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Ukejenny
09-04-2014, 01:38 PM
I have taught private music lessons for years, but I have not taught ukulele lessons. I will have three new students next week.

What method book, if any, do you use?

If you use other materials, what are they?

I'm thinking that the big areas to cover are strumming technique, finger picking technique, theory, and learning the fretboard, hand position and posture.

What am I missing?

Dan Uke
09-04-2014, 02:33 PM
That list alone will take years!!


I have taught private music lessons for years, but I have not taught ukulele lessons. I will have three new students next week.

What method book, if any, do you use?

If you use other materials, what are they?

I'm thinking that the big areas to cover are strumming technique, finger picking technique, theory, and learning the fretboard, hand position and posture.

What am I missing?

jimdville
09-04-2014, 02:48 PM
Start with listening to the sound one makes when strumming, fingerpicking etc..

SonSprinter
09-04-2014, 07:33 PM
I think really finding out what kinds of songs your students want to learn is very key. I remember taking music lessons. And I practiced and played a whole lot more, when we had a song I liked. Find like the opening theme songs for their favorite cartoons, and see if it simple enough for them to learn.

Yes, I would suggest stating with strumming. I would also suggest having them purchase one of those ink stamps that show the ukulele fret board. Then they can stamp the new chord on the music.

But I would not just focus only or chords and strumming. I think being able to learn to play a melody line can be very key in keeping the interest of children. I also think being able to play by ear is of value. You know, feel when the chord should change. And then later, hear what chords should be played, and what the melody line is.

I think the age (i.e., attention span) and dedication is important to asses. If they are elementary school and do not know how to read sheet music (from like prior piano lessons), then you may want to consider the "Roy Sakuma" approach, where he spells out the letters: c, d, e, f, g, A, B, C. Hawaii Five-O: d d f A, g, d.

It may be a little hard to teach sheet music, when your students do not know fractions yet. But, somehow, I guess piano teachers do it, I think.

CeeJay
09-05-2014, 12:55 AM
When teaching an instrument , do you find out what the students expectations and desires are first ?

I mean if they want to play Roy Smeck style for example then that would dictate the type of method book ....and to avoid filling the student with too much info that they do not want .....and wasting your own time of course...... I suppose it all depends on your views on what music is.

CJ

Captain America
09-05-2014, 04:18 AM
I always assume that most people are getting into the uke for funnsies. They want to have a good time. So I try to get people up and rolling by learning the usual main chords and fun songs.

A lot haven't done any music before. I think people do best with internal motivation: so I want them to have a good time and learn songs they want to learn, and point them toward more songs they want to learn.

The only music theory I ever talk about is transposition and the circle of 5ths.

Gottliver
09-05-2014, 04:48 AM
C, D, E, F, F#, G, A, Bb, B major and minor chords.
Then the major and minor 7ths.

All while learning simple songs.

That's how I learnt guitar all those years ago...worked well....Good luck and enjoy!

Radio Flyer
09-05-2014, 05:55 AM
uncle rods boot camp was good for me. a little intense but you could skip around to start and let them go deeper if they wanted.

ricdoug
09-05-2014, 08:04 AM
I always use Tonya's lesson. It's well laid out and covers the basics to get started and get people going. I've easily handed out over a thousand copies over the years:

http://ukuleletonya.com/files/beginner_lesson_pkg.pdf

Also, I use this chart to teach vamps and chord progressions within major keys. Practicing these lines helps one to eventually play by ear, as you know what chords exist in the progression. Small cutouts of this chart can be taped to the top side of an 'ukulele:

Key_Chord Progression.......................Key_Vamp

C - ..C.....C7....F....Fm....G7....C...........C -...D7...G7...C....

F - ..F......F7....Bb..Bbm..C7....F............F -...G7...C7...F....

A - ..A.....A7....D....Dm...E7.....A...........A -...B7....E7...A...

G - ..G....G7....C....Cm...D7....G...........G -...A7...D7...G...

D - ..D....D7....G....Gm...A7....D............D -...E7...A7...D...

Shorebird
09-05-2014, 09:09 AM
Tuning, Strings (GCEA-Top Bottom) fretting, strumming and simple chords

sukie
09-05-2014, 09:24 AM
My little student will be 4 in a couple of weeks. I greatly lowered my expectations after Wednesday's lesson. Her attention span was about 10 minutes. But she had fun and that's what counts. I taught her Elephant Town for the first lesson. She loves it. And 1 chord songs are great for her. She can then play a bunch of songs with little. On Wednesday we started to fingerpick "Oh, Christmas Tree". Maybe we will have part of it learned for her Christmas Concert. She tells everybody she wants to play like me. I tell her she has to practice to do that. We shall see....

lindydanny
09-05-2014, 10:23 AM
There are more methods to teaching music that instruments to teach...

My experience has been to first get an idea of what the student wants to learn to do. Ask them straight up. Do they want to strum and sing? Do they want to play melodies/chord melodies?

