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yome1995
07-10-2011, 06:58 PM
does it depress anyone that to be a ukulele prodigy all u have to do is sing hey soul sister after having lessons for four years....or how everyone thinks that little kid who "plays" i'm yours is great. In general when people say that they can "play" and then they strum some bogus jason maraz simplified chords...then u say it sound more like this...and u play it the normal way...nothing special...and people say u r really good. It just makes me a little sad that everyone has such low expectations of ukuleles.:(

ricdoug
07-10-2011, 07:18 PM
I'm just the opposite. I enjoy watching and listening to anyone who has the guts to perform in front of an audience. I'd rather hear the worst live performance on the planet, than the best DJ in the Universe. No seamless loops. No CD's/MP3's. Just a warm body putting their heart and soul on stage for the masses. Ric

salukulady
07-10-2011, 07:21 PM
It make me happy that just about everyone that picks up the ukulele can be taught three chords within minutes and play just about any rock-n-roll song ever written with just a little practice. It's awesome I can teach a four year old to play you are my sunshine. It also make me happy to watch an older Hawaiian sing a song and play it on the ukulele that he learned from his grandmother many years ago. And it make me feel so special to be able to watch Aldrine kick ass on stage shredding an original he wrote.

This instrument is for everyone, that's the beauty of it. The expectations of others is only limited by what you can show them. Teach those with low expectations those three simple chords and watch them smile..... Then show them an Aldrine vid.

ricdoug
07-10-2011, 07:26 PM
It makes me VERY happy to watch and listen to Sally and the Barefoot Wahines play and sing anything! Da kine, brah! Ric

mybote
07-10-2011, 07:36 PM
Nope. Does'nt depress me at all.

santamacx
07-10-2011, 07:57 PM
Honestly, what you see as "low standards" on the ukulele is what makes the instrument so beautiful. The reason the uke is so special is because of the simplicity. Guitarists and certainly other instrumentalists can go on and on about skill but at the end of the day it's not about skill, but about enjoying music. The uke is so beautiful because it can make a man who has never thought of playing music in his life a musician.

If you want proof look at Jake, one of the all time greats. He surely has virtuoso-notch skills but he constantly preaches about the uke's simplicity.

bbycrts
07-10-2011, 08:07 PM
I'm just happy that the ukulele still seems to bring smiles to so many faces! It's not a pretentious instrument - it can be for anybody.

mm stan
07-10-2011, 09:19 PM
I think you are missing the point.. of the beauty and simplicity of the instrument..that makes it fun and enjoyable...ukers are not snobs...we enjoy all ukers...
When you start judging people, you have lost that aloha that this instrument emanates... sorry you feel that way....

ksiegel
07-10-2011, 10:29 PM
And I still have never heard "hey soul sister", to the best of my knowledge.

But I've been playing "Save Me San Francisco" on the uke, so when I hear someone talk about "That Train song with Ukulele", that's what I think of.

Not a prodigy, have 0 years of lessons, just lovin' the instrument.

-Kurt

Manalishi
07-10-2011, 11:00 PM
It all depends on what your goals and expectations are
as has been said already! I was a guitarist in a former life
and simply lost interest in it after 48 years,following an
illness.Then I bought a cheap Mahalo Ukulele on a whim
and 'learned' to play it.That is,I mastered the majority of
the commonly used chords.
I play for my own amusement,and if anyone else likes what
I do,thats great.If they don't,I don't care! I get my fun and
enjoyment out of what I do,as do millions of others.
And I too,would rather hear a REAL person playing a uke to
whatever standard they can,than any ammount of canned
so called 'music'! Get out there and strum,and above all else
ENJOY!!!!

Uke Whisperer
07-10-2011, 11:51 PM
Two young boys (I would guess ages of 6 or 7) sitting on the floor at Atlanta airport taking turns between strumming and picking the simplest of tunes! Greatest “concert” I’ve ever attended! That’s what it is all about!

ItsMrPitchy
07-10-2011, 11:55 PM
Yes the ukulele is simple and people have low expectations of the ukulele, however, the instrument cares for pros and beginers. I cant think of any other instrument that does that so well. It doesnt matter is its your first musical experience or if your Jake Shimabukuro the ukulele has something for everyone. So either use your ability to shatter those low expectations or just simply play because you find the instrunent fun.

cb56
07-11-2011, 12:50 AM
The Ukulele is about having fun playing music. Have fun,Play music.


