These were uploaded for FUN. Not for tutorials nor showcasing but merely to document my ukulele (mis)adventures. Plus, I LOVE TBS and The Used and I love being able to sing along these songs while playing the uke.
Like I mentioned in my previous posts, I’ve realized its OK to be a newb, suck and sound really bad as me in these videos, therefore, I am posting WITHOUT SHAME!!!!!!! :)) Hopefully by next year I will MUCH better.
Next day after buying my first ukulele: The Used A Taste of Ink
After watching Crowd Dispersal Unit and Navy Blve Pants at a gig, I wanted to rock out on stage as well! So I tried to practice playing my favorites: Number Five with a Bullet dedicated to ewwick.
The next day, I was so happy with be able to play and sing a TBS song, I decided to try another one: Cute Without the ‘E’
Since the first Ukulele Festival here in the Philippines, I’ve been meeting a lot of people who share the same joy and passion for playing music, waaaay more than even I do. You see, Music has always been a part of my life. It has lifted me up when I was down, and it made being down FUN (emo. hehe) and it makes breakups easier to get over (Thanks TBS & FOB)> It was my study partner during college, and definitely the perfect night out for me to watch my favorite bands. Whenever I am in a new city, I make sure to check out the local gig sched. I just loved watching bands play live!
I have always been on the listening side of music. Yes, as a kid I bought a harmonica, a recorder with my own savings and begged for piano or violin lessons (what kid does that?!) but my parents didn’t think any of those would last so I had to save up for my own music adventures. When I was in college, I was able to purchase my first drum set and enrolled myself by this awesome drum teacher JP Buduan (who now owns his own music school yay!)! All of these attempts, however, failed. My drumset is now in the bodega collecting dust and probably rusting. I am still not ready to sell it, but as I write this post, I think I will start considering letting it go. (OR NOT.)
Anyway, today I shall post about my ukulele adventure so far..
After the Philippine Ukulele Festival (see pictures) by Ukulele Philippines and Ukulele Underground Philippines, my goals became clearer. I had been randomly picking up my uke one or twice a week since January and I can’t say there weren’t weeks when I wouldn’t even practice. Basically after 8 months of owning 3 ukes, I was still a total newb who just GAS-ed her way into the community. :)) This changed after the Ukulele Festival and I realized that if I didn’t do anything different this time, my ukuleles would also end up lost and forgotten as well.
I realized that I really didn’t have any goals for my ukulele playing. I had no plans of joining a band, I had no plans of playing on stage. I just bought an ukulele because I thought it would be cool to be a surfer who could jam and play at night during bonfires. So at the festival, I spent an entire day listening to local and international bands showcase their happy music. I even got to jam on stage for a song with all the other players.
I got stoked meeting Aldrine Guerrero and Aaron Nakamura of Ukulele Underground, one of the first amazing artists I stumbled upon online. Derick Sebastian was such a sweetheart — I will never forget his Wonderful Tonight rendition at the Buddha Bar. Kalei Gamiao has amazingly fast hands, my eyes could barely keep up! Kyas Ryo, whom I’ve met earlier this year, displayed great technical skill and passion — You can also sense how much love for music pours out when he performs! Lastly, Apirak Sirinanthakul from Thailand, quiet and always smiling, his music is dreamy and simply wonderful!
After the workshops offered by each Ukulele master I knew that I KNEW NOTHING and that I had everything to learn! Which is good, I guess because it gives me an excuse to make a TON of mistakes! :)
Newb Tips I’d Tell Myself 10 months ago (if The Doctor gave me a lift ^^):
1. It’s OK to make a lot of mistakes. Everyone was a complete beginner once in their life.
2. Don’t be afraid to play in front of family & friends. They might tease you but they mean no harm. In fact you’ll be very suprised at how much support you can get!
3. Play for other people, not for selfish reasons. I found that I was more motivated to be a better player when I play for other people and everyone has a fun time!
4. It’s ok to use simpler chords and strumming patterns. You don’t need to be an expert to play and songs the songs you love.
5. Join the community, get to know people who share the same passion as you do. You will get a lot of useful tips, precious advice, amazing support and tons of inspiration and creative energy from them. Don’t be too intimidated by the pros. Most ukulele players, like the instrument itself are SIMPLE, HUMBLE, DOWN TO EARTH and GENEROUS human beings. It’s all good vibes, I promise!
6. Practice a lot! You can do it in short 30 minute sessions each day! On the weekends, however I find myself playing the whole afternoon. If you don’t pick it up for quite some time, you will notice how much chords you forget and how sucky you become again! And when this happens, I tend to get disheartened.
7. Record yourself so that you can listen to your mistakes. You will also be able to see how much you’ve improved and this will bring you so much satisfaction! You can post it online for critiquing as well — just don’t be too hard on yourself when you get negative feedback whether it was intentional or not. Always use feedback as constructive criticism.
