View Full Version : Ukulele course: James Hill or Rockschool course?

01-09-2019, 04:46 PM
Aloha from sunny Singapore again~ I have been proactively self-learning ukulele for about 9 months. With some music knowledge from younger age, and plenty of good free resources online and books, I was able to learn chords and basic skills myself.

3 month ago I started to attend weekly 30min individual classes which help to resolve queries that I come across from books. As my teacher is originally a guitar teacher who was able to teach ukulele, I feel my ukulele queries sometimes not fully answered. I often come to here for answers! Thanks to the community.

I feel my passion for ukulele will grow less and less if I donít improve my skill in the coming year, after a year of playing. So my new year resolution is to take up a reputable ukulele course and learn constructively!

** James Hill Ukulele in the Classroom Course or Rockschool Ukulele Course??? **

With busy work, I only have about 1 hour to practice 6 days of a week. Rather than myself learning from books and online courses (that takes discipline and patient to find answers elsewhere when sucked), I wanna make the most with the limited time I have. Physical classes are the most helpful for me. I enjoy the causual strum and sing with song book with friend occasionally. I also love the beautiful finger picking, which takes more effoord to learn. Finger picking is something that I find it harder to structurally learning by myself. sometime i didn't realise i picked songs that was too hard for my skill, etc. I like classical songs but mostly modern.

I am hoping in a year I can master some seemingly impressive skills from those who doesn't play music. Able to finger pick well, than just strum and sing. Hoping in about 3 years time I can play popular classical or pop songs impressively for real and know enough to be aware of what I am playing. And hopefully in 3-6 years time to have impressive skills even for those who plays music. I am not aiming to be a professional. Also not particular about creating music but would like to learn the msucic langauge or manner of music that is exisitng better. But I also get board easily -.- Just ukulele was so satifying and achiable in the past year to learn that kept it going. Almost every 2 weeks I can sing and play a new song~

Would like some advice on which course to would help to learn ukulele constructively. These are the only 2 internationally recognised course available here in this Lion city~ thanks for reading this long message.

01-09-2019, 05:14 PM
I believe the James Hill course, The Ukulele Way, would suit you well. It is self-paced and geared toward adults. James often directly answers questions you might have about a particular lesson.

And it is inexpensive. First thing is to try the sample lessons on the site. It includes a video of him teaching the nuances and playing the piece along with the printed sheet music (most in standard notation with tabs). There are six books of lessons with around nine lessons in each book. If you like it (or are even unsure), sign up as it is billed monthly at $9 Canadian dollars or about $7 US. Move at your own pace, jumping around and skipping some if that suits you.

I have been using the site for a few months now and am very happy with the lessons and my progression. Focus is on chord/melody, mostly strumming with the thumb though he does get into fingerpicking with the thumb and three fingers in the latter books.

I checked the Rockschool site and it looks very regimented with specific course dates and exams at each level. Ouch... I could not stand being tested to move on to the next lesson. You might like that but their video shows only very young (six or seven years?) taking the course. So I have not tried it and never will.

01-09-2019, 06:30 PM
James Hill is an excellent teacher.

You might also want to check what Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel have to offer.

01-10-2019, 03:04 AM
I finished the James Hill course and it definitely helped me a lot. Highly recommended.

01-10-2019, 03:16 PM
do u do the online course or taken an acutual class? :)

'A day without playing uke is a day not well lived.' i cannot agree more......... but i got a bit lost since i forced to stop when travelling with family 3 weeks ago. now i m a bit hesitant where to start again~ I guess picking a course and structurally learning could be productive!

01-10-2019, 03:19 PM
do u do the online course or taken an acutual class? :)

'A day without playing uke is a day not well lived.' i cannot agree more......... but i got a bit lost since i forced to stop when travelling with family 3 weeks ago. now i m a bit hesitant where to start again~ I guess picking a course and structurally learning could be productive!

I am doing the James Hill course online as he lives in Canada. Private in person lessons seem to range from $50 to $150 (USD) for one hour whereas his course is about $7 per month and done on my own schedule without having to travel.

01-11-2019, 12:20 AM
Thanks for sharing. Let me give it a try :)

01-13-2019, 06:57 AM
I have tried both taking the online course. I tried the free version of rock101 and paid for the online course with James hill for a few months. Unfortunately I had to cancel the subscription as I had to rehearse specific songs for a specific performance. It is about time i restarted something structured myself as I have plateaued.

The two online courses are similar and it really depends who you like better.

James Hill advantages:
I felt James Hill had a better handle on what the lessons were trying to achieve in the long run. The course is slightly better structured in the way it builds from tune to tune. The tunes are short and a good length for learning a new idea or skill. Structured around certificates which is useful if you want to say you are a James Hill certified ukulele instructor in the distant future. Has versions of each tune for linear and reentrant tuning.

James Hill is more of a musicians musician so the tunes are obscure and may not appeal. Not very responsive to online questions but he was probably touring when I asked.

Rock 101 advantages:
Engaging On line forum and community, very responsive to forum posts and questions. Extra tutorials such as how t set up your computer to record your playing. More popular and Contemporary music. Monthly competitions with give away.

I found the tunes a bit long, I had Learnt the point of the lesson and was ready to move on before I had mastered each tune as a performance piece. The competitions are a distraction and stopped me progressing through the structured course - I would avoid them to start with. Course is still being built so structure not perfect yet. The free versus paid structure is frustrating - just pay and get all the resources.

01-14-2019, 05:06 AM
Thank you for a good comparison. I never would have even considered Rock 101. Now I may.