View Full Version : Uke group lessons

12-24-2015, 12:12 AM
I moved recently, and since I do not know a lot of folks I figured it might be fun to join a uke group as a means to improve both my playing and my social circle.

So I found a group instructor not too far away. He's halfway through the year so I asked what I can expect from his lessons etc. It would be weekly lessons and they're not too expensive, so I would consider giving it a go for a year.

Not sure what to expect, though, sooooo ... Who takes group classes in uke, and what are your experiences?

12-24-2015, 05:24 AM
I've taken both group and private. Either way, it's the teacher. The only way to know is to try.

You must be the type of person who does not feel intimidated by asking questions, and you will have many. A small group of 4 or so would work and you also want to see the skill level of others. If they are above you, then it might be frustrating for you. A good teacher encourages and if the skill levels vary too much, it might be difficult to get the attention you need.

On the positive side, the cost is lower and you have built in play buddies for those times when you are not in class. This is important and something I don't have. You grow faster when playing with others.

I also have a great teacher that I Skype with that is been remarkable for me.

The Best to you on your new and exciting Uke journey and Happy Holidays.

If you want to talk more, PM me.

12-24-2015, 08:00 AM
Congratulations on finding a uke class. Hopefully, most of the group will be at about the same skill level, because that works the best. Typically, no matter what level you are at, it takes about 3 times through a new song before you can get comfortable with practicing it. A good teacher will go through it slowly the first time, and address any helpful tips for making the fingering efficient, and any special strum patterns. The second time through the song, still playing slowly, and the instructor possibly calling out instructions for the tricky parts. Don't worry about being perfect at this point, because it isn't expected. Just do the best you can, and don't stress over mistakes. Ask questions if you are having trouble with any specific part. Third time through may a little faster. How long you continue in this mode of evolution depends on the length of the class, difficulty of the song, and skill level of the students. The following weeks, after lots of home practice, you should continue playing the song together, at a faster pace until you get it up to the desired tempo. If there are parts that are very difficult, then concentrate on those parts (playing them slowly at first). That means just playing that part of the song, including a measure before and after the hard part, over and over again until it gets easy to play. It might take dozens of times, but it will get faster and easier.
Have fun. Uke people are the best.

12-24-2015, 11:59 PM
If there's a uke club near you, many of them start their meeting with beginner's lessons.

12-25-2015, 06:23 AM
I first started playing uke when I was preparing for semi-retirement in mid-2013. I found a seniors class, The CC Strummers out of the Culver City Senior Center near Los Angeles. One thing I really like about it is that it meets twice a week for one hour, it's something I look forward to more than anything else I do. On Monday afternoon is the beginners class, Thursday morning is the advanced beginners class, there are usually around 30-40 of us at a session. (I go to both classes, even though I played guitar for almost 50 years and transitioned to the uke fairly easily. I now play the bass uke with them.) The leader is Cali Rose and she provides printed sheets of the songs she picks. Each class is $3, which covers her costs and her time.

Cali fits the description Lori noted to a tee. (I was also a member of the Westside Ukulele Ensemble with Lori and can vouch for her knowledge and expertise.) Cali has a great sense of humor, the classes are fun and we have a great feeling of camaraderie. We get gigs often, from ukulele festivals to senior events to fairs and farmer's markets. We have a bunch of videos on YouTube too. Early on I started recording the songs in class and post them on my web site for the group to practice with at home. Twice a year we have a pot luck party for everyone in the group.

Good luck with your venture, enjoy yourself.

12-26-2015, 06:54 AM
Apparently the group consists of 2 people so far. I could join as of 7 January, and they will start the fingerpicking part of the course. So in a sense, I would start from zero same as the others, save for any chords they know which I do not. Not sure yet if I will do it - I may ask for a try-out lesson, is that done?

12-26-2015, 08:26 AM
Most teachers will give you a comp lesson or a shortened lesson to see how you like them and they like you. Doesn't hurt to ask.

Cali Rose
12-26-2015, 04:15 PM
Thanks Michael. Our classes are a joy for me too. The ukulele is such a friendly instrument and almost everybody can learn to play and make music. It's a honor to be part of The CC Strummers.

12-27-2015, 06:58 AM
Thanks Bill1, excellent suggestion re: not limiting myself to uke specific material. I am a bass player first and can read F key a wee bit. Will be challenging to learn the G (IIRC) key but I will manage.

But... I have a possibility to join a band, which would be interesting. Either them, or a the local brass band which is also looking for a bass player ... And I cannot do all three right now. Keeping my options open, but both bands currently have my preference over the uke lesson.

To be continued!