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Hippie Dribble
09-12-2010, 02:04 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm starting my first uke group tonight at a local community centre.

Just wondering how best to approach the running of it, and the formatting of it.

I want it to be a pretty "informal" kind of thing, but I guess you need some structure, right?

Please could you pass on some ideas from your own experiences of these things. It would be greatly appreciated. eugene

Lexxy
09-12-2010, 02:12 PM
Maaan :/ I wish we had a teaching group in Melbourne. (Although they do, but I am much too ashamed to join due to my level :( )

robbocx
09-12-2010, 03:01 PM
OK just a few thoughts.

You need a leader, now this doesnít have to be the same person but each song needs a leader.

Decide what formats you think will work for you, on the second Wednesday of the month we start half an hour earlier for beginners and then we have a workshop for about an hour where we play new songs or songs we have been working on and then the next half hour we play requests. In the hour and a half we would play ten to twelve songs, some more than once. This is done in a round table format were we try to sit a less experienced player with someone who can assist them.

When we get together on the first Saturday of the month we donít introduce new songs we will play two 45 minute sets and we play around twenty five songs. This is done in more of a concert format where we have an audience and we face them.

Try to be inclusive, where everyone is encouraged to play and sing and the only options are bad shirts and hats.

itsme
09-12-2010, 04:36 PM
My first thoughts...

What age are the members? Lady Gaga will be lost on a lot of seniors, whereas 60's stuff might be lost on young teens.

Take requests for songs they want to learn, then provide sheets for them. Maybe get the person who suggested a tune to help co-lead learning it.

Above all, have fun! :)

Sonseeker30
09-12-2010, 04:43 PM
Aloha Eugene,

That is so great that you started a Uke Group. Our Uke group meets on Tuesdays once a week. It's kinda informal...we have all skill levels from beginners, intermediate and advance. We decided to pick 10 songs and master them. I like robbox idea of 30 mins for beginners and the option of bad shirts and hats, we do both. ;o) We are looking to do some live performances at a outdoor park in the future. The main thing is to make it FUN, have FUN and encourage one another.

haolejohn
09-12-2010, 05:05 PM
What is your goal for starting this? What are the levels of playing? How often you meeting?

We (SEUkers Java Jam) meet once a week in two different locations so it is really once every other week since there are different players at each one. To tell you the truth, we have ADHD and we play like it. We do get an occasional video up but it is usually something we learn there on the spot. We tried to go a little more formal but our setting kind of prevents the whole serious learning aspect of the uke. Instead what we get is a social circle of ukers drinking coffee, giving advice to one another. I like our format and am afraid that if it was more structured, we'd run off the new guys. Each week we are able to get someone new interested in the uke.

Hippie Dribble
09-12-2010, 06:53 PM
OK just a few thoughts.

You need a leader, now this doesn’t have to be the same person but each song needs a leader.

Decide what formats you think will work for you, on the second Wednesday of the month we start half an hour earlier for beginners and then we have a workshop for about an hour where we play new songs or songs we have been working on and then the next half hour we play requests. In the hour and a half we would play ten to twelve songs, some more than once. This is done in a round table format were we try to sit a less experienced player with someone who can assist them.

When we get together on the first Saturday of the month we don’t introduce new songs we will play two 45 minute sets and we play around twenty five songs. This is done in more of a concert format where we have an audience and we face them.

Try to be inclusive, where everyone is encouraged to play and sing and the only options are bad shirts and hats.

thanks robbocx for your thoughts. I like the idea of having the beginners start half an hour earlier. And you stressed the inclusive nature of the group which I think is really important too.

I appreciate your reply mate, eugene.

PS I don't think there'll be any shortage of bad shirts and hats either!!! Goes with the turf, no?!!!

Hippie Dribble
09-12-2010, 06:58 PM
My first thoughts...

What age are the members? Lady Gaga will be lost on a lot of seniors, whereas 60's stuff might be lost on young teens.

