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View Full Version : My first ukulele group meet up and a question about meetings in general



lambchop
06-21-2010, 05:22 PM
Went to my first ukulele meet-up this weekend at Elderly Instruments. It was fun! I wrote a bit about it and actually have a funny coincidence as well on my blog (link below). One thing I was surprised by is it was quite organized - we had a leader who taught us a number of new songs. This was fine and I learned a lot, but I'm curious to see if other groups are run the same way or if they are more social and informal.

Mike

mitchchang
06-21-2010, 05:46 PM
One of my former students started a Meetup group here in Gardena CA and it is pretty loose. We play through a few songs, each attendee is encouraged to bring one to share with the group. If they ask me for pointers of course I'm glad to share some but I don't want to make it feel like a workshop (unless it is one), just let everybody enjoy making sounds and I just fool around with them.

haolejohn
06-21-2010, 07:12 PM
Went to my first ukulele meet-up this weekend at Elderly Instruments. It was fun! I wrote a bit about it and actually have a funny coincidence as well on my blog (link below). One thing I was surprised by is it was quite organized - we had a leader who taught us a number of new songs. This was fine and I learned a lot, but I'm curious to see if other groups are run the same way or if they are more social and informal.

Mike

Our SEUker bi-weekly meet-up is pretty informal and laid back. we do a lot od ADD playing. and occasionally someone brings a song to learn.

jkevinwolfe
06-21-2010, 11:45 PM
I'm a member of COUP in Columbus OH and we meet about once a month at someone's house. There tends to be as much drinking and eating as playing. Okay maybe more drinking than playing. Normally we pass around new tunes by email before hand and play them as a group. This past weekend we had almost a show and tell, circling around with folks playing their fave new songs. We couldn't all play at nonce, but we got some new tunes that probably wouldn't have been suggested for the group because of their complexity and obscurity. It was noted that the fault with this meeting was that there was too much beer and not enough hard liquor.

fumanshu
06-22-2010, 12:42 AM
When I started my club a few months ago, people we're just coming and play songs that a someone in the club prepare in a songbook. Until we've got ask to do show, then our meeting transformed in a group repetition with 15 ukes for the show.

And now, I do club sessions that is open to everyone but I also have a kind of ''elite'' group that I see and prepare them for shows...

And our next show, we'll be the first part for....James Hill in Montreal at the end of July!!!! Yeahhhh!!!! :)

franulele
06-22-2010, 02:12 AM
Our group has been meeting since November 2007 when a group of several folks started to learn the uke together at one person's house through Jim Beloff's & Ralph Shaw's DVDs. After a while we had our first mini gig (5 songs at a genuine luau! Cool!) and we started to play for various senior citizens' groups. Now we've added farmer's markets and street fairs to the list. Eventually a website to keep track of songs, links, news, photos, etc... became a necessity to keep things organized & up to date. (That's what I do). We now meet in a public building 2 times per month.

Recruiting folks is still a struggle sometimes because we don't want beginners to come & get blown away when we play songs with more than 3 chords. I would appreciate any insights on helping beginners without boring more advanced players.

Please check out our website at http://vtukes.webs.com

BeachDog
06-22-2010, 03:16 AM
Our group has been meeting since November 2007 when a group of several folks started to learn the uke together at one person's house through Jim Beloff's & Ralph Shaw's DVDs. After a while we had our first mini gig (5 songs at a genuine luau! Cool!) and we started to play for various senior citizens' groups. Now we've added farmer's markets and street fairs to the list. Eventually a website to keep track of songs, links, news, photos, etc... became a necessity to keep things organized & up to date. (That's what I do). We now meet in a public building 2 times per month.

Recruiting folks is still a struggle sometimes because we don't want beginners to come & get blown away when we play songs with more than 3 chords. I would appreciate any insights on helping beginners without boring more advanced players.

Please check out our website at http://vtukes.webs.com



I'm a beginner who has been to a few meetings with an advanced group here in FL and as a beginner it's easy to "get blown away" but the way I approach it is that I watch and ask questions and eventually it all gels. You have loaner ukes which is great and a friendly bunch of folks, so you're doing it right.

