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DownUpDave
10-25-2015, 05:32 AM
I am sure there are numbers and numbers of people that visit this site to see what the uke is all about. People that have NEVER played any kind of instrument before. Like any new endeavour it can be overwhelming and sometimes the broad range of opinions and topics of conservations here can scare off these people from ever dipping their toes in.

This thread was prompted because sometimes we get people brave enough to buy a uke and ask questions. Some of the things that get recommended are well meaning but serve no purpose at the green beginners stage.

Things you need to know to "START" playing the ukulele. #1...you form chords and change chords, #2 you strum. That is it in the beginning. You want to be selective on where you spend your time and what knowledge you pursue at the very start of your learning curve. Just concentrate on the physicality of learning the basic movements of forming chords, changing chords and strumming.

You don't need to learn how to tune by ear, scales, notes, keys, muting, chucking, rolls, triple strums, intonation, harmonics, etc. etc.

Download "Uncle Rods Bootcamp" work on that, seriously. Just like, golf or tennis or skiing you start with the basics to form a foundation you can then build from.

Jump in....... the water is fine and the ukulele is fun. Keep it that way and you will stay with it and continue to learn the more complex issues of music.

PhilUSAFRet
10-25-2015, 07:37 AM
:agree: Good thread. Yup, first thing my senior's class needs to learn is how to hold the danged thing. Talking about new players, new ukes, no straps. Can't move on until they pretty much get that. Next, not necessarily in this order is to learn how to tune it, how to make a simple chord or two, then a basic strum. Again, this has proven the case in several classes I have conducted for this group.

igorthebarbarian
10-25-2015, 08:45 AM
Good idea/ good post. I started with absolutely zero musical background in my mid 30's. This forum is super useful and super helpful. It's non threatening too. Good vibes. But yes learn to strum and learn some chords from Uncle Rod's. Really that's a great start. And buy a well-Setup uke to start with.

Franky1
10-25-2015, 08:51 AM
Well I im 57 and started to learn 6 months ago no musical background its just great to learn and great fun for me, not joined any groups yet and dont want too this is for me and loving it

ukuleleden
10-25-2015, 09:26 AM
Excellent advice... Each step is a building block. Repetition and practicing each step until it feels natural is a reassuring way to not get lost or discouraged. Don't feel pressured to learn something in any specified timeframe, go at your own pace is also a good way to not get discouraged too. Look forward to the "Aha" moments when things click and you're ready to move forward...

Franky1
10-25-2015, 10:30 AM
I agree:agree:

jollyboy
10-25-2015, 10:50 AM
From personal experience of being a noob here, I would agree with the OP that there exists the possibility of feeling a little overwhelmed by the level of advice on offer. Whilst I'm sure it's all well-intentioned some of it can frankly feel somewhat 'overbaked'. I've honestly been a little bemused at some of the responses to my own posts and been left scratching my head and wondering to myself (as a beginner) 'do I really need to be worrying about that right now?'

More experienced ukesters maybe forget a little bit what it's like to be a newbie. Getting your fingers all tangled up in the strings when you try to strum, getting confused every time you look at a chord chart cos the the 1st string is actually the bottom string (I mean, wtf? :P), barely limping your way through a godawful rendition of 'Camptown Races' (but still feeling totally awesome when you make it all the way to the end). And so forth.

It's like when older people shake their heads in disapproval at the behaviour of younger people - like they completely forgot that they were young once themselves.

So, yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that a little bit of empathy is always good :)

Cool thread.

Rllink
10-25-2015, 11:32 AM
From personal experience of being a noob here, I would agree with the OP that there exists the possibility of feeling a little overwhelmed by the level of advice on offer. Whilst I'm sure it's all well-intentioned some of it can frankly feel somewhat 'overbaked'. I've honestly been a little bemused at some of the responses to my own posts and been left scratching my head and wondering to myself (as a beginner) 'do I really need to be worrying about that right now?'

More experienced ukesters maybe forget a little bit what it's like to be a newbie. Getting your fingers all tangled up in the strings when you try to strum, getting confused every time you look at a chord chart cos the the 1st string is actually the bottom string (I mean, wtf? :P), barely limping your way through a godawful rendition of 'Camptown Races' (but still feeling totally awesome when you make it all the way to the end). And so forth.

It's like when older people shake their heads in disapproval at the behaviour of younger people - like they completely forgot that they were young once themselves.

So, yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that a little bit of empathy is always good :)

Cool thread.
The more I learn, the more bemused I become.:)

DownUpDave
10-25-2015, 01:23 PM
I sort of agree and sort of disagree. The holding issue is, in my strong opinion, best addressed with a strap or thong. I also think basic strumming comes before chording: it's possible to play songs with only single strums, but it's probably better to get a basic strum rhythm going before getting the right hand involved--many people are rhythm-impaired. They can always drop back to single strums when they want to concentrate on new chords and associated chord changes.

Where I most disagree is in that the finer points (like where to fret and the best hand position for fretting) are best learned in the very earliest stages. It's much easier to learn good habits from the get-go than to correct them later on. Most of the newbie problems discussed here arise because of the learner's hand position, over-casual approach to playing technique, and reluctance to use a strap. Every teacher I've had paid meticulous attention from the very start to my hand position and movements; it was never acceptable just to "git 'er done" and worry about the finer points of technique later. I kept to this approach even when learning other instruments on my own. Doing things attentively, slow and right one makes the fastest progress. This is true even if your musical goals are quite modest, even if you only intend to play basic stuff for your private enjoyment.

Totally agree. My point was to stress to beginners to focus on the physical aspect of learning the proper movements. You articulated it better than I did by including the correct hand postion and fretting positions. Playing a stringed instrument is a kinestetic task so paying close attention to all the fine motor skill movements will pay big dividends.

Tuning by ear, scales, music therory can all come later.

DownUpDave
10-26-2015, 01:18 AM
There's one more refinement I'd add: learn the root position(s) of every chord shape you learn from the very start. This is a very small additional task that yields major dividends for the effort, and it actually makes learning the chord shapes and lower fretboard easier (and helps explain chord naming to some degree). At this point the learner doesn't have to know the details of chord construction, but learning the root at the time it's easiest to do so provides an anchor for everything to come.

Now I disagree because we have just ventured out of how to perform the physical movements and into music theory. This is not neccassary on day one and the exact thing I am fighting against. I am mildly dyslexic and when things like that are thrown at me I glaze over and zone out, the learning comes to a halt. Because of that I am very sensitive to others needs and how information is presented and at what pace.

I came from zero musicial experience, have been playing for 18 months now and I don't know what root positions are but I have learned to play the ukulele. I am teaching a neighbor to play ukulele, he is a long time, highly regarded golf instructor. We were talking about learning concepts and he really believes in KISS. You don't need to know how to hit a 10 yard draw to play golf, you just have to know how to swing the club.

I realize you are a music teacher and I have always been in awe of the answers you give to questons and the depth of your knowledge. This thread was for people dipping their toe into the prospect of learning to play the uke. It was to reassure them they can learn to play without the need for all the other stuff. I realize all the other stuff is important but I just want them to know it can come later.

kkimura
10-26-2015, 03:45 AM
I am sure there are numbers and numbers of people that visit this site to see what the uke is all about. People that have NEVER played any kind of instrument before. Like any new endeavour it can be overwhelming and sometimes the broad range of opinions and topics of conservations here can scare off these people from ever dipping their toes in.

This thread was prompted because sometimes we get people brave enough to buy a uke and ask questions. Some of the things that get recommended are well meaning but serve no purpose at the green beginners stage.

Things you need to know to "START" playing the ukulele. #1...you form chords and change chords, #2 you strum. That is it in the beginning. You want to be selective on where you spend your time and what knowledge you pursue at the very start of your learning curve. Just concentrate on the physicality of learning the basic movements of forming chords, changing chords and strumming.

You don't need to learn how to tune by ear, scales, notes, keys, muting, chucking, rolls, triple strums, intonation, harmonics, etc. etc.

Download "Uncle Rods Bootcamp" work on that, seriously. Just like, golf or tennis or skiing you start with the basics to form a foundation you can then build from.

Jump in....... the water is fine and the ukulele is fun. Keep it that way and you will stay with it and continue to learn the more complex issues of music.

I would humbly add; find a few songs you like and try to apply the chords you're learning from"Uncle Rod's". They can be easy or hard, doesn't matter so long as they're songs you like and want to play. It took me a year to get the chords and changes to "Bridge Over Troubled Water" but it was worth it. Other songs like "Leaving on a Jet Plane" came easier.

