View Full Version : Ukulele Group Leaders....

03-28-2016, 04:20 AM
A post from another thread got me thinking...... Have you ever experienced this and, if so, what ideas do you have to diffuse negativity?

The selfish people are those who sit back and let the leaders do all the work and then complain about the service.
Anyone who is leading a ukulele group should be supported, not told they are being selfish. They have usually put in so much time and effort to share the experiences, there is no way they could be called selfish...

That is true. I have had one person who doesn't like the way I run our uke jams. Doesn't like our music. Doesn't even like what we wear when we perform. And guess what, out of three Christmas performances, this person came to one. This person is openly rude during our jam sessions. Then, they had the audacity to corner me and tell me I'm not professional because I don't make them feel like a "valued member of the group". It hurt my feelings a bit, then I realized some people just don't want to be happy. I can't cater to one person. I am not a professional ukulele group leader, I'm just doing the best I can. Sorry to rant, but I put a lot of heart and effort into our group, and it makes me mad that someone would show up just to piss all over the fun the rest of us are trying to have.

03-28-2016, 04:40 AM
In one of my groups where I'm just a member, there is an individual that is how you describe. We basically avoid him lol. He chooses to sit by himself and doesn't socialize with anyone, that is his choice. The vast majority of us support our group that volunteers and leads us, and I would recommend you focus on the 99% of the group that does appreciate what you are doing.

Doug W
03-28-2016, 04:54 AM
I'm not professional because I don't make them feel like a "valued member of the group".
Luckily for my wife and I, these same people you are talking about have just left voluntarily before we asked them to leave. We run our group for free and nobody is forced to be there.

I don't know how big a city you live in Jenny, maybe you could subtly point out to the whole group, the other uke groups that are available in the area. We have people come and go and some find our group to be just what they are looking for and some never come back after their first experience with our gang. We have not had anyone who, as you describe: "is openly rude during our jam sessions."

One couple sent us an email after one visit to our group that said only "We won't be coming back." I suggested to my wife that she should have responded: "What makes you think you were invited back?" but she is nicer than me.

We continue with our small group because the regulars are a hoot and the pressure is low and a couple of them have expressed that the uke group is a refuge for them in their otherwise stressed out world.

Sorry for your dilemna. Because there are at least four different uke groups to choose from in Minneapolis/St. Paul area, unhappy people tend to move on and try a different flock of ukers.

03-28-2016, 05:18 AM
Sorry you have to deal with rude people. Most people who are attracted to the ukulele are not like that. Next time he complains, suggest he go start his own ukulele group. If he doesn't like your group, let him know his complaints will not change your group and his suggestions are no longer needed. If you can get the support of the other players (perhaps a little applause), that should hopefully quiet the troll.


03-28-2016, 05:28 AM
Jenny I just liked the Facebook page!

Croaky Keith
03-28-2016, 08:50 AM
If I were lucky enough to have a local group, I would help the leader wherever possible.
Someone has to put out/put away the chairs, music stands, music, no doubt.
The members could do that to show a bit of appreciation & help their leader out.

Kayak Jim
03-28-2016, 10:22 AM
A couple of the other members (not the leader) should take the individual aside and tell that person to get with the program or they are not welcome. They are not only spoiling the fun for the leader but everyone else too. This is how the members can show their support and appreciation for the leader.

edit: Maybe instead of "get with the program or get lost" more appropriate is "seems like this program isn't meeting your needs. Sorry to hear that, good luck"

03-28-2016, 11:42 AM
That is a complete bummer that there is such an unappreciative person attending. At least he/she has a group to go to; I wish I had ONE uke group in my area....sorry to hear about that individual. Maybe they'll just stop showing. Just keep your chin up and focus on all the folks who are there havin a blast and learning!

03-28-2016, 01:41 PM
I have a newfound respect for any uke leaders/teachers. I had never played in a group before until recently. I can't imagine the coordination and extra time that is put in. These people should all be respected and thanked for their patience and out-of-pocket time/dollars.
I think there's a Rick/Ricky Nelson line that says, you can't please everyone / so you've got to please yourself.

03-28-2016, 07:11 PM
I feel for ya. We had a guy, last year, that just acted like a total horse's ass. He expected everyone to change for him. He finally used the "F" word aloud in a jam session, so I had no trouble asking him to pack up and get out. And I asked him to never return.
He was a bass player (not a very good one) and not a uker. We needed a bassist, so we tolerated his miscreant ways for a while, but being vulgar and acting like a spoiled brat was the straw that broke the camel's back.
We work very hard putting our jams together, picking out songs and learning them well, and paying for a room big enough for us. I don't put up with diddly from anyone. At the same time, I am very flexible, and do my best to facilitate a good time. The rest is up to the jammers.
When I get a reasonable request, I try to accommodate it. When I get an unreasonable request, I just say "No, we aren't going to do that." I learned from a leader who has had a successful group for 4 years, and has about 50 loyal attendees every month.
I created the jam session, and I make the decisions. Someone has to.

