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Bobsdad
06-02-2015, 05:19 PM
So I am planning on attending the Uke & Guitar Summit at Strathoore in Washington DC area in August. Looking at the program they list the classes by levels....Novice, Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. They give no guidelines as to what constitutes a level...so I ask this group what you think.

I guess that signing up for a certain level of class one should be somewhat realistic, I think pushing oneself is better than being in a class where one would be bored. Any thoughts?

AS an aside James Hill is one of the teachers for an advanced class and requires an audition to get it. I'll not be pushing myself that much!!!

deschutestrout
06-02-2015, 05:40 PM
Having no idea of your playing level, I can't offer much advice. Other than...knowing several chords and the basics would move you to intermediate. Novice would be if you have never played an uke. Have fun!

NewKid
06-02-2015, 05:43 PM
Ask the organizers of the summit to define the levels for you since you're spending money to go there and want to get the most out of it. I'm an advanced player (although only in my own mind) but I enjoy the beginner classes because it's quite a feat to teach and inspire beginners. In other words, you can learn something from every level if you're open to it.

Hippie Dribble
06-02-2015, 05:54 PM
Novice - never seen or held a ukulele before.probably sees one and thinks it's a banjo or violin.
Beginner - knows how to hold the thing and play a 3 chord song in C... old time children's folk songs et al
A. Beginner - knows a dozen or more chords probably and has some basic strumming technique/rhythm
Inter - who the hell knows..that's the most broad and indefinable category in the universe and will inevitably depend on the teacher. one folks' intermediate is another folks' "dude, you don't know nuffink". you'd probably know diminished chords, minor & maj 7th and 6ths, plus some different strumming rhythms and time sigs
Advanced - another one impossible to define (same as above - will depend on the teacher). you'd have a broad based chord knowledge and know how to play solo stuff ad lib, make up some chord solo melodies etc. But I guess if you get kicked out of James' audition you'll know youse aint advanced.

deschutestrout
06-02-2015, 06:06 PM
Novice - never seen or held a ukulele before.probably sees one and thinks it's a banjo or violin.
Beginner - knows how to hold the thing and play a 3 chord song in C... old time children's folk songs et al
A. Beginner - knows a dozen or more chords probably and has some basic strumming technique/rhythm
Inter - who the hell knows..that's the most broad and indefinable category in the universe and will inevitably depend on the teacher. one folks' intermediate is another folks' "dude, you don't know nuffink". you'd probably know diminished chords, minor & maj 7th and 6ths, plus some different strumming rhythms and time sigs
Advanced - another one impossible to define (same as above - will depend on the teacher). you'd have a broad based chord knowledge and know how to play solo stuff ad lib, make up some chord solo melodies etc. But I guess if you get kicked out of James' audition you'll know youse aint advanced.

This is good!

k0k0peli
06-02-2015, 07:48 PM
Depends on broad areas. A jazz or classical player should read music; 'advanced' includes fluid sight-reading. Many traditional music areas have much less stringent requirements, but a grounding in music theory is still essential to advancing beyond Beginner. I'm Intermediate in some areas and Novice in others (like fiddle). But yes, get the people who take your money to explain CLEARLY what their levels mean.

igorthebarbarian
06-02-2015, 08:02 PM
I would consider myself "barely competent!" haha but it's all good. Love it regardless of my playing ability.
The uke's not all douche-y and hyper-competitive like guitar players.

drbekken
06-02-2015, 08:20 PM
I play and hope for the best. In some areas, I'm probably advanced; in others - such as classical - I am not even a novice.

kohanmike
06-02-2015, 08:27 PM
I've taken classes called beginner but they went too fast for me and I played guitar for almost 50 years and knew many more than 3 ukulele chords. I also took what was called an intermediate course of 6 classes and only the last class did I actually learn something new. One of the best classes I took was at the 1st Santa Monica Ukulele Festival, "Moving Up the Fretboard" with Sarah Maisel, she really knows how to teach, which is a specialty unto itself.

cdkrugjr
06-03-2015, 02:02 AM
I am at the point where I am acutely aware of how much I suck.