SoloRule
10-26-2015, 07:30 AM
Music theory is what turned me off from learning the piano.
I agree with Dave that all the serious stuff can come later. You have to like the instrument first.

dozerdude
10-26-2015, 07:59 AM
One more vote for Dave. I just started in Sept. with a course at our Seniors Center. Basics! Holding, strumming, three simple chords to start. I would quit today if I had to learn theory.

Rllink
10-26-2015, 08:15 AM
I agree with Dave. I think that too much obsessiveness right off the bat spoils the experience. Most people are not born into it, they need to grow into it. I say that we need plant the seed with the new people, and then give them a little space to grow.

vanflynn
10-26-2015, 10:39 AM
I have used this for beginners and face it, if you learn it you can make it through (in one way or another) about 75% of the songs out there.

84683

It was designed by a fellow UUer who I can't recall right now but would like to thank.

VegasGeorge
10-26-2015, 12:14 PM
There's one more refinement I'd add: learn the root position(s) of every chord shape you learn from the very start.

I think I agree, but I also think there is some confusion here in the terminology. A "root position chord" is one where the lowest note sounding is the root note, i.e, a C in a C chord, an F in an F chord, etc. The root is at the bottom of the chord structure in a root position chord.

Now, I think you mean the chord positions fingered closest to the nut. Those may, or may not be root position chords. For example, the F chord fingered 2010 has an A on the bottom, so it a 1st inversion chord, not a root chord. I agree that beginners ought to start out with those generally more easily fingered chords before concerning themselves with barre chords and chords fingered higher up the fretboard.

I don't know a term specifically meaning those chords closest to the nut. Is there such a term?

Nickie
10-26-2015, 01:44 PM
Me too Dave. I've learned that I have little or no interest in learning Music Theory. It might keep me out of the Harps for Healing music program, but so be it. It's too boring, too complicated. Some of the best musicians I know have no knowledge of MT, and lots play by ear and don't read a note of music.
The more I read about it here, the more confused I become. I tried, now I'm nauseated....

jollyboy
10-26-2015, 02:08 PM
I think I agree, but I also think there is some confusion here in the terminology. A "root position chord" is one where the lowest note sounding is the root note, i.e, a C in a C chord, an F in an F chord, etc. The root is at the bottom of the chord structure in a root position chord.

Now, I think you mean the chord positions fingered closest to the nut. Those may, or may not be root position chords. For example, the F chord fingered 2010 has an A on the bottom, so it a 1st inversion chord, not a root chord. I agree that beginners ought to start out with those generally more easily fingered chords before concerning themselves with barre chords and chords fingered higher up the fretboard.

I don't know a term specifically meaning those chords closest to the nut. Is there such a term?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IamdqXfOpSc

jollyboy
10-26-2015, 03:20 PM
I've reported the thread hijacking (and the overly-confrontational tone imho) to the mods. Hopefully they will be able to take some action.

Nickie
10-26-2015, 03:24 PM
ubulele,

There's no need to be crass. I'm into music and the ukulele for fun. I've been in school most of my life, as a scientist and a nurse. MT is abstract to me. I'm happy learning from tutorial videos, and tablature. I can read sheet music well enough to learn songs on my piano too. Sure, new learners don't need to be treated as dumb. Nobody does.
Just because I learn a different way than you do doesn't make me (or anyone else) morons.
Please, be nice. I do value your input.

macfish
10-26-2015, 03:39 PM
Wow, Ubulele sounds very much like my college advisor, who after 2 quarters I informed that I loved music too much to major in it, because he had pretty much sucked the life out of it for me.

terrgy
10-26-2015, 04:08 PM
MT is foreign to me. But I do understand that I do have a limited knowledge of MT, it just happened and I can't explain it.
I've learned to play uke using the simple method. MT somehow invaded my space. Scary. Perhaps I no moron after all.

Simplistic method good.
MT good too. Yum yum. Eatumup.

VegasGeorge
10-26-2015, 04:15 PM
Well, Ubulele, please excuse me. You did say "the root position(s) of every chord shape," and not "root position chord." Although, for the life of me I can't figure out the difference in meaning between them.

