Crowning Ukulele Moment, and Time Management Issues

Tonight, I decided to make a ukulele night. The main reason for that is I was watching a movie that was over 2 hours long, and since it was a psychological thriller, it required a decent amount of my attention.  I thought that meant tonight would be a good night for practicing chord transitions, but I didn’t want to use the acoustic guitar, since I wouldn’t be able to hear the tv over it.  I’ve ignored the ukulele for at least a week, which I decided is too much neglect. So, I basically ran through the chord progression for ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley over and over and over again for 2+ hours.  Those chord switches are fairly solid now, and I think I might even remember the progression tomorrow (that remains to be proven). I still occasionally stumble switching into the G chord, but I get it right more often than I don’t, so I think I’m at least at a place where I can safely dip my toes into ukulele lesson #2.

In any case, after the movie finished I decided to open up the first lesson again and play along with the tutorial. As I was doing this, the roomie walks by and says, “Your playing doesn’t sound bad, but that lady singing sucks.”  It was a crowning moment of willpower that I managed to keep playing while I laughed.

It was a good moment for me, after having some serious guitar fumbling last night.  I’ve been prioritizing the bass too much. I love the bass, really! But, by focusing too much on one instrument my hands become too accustomed to it and everything gets a little complacent. It was the first night really playing with the guitar since I took off the fret stickers, too, so there were bound to be some rough waters, but having focused so heavily on the bass for a few days on top of it, I kept overshooting frets. With the stickers gone, I wasn’t able to get back to where I was supposed to be as quickly.  Now, part of that is just like when I switched from sitting to standing for guitar practice – there’s a brief stage where I need to recalibrate and make some adjustments.  But, the other part of it just confirms what’s been on my mind since getting the bass: I really need to decide on a schedule, what I’m doing on what day, so I can avoid getting rusty on guitar because I’m having fun with bass, or neglecting the bass because I need more practice with the guitar.  I didn’t really want to set up an official ‘practice schedule’ because I worry that will take some of the fun out of it all, and in spite of my hypothesizing and complaining, I am having fun with it all, but I think it’s time to really consider seriously how to best manage my time between the three instruments.

I know a day or two a week is plenty for the uke – and I say that because I really don’t have very high goals for that instrument at the moment.  I’m not looking to become the next Jake Shimabukuro, I just want to play some Amanda Palmer songs, which are really not hugely complex compositions. 🙂

(ear candy, because I have no pictures for this post)

So, Thursday night will probably be an uke day. I can easily squeeze out some ukulele time after my voice is tired of doing poetry recordings, especially now that I’ve shifted my ‘youtube poetry vids’ time to the AM before work, since it’s about the only productive thing I can make any worthwhile progress on in 10-15 minutes, and can easily pick up where I left off at my leisure. I can probably do some general practice (chord changes, scales etc) with the acoustic, too, depending on how the night goes.  I’ll be able to get more music time in on Thursdays in the future, once I’m through my poetry backlog and have done some literary spring cleaning. I  try not to mention the other blog much here, but it’s relevant to the subject of time management, so in this case I’m breaking my own rule.

Finding time in which to do all the things is a delicate balance. Alternate days? Start with one instrument, give myself a set amount of time with it, then finish with the other? I don’t know. I haven’t decided. I’m still rolling it around in my brain, trying to figure out which method feels right to me.  I know I have to allow myself at least one day of really abbreviated music practice if I’m ever going to write that novel that’s been languishing on my hard drive for the past 3 years like ‘do you have time for me now?’, or draw things, or…okay, I can go on, but I won’t. I have a lot of interests – so sue me!  My point is, efficient time management is something I’ve been putting off thinking about, but something I definitely need to give some serious consideration, especially given the level of readjusting to one instrument required after ignoring it in favor of a different one for a few days.  When I’m working with them both pretty consistently, it’s not an issue, but when I let one sit untouched for a bit, the first day back turns out to be a fumbling mess.

Until next time, I’m analyzing how to best utilize my time, and apparently sounding “not bad” at the only song I know on ukulele.

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