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tommyboy
08-25-2018, 02:33 AM
I am a newbie to the uke and wondering if there is value in taking the course offered by Terry Carter - Ukulele Beginning Music Reading. Also thinking about taking some of his other courses. Has anyone had experience with any of Terry's courses. Terry Carter has a website ukelikethepros.com

kypfer
08-25-2018, 05:26 AM
This kind of course probably suits some and not others ... my first impression is that it's not cheap!
Can you already read music or are you starting from absolute scratch?
Do you have any fretboard experience (guitar, banjo, mandolin etc) or are you a total novice?
Some of the "old fashioned" ukulele "methods" are available for free download as a pdf and will cover a lot of the absolute basics, you might save yourself some cash and start there.
Doubtless other recommendations will follow ;)

Good luck ... and enjoy :music:

Croaky Keith
08-25-2018, 07:25 AM
I'm self taught, but I did remember a little bit from my school days about some music theory lessons they gave us, when we wern't interested. :rolleyes:

But all you need is to know where to put your fingers, be it chords or single notes, so I'd say, get yourself a fretboard map, a chord chart, & one of those 'scale' maps that show where the notes are on the staff, plenty are on the internet.

ripock
08-25-2018, 08:12 PM
If you need a systematic approach, Terry's seems to fit that bill. I agree with you; it is important to learn to read music. Otherwise you will be stuck with the vampy/campy uke music that makes people snicker. If you can read music, you can play anything written for any instrument, and not be stuck in the uke songbook box.

But you don't have to make it all complicated. It is really just a two-step process. 1: learn the notes of the musical staff (FACE & Every Good Boy Does Fine) and, 2: learn where those notes are located on your uke. Once you know these two things you can play things that you read. Of course, there is more. There's rests, time signatures, note durations, and a lot of little things. However if you have heard the song before and you know the notes, then you can play the notes as you've heard them.

Jarmo_S
08-26-2018, 01:00 AM
If you need a systematic approach, Terry's seems to fit that bill. I agree with you; it is important to learn to read music. Otherwise you will be stuck with the vampy/campy uke music that makes people snicker. If you can read music, you can play anything written for any instrument, and not be stuck in the uke songbook box.

But you don't have to make it all complicated. It is really just a two-step process. 1: learn the notes of the musical staff (FACE & Every Good Boy Does Fine) and, 2: learn where those notes are located on your uke. Once you know these two things you can play things that you read. Of course, there is more. There's rests, time signatures, note durations, and a lot of little things. However if you have heard the song before and you know the notes, then you can play the notes as you've heard them.

My thoughts exactly. Things like rhythms with rests etc, can be difficult to read from sheet music, the so called sight reading. But if a familiar tune we can mostly work it out from standard sheet music. Granted the re-entrant uke lacks the low notes, but high ones in G-string work sort of most times without having to transpose the whole melody an octave up. Which can be done, but well only as a next step. You just need to learn what the names of the lower staff notes are, possibly even lower than low G in treble clef.

Tabs are also good for a soloing ukist, but myself I'm mostly just a strummer, so the chords and figure out the melody are my thing :)
Tabs are really good when we use the normal re-entrant tuning and play other peoples pieces as solo. The standard musical notation is not so convenient in that.

But it is important learn your notes and read music written not just for ukulele, but for in general!

tommyboy
08-26-2018, 02:38 AM
I am not sure about the course mentioned. But learning to read and write music on paper is a very useful skill and will free you from having to follow "ukulele" books because you will be able to access any written music and work out how to play it on your ukulele if you can read it. In 2018 there are more than one formats for written music. We have standard notation, ABC format, TAB and probably some others. If you are computer savvy and can write code, try learning ABC format as a starting point, it can be a gateway to the others and is set up to drive compilers and editors so you can get your computer to do the hard work in editing and outputting nice graphically pleasant written music in all formats.
Of course being able to read and write out the music is only part of a set of useful skills, ear training and being able to pick up chords and arrangements from audio and video material is also very useful.
So if you want to do something like get hold of say a Beatles tune book in the standard format (usually a piano or guitar arrangement) and work out how to play the tunes on your ukulele, a good starting point is learning how to read or decode the music in the book. Then the next steps are learning how to apply what you read to the musical instrument. If you can read the music you wont need anyone to arrange it in to a ukulele format for you.
If you are happy being spoon fed music off the internet or in "ukulele" books or can pick up tunes easily just by listening to them, you may not get much out of learning how to read the music. A lot of ukulele players never bother to learn how to read the more complex written music formats, they get by with a simple lyric and chord layout as a guide and follow videos or audio tracks to learn the tunes.

