We’re already in April.
Needless to say, I have been getting some progress done even though I couldn’t meet with my mentor many times due to her personal circumstances.
Thankfully, the uke isn’t a terribly difficult thing to practice. I have been doing a lot of independent work. I found time to practice every single day during spring break! Here is a list of some of the things I have learned/practised on my own.
-Smoothening Chord Transitions, Especially G, D7, Am, C7 transitions (will explain later)
-Explored and learned what hand position is the most comfortable for me (using my thumb)
-Explored different strum patterns and chose one to practice for in-depth night (up-down-up-chuck)
-Learned how to somewhat “chuck”
-Chose a song to perform for in-depth night
-Learned a riff:
xA|-----5-------------x-0--| xE|-5/7---7-5-3-0-3/5-x-0--| xC|-------------------x-0--| xG|-------------------x-2--| (And learned how to read written forms of riffs like the above)
So to summarize all of this, I have been trying to figure out what I should do for in-depth night as the time is near. I wanted to find a song to perform. I explored some songs online and tried to find a song that is not too basic and simple but isn’t too hard either. After days of searching, I settled on a song called “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. This song primarily uses the chords G, D7, Am, and C7, with D, Bm, Em, and C in the hook of the song (which I need to meet with Hira personally for her to help me with it.) I have been working on the transitions that I need to do for most of the song, so I have a basic outline to work with when I meet with Hira again. Hira suggested that I do not use a pick on the ukulele as I can create a very rough sound with one. She suggested either index finger or thumb, so I practiced around with both and later found myself only using my thumb, which is totally fine (quoting Hira here). There are many strum patterns that fit different songs, but for this specific song, up-down-up-chuck works best. Chucking is when you strum all of the strings and mute them so quickly in one swift motion that it makes a percussion sound. I need help with this. The riff above is an essential part of the song I want to perform. I learned how to read riffs on printed text, and I learned that specific one. Here is a video of me doing it.
As for hats, I couldn’t really meet with Hira because she’s extremely busy and was out of the country, but I tried my best to make out at least one for each.
Hira: So we need to create a performance for actual in-depth night. What would you like to do?
Me: Well, I know I enjoy singing. I do not mind doing a ukulele performance with singing accompanied.
Hira: That’s great! I can teach you to do that. It is another skill, singing while playing, so that is what we need to learn from now on. I am busy, so in the meantime, here is a link to strumming patterns and a great self-learning website you can look through.
Me: Thanks! I will look into it.
Me: This is what my riff sounds like so far. It sounds extremely rough to me and I do not like it.
Hira: It sounds great! The reason it sounds rough to you is because the strings on your ukulele rings, but that is a quality issue so we can’t do anything about it.
Me: I am thinking about investing in a better one.
Hira: Good idea! Try Tom Lee, the music store.
Hira: When you’re choosing a song, I don’t want it to be too challenging or have too many chords in it. Because we have limited time together and in-depth night is coming soon, we have to settle on a reasonable song.
Me: Yes, I agree. I will look into a reasonable piece.
Other hats are not very applicable as I am yet to meet with Hira to learn more and have assistance in areas that I identified that I had trouble with. However, as soon as we meet again, I will have so many more things to show for in-depth night!
(I have used a good fraction of my paycheck last night to invest in a slightly better ukulele. I am crossing my fingers that the strings do not ring so much so I can actually chuck the strings instead of making a hideous sound.)