8. Aim high! At first I just wanted to be able to play my favorite songs, Now i want to be on stage with the musicians I admire!
9. Watch and learn from other people. Watch youtube, watch gigs, join jam sessions. You will pick up a lot.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from experienced players. :) This way, you will be able to figure out a solution to your obstacle faster.
I am not so bad after all. I seriously debated whether it was worth it to spend P300/month for an extra phone line for online business transactions so i could still have a private number. It took me a lot of time to convince myself the price was worth it.
Yesterday, however, I eagerly signed up for a UNICEF program called Champions for Children when i was stopped while I was on a mission to find clear soup for my friend who was recently admitted at the hospital. Despite the scamming and fraud risk, not to mention, unauthorized credit card transactions, i gave these UNICEF Representatives all the information they needed including an authorization to collect P500/month directly from my credit card for life. This humble donation goes to Filipino children who are battling malnutrition and the lack of education.
There are definitely a lot of other ways to give back and help by being more involved with certain organizations of setting up my own projects. I would definitely categorize this as the easy way but at least I am certain it is an actual contribution.
I am actually feeling good about this. In fact it has made me more mindful of other ways I can contribute to this world, and touch other lives.
So last night, I had to cancel all plans because I found my wounds, AGAIN, weeping, since it was last operated on a month ago. I felt hopeless and frustrated again. I knew the doctors would have no idea what’s happening. I am sure all tests will be positive. I am sure the doctors will tell me again to just wait for it to heal up, and I JUST KNOW that this won’t be the last time.
I don’t really know why I am blogging this because the only content I intend for it to have is to rant and to express my anger.
FUCK. THIS. SHIT.
Wow. That made me feel much better.
I am writing this entry because I refuse to believe that I have writer’s block. I have refused to write anything for the past 3 months including reports for work and very interesting blog entries about my tattoo and meeting Jason Mraz.
Now this, entry, which really doesn’t contain anything substantial but is in itself highly significant, will release all the hesitation and remove all fear that’s been rendering me useless at work and finally get me working on validation reports due in a month.
Yes, there’s enough time and I can do it. I don’t see my weekends booked in Z-land or Elyu anytime soon. It’s just me, my unused yoga mat, my big pillowless bed and my uncluttered desk.
Sorry. I lost my train of thought. Or rather, my train of thought just ran off track into Stacee Jaxx’s crotch.
There’s so many things to write about– How I am validating our ERIC systems.. (And onto more important things..) Why the Samsung Galaxy S4 is better than iPhone 5 (and onto WAAAAY MORE interesting stuff..) How I ended up in San Francisco, New York and Nashville last June. How I failed to have Mr. A-Z sign my ukulele because I didn’t have a pen.
What’s worth posting though, right now, is a realization that came from last night’s low and high.
HAPPINESS IS REAL ONLY WHEN SHARED.
And I thought that when I started to love being alone, enjoyed life by myself without needing anyone, I would have a chance at being happy. But that one line, really struck me. Christopher McCandless might have not exactly written that but it had such a huge impact on my current outlook in life.
I got it that I would never be happy alone. And more importantly thatI didn’t have to be alone. The only reason I would be alone is if I choose it.
As an absolute beginner, with zero skills in any stringed instrument, I realized that it’s not enough to just pick out a starter ukulele and then go on youtube for tutorials. After doing this for a few months, I just got lost in the huge selection of videos and lessons, got frustrated when I attempted songs and chords beyond my current skill and disheartened after days of practice and seeing very little improvements.
The first thing I would recommend is a jam partner or group where you can enjoy the happy music with other people. It’s OK if they’re more advanced than you because you’ll pick up a lot of tips and tricks from then and they’d be more than glad to answer your questions. I have been in certain situations where I jammed with guitar players over the bonfire and we just made up songs to play and transposed (he did all the transposing hehe) chords on the spot and that was really fun and motivating. I have also tried one on one lessons just to build my confidence with my posture, my strumming and my chords. I also got the encouragement and affirmation that I was on the right track, which I really needed to hear!
The next thing I’d recommend is picking up a comprehensive book such as Ukulele Exercises for Dummies because it is a guided way of practicing when you’re alone. I always want to ninja-practice so that I don’t feel so stupid when I am playing in front of an audience. :)) Books like these and print outs from amazing tutorials online keeps me entertained with all the different exercises I can choose from. I am rarely bored and never overwhelmed because I can simply choose what I feel like practicing and know that it all contributes to my journey to being an uke-star hahaha!
Lastly, recording and playback is very useful but to make it more convenient to practice good rhythm is to use a metronome. It’s easier to start slow and establish a good rhythm than playing choppy music because it’s very hard to unlearn bad habits — so try your best to learn the right ones instead!