Note that this stage comes AFTER the stage when people start to tell you, "Hey, you're pretty good . . " not before.

UkerDanno
06-03-2015, 02:35 AM
I'm an Expert...at entertaining myself, that's what's most important! :shaka:

deschutestrout
06-03-2015, 04:30 AM
. A ukulele class at a festival that requires an audition is beyond my comprehension.
.
Mine too. That's a tad odd. And good advice to pick the subject matter with the most appeal, and attend just to have fun and meet folks and possibly learn some cool stuff in the process.

Adrian Ortiga
06-03-2015, 04:36 AM
go for the very begginer one and pretend to be a newcomer.. would be my choice hahahaha, because it would be very nice to meet first timer ukulele players , way more fun than talking with pros in my experience hahaha, whichever seems best !

uke-garou
06-03-2015, 04:57 AM
I am surprised there isn't a synopsis of the classes.
Edit.... There are descriptions. If you want to take the fingerpicking the blues course, which is inter/adv, then you better be comfortable with all kinds of chords. You won't get much out of that class if you are struggling with learning still.

Many of the courses lump more than one skill level together.

Why don't you audition for us? ;)

I am stuck in the ether....They would have to create an course called "The Impatient Novice".

Steveperrywriter
06-03-2015, 06:30 AM
I went to uke camp in the Columbia River Gorge about a year ago, having been playing for about a year.

The teachers were;

Gerald Ross: Swing is the Thing and A Blue Lagoon and You.
Aaron Keim: Vintage Jukebox
Paul Hemmings: Ukulele Big Band and Bebop ‘n’ Blues
Jere & Greg Canote, Old-Time Ukulele String Band
Nichole Keim, Ukulele Jumpstart for Beginners.

Here was it said in the band camp's FAQ:

Q: What skill levels are required for each type of band?

"The Jump Start for Beginners is designed for complete beginners and those with very little ukulele experience. All you need is a desire to learn and have fun.

"For all of the other bands, anyone with 2-years of playing consistently should have no difficulty. All classes require that students be able to change between simple chords without hesitation. For example, C, F & G7, and G, C & D7 (I IV V) in a few keys. The faculty recognize that there will be a range of skills in class and usually provide different parts to accommodate the students."

I spoke about my experiences at some length elsewhere, but the gist if that is, I was fine for the ole-time music band taught by the Canote Brothers, no problems. The be-bop band, taught by Paul Hemmings? I struggled to keep up, and couldn't. Fortunately, he was a great teacher and knew some of us weren't ready, so we got to pick simple parts to go along with the players who knew what they were doing. We had guys who could transpose keys on the fly, and who had no trouble doing Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser."

Hemmings had taken classic bebop tunes and scored them for multiple ukuleles. In keys like Eb, and F, thank you very much. Ever see a B-flat-thirteenth sharped-ninth chord? Not really that hard to play, once somebody shows it to you, but C, F, and G7 ain't gonna do the trick when you get into serious jazz ...

Upshot of this is, choose your classes based on what you can do, or maybe almost do. A little stretch is fine, but dropping into a full split cold? Not so easy ...

Ukulele Eddie
06-03-2015, 07:32 AM
Upshot of this is, choose your classes based on what you can do, or maybe almost do. A little stretch is fine, but dropping into a full split cold? Not so easy ...

Couldn't agree more. While normally I'm a fan of jumping in the deep end and sinking or swimming, I've found it doesn't work so well with group uke classes. I think there are several reasons for this. For one, classes are already short and tend to move very, very quickly. And, many times the instructors are great musicians but not necessarily great educators. In my experience at three different camps, it is rare to find one who adequately manages the classroom (two notable exceptions here are Lil' Rev and the combo of Kimo Hussey/Zanuck Lindsay).

As Steve said, a little stretch is good. You're there to learn, after all. But don't bite off too much, as you'll likely find it frustrating for yourself and for others in the class if you impede its progress.