This is my new ukulele HERO!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLuHkfMVRUc&feature=feedf

ichadwick
07-11-2011, 01:17 AM
...all u have to do is sing hey soul sister after having lessons for four years....
Well, if "u" had lessons for four years, I'm impressed. I would suspect the vast majority of fellow players here learn on their own, or came to the ukulele from another instrument - probably guitar and self-taught. After four years of lessons, I would expect "u" have at least a modicum of skill.

I don't consider anyone a "prodigy" simply because he or she plays a song well - perhaps "u" do (or should that be "du"? "u du"? "oo doo"? voodoo? who do?). To me, that's merely showing skill and talent, and I can laud their efforts without the hyperbole. Prodigy suggests something extraordinary or exceptional and is usually applied to young people, like the child Mozart. Strumming a pop song seldom highlights a prodigy, unless it is some three- or four-year-old child.

...people say u r really good...
Anyone who doesn't play an instrument is usually impressed by those who can. Are "u" able to judge the skill level of a shakuhachi player? A cumbus player? A guqin player? Would "u" be able to judge adequately their skill level? Why do "u" expect non-ukulele players to judge yours (or is that "urs"?) ?

What expectations do "u" have of koto playing and players? Or kalimba players? None, I suspect. Why do "u" think others have expectations of the ukulele and its players? Can "u" listen and appreciate them when they are played, enjoy the efforts of the musicians, like the song? Those are not expectations. Expectations come from preconceived standards of performance and previous experience in listening to it being played. I have expectations when I hear someone play Bach on the piano, because I have listened to Glenn Gould and others perform Bach on piano for many, many years. I have some expectations for the shakuhachi because I attempted to learn it and spent many hours listening to others play it. I have few expectations for the oud, and none at all for the umuduri. All I can do is listen.

"Everyone" does not have a low expectation of the ukulele. I don't, for one. That means it's everyone minus one, so it's not everyone. Add a few thousand people here on this forum, and your generalization proves false. Perhaps you mean everyone "u" know, or everyone "u" have played for, or "everyone in "ur" family. Even so, I suspect there would be those among that group who have no expectations of the ukulele.

"U" should try to play in front of a more learned crowd - say guitarists or other musicians. They would, at least, have a better technical appreciation of what "u" are playing and how difficult or accomplished it is. They may not be so polite when "u" are finished.

The people "u" describe may also simply be being polite: a civil social attitude of encouragement, rather than attempting to be critical and discouraging. "U" should respect their support, rather than show disdain for it. "U" should be polite in return and thank them for their praise, albeit with enough humility to show "u" recognize your own limitations.

Me, I never play "hey soul sister" or even Hey Soul Sister because I've never heard of it. I don't know "jason maraz" although I have heard musician Jason Mraz play a song of that name, but frankly his song doesn't move me to want to learn it. Perhaps if I was 40 years younger it might.

Huna
07-11-2011, 02:04 AM
I think theres a range of types of players just like in recorded music. I don't think most folks like Johnny Cash for example are exactly shredders. I think Johnny Cash was mostly a singer and just used the guitar for accompaniment and only knew a few chords really. Other folks don't sing and play classical like idk those spanish masters... theres a wide range of what a person can do on guitar or ukulele.

I find ukulele way more approachable.

When I was a kid, I wanted to play Banjo and we rented this Vega Tenor banjo I think. The action sucked so bad I couldn't even fret the darn thing as it made my fingers hurt so bad.

Later I got a Harmony Guitar and learned a few chords on it. It was a little better.

I had guitars lying around for years including electrics and the effort it took to actually strap the thing on etc... was too much for me so I never put in the work. Plus they were too darn big and the strings are so close together etc....

I was happy to find the ukulele was something I could play in my LazyBoy. It just feels more better to me ya know?

Theres a wide range of talent and you don't need to spend 600 bucks on a Kamaka necessarily as a fifty dollar uke don't sound so bad really... nevertheless I keep buying more ukes.

I need to spend more on getting the feel of the music ! as I think that is where its at perhaps with a three chord tune.

Different strokes for different folks but I don't seem to need to learn the strokes as much as get the feel of the music and then it just comes out... nevertheless I work on those triplets and want to learn to fingerpick something other than my nose.

wolfybau
07-11-2011, 02:21 AM
The Ukulele is about having fun playing music. Have fun,Play music.


This is my new ukulele HERO!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLuHkfMVRUc&feature=feedf

me too! that was precious! love the uke :) :) :) it is an instrument of the people. It sprang from aloha and the kanikapila. from the fiestas of the portugese cowboys to the paniolo and families of old Hawaii lets keep it that way, with that spirit.

I am into 'fancy' playing too, its fun , and all for stretching the musical boundries with the instrument.
But the last thing I want to see is the ukulele turned into another instrument of egos, attitudes and cut throut competitiveness like I've witnessed (and loathed) in the guitar playing community for years and years.
thats one of the things I love the most about the instrument - it is the antithesis of that.