Thanks everyone for the informative replies. What is ABC format?

RafterGirl
08-26-2018, 03:57 AM
I started playing the ukulele a year and a half ago. I had zero previous music experience except for playing percussion in high school. I'm 58 years old with no huge desire to start at the very beginning on learning to read music. I have a good ear, and a good sense of rhythm & timing. I've started picking up music theory little by little in my ukulele groups, workshops, and playing in my church worship band. So far it's worked out ok for me, but there are plenty of times when I wish I had more traditional training. Playing off of guitar lead sheets at church has forced me to learn to transpose. Guitar players capo with ease, but I hate using a capo on a ukulele. I'm sure there are things that I work out on my own with my ukulele that would be quicker & easier if I had more music training.

derbyhat
08-26-2018, 06:22 PM
Thanks everyone for the informative replies. What is ABC format?

I had to look it up. I think it’s this: http://abcnotation.com/about

I don’t really understand the utility in today’s modern state of word processing. Feels easier to just include the sheet music, rather than forcing the learn a new way to read sheet music. Back in the mid-90s, I feel like it could have made sense.

Croaky Keith
08-26-2018, 10:18 PM
It IS worth learning the basics of reading music, because once you've done that you can make your own tabs.

Whilst ABC 'notation' makes it easy to transfer 'music' as text, it is, at the very least, as complicated to learn as regular notation.

Look at a symbol then play the note - or read some letters & numbers to play a single note, (what if you are a slow reader, or dyslexic).

kypfer
08-26-2018, 10:22 PM
I had to look it up. I think it’s this: http://abcnotation.com/about

I don’t really understand the utility in today’s modern state of word processing. Feels easier to just include the sheet music, rather than forcing the learn a new way to read sheet music. Back in the mid-90s, I feel like it could have made sense.

ABC is a very useful "shorthand" and can also be used as a computer programming code!

Scenario : In a social environment and someone's playing a tune on an instrument you understand. They play a tune you rather like but have never heard. Grab a beermat, borrow a pen and scribble down the actual notes they're playing viz :

D A A A B/ c A G E D D

Doesn't look much, but it's the first few notes of "Suzy McGuire" (which happens to be the name of a girl I used to live with, but that's another story)
When you get home you can type these "letters" into your computer, along with a little other information, and produce a piece of sheet music to print out or read on screen.

If you then decide ... and this is the clever bit ... that you'd actually like the lowest note to be C rather than D, 'cos it suits your ukulele better or whatever, you simply ask the computer program to change the key and *lo and behold* your sheet music is in a different key :)

Similarly, if you've got a sheet of music in an "awkward" key, it's the work of a few minutes to "copy-type" the music into ABC format, then get the computer to change key for you and produce a new sheet of music :)

You can also use ABC to generate MIDI tracks for use as accompaniment for practice :)

Once you've mastered the basics of reading music, ABC can be a really useful tool! What it isn't is "another way of writing music" that you're expected to sight-read ... though some people do!

Good luck :music:

Croaky Keith
08-26-2018, 10:37 PM
Some computer programs can do both transpose & play regular music notation too. :)

kypfer
08-27-2018, 12:56 AM
Some computer programs can do both transpose & play regular music notation too. :)

I've seen the software that'll "play" a pdf and export the music to MIDI etc., if the pdf is in the correct format and not just a collection of scanned pages ... but it wasn't cheap!

On the PC at least, there are several fully functional ABC programs available that are still totally free.

With the learning of the basics of written music achieved, I found it to be a very short step to using ABC to generate sheet music and MIDI files. Really very little more than add a Title, Tempo and Key Signature to a text "listing" of the tune.

