The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears

Making the connection between the Mind, the Hands and the Ear.

Published: 24 Jun 2011 Updated: 23 Jun 2022Visits: 816Code: UL450

Topic: Basics Instruments: ukulele Subjects: Chords • Beginner • Intermediate • Learning • Basics

The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears

For music and learning an instrument like the ukulele or guitar, it's all about the making the connection between the Mind, the Hands and the Ear.

When listening to music, we enjoy it at the tempo the composer or artist intended, in real time. Listening and enjoying a song only requires the ear and mind. This is passive listening, and you're simply enjoying the music. This is what we do every day, and it's what draws us to want to learn a musical instrument.

Performing — When trying to reproduce music on any musical instrument, you're now an active participant in the making and reproducing music. The mind and ear are in control, telling the hands what to do. When performing, it's mainly the ear and the mind on a subconscious level that is driving the show and telling the hands what to do. And this is all in real time and at the intended performance tempo.

Learning — Learning an instrument is all about making and reinforcing the connection between the mind, hands, and ears. This typically can't be done in real time.

Of the three, the mind, the hands, and the ear — the ear can grasp simple melodies, basic chords and simple songs without much effort. How easy is it to hear when Auntie Marie sings Happy Birthday out of tune. We don't even need to know what the right notes are or the key. We can just hear that it's wrong or right – we've heard it before.

The Hands!

traffic_sign_SLOWOf the three elements involved, it's the hands that need the most work and the most repetition. Just as the skills required in sports — it's the technique where all the work is. Take golf, looks pretty simple on the surface. Hit the little white ball in the hole – or, shooting a foul shoot in basketball — put the basketball in the basket.

The concepts are pretty simple — it's the implementation that's all the work.

The hands take up most of the training time. It's the hands that provide the technique to actively reproduce music. This training of the hands needs to be done accurately and efficiency. This training CAN NOT be accomplished, initially, at performance tempo. Training needs to be deliberate and SLOW. Building the tempo as facility is gained.

I tell all my students that: Fast is nothing more than slow, quicker.

Technique cannot be taken for granted. You have to work on it.

Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & Includes On-line Down-loadable code

"Effortless Mastery is a book that the world really needs. It was not written by a philosopher or an academic. Kenny Werner, is one of my favorite pianists I've ever had the pleasure of working with, and in my opinion one of the best pianists living on the planet. Kenny teaches that 'The joy of practicing is concentration. The joy of playing is liberation.' Effortless Mastery teaches the seeker how to achieve both at the highest levels. It also shows how to practice effectively, promoting real growth and how to play and perform free from fear and self-judgment. I highly recommend this book." ---Quincy Jones

First Chords

Click on chord image for more info...

For Ukulele Players, taking the first chord you typically learn is the C chord. It's a pretty simple chord, requiring only one finger and one string chord. And, strumming chords on ukulele is somewhat easy, in that you can just strum all four strings. Initially, it doesn't have the strumming accuracy that the guitar requires. By itself, it is pretty easy to memorize and play simple songs with few chords. There aren't many one chord songs, so additional chords beyond that first open position C major chords need to be learned, memorized, and mastered.

A new twist is you need to use more than one finger and learn additional chords. Three or four of the most common chords you initially learn on ukulele, all come from the Common Key of C Major and are the primary chords in the key. They are C, F, G and G7. None of these first chords use more than three fingers. So, the wimpy pinky, finger four doesn't need to get involved.

Switching Chords

When you know two chords, you need to be able to switch efficiently between both chords at various tempos from slow ballads to fast up-tempo songs. This is where all the work happens. The mind, hands, and ear all work together, this is the learning process. The ear will learn the sounds of these common, basic chords with little effort. The mind can memorize them with a bit more effort — there's only two chords a t a time to keep track of — the one you're currently on and how am I going to get to the next one.

Then add G and G7. Four chords and a little more work. There are hundreds of songs that use these primary chords in the key of C. Use the recommended fingerings for the chords shown above. Although alternate fingerings are possible and need to be explored, these initial fingerings will get you started.

Then all the work is in switching chords, efficiently and in tempo. Ultimately, any chord can switch to any other chord. So try C to F, C to G, C to G7. C to C is easy. Then F to C, F to G, F to G7. G to C, G to F, G to C, G to G7 and finally G7 to C, F and G. That's all the possibilities.

Links & Resources


End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears.

Which Way Is Up? - Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, etc...

Updated: 22 Aug 2022

Just what is "Up, Down, Ascending, Descending, Higher, Lower, Top, Bottom" as related to music?

Related Books

Related Books for The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears.

A Guide to Ukulele Chords, 2nd Edition

Updated: 10 Jan 2020

A Guide to Ukulele Chords, Second Edition is designed as a guide to ukulele chords. Covering the basic ukulele chords that ALL ukulele players SHOULD know. A Guide to Ukulele Chords covers movable chord forms, rock chords, how to transpose chords, learning the ukulele fingerboard and includes an introduction to 4-part, a.k.a jazz chords and more...

Ukulele Chords - C Tuning

Updated: 31 Jan 2022

This chord book is a great addition to you music book library. Ukulele Chords covers basic open position and basic movable form chords.

Related Songs

Related Songs for The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears.

Any Song Will Do

Updated: 07 Dec 2015

This is not really a song, but simply saying that for the purposes of a lot of the lessons and lesson series on this site ANY song will do for exploring the lesson's material and concepts presented in the lesson.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for The Learning Process - The Mind, Hands and Ears.

Before You Pick Up Your Uke, Getting Started Basics

Updated: 01 Jan 2003

These are the ukulele lessons that every ukulele player just starting out a bit seasoned should take a look at.

Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons

Updated: 01 Jan 2003

This series of lessons is intended to take a beginning ukulele player, just Getting Started, through the basics. Your goal, as well as mine, is to help you create a solid foundation for future learning and development with this fun, cool instrument - the ukulele. This series of lessons are also a great refresher for all players who've been playing for a while or are in a position to offer assistance or advice to fellow players.

Ukulele Strums - Getting Started

Updated: 01 Jan 2003

Strums are in-separately linked to rhythm. Using the Modular Phonetic Rhythm System developed by Chuck Anderson this series of lessons starts with the core four strums all ukulele players use, need to know and throughly digs into the many variations possible.

Site Access Plans for LearningUkulele.com

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get ALL the benefits of a Premium Access Subscription such as Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site, and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.

If you're anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overloaded with everything and everybody on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once, and you're done.

The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee there is more than enough material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That alone is more than the cost of this plan.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.

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!

curtieAnim.gif rw.vg.gif

Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II, 35 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 ;-)