How to Have More Fun Playing The Ukulele

Currently, I am learning how to play the Ukulele and I am loving it. As I don’t have any proper music education and I am just learning off youtube tutorials and Tab charts the tips I am giving are to be taken with a grain of salt. 🙂

However, in the past six months, by changing the way I practice and trying new things I have learned and improved a lot. In addition, this past week I feel like I have passed a threshold. Playing seems easier, more fun and, I felt like sharing what helped me reach that point.

  1. Learn the Scales (or Just Some)

    I put this one as my first tip because I wish someone had told me about scales before. Without basic knowledge of music, it can be a little bit hard to wrap your head around it. However, even understanding just the bare minimum will help you understanding how notes and keys work.
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    In addition, if you know a few scales it will help you with learning how to solo on top of songs. For example, even though I don’t even know all the scales by heart just being more familiar with them helped me tab out a small part of the song “City of Stars” from La La Land. This made me so proud haha. Ukutabs, is a great website to learn how to play the ukulele and it provides a very large database for ukulele scales. So if you are interested in finding out more about these I suggest you go have a look at this page –>  https://ukuscales.com/

  2. Allowing Yourself to Solo

    You might not yet master scales perfectly, 60015712 birdbut you are getting a feel for them (as am I) and what better way to reach greatness than to practice? Thus, even though you might not feel ready yet, allow yourself to try and solo, find a little personal riff. It is so much fun to integrate riffs in chord progressions, and in my opinion, it accelerates progress!

  3. Don’t Keep it All to Yourself, Play with Someone Else!

    So that’s a hard one, at least for me. I always yearned to play with other people whether it was guitar or ukulele but since I never used to play outside of my room, I was both shy and unable to spontaneously adapt myself to others. However, since I have slowly started to get accustomed to some scales it has become easier to play with others. Playing with someone teaches you so much more as you can share knowledge and experiment with new things that you wouldn’t have tried alone.
    It is so much fun to play with another person especially when you get to the point where you feel like you are both on the same level. Music just flows.

  4. Challenge Yourself

    Try to practice songs with chords you don’t know, try and experiment with different chord shapes even if it hurts or you have to be slow for awhile. I find that it is great practice for your fingers and it will increase your repertoire. In addition, if you are the type to write songs, it will give you more possibilities!

  5. Play in The Sunshine by The Water (Outdoor in General)

    Do I need to explain?
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  6. No Pressure

    Stop judging yourself because you think you are not as good as other people out there. You are learning! It’s ok. Don’t let that idea stop you from playing. How did these people you admire get better at the instrument they master? By playing it over and over again!

  7. Be Silly

    Sometimes you are going to hit a plateau and it’s okay, chill. Like I said in point 6. no need for pressure. Make-up chord progressions maybe add silly words to it, sing about your love for milk and your disgust for anything fishy haha (I hate fish).  Have a laugh.

    Colorful Case on A sunny DayHave a look at my Instagram 🙂

These are my tips, it helped me, I hope it can help you 🙂

Also, check Cynthia Lin’s tutorials out, they’re great!

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A wise squirrel

Standing in front of this old black car, I feel nervous. I need to get out of here, sit behind the wheel and drive. I am standing between two poles surrounded by two cars. One is mine, the other one and its passengers I expect to leave soon. Anytime now. I am waiting. They are laughing but no movement occurs. I feel stuck when I should be moving.

Do you know this feeling when you are aware that you need to take action but you are not only scared of failing, you are also terrified of succeeding? This is what I feel standing between these two poles, trying to build up the courage to get into that car and go. The irony here is that although I strongly believe that it is time for me to drive away, I  actually don’t know how to. It is one of these plans that I have made but never came around to actually realize.

Almost twenty-three years old and without a driver’s license.

I never thought it mattered but right now I blame myself for not trying hard enough.
“You can do this Nina!” I naively encourage myself. It is difficult to start the engine because it keeps moving forward, but, slowly, I somehow seem to gain control and manage to go forth. There is no sense of danger as I drive through narrow streets covered in brown autumn leaves.

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The floor is covered with trees’ dead ornaments and it seems as if fall’s brown foliage has been laid out just for me to pass on.  My driving is unsure, the car doesn’t go in a straight line, but it is alright. I am fine. An ex-coworker randomly passes through. She seems thrilled to see me achieve this miracle. “Are you self-taught?” she asks excitedly… Yes, I am! I am self-taught! I have conquered this issue, freed myself from the chains that were holding me back and here I am cruising away.