Take requests for songs they want to learn, then provide sheets for them. Maybe get the person who suggested a tune to help co-lead learning it.

Above all, have fun! :)

thanks a lot itsme for your reply. We have two children around 11-12 and 8 adults between 35 and 55/60. With that in mind I really like the idea of each person choosing a song to learn and then co-leading the learning of it. Great idea, and makes it truly "inclusive" at a really fundamental level and helps everyone to feel they are on equal footing...and yeah...FUN FUN FUN - for me, that's the main reason for doing it in the first place. That's the only criteria for joining! all the best, eugene.

Hippie Dribble
09-12-2010, 07:13 PM
What is your goal for starting this? What are the levels of playing? How often you meeting?

We (SEUkers Java Jam) meet once a week in two different locations so it is really once every other week since there are different players at each one. To tell you the truth, we have ADHD and we play like it. We do get an occasional video up but it is usually something we learn there on the spot. We tried to go a little more formal but our setting kind of prevents the whole serious learning aspect of the uke. Instead what we get is a social circle of ukers drinking coffee, giving advice to one another. I like our format and am afraid that if it was more structured, we'd run off the new guys. Each week we are able to get someone new interested in the uke.

hi haolejohn and thanks for your reply.

Goal: is to bring people together with a common interest in and love of the uke to share songs and friendship.

Levels of playing: not totally sure but I have a feeling the majority are beginners with no previous playing experience, though I think 2 have background in guitar

Meeting: once a week on Monday nights

I'm with you on the "not going too formal" aspect...I want it to be as relaxed and non-threatening as possible. I sure don't want people to feel inadequate but the exact opposite - to grow as players with the encouragment of the more experienced ones. And yeah...ideally I'd like it to be a kind of social circle where we develop lasting friendships, as well as improve as players.

I appreciate your thoughts mate, eugene.

PS for the first night tonight I've just picked three songs - each of which has 2 chords: Skip To My Lou; Tom Dooley and Shady Grove. I've also printed up a basic chord chart and am hoping the guys can just get a feel for the uke and for each others company I guess. Hopefully we'll learn 4 chord shapes by the end - C, F, G7 and Dm. I'm thinking I might take the suggestions of having each person bring along one of their own songs for the following week which we can start working on...

mm stan
09-12-2010, 07:39 PM
Aloha Eugene,
Good idea to start off with timeless songs that that everyone local knows and grew up with..something easy to warm up with.....for the first meet.
Maybe have a impromptu practice time waiting for everyone to arrive...In hawaii, we have Brother IZ songs, pearly shells etc....
Also bring a boom box and play the songs earlier on the nights agenda so the group get a feel for them..and pass around a suggestion list
for songs on the next meet. I sure everything is going to be better than planned...sending the warmest sucessful vibes your way!!!Have Fun!!
MM Stan......

mailman
09-13-2010, 04:08 AM
Our group only meets once a month, and I really wish it was more frequently. We are quite informal, and it works well. We have a monthly theme for our meetings, and folks submit songs to meet the theme. It might be love songs, or songs involving rain, or cowboy songs, or oldies, or folk songs....you get the idea.

The member wo submitted the song usually leads that song at the meeting. We try to keep the difficulty level to where everyone can follow along.

BHope your meeting went well, and good for you for starting the group....

whetu
09-13-2010, 03:17 PM
I've sort of become the leader of our local weekly meetup group. I'm not the most advanced player (we have guitar players who have come over to the light side who can play circles around me), but I'm the one with encyclopaedic knowledge of chords, uke history, how a lot of songs sound etc...

We start by tuning up and getting settled in, then go into songs that have no more than 2 or 3 chords. We don't have a set time limit, but after 3-6 of those, we'll move up to 4 and 5 chord songs. Rinse and repeat until a couple of hours later we're playing much trickier songs, some of which we've begun to orchestrate. I rotate between leading songs to sitting alongside beginners and helping them out while the rest of the group plays. Usually in this role I'll be teaching basic chords or encouraging their technique.

