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View Full Version : Wondering how many members are brand new to playing a stringed instrument



Czechmate01
05-23-2016, 04:50 PM
I asked this question because in going through the song library on UU I find very few if any songs listed for the absolute newcomer. While appreciate and envy Aldrines proficiency in playing I feel that his tutorials are not for an absolute newbie. The most frustrating part for me is that they use Vimeo for their tutorials and I cannot find a way to loop pacific parts of the tutorial with a start and stopping point in case I want to practice a particular strumming pattern for their song or a specific chord transition or finger picking part. Another regret I have is that there is very little chord sheets/tabulature for the tutorials. I do not always want to sit in front of the computer to learn and practice. I love what UU does and feel that it can be useful but again I dont find it user friendly for the absolute newbie. At best, I think the songs in the tutorials begin at advanced or intermediate levels regardless of how they are grouped in the song library. Perhaps the ukulele is not my gift I have been playing for a year now and still have trouble with the beginning videos. What does anyone else think?

sculptor
05-23-2016, 06:36 PM
I asked this question because in going through the song library on UU I find very few if any songs listed for the absolute newcomer. While appreciate and envy Aldrines proficiency in playing I feel that his tutorials are not for an absolute newbie. The most frustrating part for me is that they use Vimeo for their tutorials and I cannot find a way to loop pacific parts of the tutorial with a start and stopping point in case I want to practice a particular strumming pattern for their song or a specific chord transition or finger picking part. Another regret I have is that there is very little chord sheets/tabulature for the tutorials. I do not always want to sit in front of the computer to learn and practice. I love what UU does and feel that it can be useful but again I dont find it user friendly for the absolute newbie. At best, I think the songs in the tutorials begin at advanced or intermediate levels regardless of how they are grouped in the song library. Perhaps the ukulele is not my gift I have been playing for a year now and still have trouble with the beginning videos. What does anyone else think?

Not everybody learns the same way. I hate videos except for listening. However, sometimes, I find just by listening enough times to something, I can figure out the fingering. So, just because you don't naturally learn from videos doesn't mean that you can't play the ukulele. You should try a book or a teacher. Note, not all teachers are equal so don't give up if you don't find the first teacher useful, because not all teachers actually know how to teach and I suspect that is especially true about ukulele teachers since many of them are just failed guitar players. :)

acmespaceship
05-23-2016, 07:27 PM
The UU videos are a nice resource, but they don't work for everybody. Their definition of "beginner" is not my definition of "beginner." I think most of the videos work well as a refresher, but the pacing is way too fast for anyone who is learning this content for the first time. I just watched Lesson 100 "Seasons of Love" which is listed as "beginner" but really, anybody who does not already know how to play a Bb and Eb chord is going to have a frustrating time trying to learn them from this video.

Ignore UU and try something else: a beginner book, other websites, another uke player to play with. There is nothing wrong with staying a "beginner" for a year or more. Some people are proud and happy to remain a "beginner" their whole lives. This is not a contest and there is no deadline. The only important thing is, are you still having fun playing ukulele?

robinboyd
05-23-2016, 07:45 PM
I've been playing for about a year (my first stringed instrument, and my first instrument of any kind for over 20 years), and I'm now at a level where I find Aldrine's tutorials to be very useful. In the early days, they would have been way more than I could handle.

Mivo
05-23-2016, 08:25 PM
The ukulele is my first (and so far only) stringed instrument. I generally found (and still do find) it difficult to get material that bridges the gap between complete beginner and the intermediate player. Books and videos always seem to be either too trivial or too advanced, which led me to spending a lot of time on sampling different resources and sort of putting together my own lesson plan, but this wasn't and isn't working all that well. It's just not consistent enough. For the "improver", there seems to be a definite shortage of material, I feel.

This is probably where a real teacher, particularly one in meatscape, would come in handy. Someone who knows exactly what you can and cannot do, and who then tailors individual lessons that meet the needs. This would also help with getting feedback so that you can work deliberately on weak areas.

The inability to download videos is why I didn't sign up for James Hill's The Ukulele Way course. In fact, the videos there can't even be buffered further than 15 seconds. Since I have only fairly slow net where I live currently, streamed videos aren't usable (there are probably ways to capture them, but when I pay for something I don't want to jump through hoops). If I could at least buffer a video, even if it takes a few minutes, I could manage. But having it pause every 15 seconds isn't working.

