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View Full Version : Ukulele lessons at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Honolulu



Bob-in-Alberta
10-22-2014, 12:37 PM
I just had a unpleasant experience at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Honolulu Hawaii while on vacation there that I would like to share with my ukulele brethren.
They have offered free ukulele lessons there for a long time and have held them at the Food Court on the 2nd level. The lessons were an hour long and usually spent the first half hour covering the basic cords, how to hold the instrument and basic strumming techniques. This would be followed by learning one or two simple Hawaiian songs. They also had loaner ukuleles so that you didn't have to own one to participate. The nice thing about being in the food court was that there was lots of room so people could just sit and watch, you didn't have to necessarily participate. It was always a lot of fun and there was always enough room for people to make use of the various vendors as well.
This year they have made some changes. Apparently the food vendors have complained that the people taking part in the free lesson were using all of the tables and driving away paying customers. Because of this the shopping Center moved the lessons down to their information room. The lessons are now in a smallish room with about 25 seats and no place for anyone to just sit and watch and they have gone from a song book that was handed out and was to be returned to an image that is shown on a flat screen at the front of the room. Sometimes change is for the better, this time not so much. I went yesterday for the first time with the new venue and everyone has to stand in line outside until a few minutes before the lesson starts and then they unlock the door and let people in. You then have to continue to line up as you have to sign in as they only have a limited number of ukuleles. After signing in you find a available seat and the lesson begins. I have no complaint as to the lesson content, the same instructors are there and it is still informative. The flat screen needs to be mounted higher though, if you are in the back couple of rows you can't see the bottom of the screen.
This morning was when I had a real problem with the new set up and felt that I needed to vent. I arrived earlier than yesterday so that I could hopefully get a seat a little closer to the front and could see the entire screen. We all lined up like sheep outside of the office and dutifully waited until it was time for the door to be opened and for us to sign in. Since I was there earlier I was forth in line, behind a gentleman from San Diego and a couple from Illinois, all of us newly on vacation and carrying our ukulele cases as we all obviously have been here before and are more than willing to leave the loaners to people new to the instrument. The door opened and the gentleman who came out announced that he would be letting the people at the back of the line in first as we were all obviously regulars and since this was a beginner class they should be let in first so that there wasn't anyone of them turned away because of a lack of room. He apparently couldn't count to 25 and didn't understand the concept of a lineup either. I ended up at the back of the room, couldn't see the bottom of the screen and had a hard time hearing the instructor as the two people sitting at the information desk right behind me chatted and occasionally tried to fix the wifi connection from the computer to the screen showing the lesson.
In closing, I used to enjoy the lessons. I saw families sitting back watching their family members participating and I'm sure that some of the spectators also spent some money at the food court. I know that I'm taking a break from the Royal Hawaiian Center. I can find other places that want my business while I'm on vacation.