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Ukuleleblues
04-05-2017, 01:45 AM
I am holding a ukulele class at a retirement home. I decided to teach them F and C first to gets folks able to play a few songs quickly. The plan is to teach them G/G7 after they have acquired some strumming and fretting skills. It always seems like G/G7 is the biggest obstacle​ when folks get started. The idea is to get them enjoying the uke before they cross that hurdle.

Any suggestions on songs folks age 75++ would be familiar with that use the 1 and 5 chords in their key would be appreciated. We played Jambalaya and Dey all asked for you the first class.

As an aside, one student had self taught herself and was pretty good. She started playing at 92! I stayed after to show her some advanced stuff as she was bored. Said she was born in the 1920s.

jimavery
04-05-2017, 02:43 AM
Well done! I'll be playing some songs at a retirement home myself soon, and contemplating the very real possibility that some of my audience may have played ukulele themselves in the 1930s and be somewhat better than me at it! I also find it strange to think that many of the songs I enjoy playing (from the 1920s and 1930s) might be 'before the time' of anyone in the audience younger than 90 or so.

Anyway, I digress. The two songs that come to my mind are Clementine (In a cavern in a canyon excavating for a mine...) which can be played with only F and C7, and "Row, Row, Row you're boat" which can be played with just one (C) chord.


In a [F] cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a [C7] mine,
lived a miner ‘forty-[F]niner, and his [C7] daughter Clemen-[F]tine.
Oh my [F] darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clemen-[C7]tine!
You are lost and gone for-[F]ever, dreadful [C7] sorry Clemen-[F]tine!

Light she [F] was and, like a fairy, and her shoes were number [C7] nine;
herring boxes, without [F] topses, sandals [C7] were for Clemen-[F]tine.
Oh my [F] darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clemen-[C7]tine!
You are lost and gone for-[F]ever, dreadful [C7] sorry Clemen-[F]tine!

Drove she [F] ducklings to the water, every morning just at [C7] nine;
hit her foot against a [F] splinter, fell in-[C7]to the foaming [F] brine.
Oh my [F] darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clemen-[C7]tine!
You are lost and gone for-[F]ever, dreadful [C7] sorry Clemen-[F]tine!

Ruby [F] lips above the water blowing bubbles soft and [C7] fine;
but alas I was no [F] swimmer, so I [C7] lost my Clemen-[F]tine.
Oh my [F] darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clemen-[C7]tine!
You are lost and gone for-[F]ever, dreadful [C7] sorry Clemen-[F]tine!

redpaul1
04-05-2017, 02:56 AM
Well done! I'll be playing some songs at a retirement home myself soon, and contemplating the very real possibility that some of my audience may have played ukulele themselves in the 1930s and be somewhat better than me at it! I also find it strange to think that many of the songs I enjoy playing (from the 1920s and 1930s) might be 'before the time' of anyone in the audience younger than 90 or so

I'd be wary of the assumption that residents of old folks homes want to hear the tunes your (great-)grandparents liked (anyone who was playing ukulele in the 1930s was likely born sometime between 1910 & 1920!). Most folks in their 80s were teenagers in the '50s. More than likely it's "Rock Around the Clock" they'll want to play, not some old tune of their parents!!

With that in mind, my recommendation would be two Chuck Berry songs (who was 90 when he died, remember?!!): You never can tell (just C and G7 round and round), and Memphis Tennessee (just G & D - in the original. Easily transposable into C & F).

2017-75=1942.
1942+16=1958 - the year 'Sweet Little Sixteen' was released!

redpaul1
04-05-2017, 03:18 AM
Also, from 1955/1956*, the Weavers: "Pay me my money down". D & A round and round - but again easily transposable into C & G.


https://youtu.be/u_kDzNus__o

*Released '56. Recorded live at Carnegie Hall '55.

LarryS
04-05-2017, 03:45 AM
A little tip with the G/G7 thing I discovered in a magazine. Play the G chord with your pinky finger then when you want to go to G7 you simply lift your pinky from the third fret of the E string and place your index finger on the first fret of said string

rance
04-05-2017, 06:08 AM
Take Me Back to Tulsa

One Man And His Uke
04-05-2017, 07:29 AM
He's got the whole world in his hands. Good simple singalong tune.

And how about Dance the night away, the Mavericks?

Charley
04-05-2017, 11:55 AM
Here's a collection I've used occasionally. Kids don't know/like most of the songs, but senior citizens probably will.

http://stillwaterukuleleassociation.com/SongBooks/two_chord_song_workbook_11.pdf

acmespaceship
04-05-2017, 07:42 PM
http://www.bettysmusic.com/two-chord-songs.html

http://www.stringvibe.com/two-chord-ukulele-songs/

http://www.drbanjo.com/instructional-2chordsongs.php

http://fountainofuke.blogspot.com/2012/10/101-two-chord-tunes.html

Ukuleleblues
04-06-2017, 02:17 AM
Wow! Thanks everyone!