03-29-2016, 03:49 AM
Yes, it takes a lot of energy to deal with a negative personality type. That you seem to be tolerating it speaks well of the aloha spirit you bring to your group. That the person attends regular sessions and performances, complaining not withstanding, indicates approval of what you're doing. Maybe a case where attendance speaks louder then attitude.

03-29-2016, 06:20 AM
He was a bass player (not a very good one) and not a uker. We needed a bassist, so we tolerated his miscreant ways for a while...

Here's a suggestion from my experience. I started playing uke about three years ago, and a little over a year ago our leader asked if anyone would like to take up the bass uke to fill in our sound. Me and one of the other members volunteered. I had more than a little trepidation since I knew no music, but I did play guitar for almost 50 years and was told often that I should play bass. I have to say, I took to it readily, even with the early stumbles. I took a few lessons that brought me to speed and now I'm doing very well with it, as my signature of 8 basses might attest, with one more in the works.

Maybe someone in your group would be willing to learn? It wasn't as intimidating as I thought.

03-29-2016, 12:40 PM
Thank you all for your kind replies. We have a great group of folks. I won't let one sour apple ruin the bunch!!! I think it is a personality conflict more than anything. This person just can't stand me, so they are doing all they can to make waves and be difficult. Everyone else seems to really enjoy what we are doing, including me! It is my therapy, for sure.

03-29-2016, 01:34 PM
I host a group and am in my third year. The email list has grown to almost 200. We meet twice a month and average about 40 strummers. My goal from the start was to have fun and welcome all levels of play. I try and personally meet and greet every new member and make them feel welcome. I have been told by many visiting players we are one of the friendliest groups they have experienced. I truly believe the ukulele and music is meant to be fun.

03-29-2016, 03:09 PM
I was sad when when of my members was a pill. He didn't like that I allowed a 12 year old boy continue with our group even though sometimes he doesn't even play along. He found him distracting. I told him the boy stays. Then for curiosity I asked the other members. They were like me and liked the fact that the young man wanted to be there. That member and his wife left the group.

03-29-2016, 10:16 PM
Thank you all for your kind replies. We have a great group of folks. I won't let one sour apple ruin the bunch!!! I think it is a personality conflict more than anything. This person just can't stand me, so they are doing all they can to make waves and be difficult. Everyone else seems to really enjoy what we are doing, including me! It is my therapy, for sure.

It sounds to me, Jenny, that you need to bite the bullet and ask this person to leave the group. If he/she is being disruptive, then you should not tolerate it. Tell them either to stop it or leave and then let them decide. They'll probably bad mouth you for a while, so be prepared for that but you really should not put up with it any longer.

I had a similar experience with a member of a local history group I run. She wasn't exactly disruptive but she always had an opinion but never actually put anything positive into the group. It eventually came to a head and we had a bit of a fall out and she simply didn't come back and the rest of the group were actually quite pleased she didn't. When I say fall out it was a fairly fundamental difference of opinion but it did have the desired effect.

03-29-2016, 11:16 PM
I have led two seperate groups over the years (I still run one!)
and there will ALWAYS be one,who thinks;You are doing it wrong,
or:they could do it better; or a thousand and one minor niggles.
These folk are never happy. One guy always critiscised the song
sheets that I provided (around two hours in the making per sheet)
as (to him) they were 'in the wrong key' or 'the wrong tempo' or
if there was a Y in the day, just because! People come to ukulele
groups with differing expectations. Myself and the majority of our
group, we just want to play some songs, enjoy ourselves and have
a good time. Some want to be stage performers, and use the group
as a training ground. The majority of our group have no interest in
that,they just want to PLAY with like minded people. It takes all sorts!

03-30-2016, 03:36 AM

Number IX might be helpful to some...

03-30-2016, 04:17 AM
Jenny, you are to be admired for promoting the ukulele in your corner of the world. Having been the leader of other groups I know it takes a lot of effort. Like you I mostly enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. There are no perfect groups or leaders either. There will always be some grumbling. Our Uke group here in Pensacola generally gets along. Some people complain about the song choice, heck I don't like all of them, but I generally learn something from them anyway. Keep plugging along as long as you enjoy it and remember: It's a good think you are doing, Kid!

04-17-2016, 01:20 AM
Hi y'all - this is just a thread right? I would *love* to see a forum for uke group leaders and teachers. Is there one? I'm rather a newbie at UU so I don't really know how to create one if one is required.


04-17-2016, 04:24 PM

Number IX might be helpful to some...

This is great! I got a real chuckle out of it!

04-18-2016, 07:25 AM
This is great! I got a real chuckle out of it!

I can't take credit... I just adjusted some Bluegrass Jam rules I found online. Number IX is all mine, though.

04-18-2016, 08:45 AM
Number IX - them is some real powerful words.

I am now reflecting on whether I have sinned in our own little ukulele group. I may need to repent for VIII and/or X... I was trying to be quiet, Honest.