Each to their own ;)

:music:

Rllink
08-27-2018, 03:35 AM
I can see how ABC notation might simplify things from a computer generated view, but as for a real life get down, it seems easier for me just to do FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine. But I'm not that sophisticated when it comes to music, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about. But I learned FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine in grade school music, and it has served all of my music reading needs for sixty years.

kypfer
08-27-2018, 07:07 AM
I can see how ABC notation might simplify things from a computer generated view, but as for a real life get down, it seems easier for me just to do FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine. But I'm not that sophisticated when it comes to music, so I probably don't know what I'm talking about. But I learned FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine in grade school music, and it has served all of my music reading needs for sixty years.

Absolutely right ... and with this information readily to hand, should one so desire, one can make a sheet of music using ABC with very little further effort. I find it very convenient to be able to find a tune in, say, a selection of music arranged for bagpipes, recorder, fiddle or mouth-organ, for instance, and re-write it in a ukulele or penny-whistle friendly key and keep this copy in my appropriate folder or available on my laptop for playing with an instrument it wasn't originally arranged for!

ABC is a tool for a job, and a lot of people have no need for or desire to do that job, but if they do ... it's free and easy (as was Sally, if you know the Cyril Tawney song).

All the best :)

:music:

Sachelis
08-29-2018, 07:36 PM
Terry Carter (UkeLikeThePros.com (http://UkeLikeThePros.com)) is a fantastic educator. I havenít taken his Music Reading class, but I have an annual membership and itís a bargain.

sculptor
08-31-2018, 05:16 PM
On Linux you can use abcm2ps followed by ps2pdf to get a pdf of your ABC notation
translated to standard notation (it does tabs too.)

:shaka:

-- Gary

Croaky Keith
08-31-2018, 08:29 PM
Hadn't heard of abcm2ps, thanks sculptor. :)

sculptor
08-31-2018, 08:46 PM
Hadn't heard of abcm2ps, thanks sculptor. :)

Are you a retired Computer Scientist like me? :rock:

-- Gary

Croaky Keith
09-01-2018, 02:17 AM
Are you a retired Computer Scientist like me?

No, just a user of FOSS since 1999 - but I did start out with DOS in 1994. :D

kypfer
09-01-2018, 11:32 AM
No, just a user of FOSS since 1999 - but I did start out with DOS in 1994. :D

FOSS ... that was a new one on me! Google comes to the rescue!

abcm2ps is also available as a command line executable under Windows. It's provided with ABC Explorer, http://stalikez.info/abc/abce1gb.php which is also freeware, but I'm not sure if it's actually open source. Either way, you could try it under Wine.

igorthebarbarian
09-01-2018, 03:19 PM
As someone who has zero musical background, This is where Iím at and it definitely helps. I still manually write the notes on the paper since itís faster easier for me though!

[QUOTE
But you don't have to make it all complicated. It is really just a two-step process. 1: learn the notes of the musical staff (FACE & Every Good Boy Does Fine) and, 2: learn where those notes are located on your uke. Once you know these two things you can play things that you read. Of course, there is more. There's rests, time signatures, note durations, and a lot of little things. However if you have heard the song before and you know the notes, then you can play the notes as you've heard them.[/QUOTE]

Alan S
10-17-2018, 12:07 PM
Old thread but I was searching for books on reading notation for ukulele and ran across this thread. There is a new book out by Terry Carter that came out in June of 2018. I just ordered it so can't say much about it, but it does focus exclusively on reading notation. I have been using a instruction book for soprano recorder to get the basics as it is in about the same range (just over two octaves) but because it is not specifically geared to ukulele it has its limitations.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982615159/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Just an update as I received the book and have worked through it.

Not a good book for learning to read notation. It is very skimpy on exercises and practice materiel. The method also has serious flaws that will leave a beginning student confused. The chapter on sharps and flats is 2 pages, and that's it. That alone should have at least 20 pages of materiel explaining how keys work and plenty of materiel to practice, but instead we get a few pages of rudimentary materiel. The whole book is something a first year collage music student could throw together in a few hours and likely do a better job of it. With this introduction to Terry Carter I would not be inspired to take his on-line course.

For those looking for an introduction to reading notation I would suggest "Essential Elements for Ukulele" by Marty Gross. It is less expensive, covers everything Terry Carter does, and has a better overall approach.