Follow that up with what types of music they are interested in.

The one problem I have found with asking questions is the inevitable I-don't-know response. It usually comes from the younger ones which is understandable. My usual method for that is to start with basics like uke anatomy then basic two and three chord songs with four-to-the-bar strums then move up to more complicated chords (minors, dominant 7ths, m7b5s, etc) and rhythms. Somewhere along the way, you will get a better feel for what they student wants to do and can do.

I've also taken the path of working through a book with students. It's not a bad idea as most of the method is already there and it makes for a very measurable progress report (especially for mom and dad who may not know music at all). However, it can also corner you into not expanding into social playing and song playing very quickly. If you do use a method book, try to offset it with tunes as well. Also, be careful that the student doesn't loose interest because they are stuck in a book rather than learning the latest pop tune that is on their iPod.

Hope that helps. I've been teaching regularly in groups and one-on-ones for four years now. If you have a question, feel free to PM me!

~Danny

CeeJay
09-05-2014, 11:53 AM
I found that the best way to learn the ukulele was to buy music books with songs that I knew that had chord diagrams and then hum or sing the lyrics and fit the chords in......I know that the ukulele has been kicked up the musical evolutionary ladder since then , but basically that is what it is ..a strum and sing instrument and then develop it from there.....

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-05-2014, 12:20 PM
Hi All, Uncle Rod here :)

I just started a 15 week (4 course) session (Sept thru Dec 2014) and of course, I'm taking my students through
Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp (see link below) :)

I ease up with the beginners by excluding lines 2 and 3 from their Homework on the Practice Sheets.
But I will take them through the Keys of C, F, and G during the first of the 4 courses. The 2nd course will cover the keys of A and D and the 'dreaded' lines 2 and 3 of each Practice Sheet.

My Philosophy is that the ukulele is a tool the use of which requires first, learning to make musical sounds (via chords) and secondly, developing the skill of changing from chord to chord smoothly, at a regular tempo, without interrupting the strumming and without looking at the fingers.

As a singer/strummer, although I will touch upon some finger-picking, since one of the primary laws of teaching is that one cannot impart what one does not possess, Finger-Picking will only be covered superficially and not in depth.

However, if my students will hang in there with me, they should be able to play through all my Practice Sheets at a moderate tempo. They will also become familiar with several really cool chords like diminished, minor 6ths and minor 7ths, in chord families (Keys of C, F, G, A, and D). And end up with a Class Songbook of about 100 songs (and not all easy songs at that!).

I do want to teach my students what they want to learn, but I also have an agenda which includes taking them through the Ukulele Boot Camp, per my philosophy. I believe the teacher needs to lead in this and not be at the mercy of each student's wish or whim.

keep uke'in',

mm stan
09-05-2014, 02:45 PM
For little kids and big...Baby Patch is nursery rhymes everyone knows...and know the rhythm to...http://www.baby-patch.com/guitar.html
good place to start for sure....:)

Nickie
09-05-2014, 04:27 PM
ukejenny,
I took two lessons from a player more advanced than I, and the FIRST thing he did was show me I was holding it incorrectly, and the correct way. Boy howdy, did it make it easier to play!

Ukejenny
09-07-2014, 11:30 AM
Thank you all so very much for the thoughtful and kind replies. Yes, this is going to be fun. The ages will be six, seven and ten. I've already asked them to think of some tunes they want to learn. They are mainly wanting to be able to strum and sing at family gatherings, church and the like.

My first lesson is usually a "bring all your stuff and show me what you can do" kind of thing - laid back, no pressure. They have been playing out of a book for several months. Aside from that book, I don't know that they have any other resources, but I have enough stuff on hand here to pull from.

I already know what method books, etudes, studies and the like, are used for the wind instruments. There are certain books of material that you are expected to have covered, certain repertoire you need to have at a certain level of playing. Ukulele isn't as standardized, so I will be charting my own course. That will be a lot of fun.

Edited to add - y'all have given me a lot of good information to think about. I'm going to start writing things down and try to plot a course after our first lesson, once I have some knowledge of what they know and what they like/want.

IamNoMan
10-03-2014, 09:36 AM
A ten minute attention span for a four year old seems remarkable!
I have discovered that seven minutes is the longest/best time to use when planning discrete tasks requiring attention span for almost any age.
3.05 is best/optimal for attention span tasks but that doesn't give you much time to work in.
Don't plan on any attention span being effect for kids under three. Continuous activity tasks is the best you can hope for until the kid quits.

What are the youngest age students you work with to get optimally gratifying results?

Rllink
10-03-2014, 10:13 AM
There are more methods to teaching music that instruments to teach...

My experience has been to first get an idea of what the student wants to learn to do. Ask them straight up. Do they want to strum and sing? Do they want to play melodies/chord melodies?

Follow that up with what types of music they are interested in.



