Learning `Ukulele with Curt

The home for Learning Ukulele and All Things Ukulele with Curt Sheller
Ukulele Player, Musicians, Author, Publisher, Educator, Graphic Artist,...

Ask Curt?

Fire away, I‘m game for any questions.

Ask Curt

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

With over 30 years of serious studying jazz guitar and music with one of the best teacher on the planet, I know quite a lot. Pretty much anything musical is OK.

Use this handy dandy contact form!

Plans for 2017

Finally, getting to shooting some videos to add to selected lessons for people wanting a visual presentation of some lessons. - IN Progress

Early 2017 I'm bring back the ability for Silver and Gold members to tag lessons as a favorites. This help you filter to lessons out that you are not currently working on. - DONE

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 it's standard music notation, chord grids, TAB, chicken scratch and any combination, just get it down somewhere. So even when it gets to the point that you think you can't forget it. You have something to check with for reference. Your arrangement might change from the original that you didn't expect, but still sound good. I've even gone back and incorporated mistakes 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, etc.

After several downsizings, I went full-time 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. A lot of 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, your practicing, to someone listening should never actually sound like a full song. If your practicing sounds good you probably not practicing.

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 best — Glen 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

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LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, festival informations, clubs, and ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's. This site just never stops growing!!!