Ukulele is an inheritantly fun and cute instrument. There is nothign better than a uke making someone feel good because they can strum a simple song on it. the gift of music is a beautiful thing. I'd hate to see that lost in some sort of pompus battle for virtuocity. And turning into something that makes people feel bad because they don't 'messure up'.

PhilUSAFRet
07-11-2011, 02:55 AM
It make me happy that just about everyone that picks up the ukulele can be taught three chords within minutes and play just about any rock-n-roll song ever written with just a little practice. It's awesome I can teach a four year old to play you are my sunshine. It also make me happy to watch an older Hawaiian sing a song and play it on the ukulele that he learned from his grandmother many years ago. And it make me feel so special to be able to watch Aldrine kick ass on stage shredding an original he wrote.

This instrument is for everyone, that's the beauty of it. The expectations of others is only limited by what you can show them. Teach those with low expectations those three simple chords and watch them smile..... Then show them an Aldrine vid.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.....freakin......MEN!

roxhum
07-11-2011, 03:12 AM
Ditto ditto ditto. Thank you all for your responses. I picked up the uke 11 months ago, my first stringed instrument ever and I have loved that I can play it and teach myself with the aid of books and the Internet and that first post just kind of made my heart drop.
It would be interesting to know the back story that initiated the post... We all may understand what you are trying to say better because I suspect we may have missed your point. Or not, and in that case I hope we gave you another way to think about the ukulele and the aloha spirit.

Huna
07-11-2011, 03:57 AM
well it is kinda true what he said. Like I went into this guitar store having had a week of this new thirty dollar lanikai and I was looking at a Kala at the store and the guy was helping me and let me play this Kala Concert and I was playing like those two finger chords in Crazy G, like three chords and I also was playing the one finger chords of the C Scale in Friend of the devil on that Kala in the store and I was like... "I'm new" and that I had only been playing for a couple weeks and he was like, "You sound pretty good!".

So yeah, I mean people can hear you play three chords and think you are a virtuouso! Made me feel good too!

engravertom
07-11-2011, 05:43 AM
I'm trying to take the Uke attitude back into my drumming. I have put together a simple suitcase drum kit, so i can accompany my oldest two boys on Uke and bass, when we want a drum sound. (otherwise, I play uke too!) i was rusty, didn't think it went too well, when I tried it out last night with them. I was disappointed in my playing. I want to just enjoy drumming too. The high expectation thing is hard to shake, but the Uke is helping.

Playing Ukulele has really helped me enjoy music more, and appreciate that i don't have to be "perfect" or "the best" to mmake and enjoy my own music.

yome1995
07-11-2011, 05:58 AM
Ok u are all taking this wrong.....firstly i am not talking about myself for all of "u" cough cough that think that i am. One of my key points is that this kid on youtube has been on the news for being a prodigy because he can play and sing hey soul sister...i'm yours...and baby...and he has been taking lessons for 4 years. That cute little asian kid yes has guts...and is very cute...but people are saying he is a great ukulele player. Yes he is very entertaining...and has guts...but everyone is idolizing him for is great ukulele playing. Everyone expects that from a ukulele. I agree with everyone saying that it is an instrument for everyone, but when those who dont play are just getting sick and tired of jason maraz and other cliche songs there is something wrong. my friend once said that 90% of people hate ukulele. My very intellectual retort was that 90% of people think that they hate ukulele. They think ukulele= cliche simplistic songs that they have heard way too many times. My things is that we should try to stop this negetive view of most people. A quote from jake shimabukuro is that the ukulele is a simple instrument with not that much of a range...but that makes him/us push the music in other ways.
Sorry if i offended anyone... but i just didn't explain things too well and expected more people to know what i was talking about.

yome1995
07-11-2011, 06:08 AM
"u" need to calm down....i am not talking about myself...and i was using a hyperbole...over exageration to make a point...now okay even take off few thousand....and then u are left with more than 6 billion people...a few thousand in comparision to a few billion could be over looked. and non musical peope can have high expectations..if u play twinkle twinkle little star on the guitar..people dont say wow u r good they say..ohh... its a start...because they have heard awesome people play.