~DannyI had a friend over the other night and he wanted to talk about my ukulele playing. I told him that I just learned some chords and started playing songs that I like. Last year he took guitar lessons for a while. His teacher had him doing scales. He told her that he wanted to learn some chords so that he could play some sixties and seventies rock songs. She said that he had to learn the scales first. Evidently he isn't taking lessons anymore. What do you think about that? Would you let him do what he wants, or would you have him follow a planned syllabus?

sukie
10-03-2014, 10:29 AM
I had a friend over the other night and he wanted to talk about my ukulele playing. I told him that I just learned some chords and started playing songs that I like. Last year he took guitar lessons for a while. His teacher had him doing scales. He told her that he wanted to learn some chords so that he could play some sixties and seventies rock songs. She said that he had to learn the scales first. Evidently he isn't taking lessons anymore. What do you think about that? Would you let him do what he wants, or would you have him follow a planned syllabus?
I remember my first official ukulele lesson. First thing she asked me was what did I want to learn? I was stunned she asked that. I said I wanted to learn how to play the ukulele. You know, play, really play it. The whole shebang. She told me most people just wanted to learn chords. Fast forward a bunch of years.....Aldrine assigns me songs usually. When I first started I just did what he said to do. I didn't know why he gave me the songs he chose. Usually a few songs lead up to a reason. It's really only been the last year that if he gave me a song I hated I would say no, I don't like that song and he would chose a different one. Right now I am working on Equator. I hate it, but I didn't say no. Well, I am warming up to it. It isn't the style I like to play at all. I think that's the reason he picked it. It is teaching me new techniques and ways of playing. I guess if I want to really learn how to play I have to listen to my teacher. So far it is working. But if all you want to do is strum some songs I guess I don't know why you need lessons. But, on the other hand, I don't know why that teacher said he had to learn scales first.

pritch
10-03-2014, 10:34 AM
Rilink,

That reads like a teaching failure. There is a local guitar teacher who back in the day was the hottest guitarist in town. The band was a regular around the local scene mostly playing covers of such as Steely Dan, Little Feat, Steve Miller Band etc but they did reach a level where they did national tours.

A few months back I met a guy I hadn't seen in years and he was saying that he'd been taking lessons from that teacher but became frustrated when he couldn't attain a big enough finger spread to play the chords he needed. Discouraged he told the teacher he was going to quit. The teacher asked how he felt about slide guitar?

Teacher keeps a pupil, player keeps playing. That might be common - or not, but I was impressed.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-03-2014, 10:45 AM
I suppose I'm a chauvanistic stinker, but I prefer teaching adults (14yrs and up).

I find most younger beginners have external (rather than internal) motivation, ala' parents, so
it's difficult for them and for me to stick with it :(

most adults seem to know what they're getting into, so it's a bit easier on them and me.

If you have a heart to teach the younger ones, please do so. it will be a niche that not many
of us (just speaking for myself here) are willing to fill... at this time.

Also, being past 60, I find it difficult to 'relate' to the music they (the younger ones) want to learn.
Wow, am I set in my ways or what? ... don't answer that :)

Love you guys,

keep uke'in',

Rllink
10-03-2014, 11:44 AM
I suppose I'm a chauvanistic stinker, but I prefer teaching adults (14yrs and up).

I find most younger beginners have external (rather than internal) motivation, ala' parents, so
it's difficult for them and for me to stick with it :(

most adults seem to know what they're getting into, so it's a bit easier on them and me.

If you have a heart to teach the younger ones, please do so. it will be a niche that not many
of us (just speaking for myself here) are willing to fill... at this time.

Also, being past 60, I find it difficult to 'relate' to the music they (the younger ones) want to learn.
Wow, am I set in my ways or what? ... don't answer that :)

Love you guys,

keep uke'in',The Uncle Rod Bootcamp is where I started, and I recommend it to everyone who asks me where to start. I love the songs. The one thing is the proficiency test. No way I'm going to take a proficiency test. I'm having way too much fun to ruin it by finding out I'm not as good as I think I am.

Thanks Uncle Rod.

IamNoMan
10-03-2014, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the encouragement Uncle Rod. I've been teaching people to play or perform or tell stories for years. It is always nice when somebody comes up and says thanks for getting me started or such like. I will check out your bootcamp. I am not afraid of any test. I know how good i am. I'm a mediocre musician. But I AM a Musician.

@ the poster who mentioned converting to Slide: I talked to my 86 year Father two weeks ago. He had just come back from a jam and told me he was going to give up the guitar because of old fingers. I told to get his grandson to tune his guitar to an open tuning and show him how to work a slide. Lets cross our fingers that it works.:)

GB-uke
10-07-2014, 06:33 AM
Hi, The new RGT uke exam handbooks provide a structured and progressive course for teaching all aspects of uke playing. You can see them at Amazon and elsewhere:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/178-6610014-8886703?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=rgt%20ukulele&sprefix=rgt+u%2Caps