PDA

View Full Version : Questions about starting up a group



rreffner
02-02-2011, 01:59 AM
I would like to start a ukulele group at church for adults, seniors and teenagers. What uke would be best to buy for the group, say about 12 ukes? Also what sizes would you recommend? Mixed or all one size. I was thinking maybe all concerts? Anyway, I doubt anyone at church has any uke experience. I hope they will at some point upgrade and buy their own.

I figure simple 3 chord songs will spark interest and listening to You Tube will set the hook! Opinions please.

Mahalo

haolejohn
02-02-2011, 02:47 AM
I would like to start a ukulele group at church for adults, seniors and teenagers. What uke would be best to buy for the group, say about 12 ukes? Also what sizes would you recommend? Mixed or all one size. I was thinking maybe all concerts? Anyway, I doubt anyone at church has any uke experience. I hope they will at some point upgrade and buy their own.

I figure simple 3 chord songs will spark interest and listening to You Tube will set the hook! Opinions please.

Mahalo

Are you buying or are you asking them to buy? I found that when the participant is asked to buy, you get more interest that way. They also seemed to take better care of the ukulele (at least for kids it was that way).

As far as ukes, I'd get all sopranos. Makala dolphins. I got the best deal from UkeRepublic. I ended up purchasing over 50 in two years from him. Only 3 had to be returned and he took care of the issues (even though they weren't his fault).

You could get concerts and tenors and sopranos but then the cost goes up.

Songs? I would have them help decide what they want to learn. You do have a big age gap so you may get some differnt variety but that is a good thing usually.

Ukuleleblues
02-02-2011, 03:09 AM
I agree with John about them buying their own, you can get volume discounts for them if you buy together. Also the #1 mistake I made with our group was not charging some sort of dues. It doesn't have to be alot, but it seem like when I charge i get more people showing up. Plus it gives you money to book folks like Joel E, Lil Rev, Junior Wells, etc when they are making their regional tours. Folks appear to undertstand the have an investment in the club when they pay dues.

SailingUke
02-02-2011, 05:43 AM
I agree with John about them buying their own, you can get volume discounts for them if you buy together. Also the #1 mistake I made with our group was not charging some sort of dues. It doesn't have to be alot, but it seem like when I charge i get more people showing up. Plus it gives you money to book folks like Joel E, Lil Rev, Junior Wells, etc when they are making their regional tours. Folks appear to undertstand the have an investment in the club when they pay dues.

I also have better experience when folks pay-up and make an investment. My biggest pet-peeve is folks who only play their ukulele in class. The instrument is easy, but it still requires some practice time.
The "Dolphin" is a great starter uke. Choose a beginning book to also sell to the group so you have some structure to the learning. Usually a local music shop will give your group a discount to get them in the store.
Get a copy of "Mighty Uke" show it to the group, it will set the hook for you. There is also a great short on the dvd where James Hill gives "Your First Ukulele Lesson".

SweetWaterBlue
02-02-2011, 06:00 AM
I agree with the others on having them buy their own to put some skin in the game, so to speak, especially since they are mostly adults.

I know my good friend HaoleJohn has had great experience with his volume orders from UkeRepublic, but John is teaching kids, who generally have small hands that are nimble. I am not sure I would go with sopranos for very old folks. I like my little Dolphin OK, but I left my concert Flea with my mom to see if she could learn to play it and at 82 she has a bit of trouble curling her fingers enough to play some chords such as a G7. I think a soprano would be almost impossible for her.

You might still be able to get a volume discount if some of the members wanted to order a soprano, and some wanted to order something larger, such as a concert. Talk to Mike over at UkeRepublic (http://ukerepublic.com/) and see what he will do for you. He is a great guy.

sukie
02-02-2011, 10:40 AM
Make 'em buy them. But my vote goes for different types of ukuleles. I think the varied tones add a lot. But that could just be me.

OldePhart
02-02-2011, 12:40 PM
I'd say varied sizes, too. Start by bringing a few of your ukes for people to try out and see which sizes they like, then have something set up to make it easy for them to buy their own uke in the size they prefer - but don't "push" that too hard. Honestly, I would HIGHLY recommend that you get some nut files and learn to do simple setups, if you don't know how already. That way you can help people get their ukes set up without requiring that they necessarily go to a single vendor (sometimes people wrongly think you have a financial stake if you strongly recommend a particular vendor for something like this).

I'd talk to the worship leader / choir director at your church and see if you can arrange for the group to do a special occasionally in church - maybe once a month or something - that gives folks incentive to practice and can really bring the group together.