But that's not important. What's important is that you apparently meant exactly what you wrote, and not what I assumed you meant. Again, my apology. But that raises a real question in my mind. Why would it be important to a beginner to learn those chord positions? Sticking to "the root position(s) of every chord shape" that would always put the root note on the 4th string of a Low G tuning, and on the 3rd string of a reentrant tuning. To achieve that, the beginner would be all over the fretboard, and many of the chords would sound awkward within the context of simple tunes. Remember, to be a "root position" chord, the root note needs to be the lowest sounding string in the chord. It seems so unreasonable, that I'm still doubtful that this is what you actually meant.

As to "jacking the thread" I must admit it seems that way. My only defense is that of wishing to advocate for the poor beginner. Let me state it this way: Beginners should stick to those chords and chord shapes normally illustrated on simple chord charts. I think we all know what those are. And, they are not necessarily "root position" chord shapes.

Rllink
10-26-2015, 04:36 PM
I'm not trying to gang up on anyone here, but it seems that a lot of times people defend their methodology by declaring it the most efficient and rapid approach to learning how to play the ukulele. Two points that I want to make. The first is, that what constitutes "playing" the ukulele is somewhat subjective. The second point is that I wonder how many people are concerned with racing to some vague level of proficiency. I mean, is there even a finish line to rush to?

igorthebarbarian
10-26-2015, 04:36 PM
All of these long theory threads make my brain hurt.
I have been at this for about three years now. I don't need theory. I don't want to become a maestro. I don't know more than two ways to make most chords. And you know what, I don't care. I like it. It's fun. It's relaxing. It's awesome to be able to make sounds that sound like real music(!)
I'll never be in a band/ play out in public/ etc and I am completely comfortable with that. I'll just be a basic strummer with a mild case of UAS.
I think I totally relate to the original intent of this thread.
Also, string changing when first starting out is terrifying. Deathly afraid of breaking those strings/ blowing an eye out!

Nickie
10-26-2015, 05:17 PM
' I didn't call anyone a moron, I said don't treat people like morons.'

My bad....never mind. Think I'll stay outta these MT threads from now on.....

vanflynn
10-26-2015, 05:29 PM
To play Kumbaya you only need to know the C and F chords

Just saying.......

buddhuu
10-26-2015, 11:17 PM
We had a report about some of the conduct in this thread. Upon review I think that report was appropriate.

The UU rules include:



1) GOLDEN RULE: DON'T BE A JERK

2.4 [Do] keep criticism constructive and tactful.
2.5 [Do] promote friendship and tolerance.
2.6 [Do] contact your moderator team in the event of conflict or dispute, rather than being drawn into arguments and heated exchanges.
2.7 [Do] be cool, be respectful, be kind.

3.1 [Don't] post insults.


Please observe these in the course of your discussions.

ukeshale
10-26-2015, 11:55 PM
Hi, everybody.

Lots of good points on this thread. Not everyone needs to understand theory to achieve what they want to achieve.

That being said, if anyone ever needs help with any terminology regarding theory or has any questions they'd rather ask privately, theory based or otherwise - please feel free to shoot me a PM and I'll get back to you ASAP.

Just do whatever makes the instrument enjoyable for you and learn at a pace that suits your needs.

VegasGeorge
10-27-2015, 12:52 AM
Ah ha! Ubulele, we are finally communicating! When, in your last post, you wrote "root location," then went on to describe what you are talking about, I got what you meant. And, yes, I agree it is important for beginners to know what a root note is, how it relates to the chord, and where in the cord shape the root is found.

You see, for me, the expressions "root location," and "root position" are not the same. In my nomenclature, "root position" has a formal technical meaning, that partially describes the way the notes are stacked within a chord, i.e. always with the root note on the bottom of the stack.

Whew! I'm glad that got cleared up.

Rllink
10-27-2015, 02:41 AM
I agree with you, that a lack of progress can be discouraging, But what I said, and don't read more into it than there is, that when you, or anyone else for that matter, says that it is the most efficient and practical way to learn to play the ukulele, that does not motivate me. That is all. I am in no hurry. I always use the analogy of the freeway vs the back roads. I am working my way toward the same goals that I would if I were speeding toward them on the super highway of uke. It is just a more relaxed pace. I think the key word here is "relaxed". I'm not in a hurry. And I think that a lot of people have that same attitude toward the ukulele. And I think, that when people come along with all this focus, when they come along and say, "you need to get on the fast track and do what I'm telling you, or you are wasting time", it is not relaxing. It becomes overwhelming and being overwhelmed causes stress, and stress causes people to quit, or not start at all. And that is what Dave thinks we need to be aware of when we are talking to new people about the ukulele.