Louis0815
04-06-2017, 02:37 AM
Don't forget Am, it can come handy at times and is amongst the first chords I teach to beginners.
Let them make up songs around the chord progressions with C-Am-F-(G7)-C or C-C7-F etc..

sukie
04-06-2017, 03:35 AM
I'd be wary of the assumption that residents of old folks homes want to hear the tunes your (great-)grandparents liked (anyone who was playing ukulele in the 1930s was likely born sometime between 1910 & 1920!). Most folks in their 80s were teenagers in the '50s. More than likely it's "Rock Around the Clock" they'll want to play, not some old tune of their parents!!

With that in mind, my recommendation would be two Chuck Berry songs (who was 90 when he died, remember?!!): You never can tell (just C and G7 round and round), and Memphis Tennessee (just G & D - in the original. Easily transposable into C & F).

2017-75=1942.
1942+16=1958 - the year 'Sweet Little Sixteen' was released!
THANK YOU!!! I used to try to explain to my ukulele group that nursing home resident aren't into the 20s music anymore. Just because they are old doesn't mean they are THAT old. But they had a really hard time grasping that.

jimavery
04-06-2017, 06:35 AM
'20s and '30s is what I play, so '20s and '30s is what I'll be playing. Believe me no audience of any age would want to listen to me crucifying Bill Hayley and Chuck Berry!

ralphk
04-06-2017, 06:55 AM
I started my retirement center program with simple, and more important, familiar songs, but I made up song sheets for them in the key of F. As you know, this is the most easily fingered pair or chords. Later I did the same for the songs in the key of C. This gives them C, C7,F, G7, the basis for a huge number of songs (in the key of C). Throw in Am, Dm (which is F plus a third finger, something they can grasp) , later E7 and you have a great start.

Then the question becomes -- do you stay with song sheets or go to the Yellow Book. Show them the DU book and let them decide. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options

Ralph

Ukuleleblues
04-09-2017, 04:32 AM
I am putting a song book together of all the suggestions and will post it when done. Thanks again, great suggestions!

jollyboy
04-09-2017, 05:05 AM
I previously posted a chord sheet for Feel Like Jumping by Marcia Griffiths - here (https://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?124346-She-Ain-t-Coming-Round-This-Mountain-(Alternative-Songs-For-Beginners)&highlight=marcia). I really like this song for beginners as it uses only C and F steadily throughout. Anyway, the song is nearly 50 years old so maybe it could be of use. The lyrics are very simple (check out that chorus :)) so it's easy to pick up as you go along. And it's really catchy ;)

Ukuleleblues
04-16-2017, 12:26 PM
Here is the book I came up with for the group. I am making a three Chord book now for the group. Thank you for all the input!


2 Chord Song Book PDF (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=Y2hhcmxlc3RvbmhvdHNob3RzLmNvbXx3d3d8Z3g6NzMy YmFkOWQzNDZkMjE1OA)


2 Chord Song Book MS Word (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=Y2hhcmxlc3RvbmhvdHNob3RzLmNvbXx3d3d8Z3g6NzMy YmFkOWQzNDZkMjE1OA)

igorthebarbarian
04-16-2017, 07:25 PM
My favorite is "What do you do with a drunken sailor" - Am and D I believe. Who doesn't love singing that one!

WifeOnFourStrings
04-17-2017, 04:18 AM
My grandmother used to sing "How Much is that Doggie in the Window" to me when I was little. I think she'll love hearing it on the ukulele. Thanks for sharing! :D

Jim Yates
04-17-2017, 07:36 AM
Tom Dooley, Skip To My Lou, On Top Of Old Smokey and Jack O' Diamonds.

Jim Yates
04-17-2017, 07:43 AM
Not two chords, but an easy beginner's progression is C, Am (and easy switch) F (Just drop your index onto the second string) G7 (Leave the index where it is and drop the bird and ring fingers).
Four beats on each chord for Poor Little Fool, two on each chord for Twenty-Six Miles Across The Sea or Heart And Soul or Blue Moon. . .
Some of these have a bridge that uses a different progression, but save that for later.

ukulelekarcsi
04-18-2017, 10:09 PM
Wheels of the Bus, Brown Girl in the Ring, Hockey-Pokey, ...

All songs with a I-V progression can be played with F-C7. The IV in some songs (in this case a Bb) can often be left out.

I usually even start with an one finger Fadd9 (index on 2nd string, 1st fret, 0010) and a one finger C7 (index on 1st string, 1st fret, 0001).

Can I recommend this cheap, gorgeously printed and fun to play booklet? It's more than two chords, but it's all just one finger... http://www.ukulele.nl/paradijs/

99427 9942899429

FiL
04-19-2017, 02:39 AM
Tulsa Time
Jambalaya (really 3 chords, but can be down with two)
Iko Iko

Then there are the one-chord songs:

Coconut - Harry Nilsson (C7)
Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin (C7)
Run Through the Jungle - CCR (D)

- FiL



- FiL