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jddennis
09-09-2016, 02:40 AM
So I helped kick off a ukulele club at my local library last Saturday! It was a lot of fun; we had an enormous turnout and everyone seemed to have a good time. The kicker was that, besides about 4 of the people including myself, no one had ever actually played.

:wtf:

I was blindsided. I thought we were going to be strumming along to at least some simple songs. Instead, I was teaching how to hold the instrument, how to strum, and how to read a chord diagram.

As a result, I got results from a few people who actually want to take lessons! Which has me super excited. I've taught my wife how to play, so I know I can do that. It looks like I'm going to take on 3 new (paying) students.

And here's where I was looking for input. Not only do I want to teach them about how to play, I want to them to see others playing. I think, as homework, I'm going to assign a weekly YouTube video. Each student will bring in 1 video they found on YouTube of someone playing. We can then discuss the video. Here's some questions I was was considering:


Why do you think this song was a good choice for the ukulele?
Did you find any of the techniques interesting? Why?
Is there anything specific you'd like to learn from this video?


I was thinking I'd point them to http://uketoob.com/ as a good starting point.

What do you think? Do you think that a little extra homework beyond practice would be effective?

AndieZ
09-09-2016, 02:53 AM
Do you really think your students want to pay to discuss videos or do you think they might want to spend the time learning skills.

Discussing videos would take up quite a lot of time if it were to be a meaningful discussion unless you are really good at chairing meetings and can move the conversation along quickly. So yeah, i guess i think it would be a waste of time for your class, though not in itself. Just tell them to go and look up some videos and let them follow their own leanings from there or suggest some players you think are worth looking at - from a diversity of players.

Or suggest creating a facebook page closed group where they can post uke clips they like and share with each and discuss in their spare time like we do here.

Anyway your little group sounds like it got off to a good start if not what you had expected.

jddennis
09-09-2016, 03:11 AM
Do you really think your students want to pay to discuss videos or do you think they might want to spend the time learning skills.

The lessons are going to be individual, on a one-on-one basis. The way I see it, it's going to be a way for them to learn what kind of music they're interested in and what skills they want to develop. It's not going to be an in-depth review of the musical piece -- I don't expect them to have that kind of skills yet. It's more a diagnostic for me and exposure for them, with the lowest level of critical thinking thrown in.


Or suggest creating a facebook page closed group where they can post uke clips they like and share with each and discuss in their spare time like we do here.

In terms of a facebook group, it's a good idea. I'm trying to figure out to differentiate the library volunteer from the ukulele teacher, though. It's difficult keeping the different hats straight.

Mivo
09-09-2016, 05:13 AM
I was thinking I'd point them to http://uketoob.com/ as a good starting point.

First time I have seen this site. Thank you for sharing it!


What do you think? Do you think that a little extra homework beyond practice would be effective?

Yes, I believe this would be effective, at least with some students, and here's why: It adds intellectual stimulation and encourages a mental "gnawing" on the new subject matter (the questions are crucial), which is a nice break from, or addition to, the initially mostly physical practice. It helps the new players to engage more wholly with all things ukulele, and it provides incentive for extra study (you'll be teaching them how to learn, as a side effect). I think it would help with excitement and getting absorbed, too (which translate to long-term motivation even when plateaus happen). Lastly, it also gives them a tangible evaluation of where they are ("I can't do this yet.") and where they want to be ("I want to be able to do this.").

The downside is that it also encourages them to spend a lot of extra time on YouTube, which can be a major distraction. Then again, a lot of them are probably already doing this anyway, so some of that time can be used productively

AndieZ
09-09-2016, 05:24 AM
Yes i think it does make a difference if you are only have one on one students. I imagined it was a group situation. However...

I agree with Mivo and it could end up taking too much time away from the basic practice so i think its really best to leave them make discoveries for themselves and just let them bring anything to you they wish. At least for the first x weeks. I think you can get over stimulated when you are new to something and as I have found, this can slow you down quite a bit as you wander off down this and that alley. Its a lot of fun but it can really bugger things up too.

I think their mind should be mostly focused on the demands of learning the basic skills and all your questions will really drag their minds and interest away from that.

Iulia
09-09-2016, 05:38 AM
I find as a new player (I play other instruments to a high standard but new to this) its quite motivational to watch videos of good players. I find personally it helps me pick the thing up and practice, rather than otherwise :-)

JackLuis
09-09-2016, 06:50 AM
If you want to get really helpful, get one of those lamination kits and laminate a 8 1/2x11" Chord Chart, mine is ~128 chords, and a Key chord chart, that shows the chords in each Key and have them get a 3 ring binder to store their music printouts in. The tabbed plastic dividers are very helpful.

The Laminated Chord chart will give them the basic info for chord forms and the Key Chart will allow you to explain the I-IV-V chord progressions that are the heart of the music. Laminating the charts will make them durable and handy. It also lets you discuss the Key as a theory lesson with out getting all confusing with nomenclature.

Add Lyric-Chord cheat sheets and instant music. Some practice may be necessary.

jddennis
09-12-2016, 04:47 AM
Thanks for all the input, guys. I'll definitely keep it in mind. JackLuis, I like the idea of the music book. After they start getting the feel of transitioning from chord to another in their southpaws, I may do this.

Rllink
09-12-2016, 05:03 AM
I have learned a lot from videos. Not sure how effective they are at the beginner stage and I don't know what is out there for beginners. I'm wondering if there is anything out there at that level that you can't teach them yourself. I started watching videos after I had a pretty good handle on playing the ukulele, to learn more advanced techniques. Here is the thing though. I think that if you start giving them a lot of homework to do, like practice chords, practice strumming, practice rhythm, and watch and search through a bunch of videos, you're going to scare some of them off. A lot of them are probably on the fence, and you have to be careful that your enthusiasm does not overwhelm them. That's my thoughts, being one that has been overwhelmed early on in many of my endeavors. Thankfully not with the ukulele though. But suggesting that they watch videos might be beneficial, but requiring them to do so, I don't know if that is a good approach.

Ukejenny
09-12-2016, 06:40 AM
First of all, congratulations on a great start to your new adventure! You won't regret it! I agree with you, Youtube is a great way to expose new players to what is available out there and all the different things that can be played on ukulele. I especially like that you are letting the student choose which song to discuss every week.

The Essential Elements ukulele book is really good for complete beginners. It teaches chords, tab, finger picking, and note reading. I have really enjoyed teaching with it.