Learning Ukulele with Curt

Ask Curt?

In this section, you can ask as many questions that you would like, and I'll give you an answer, perform research or make something up ( just kidding ).

With over 40 years, (damn, time sure does fly along) of serious studying of jazz and music with one of the best teacher on the planet in Chuck Anderson, I know quite a lot. Pretty much anything musical is OK.

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What Do You Work On When Practicing?

I mainly focus on new material that I'm adding to my repertoire. I also make sure I write out everything. Writing it out reveals new voicings or a different approach to an arrangement. A recording is not enough, with a recording only you'll have to transcribe yourself. A recording and written documentation combined are a better solution.

If I have a performance coming up or a recording I focus on that material only. I work on individual sections, even smaller phrases over and over and over. Rarely playing through the whole piece until I have all the parts mastered. Then I perfect the overall performance of the arrangement or song. If it's a section that I have a high level of confidence that I'll never screw up in performance, I'll never practice it. But, never say never!

I do advocate writing out all your arrangements using whatever method you can. Whether its standard music notation, chord grids, TAB, chicken scratch and any combination, just get it down somewhere. You have something to check with for reference. Your arrangement might change from the original that you didn't expect, but still sounds good. I've even gone back and incorporated changes that I like into the arrangement.

I even write stuff out without the instrument at hand. Then you know it. If you know it intellectually, you own it, and then you can start “playing” around with it, adding variations, phrasing the melody different, trying different styles, re-harmonizing the chords, etc.

After some downsizing, I went full-time to music, teaching, writing books, the websites and performing. My playing went up a notch. My income went down several notches. So, the “Quit your day job!” if you can, gives you a lot of time to work on music and probably less money to spend initially.

I kept a guitar under my desk when I was a full-time computer programmer and pulling late hours, I would pull out the guitar and get five or so minutes in when the programs I was working on were compiling. Now, I always have a ukulele with me. You can get in a lot of little practices every day if you have an instrument with you. When you only have a few minutes to “practice,” you sometimes actually practice.

Before you pick up your instrument, have a goal, a plan of what you want to get accomplished. Many short-term goals are better than one or two long-term goals. And, short-term goals always add up to completing long-term goals.

Practicing and performing are different. My Dad had to hear me play in public before he ever heard me finish a song. If you are an intermediate or advanced player, you're practicing, to someone listening should never actually sound like a full song. If you're practicing sounds good you're probably not practicing.

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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Want to drop LearningUkulele.com & Learning Ukulele with Curt a nice comment . We always like to know how we are and you are doing. We'll post any comment, quotes throughout the site and you can help spread the word .

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

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Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II, 36 years ago. Man, does time fly.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!”

LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, Luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. Curt has been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated daily — so check back often. I really do need to get out more ;-)

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