I don’t notice it at first but my car has turned into a bicycle. Why? I remember that my coworker didn’t know how to ride a bike… Does that explain the transformation? It doesn’t matter. I keep riding. Cycling my way through the streets. The fallen leaves have turned everything brown. Still, I notice this little squirrel lying on the floor. It seems dead yet I know it lives.

This small animal has given up on life. I won’t let it die. Without stopping I communicate with the suicidal creature and order it not to give up. As if my word is law, as if all of this is magic, as if I am insane and it is all just happening in my head, the squirrel understands. Without arguing, the rodent agrees. That was easy…wasn’t it?

This is all absurd but simultaneously the situation seems to convey some truth to me when the squirrel explains that “Everyone feels suicidal once in awhile, they just need someone to tell them not to die.”

Obviously, this was all a dream.
I woke up feeling like it must have had some kind of meaning.

 

The Museum of Broken Relationships

My last post wasn’t a hopeful poem, it was about how sometimes love seems to be this vicious cycle of hope, joy, disenchantment and heartache. I know it is not always the case, but I think everyone would agree upon the fact that it can sometimes be quite easy to let yourself fall into pessimism. I was thinking about my bad experiences, about those of my friends and couldn’t help but feel like a sad ending is almost always inevitable.

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Good question Jess, good question!

Right now, I am feeling way more positive about love because I am having a good day and I am training myself to focus less on the negative and more on the bright side of things. This is important as there is no point in expecting the worst when things are going great unless you are planning on sabotaging your happiness.

However, these thoughts and this poem, stuck with me and made me curious about people’s love stories, how they started, how they went and how they ended. As I am in Zagreb at the moment, I remembered that it is the home of a rather peculiar but also really touching museum called the Museum of Broken Relationships.

I felt like this was the ideal place for me to go with all my thoughts, doubts and clouded judgments about the past and the future and it truly was. It was not only a fun experience that I shared with my boyfriend, it was actually really moving and a boost creatively speaking. It felt empowering at times, hopeful but also really deeply sad.

Basically, the Museum of Broken Relationships is a place to which people have donated objects that symbolize a relationship they had. Next to the object you will not only be told how long the relationship lasted whether it was for a day, a week or 30 years but also get to read a little personal description.

Some of these descriptions are little summaries, others are poems and my favorite ones are just simple sentences that say it all (e.g.: A jersey of some sport, maybe basketball and the phrase “He was a player.”). It is all random, personal and somewhat magical as they take you to the most intimate part of some strangers feelings and the core of what they shared with their significant other at the time. You go through bitter statements to really sweet ones and it is just an emotional roller coaster! I urge everyone to go straight to Zagreb to see it.

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What I liked the most about this museum was the overall message of hope and freedom. These objects were given by people wanting to let go, wanting to finally move on and leave pain and regrets behind. One of the features of the place was a “Confessional”, a large album in which every visitor could leave a comment, an experience, a signature, a drawing, anything really.

A few months ago I chose to forgive someone who hurt me really badly and as time goes by I can tell that I am healing slowly. However, I still have nightmares and quite often bitterness comes back and leaves this feeling of resentment and fear.What if I made a mistake by letting this person back into my life? What if the story repeats itself? There goes my positivity down the drain!

In my opinion, doubting is worse than anything, I took my decision and I just need to let go or I will never be able to fully forgive. In that perspective, I left a confession in the Museum’s album in hopes it will maybe help me move on as it is now exposed among other abandoned baggage. Writing my experience down felt like saying to myself that I am ready to stop reliving the past. Hopefully, this is going to turn out to be more than some wannabe symbolic moment haha

The Museum of Broken Relationships (MBR) is a great experience that is more than just sad stories and break-ups, and I can’t even put it all into words. I will just strongly suggest that you check it out as it is beautiful and different from anything that is out there!

There are two MBRs in the world, one in Zagreb and one in Los Angeles. However, exhibitions are held all around the world and you can visit their website on which you can have a look at some shared stories, share your own and even choose to contribute by sending an item. I am already planning on spending a lot of time on that website haha !!

I haven’t felt so excited about something in a while so I really wanted to share it with the world and while I am at it, I’ll share this song from the wonderfuly talented youtuber Dodie Clark.  Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

Poetic inspiration: writing is breathing

Good advice! Writing used to be a habit that I lost along the way. I want it back. Go check out Business in Rhyme!

Business in Rhyme

How do you make writing a habit? By making room, time and prioritizing your writing, until it becomes habitual, just as breathing is – when you don’t have to think about you need to write – you just do it.

habitualwriting


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Last Day of 2016: Just Some Thoughts

edit: Where I am it is still the 31st, 5pm 

To be honest I was starting to get sick of all the memes, status, and articles about how shit 2016 has been. I am not about to deny the fact that horrible things have happened. They have and I remember that I have been horrified, scared and saddened more than once this year.