Icelander53
06-03-2015, 07:36 AM
I'm an Expert...at entertaining myself, that's what's most important! :shaka:

wonderful!:agree:

Bobsdad
06-03-2015, 10:21 AM
Thanks to all! You folks all have great insight into this especially Bill1. I'll take this Swathmore event as a Uke Festival, meet a bunch of folks, have some fun and sign up for some beginner----intermediate classes and see what happens. I did call Swathmore and ask if they had any guidelines for the various skill levels and they acted like I had three heads. I guess no one has ask that before forking up $350. I'll be happy with $350 worth of fun. I am currently taking James Hill's Ukulele Way course which I think is great,
but I won't be auditioning for his advances class.......

Thanks All

tbeltrans
06-03-2015, 11:29 AM
I really don't know, since there seem to be various "ratings". I never really understood playing music having to be rated, categorized, and competitive. What I do know is that I am learning to play the music I want to play.

Tony

Ukejenny
06-03-2015, 11:41 AM
I rate myself as an enthusiast.

cua94
06-04-2015, 10:43 AM
I am going to that one too. I consider myself advanced beginner because I am not much on picking or hard chords like E. I can do bar chords occasionally but not very well.

Just my $.02,

Nickie
06-05-2015, 04:51 PM
I'm an intermediate player who tries to play advanced stuff and makes it sound like a beginner.

Phluffy the Destroyer
06-05-2015, 11:36 PM
AS an aside James Hill is one of the teachers for an advanced class and requires an audition to get it. I'll not be pushing myself that much!!!

Just out of curiosity, is this because the organizers foolishly failed to provide an adequate space for the summit, or is this just a dick move by James Hill? I like James Hill (by reputation anyway). I'd hate to think it's James Hill's idea to audition people in order to keep the plebes from learning something that might benefit them...

Regardless, and maybe this is just me...; I would have a very difficult time supporting an event that excluded ANYONE from a class or function after charging them $375 to attend...

The Big Kahuna
06-05-2015, 11:44 PM
Hopefully they are trying to save rank beginners from wasting their money on a workshop that is way above their level, and to which they signed up only because it was James Hill, and they thought that somehow they would magically leapfrog all that tedious "practice" between "how do I tune this thing?" and "look at me, I can play Billie Jean" just by breathing his farts.

Phluffy the Destroyer
06-06-2015, 12:34 AM
If either of those reasons were the case, it would settle the issue for me. I consider myself a fairly basic player with little more than passing fair skills. If the organizers were so obviously placing a higher value on the more advanced players cash than mine, I wouldn't want to waste their time depositing my money in their bank account.

If these were first-come-first-serve seating, I would have no issue with it. I've helped organize big events, and understand they can be challenging. I also understand that you don't use something to up the market value of your event then exclude paying patrons from having access to it. James Hill's name being associated with any ukulele event ups it's value, and I'm sure his name is part of the justification for charging almost $400 to attend. Let's be fair here.... what percentage of people do you think will be good enough to pass an audition? 3%? 5%? Hell, lets be kind and say 10% of the attendees will be good enough to go to this class. That means that 90% of the people who paid $375 to attend are effectively being bilked out of their event fees because they have literally no chance (zero, zip, nada) of access to the star attraction.

Maybe 90% of the attendees should only be paying $300 to attend...

CeeJay
06-06-2015, 03:28 AM
Player Level ?
Sometimes I stand and sometimes I sit.
Then I sit and stand a bit .

k0k0peli
06-06-2015, 03:44 AM
Q: How can you tell if the drum platform is level?
A: The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth.

bunnyf
06-06-2015, 03:45 AM
lol, CeeJay. My level is so where between advanced beginner and early intermediate. I know lots of chords and can change smoothly into them, could play a little cleaner tho, can easily sing, strum, perform but don't pick much yet and don't play up the neck with great frequency. Until I can get into chord/melody finger style, know my scales and use 2,3 position chords more, I won't consider myself a solid intermediate player. Doesn't uncle rod have a test/guide for telling where you're at?

