An Ukulele Success Story, aka: I finally got through Amanda Palmer’s ‘In My Mind’ without a cheat sheet!

I call it that with a fair bit of tongue in cheek; I still have a long way to go. But, tonight, as I type this, I was able to get through ‘In My Mind’ by Amanda Palmer for the first time, all the way without stopping, without looking at my cheat sheet.  And, sure, I can’t do that every time, because I keep spacing out and forgetting which chorus to use when, BUT, guys, this is the song that made me impulse buy my first ukulele, so the fact I’ve finally gotten this far feels more like a giant leap than the baby step it actually is.

It’s actually a pretty simple song, overall, but the weird locations of the chord changes mean it took me a really long time to remember.

I actually learned a lot from this relatively simple song, between switching chords in places you wouldn’t expect, 3/4 time, reading chord charts and realizing that the chords are labeled where the chord switch happens, and getting in lots of practice accenting notes.

I’m not about to pretend it’s perfect. It’s not. Actually, about 3/4 of the way through the recording, I coughed because…well, I had to either cough or just not breathe at all until the song was over. I had SUCH an itch in my throat! …possibly the result of screwing up like 12 or more times before I was able to play all the way through even though I’d literally just done it before I started recording (full disclosure. 🙂 ).  Honestly, I left it because I just didn’t want to start over at 1:30 in the morning. I’m not aiming at perfection on a song I only just got through all the way for the first time today.

And, yes, I totally made some changes in playing it, especially towards the end, not because the original isn’t perfect just as it is, but because…whims. When I was playing through, I just felt like it, so I winged it a little at some points. Nothing horrible happened for my mini-improv, so all’s well that ends well.

So, I’m pretty happy. I now know 3 songs, and one of them is the one I set out to learn.  I’m still working on the outro for ‘Lean on Me’, and this one definitely needs some ironing out before I can play it all the way through consistently without forgetting what the heck verse or chorus I’m on, but it counts. It counts enough that I can move on to start really learning another song, as long as I keep practicing this one to burrow it into my memory for all time.

I am probably going to go with ‘Wagon Wheel’ (originally by Old Crow Medicine Show-well, to be more specific, originally sketched by Bob Dylan, but never finished by him – with multiple covers, and I first heard it when Against Me! covered it. That is, btw, still my favorite version, and quite possibly the best one for a beginner to work from. That’s not saying anything against either the original or the Darius Rucker version, but there are just plain less instruments in the Against Me! version, so it gives the ears less to work through when you’re trying to learn.).  Also, I have a lesson for that song in the ukulele academy thing I’ve been casually working with, so it being a song I genuinely like, and one I happen to have a handy tutorial for, it would make a pretty sensible one to work on next, in theory.  We shall just have to wait and see if theory and interest happen to be on the same page at the moment.

Until Next Time, I now know three whole songs, yay! …though I should probably get to work learning at least one for each of my other instruments, really…

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