However, I feel that the main thing that was wrong this year, compared to the ones preceding it, is the way the media sensationalized every bad thing, every crime, and every negative opinion.

2016 hasn't been the easiest of years so far.
I can’t deny that some of these memes, did make me laugh

I am not about to share my opinions on how the media functions or on what is going on in the political world because I honestly feel very ignorant on both fronts. Still, I wanted to express my frustration with this trend of bashing 2016! I don’t think any year is perfect, wars and revolutions and poverty have been going on for years and years however where there is bad, you can find good even on a small level.

Thus, originally I wanted to make my own little list of the good things that had happened in the world in 2016 (there are plenty!) but realized many people had the same idea as me (which is great!).

So instead I am just going to share three articles that list some of the good that 2016 provided. One I really like because it not only lists 99 Good Things That Happened in 2016 but also backs every point with an article, in order to look deeper into that positive matter. I didn’t see the point in repeating or copying what many other people have started to do, however, I am happy to point them out.

Right, Fuck it, I’m done with ‘OMG 2016 was terrible’, here’s some fucking awesome things that happened, you’re welcome, Merry fucking Christmas

(…)

take some time to look at the fucking good and beauty in this world, good shit is happening, learn it, support it, be part of it.

I just started this blog (still don’t know why btw) so not many people follow it. However, those that do or you, new reader, I would like to ask you to name a good thing that happened to you this year.

I refuse to believe that so many people experienced such bad 12months. I personally started this year with some serious money issues, a lot of stress regarding graduation, and without going so far as to say I experienced a certain level of depression, I know I have felt very unhappy for long periods at times where I didn’t want to do anything but hide in my room.

But here I am on the 31st of December 2016 and I can say this:

  • This year was significantly better than 2015 for me. I have had the luck to start it living in what had been my dream location for the past 5 to 6 years. Beautiful and sunny Australia.
  • I think I got very confused this year and I have let myself feel these things which I am grateful for because I feel that I got to know myself on a deeper level. (Still confused tho haha)
  • I have traveled a lot, I have met beautiful and loving people and I came back to another bunch of great people giving me the great joy of still making me feel like I have a home.
  • I have taken more risks. I am terrified of what is to come but I have no regrets. 2016 has given me a lot of excitement and paved the way to more of it in 2017.

So what about you? What are some positive things you will take away from this year? 

And also: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I am sending loads of positive vibes your way!

A Song: When You Know

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The struggle

I have wanted to write a song for a while now, I knew which chords I wanted to use but somehow rhythm and lyrics didn’t come to me easily. For weeks I felt frustrated as if there was something stuck in me that I needed to push out somehow.

Of course, it’s like anything when you try and force something to happen, it doesn’t. Another thing is, these last weeks I have been feeling really happy and fulfilled. I am traveling around, I have been in Budapest and Zagreb and right now I am back in France.

Although all of this cropped-argh.jpgis awesome, I have noticed that my creativity (
Gee that sounds pretentious) really depends on my mood and is at its peak when I feel upset. I have mentioned this in an older post Music is The (my) Answer to Everything. So it is somehow frustrating because I still want to be creative when I am happy but I just don’t know how.

Can someone help??

As I was leaving Zagreb to go home for Christmas, I left someone I deeply love behind. Even though I know we will be reunited soon, it felt difficult to leave him due to things that have happened between us in the past.

Driving past frostbitten landscape I couldn’t help but feel a little bit lonely. However, as my thoughts wandered I realized that paradoxically the reason why I felt so lonely in that moment, is because I actually have someone that I love and who loves me back… it inspired me because it calmed some of the doubts that I had about this relationship.

Finally, I came up with lyrics, a few days later I came up with a melody. I like it, it’s not genius, but it’s how I feel and I wanted to share it. Enjoy the CHEESINESS haha.

Where he sits, is where you sleep
His head on your shoulder
While on his lap, you stretch your legs
He brings you comfort, your bring him warmth
And any place becomes a home

That’s when you know
If an hour away seems to long
That’s when you know
As just a thought can make you smile
That’s when you feel from deep within
You can look at tomorrow with him…. 

A poet once said
Distance is to love
What wind is to fire
A breeze threatened their flames
But seamlessly stronger, the fire grew
It cannot be extinguished nor tamed
As they united more than flesh
No doubts remained

When you not scared of the work ahead
When you’re ready, when you want it
That’s when you know it is right …. He is right