So, that leaves me with YouTube videos. The quality here is very variable, some gems and a lot of fluff or dubious advice. Still better than what we had twenty years ago for self-learning anything, but not very efficient due to the inconsistency and the amount of time spent on sifting.

Croaky Keith
05-23-2016, 08:32 PM
I learn best from reading, so I started by reading Ukulele for Dummies.

It takes you through the basics first, then brings you up to a level where you at least know what you are doing.
(It has online videos to help with some of the lessons, but I haven't used them.)

But it also shows more advanced features in the latter part of the book, so is a good first buy.

Follow on to that is Ukulele Exercises for Dummies, which shows you more advanced stuff.

Then to keep you occupied, Ukulele Aerobics is another good book to have.

Edit: The first tunes I play are Amazing Grace, Michael Row The Boat Ashore, When The Saints Go marching In, not because I'm religious, I'm not, but because they are easy to learn, then Scarborough Fair is next. So you might like to find the tab, chord/lyrics, or notation for those to have a go at, to prove to yourself you can do it. :)

hikaru
05-23-2016, 08:56 PM
I'm a beginner-beginner to the ukulele, for it is my very first music instrument. I started learning it couple of months ago because somehow at that time I really wanted a change in my boring life. And I'm glad I did! It becomes really fun after your fingers gain resistance to the pain.

The UU videos are definitely very hard for me too. I tried to follow my "Ukulele for Dummies" book, and it indeed requires lots of effort as well. My strategy right now is just to find some song/solo that I love, and learn the chords and melody in that song. You will find it super rewarding when you can play whole thing! Using the song as a goal, the book as a dictionary (sort of) and the internet, I think I'm doing fine right now.

The seasonal videos here are amazing. Hopefully there is a day I'm good enough to be a part of it!

Edit: I found the Dr. Uke's website is really helpful. You can check his advice for beginners here.
http://www.doctoruke.com/beginners.html

cml
05-23-2016, 09:35 PM
It's my first instrument as well. Been playing for 6 months now. I can reccommend you to check out ukuleletricks, it's the website of the author from Ukulele exercises for dummies. His course Strumming tricks is aimed at absolute beginners with no experience, but it progresses nicely to more difficult as the lessons go by. I found it very helpful. I've taken a break from it atm because I am focusing on other songs, but aim to finish it later.

JackLuis
05-23-2016, 09:36 PM
I found Cynthia Lynn's youtube videos very helpful last year as I was starting out. She's very calm about it and does a few reps slowly to get you started. Her singing is excellent too, and Ukulele Mike, though his voice is not as nice, both good starters.
Notes,Chords, timing and scales. And of course technique. Once you have those, it's easy!:D

I hear ya' This is a complex motor skill task as well as a puzzle to express what can not be put in words as there are no words for it.But Fun!

thereadinghouse
05-24-2016, 12:55 AM
I am also new to stringed instruments (well, I took guitar lessons when I was 7 but that was 40 years ago and hardly counts LOL). I've found that using a variety of methods is working great for me. I bought some good ukulele books (the Ukulele for Dummies books, Hal Leonard's series, Ukulele Exercises). I joined a couple online courses (UU is next after I finish the one I'm on), I watch a lot of instructional videos and I found a ukulele instructor. The instructor is actually a jazz guitar instructor who also happens to play ukulele and, although he isn't what I would call a ukulele master, he has been able to help me with a variety of beginner problems. He's also a music teacher and he's been great for helping understand music theory and using that to enhance my playing. Mostly though it's been following my dads advice which was "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." I practice every day anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on my time restraints. A lot of times it's just going over and over chord changes, strumming techniques or fingerings that are giving me problems. It's amazing how quickly you can improve if you maintain a daily practice.

Czechmate01
05-24-2016, 01:00 AM
I think that there are other learning resources on UU which you can access if you join as a member, have you tried these resources or are you just looking at the free content?

I have a UU plus subscription so I'm not looking at just the free stuff specifically talking about the Orioles song tutorials themselves and the fact Vimeo does not let you loop specific parts. Find the courses on you UU+ beneficial

Ukejenny
05-24-2016, 09:04 AM
I think the UU videos are great, but I have used them in conjunction with youtube videos, books, and online materials. When I started ukulele, I didn't use just one source.

