Uke Monthly Progress Jan 2022

Posted on January 31, 2022 by Aywren

This is the first ever progress report for my uke playing! I usually reserve this sort of thing for my fiddle practice, but in that I want to try to get more serious about uke playing, I’d like to at least revisit every month to see how things went in 2022.

Back in December, I picked up uke again after having not played in a long while. This means I went back to the beginning of my EEI book, but I did find that I’d retained memory of things like strum patterns and chords I played before, so it wasn’t as if I was starting back at square one.

I’ve strengthened my strumming finger. This was the most important of my goals to start out with. Every time I put down uke and pick it back up again, it’s a struggle with my strumming finger. You’d think plastic strings wouldn’t hurt so much – or maybe I’m just prone to blisters.

Either way, if I lose the toughness on my strumming finger due to lack of practice, I suffer from blisters until I build it back up. This hinders my progress immensely. So I’m happy to say that as of now, I’ve been able to keep my practice consistent enough to build up a little callous on my finger and can successfully practice strumming songs without pain and blistering.

Learning to sight read & scales. Sight reading is important to me. While I know that many stringed instruments, including uke, often fall back onto tabs – and I can use tabs well enough – I like to know how to read notation as well. It’s just something that’s come from learning to play fiddle – and from the fact that back when I learned guitar so long ago, sight reading was a focus.

So far, I know the basic fingering of the C major scale – something I picked up from my UA book. The EEI book has gone into teaching me to read notes on two strings so far. I’m having to juggle reading these notes vs reading fiddle notes, so I feel it’s taking a little longer for fingering to sink in. But I’m doing it!

Learning new chords. I’ve moved past the songs I knew from the practice before into new territory – which means new chords! I’ve only just started this in the last practice, but I can already tell that the G chord is going to require a bunch of focus to get right for me. Something about the way the third finger falls is more difficult than other chords.

But then, I remember when I was first learning the chords I know now – I think G7 was tough for me in the beginning, and I still don’t always get it to sound right. So I know with repetition I can learn it.

I’m very very happy to be making progress both in learning new chords, scales and finger style! Though my practice could be longer and more consistent, I feel like January saw quite a bit of progress!