NewKid
06-06-2015, 04:36 AM
Player level is relative. In my uke groups that prefer to play three chord songs I'm Lyle Ritz. Compared to Lyle Ritz I can barely hold the instrument.

Wicked
06-06-2015, 04:37 AM
$375 is a lot of scratch for a ukulele event.

I don't go to many festivals, but when I do I typically avoid all of the workshops, and hang out in the lobby to play/socialize.

SteveZ
06-06-2015, 04:50 AM
I'm an Expert...at entertaining myself, that's what's most important! :shaka:

Definitely! As old Billy wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true." What good is any of this i it doesn't bring a smile on your own face? If anyone else gets something positive out of it, that's fine.

And as old John of Bury clarified, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time." So, if some folk don't like how you play, just point them to the door and warn them not to let the doorknob hit them on the butt on the way out!


Player Level ?
Sometimes I stand and sometimes I sit.
Then I sit and stand a bit .

Amen to that!


Q: How can you tell if the drum platform is level?
A: The drummer drools from both sides of his mouth.

It takes a fellow banjo player to make this a drummer joke.

k0k0peli
06-06-2015, 04:52 AM
I don't go to many festivals, but when I do I typically avoid all of the workshops, and hang out in the lobby to play/socialize. My fave was a Celtic festival with ten-buck admission (the sponsor had populist political goals) and free workshops by John Renbourne, Kevin McCarty, and Maura O'Connell. Hasn't happened since. Darn.

The Big Kahuna
06-06-2015, 04:55 AM
John Renbourn

There isn't a god, but if there was, he'd be John Renbourn.

Tootler
06-06-2015, 06:52 AM
Player Level ?
Sometimes I stand and sometimes I sit.
Then I sit and stand a bit .

I'm up and down all the time. :nana:

Gillian
06-06-2015, 07:24 AM
Hippie Guy (Brad Bordessa), a ukulele instructor who also has a very informational website, posted his idea of playing level skills in this thread:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?100996-Things-You-quot-Should-quot-Know

I realized I had quite an inflated idea of what level I thought I was at after reading his post. I am now humbled.

rappsy
06-06-2015, 07:26 AM
I'm an intermediate player who tries to play advanced stuff and makes it sound like a beginner.

Superb quote Nickie. It brought about an all too familiar feeling. :music:

Tootler
06-06-2015, 07:31 AM
After reading Hippie Guy's definitions, I realised that I am borderline incompetent. :confused:

ksiegel
06-06-2015, 06:34 PM
I call myself an advanced beginner. Some others call me an advanced intermediate. Still more others call me advanced.

Finally, there are those who call me foolish for attempting to quantify something I have fun with.

They are probably right.

But seriously, I looked through Brad Bordessa's list, as linked to by Gillian, and I have several traits from each of the categories (other than expert), but I'm missing a lot of them.

For example, I really don't give a damn about "strum patterns"; I strum or fingerpick as the mood and music strike me. I know a lot of chord patterns and positions, but not necessarily the names.

Because of some of the folks I occasionally play with, and their judicious use of capos, I have learned to transpose on the fly - sometime by ear, and sometimes by sheer luck.

I can't read music, tab confuses the hell out of me, time signatures are fine in the abstract, but don't expect me to count them out. I can occasionally remember the names of the strings, but not the names of the notes on the fretboard (although I still remember them from guitar, which I played 10 times longer than I've played a uke.)

But I can lead a song circle, easily have a 2-hour repertoire (unless you want me to remember all of the lyrics; then I have about a 1-hour repertoire), have played with people of all different skill levels (last summer, Stu Fuchs called on my to take a solo during a Jazz workshop with instruments running the gamut from ukes, guitars, and fiddles to woodwinds and brass. I surprised myself by making it sound good.), and have been asked to play at yet another Farmers' Market this summer, so I must be doing something right.

But I'm not coordinated enough to do a triple strum (a la Formby), nor can I play along with a metronome on anything other than simple rhythms.

Beginner? Intermediate? Advanced? How about I'm just "A Mess".



-Kurt