This post is about how to find time to practice the ukulele, in your already busy life.
In order to do regular ukulele practice you’ll need to form a new habit.
Some people find it very easy to take on a new habit.
Others will find the week rushes by and they haven’t touched their ukulele, even though they really wanted to. That’s me – I know exactly what it feels like.
Gretchen Rubin’s book Better than Before: Mastering the habits of our everyday lives is fascinating and very useful. It’s about how people can choose to form new habits successfully.
I recommend you check it out, especially if you’re having trouble making time to play your ukulele.
According to Gretchen, different tactics work for different people.
Here are some things that work for me:
- Keep the ukulele where you will notice it every day. Don’t put it away in a corner.
- Find a friend to practice with. Or even just someone who can text you to ask how your practicing is going. A small amount of accountability is great, especially for the first couple of weeks.
- Sign up for a class so you have a weekly reason to practice.
- As soon as you’re through the first two weeks, start playing songs you love. If it’s going to be a bit of a stretch, you have something to aim for.
I’ve seen people making amazingly fast progress when they decided they were going to learn to play Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen.
Here’s my post about the joys of playing music that makes your heart sing.
Getting back on the bike (or uke)
If you find you’ve gone a week or two without practicing, don’t give up. And don’t beat yourself up.
It’s not a lack of willpower.
Get hold of a copy of Better than Before, if you haven’t already.
Get curious. What happened to stop you? What do you need to do or change to get playing again?
Maybe it’s a mindset problem. You might be avoiding playing because you’re feeling nervous or frustrated or uncomfortable.
You might be scared of singing, or you think other people are doing better than you and you’re falling behind. Or you just can’t play a particular strum properly.
Or maybe you don’t have somewhere private to practice.
These are all real problems. But you can find ways around them or through them.
Many people find journaling helpful to uncover what’s going on. Just sit down with a pad and a pen. Set a timer for 20 minutes and write down everything you can think of about why you’re not doing this thing that you really want to do.
I know – it’s funny that I’m suggesting journaling, in a post about playing the ukulele!
You’ll probably get some useful ideas out of this.
Sometimes just acknowledging the problem makes it less of an issue.
Other problems might be solved by asking the teacher for a private lesson or extra coaching on something you’re finding difficult.
Make it easy on yourself.
Do what it takes, so you can do the good things that you want to do, more often.
Like playing the ukulele!
More practice tips
Hi, I’m Alice
I’ve been in love with the ukulele since my mother, Sue, taught me three chords when I was six.
I teach ukulele to adult learners all over the world via Zoom and Skype. If you happen to live in Hamilton, New Zealand, I also teach group ukulele classes.
You can find out about my group classes by clicking here.
Click this link to book online ukulele lessons with me. $US160 for six half-hour lessons.
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