Don't give up on the ukulele! Take your time and try different things to help with learning. James Hill has some good videos. Kimo Hussey has some good videos. Also, Ukulele Mike (Michael Lynch) - I watched many of his videos in the beginning. Also, I sometimes do a Youtube search and use the song name with "tutorial" to find resources.

Czechmate01
05-24-2016, 02:06 PM
Thanks much for your input :) Im glad I am not alone in my feeling that the beginner ukulele tunes on UU are a bit advanced for the beginner. Still I love lots of the songs and occasionally strum the parts I can. If they ever add a start and stop point so you can loop specific parts I will be doing my happy dance.:nana:

PhreadLaz
05-25-2016, 06:07 AM
You might find this helpful. Dr. Uke has attached recording of the song, some are even slowed down to play along with.
http://www.doctoruke.com/beginners.html

Rllink
05-25-2016, 07:54 AM
Beginner is just an arbitrary label. I avoid labels. Quit measuring yourself by someone else's yard stick. I know a lot of people who just keep calling themselves beginners for years and years. They play something and anyone who listens to them can see that they aren't beginners. But they will tell you that they are beginners. As long as you are progressing, you are doing fine. If you can't play something it is because you are not there yet. Keep trying, and you will get there eventually.

By the way, I've been playing for two years. I do not have a level. I've never tried to measure myself. I just play the ukulele.

Croaky Keith
05-25-2016, 10:55 PM
Once you have played your first song/tune, then you become an 'improver'......... or so I hear......... :D

mds725
05-26-2016, 09:04 AM
I found Cynthia Lynn's youtube videos very helpful last year as I was starting out. She's very calm about it and does a few reps slowly to get you started. Her singing is excellent too, and Ukulele Mike, though his voice is not as nice, both good starters....

Cynthia Lin's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/cynthialinmusic

Ukulele Mike's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/MusicTeacher2010

ZappCatt
05-26-2016, 10:48 AM
The Uke is my first musical instrument.
1) Yes, many of the beginner songs and tutorials on UU(for free) are very advanced for a "true" beginner. Not only are some of the chords hard to make/not usual, but since many of the songs have a fast tempo, it is very hard to move between the chord shapes.

2) i also have enjoyed Cynthia Lin and Ukulele Mikes YouTube channels.

3) I also purchased Ukulele tricks stumming lesons and found that they were very helpful. He also offers quite a few lessons for free via his site and Youtube.

4) I have read Ukuleles for Dummies but did not find it very helpful to my way of learning.

5) I bought the DVD "The Ukulele Toolbox". I enjoyed watching it, but have not gotten much out of it. I have tried to duplicate some of his moves, but just can not get it to sound decent, even with considerable practice. Since they are" Building blocks" it is hard to build upon when you can't get the basic block to sound acceptable.

peanuts56
05-26-2016, 10:50 AM
Been a trumpeter for almost 50 years and I have played uke for about 14-15 years. Most of that time I was a casual strummer. I began studying privately to learn finger style in Sept. 2013. I don't ever think I will stop thinking like a horn player. I look at any piece of music and I'm playing trumpet in my mind. Old habits die hard I guess.

Czechmate01
05-26-2016, 11:20 AM
Beginner is just an arbitrary label. I avoid labels. Quit measuring yourself by someone else's yard stick. I know a lot of people who just keep calling themselves beginners for years and years. They play something and anyone who listens to them can see that they aren't beginners. But they will tell you that they are beginners. As long as you are progressing, you are doing fine. If you can't play something it is because you are not there yet. Keep trying, and you will get there eventually.

By the way, I've been playing for two years. I do not have a level. I've never tried to measure myself. I just play the ukulele.
I do not compare myself to others as I play for myself, I am not a musician or a performer I play because I like to. My question was specifically about the beginning songs on UU and UU+. Love Cynthia Lin, and Ukulele Mikes stuff as well. As for me I would rather play a few songs well instead of playing a bunch half way. As an elementary school teacher, progress monitoring is second nature to me, I look at my own progress not that of others but it is nice to know that others struggle as well kind of lets me know that I'm not alone in my musical journey.