The idea is that we can have an absolute beginner arrive, we show them how to tune up, teach them two chords and almost immediately they're playing "You are my sunshine". Then we show them one more chord and they're playing a three chord song. All within 30-45 minutes. We then stress that they don't overdo themselves on the first night and that they can play along as far as they're comfortable. At the same time, we can have someone on their second or third visit playing along more comfortably, and I'll help them out with any chords or techniques they're having trouble with. For intermediate to advanced players, it's a warm up and with some songs it can be a bit of fun.

I've noticed that some of the first beginners I helped are now helping those who started after them, it's filtering downwards, which is positive, but I like to check up on the beginners anyway to make sure they've been advised correctly.

The main suggestion I have is to get a big screen TV or projector and hook up a laptop. Instead of everyone lugging in songbooks, simply have a library of pdf's that can be seen by everyone on the one big display. Have people email you the pdf's they've found, or bring in a usb stick, and build up your repository that way.

Hippie Dribble
09-16-2010, 12:32 AM
Our group only meets once a month, and I really wish it was more frequently. We are quite informal, and it works well. We have a monthly theme for our meetings, and folks submit songs to meet the theme. It might be love songs, or songs involving rain, or cowboy songs, or oldies, or folk songs....you get the idea.

The member wo submitted the song usually leads that song at the meeting. We try to keep the difficulty level to where everyone can follow along.

BHope your meeting went well, and good for you for starting the group....

Thanks mailman.

It was a real success actually: small group, nice and intimate and personal.

I like the concept of a monthly "theme"...that's great. I think I might try that with our little gathering.

All the best mate, eugene

Lexxy
09-16-2010, 12:38 AM
Good job Eugene! Any chance that I can join in if i visit Tasmania? :P

Hippie Dribble
09-16-2010, 12:39 AM
I've sort of become the leader of our local weekly meetup group. I'm not the most advanced player (we have guitar players who have come over to the light side who can play circles around me), but I'm the one with encyclopaedic knowledge of chords, uke history, how a lot of songs sound etc...

We start by tuning up and getting settled in, then go into songs that have no more than 2 or 3 chords. We don't have a set time limit, but after 3-6 of those, we'll move up to 4 and 5 chord songs. Rinse and repeat until a couple of hours later we're playing much trickier songs, some of which we've begun to orchestrate. I rotate between leading songs to sitting alongside beginners and helping them out while the rest of the group plays. Usually in this role I'll be teaching basic chords or encouraging their technique.

The idea is that we can have an absolute beginner arrive, we show them how to tune up, teach them two chords and almost immediately they're playing "You are my sunshine". Then we show them one more chord and they're playing a three chord song. All within 30-45 minutes. We then stress that they don't overdo themselves on the first night and that they can play along as far as they're comfortable. At the same time, we can have someone on their second or third visit playing along more comfortably, and I'll help them out with any chords or techniques they're having trouble with. For intermediate to advanced players, it's a warm up and with some songs it can be a bit of fun.

I've noticed that some of the first beginners I helped are now helping those who started after them, it's filtering downwards, which is positive, but I like to check up on the beginners anyway to make sure they've been advised correctly.

The main suggestion I have is to get a big screen TV or projector and hook up a laptop. Instead of everyone lugging in songbooks, simply have a library of pdf's that can be seen by everyone on the one big display. Have people email you the pdf's they've found, or bring in a usb stick, and build up your repository that way.

thanks whetu for taking the time to describe the format and structure of your group.

Your chain of helping each other, filtering down, reminds me a lot of Pete Seeger's description of how folk music itself is kept alive.

And thanks for the idea re projector and laptop...makes a lot of sense...all the best for continuing enjoyment of your weekly gatherings and your own role asf acilitator.

cheers, eugene.