is one thing that will make you feel more confident in your playing. If you want to know more about “strum patterns” and how to master some very specific strumming skills, you might enjoy my video workshop “Uke Strumming Mastery” — just CLICK right here for details.