It's funny you bring this up, because I'm considering doing something similar perhaps this summer.


John

haolejohn
02-02-2011, 01:45 PM
I just got off the phone. I started the uke club at my old school but I was sent to another school this year after they laid off 270 teachers. Dbeal took over and I had planned on starting a new uke club at my new school in January but then we found out we are having a baby in March. I didn't want to half way start a club and I wanted to gauge interest at the new school. I miss my uke club. I called Dbeal and asked if I could come help him. He has 35 kids in the club this year. No matter what you have to do, start the club.

Gillian
02-02-2011, 02:49 PM
I started a uke club 6 months ago. Meetings are held twice a month, except during Thanksgiving and Xmas holiday weeks. We now have 30 members and the word is spreading. No dues or fees, but are donations welcome to pay for the printing costs and the website. People bring their own ukes. I provide the songsheets with chord diagrams, starting with easy, 3 chord songs, then increase the difficulty to keep the more accomplished players happy and the novices challenged. We also hold a beginners session that lasts for half an hour before the regular meeting starts. I provide a microphone and amp for anyone who wants to perform.

I am going to file the paperwork with the state and the IRS for non-profit status. That way, the club will be legit. Any business, professional performer, instructor, etc. who wants to donate to the club can claim a tax deduction. We are outgrowing our present meeting place and having non-profit status will enable us to use spaces such as community centers free of charge.

It's a lot of work, but seeing the smiles on the faces of the members and when they come up to me and say "Thank you so much for starting this club", it is worth it.

ricdoug
02-02-2011, 04:46 PM
Good evening, Gillian.

Are you looking at establishing a 501C? We started a CALIFORNIA UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT ASSOCIATION a few years back that does not require as much to keep rolling. It's also a few thousand dollars less expensive. It still requires a board of directors with board meetings, minutes and general meetings. It's less hassle than a 501C and has similar benefits. It ran us $20 bucks for the name and logo. Here's the form:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/other/forms/lp-una-128.pdf

Read more here:

http://www.clrc.ca.gov/B501.html

SailingUke
02-02-2011, 06:49 PM
How about the IRS TaxExempt status?, I see it is like $400.

Gillian
02-02-2011, 08:25 PM
Good evening, Gillian.

Are you looking at establishing a 501C? We started a CALIFORNIA UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT ASSOCIATION a few years back that does not require as much to keep rolling. It's also a few thousand dollars less expensive. It still requires a board of directors with board meetings, minutes and general meetings. It's less hassle than a 501C and has similar benefits. It ran us $20 bucks for the name and logo.

Thanks for the info. I didn't know there was an UNincorporated non-profit status. I will certainly look into it.

I've already begun to look for loopholes, like can one member of the board of directors hold two or more positions? We are still small so I might end up being the president, treasurer and secretary!

Ukuleleblues
02-03-2011, 10:51 AM
Good evening, Gillian.

Are you looking at establishing a 501C? We started a CALIFORNIA UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT ASSOCIATION a few years back that does not require as much to keep rolling. It's also a few thousand dollars less expensive. It still requires a board of directors with board meetings, minutes and general meetings. It's less hassle than a 501C and has similar benefits. It ran us $20 bucks for the name and logo. Here's the form:

http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/other/forms/lp-una-128.pdf

Read more here:

http://www.clrc.ca.gov/B501.html

Thank Ric I am going to look into this for our club.

OldePhart
02-03-2011, 12:24 PM
If the group is going to remain affiliated with your church (as opposed to just using the facilities) you can save a lot of trouble by simply falling under their umbrella 501C3. Under 501C3 a church can, for example, accept tax-deductible donations and contributions that are earmarked for a particular activity of the church - like the choir or youth group or...uke group.

(I am not a tax lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I am fairly familiar with church organization and operation.)

John

ricdoug
02-03-2011, 07:34 PM
Thank Ric I am going to look into this for our club.

Gillian and Jim, call me at (760)458-6656 if you have any questions. I don't know about the Carolina's, Jim, but this is a simple, inexpensive (one time fee) way to go in California. Ric

Gillian
02-04-2011, 07:52 AM
Gillian and Jim, call me at (760)458-6656 if you have any questions. I don't know about the Carolina's, Jim, but this is a simple, inexpensive (one time fee) way to go in California. Ric

I really appreciate your help with this, Ric. I've got the form and the $10 all ready to mail. Now I have another question regarding bylaws. Did you draft your own, or did you use a boilerplate template from somewhere?