MARKbOC
10-27-2015, 04:00 AM
Haha. This thread is now probably the worst introduction to ukulele and uu.
For any beginner perusing this, keep in mind that (a) you don't need to understand most of the content of this thread to play tons of songs and (b) the people in UU are exceptionally pleasant in general.
Obviously there's infinite information you can learn and nearly as many ways to approach learning. But however you do it, it's a lot of fun and can be learned fairly quickly with a little practice and patience.
Grab a uke and PLAY. You'll love it! :)

jollyboy
10-27-2015, 04:24 AM
I'm not in a hurry. And I think that a lot of people have that same attitude toward the ukulele. And I think, that when people come along with all this focus, when they come along and say, "you need to get on the fast track and do what I'm telling you, or you are wasting time", it is not relaxing. It becomes overwhelming and being overwhelmed causes stress, and stress causes people to quit, or not start at all. And that is what Dave thinks we need to be aware of when we are talking to new people about the ukulele.

+1 extremely well put.



Haha. This thread is now probably the worst introduction to ukulele and uu.

Sadly all the positive intent behind this thread does seem to have been completely sucked out of it. Talk about the road to hell...

terrgy
10-27-2015, 06:33 AM
+1 extremely well put.




Sadly all the positive intent behind this thread does seem to have been completely sucked out of it. Talk about the road to hell...


I beg to differ. Spirited debate, heated or peaceful, can still be useful. Hey, no actual punches thrown, and a mountain of great information for a beginner to ponder on. I've always heard it said, "if you can get them dancing, then you know you are playing well". In this case, "if the thread can propel a reader, most likely a beginner, perhaps someone in a rut, in a more positive and beneficial direction to advance to a new level, then debate is still alive and well".

Isn't this at least a portion of what internet forums are about, "possibilities".

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight", C F G7, how awesome is that, huh?

Rllink
10-27-2015, 06:51 AM
I beg to differ. Spirited debate, heated or peaceful, can still be useful. Hey, no actual punches thrown, and a mountain of great information for a beginner to ponder on. I've always heard it said, "if you can get them dancing, then you know you are playing well". In this case, "if the thread can propel a reader, most likely a beginner, perhaps someone in a rut, in a more positive and beneficial direction to advance to a new level, then debate is still alive and well".

Isn't this at least a portion of what internet forums are about, "possibilities".

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight", C F G7, how awesome is that, huh?That is an awesome song, and everybody likes to sing along with it when you play it.

sam13
10-27-2015, 03:16 PM
To play Kumbaya you only need to know the C and F chords

Just saying.......

I agree with Van. And Dave.

CeeJay
10-27-2015, 04:52 PM
There are academic musicians and there are instinctive musicians , if they are making music then they are musicians.
That's the important word.

robedney
10-28-2015, 09:25 AM
Music is real. You can listen to it, make it, have a mind-body response to it, change your mood with it, entertain others, find peace, etc.

Theory is not real. Theory is imminently useful in many ways, but it is a description of something that is real (music) and cannot stand on its own. It is an analytical tool, and as such will appeal to analytical folks and perhaps stifle others. I think there should be a big sign over the entrance to every music department in every school: "Music is real, theory is not".

People rapidly figure out the rudiments of theory without even being introduced to the subject. For example, some notes sound good when played together, while others don't. When they sound good together they are a chord. Some chords sound good when played with a particular sung note, while others sound bad. So, you've got to put the right chords with the right notes.

JackLuis
10-28-2015, 05:59 PM
I found that the resources listed in the Uke Resources in the sticky at the top of the forum (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?15464-Ukulele-Resources-%28Updated%29) to be a great help. Uncle Rod's boot camp and the Howlin' Hobbit's Ukulele Exercises, with six chord progressions in all seven keys, to be fantastic learning tools.

My next door neighbor and I have been using these to practice and they have been a great help. NDN has a lot of guitar chord music and we have been using that and the Uke Chord chart to learn about 15-20 songs in the last two months. We're still not good but we're making music.

We even have the guy across the street trying a Uke out. We may form a trio of Uke plunkers!

Theory? Yeah, it's coming as a result of playing the music. Theory is interesting sort of, but it doesn't compare with hitting the chords in a song on the beat and making the wife smile.