BTW, Nice website. I used to live in NH and will be visiting Craftsbury Commons in July. You have any gigs scheduled then?

Harold O.
06-22-2010, 05:50 AM
Does anyone really know what it's like in other groups? No.

In our group at Guitar Merchant in SoCal (see thread in Regional Get Togethers), we simply break out some familiar songs with lyrics and chords then everyone plays along. Sing if you want. Don't if you don't want. We work through a given song until we can all get through it with reasonable confidence then move on. I always ask if someone wants to show off something they've been practicing. Very casual, but I do push to keep us playing more than talking during our two hours. Plenty of time to talk after (I'm often having to strum and run).

We have a couple of two-chord songs we can pull out if there are beginners present. Heck, we like to play them anyways. Also, when playing a song with four or five chords, I tell the new guys to look at the sheet, pick out the places where they know the chords, follow along as the group plays through, and then strum in with the chords they know at the appropriate time. This enables them to learn to follow the music, keep time, and play along.

Back to the original question: ukulele groups vary from formal to informal, social to structured, beginner-welcome to beginner-bring-a-life-jacket. You'll know pretty quick if you like the people or not.

spacecakegirl
06-22-2010, 08:50 AM
Las Vegas Ukulele Meetup meets twice a month in a church that our organizer belongs to. She e-mails us the song list two days before hand so we can print and prepare. We play the songs - sing if you want to, don't if you don't. We try to make more people sing, especially if you're bad. :D We socialize a little bit.

Then at the end you can show off something you've been working on.

I'd call it semi-formal.

franulele
06-22-2010, 06:18 PM
OOPS! I made it sound like we don't want beginners, when I meant to say we don't want the beginners to get blown away!

Recruiting folks is still a struggle sometimes because we don't want beginners to come & get blown away when we play songs with more than 3 chords. I would appreciate any insights on helping beginners without boring more advanced players.

We meet 2X per month, with a 6:30 session aimed at beginners, then the regular meeting starts at 7:00 starting off with any necessary introductions, ukulele news, gig alerts. Then we usually play some of our easier songs to get warmed up, then move on to new songs & song requests from our repertoire. If there's a gig coming up we try to zoom through the setlist (spot rehearse) and save the last 15 min for open mic (no mic, but we're open!). I wish we could meet weekly (1 week for beg/interm and the other week for interm/adv) but we're in a rural area and are dealing with low uke population density here.

PS; I'm looking for some more 2-4 chord songs that are fun & good for all ages.

Harold O.
06-22-2010, 07:12 PM
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?25208-Cowboy-Song-Tom-Hanks-Joe-vs-Volcano&highlight=cowboy+song

Here's a good two-chord song with a link to the original version from Joe vs The Volcano.

robbocx
06-22-2010, 08:09 PM
Recruiting folks is still a struggle sometimes because we don't want beginners to come & get blown away when we play songs with more than 3 chords. I would appreciate any insights on helping beginners without boring more advanced players.

We play weekly at three different venues on the 2nd 4th and 5th Wednesdays we set up as a workshop to learn and practice, on the 3rd Friday we have a Jam and the 1st Saturday we perform at the Pub, everyone plays, everyone sings.

At the 2nd Wednesday meeting we encourage beginners to come along a half hour earlier to run through our beginners set which they take home for practice:
He's got the whole world in his hands C & G7
Don’t Worry be happy C Dm & F
King of the road C C7 F & G7
You are my sunshine C C7 F & G7
Cotton Fields C C7 F & G7, and
Bad Moon rising G D7 & C.
These six songs and seven chords can be mastered by beginners and seems to be a good stepping stone (they keep on coming back).

We also try to sit the newbies next to an old hand who will encourage them.

jkevinwolfe
06-23-2010, 12:31 AM
I was a rank amateur (with the emphasis on rank) when I joined COUP. As a beginner, the best thing for me was that everyone was so welcoming and didn't care how well anyone played. We have a severe lack of seriousness about it that makes everyone fell at home. We've had a few people drop buy who we forced to pick up a uke for the first time and join us. They really enjoyed themselves.

We have some incredible players and three or so may take off on a song that everyone just sits in awe of, but everyone still feels part of the action. If you don't know a song, that's an excuse to go get another beer.