Huna
07-11-2011, 06:29 AM
well its true that .. well for me for years whenever I saw a uke in a store for example... back then (even now) they were never in tune and you'd pick it up and it would sound like crap .... now finally I am learning that it can be a real instrument.

allanr
07-11-2011, 09:20 AM
I'm just the opposite. I enjoy watching and listening to anyone who has the guts to perform in front of an audience. I'd rather hear the worst live performance on the planet, than the best DJ in the Universe. No seamless loops. No CD's/MP3's. Just a warm body putting their heart and soul on stage for the masses. Ric

I don't know you Ric... But I know that I like you :-)

Allan

salukulady
07-11-2011, 11:43 AM
It makes me VERY happy to watch and listen to Sally and the Barefoot Wahines play and sing anything! Da kine, brah! RicThank you, Ric. Gosh, we have a fan?

salukulady
07-11-2011, 11:49 AM
I don't know you Ric... But I know that I like you :-)

AllanYes....live music is soooo much better than a DJ. It makes me sad that all of my kids are going to proms and dances only knowing recorded music. We always had really good cover bands at our dances when I was in high school. Heck, when my older siblings were going to school, they were the band hired for dances. Luckily my kids all play instruments and have had a lifetime of live music at home.....they know the difference.

Pippin
07-11-2011, 12:34 PM
Funny, really. In the music business (many years ago) I had a record producer tell me that he "loved" my "original material", but he didn't "know how to market" me. In the industry rags (newspapers) at the time, the critics said that my songs and performance were a cross between "James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett" and that I put on a "helluva show", but, again I did not fit in any particular market.

Ukulele is not unlike that in many respects.

To most of the mainstream media, it is a curiosity, a novelty. The young kid you mention is a rising star in the "online world" because he is cute and that is as far as it will go. Ten years from now, it is doubtful that anyone will remember him.

For those that think of ukulele as just a novelty with limited "fad" status, it is not the first time and it won't be the last time, so let's not worry about it and don't fret. We can continue to play our beautiful ukuleles and make beautiful music. We know, whether or not they do.

NYG010
07-11-2011, 12:37 PM
It all depends on what your goals and expectations are
as has been said already! I was a guitarist in a former life
and simply lost interest in it after 48 years,following an
illness.Then I bought a cheap Mahalo Ukulele on a whim
and 'learned' to play it.That is,I mastered the majority of
the commonly used chords.
I play for my own amusement,and if anyone else likes what
I do,thats great.If they don't,I don't care! I get my fun and
enjoyment out of what I do,as do millions of others.
And I too,would rather hear a REAL person playing a uke to
whatever standard they can,than any ammount of canned
so called 'music'! Get out there and strum,and above all else
ENJOY!!!!

Luthien, on a side note, I enjoy the last line in your signature!

olgoat52
07-11-2011, 12:42 PM
I have said it many times that I almost dread picking up a guitar because after 40 years of playing one, I know what can be done with that instrument and how serious it can be. I hope I never get that way with the uke. K-I-S-S is my motto.

Personally I get tired of all the "Jake Flailing", while guitar gently weeps finale by everyone and his/her brother/sister. I prefer the uke as accompaniment for the most part. I certainly like to hear the boundaries pushed. I just dread the thought of a ukulele Eddie Van Halen or Joe Sitriani.

janeray1940
07-11-2011, 12:45 PM
Two words: John King (http://www.youtube.com/user/NaluMusic). Definitely not "low expectations" of ukuleles.

salukulady
07-11-2011, 12:57 PM
Funny, really. In the music business (many years ago) I had a record producer tell me that he "loved" my "original material", but he didn't "know how to market" me. In the industry rags (newspapers) at the time, the critics said that my songs and performance were a cross between "James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett" and that I put on a "helluva show", but, again I did not fit in any particular market.


Pippin, I am a Parrothead. Mr. Buffett was told the same thing for many years....he couldn't be defined as country or rock-n-roll. He bounced around from Nashville to LA from the 60's into the 80's. Later in life when he had managed to "make it", he started his own record company. He never got radio play, still, so he started his own radio station. Now he is the biggest supporter of many types of undefinable music, especially what's often called "Gulf Coast Rock", or "Trop Rock".

UncleElvis
07-11-2011, 01:22 PM
I don't get why you care about how other people are reacting to a child...

Is it that you can't figure out the appeal? Well, the appeal is that he's young and he's doing an ok job playing a popular song. That's cute. And that's why he's become popular. Because we, as humans, like that sort of thing.

But why does it matter? Why do you care?

If you're getting people telling you, personally, that they don't like the ukulele because of the kid, then it's up to you to prove it differently.
I played at an open mic the other night. When I got up, some wiseacre in the back yelled "Why don't you play a real guitar?"
I played a two chord pop song which made the crowd smile. "That's why." I said.

If you're jealous of the kids popularity, then get better and promote yourself.

OldePhart
07-11-2011, 02:08 PM
Ukulele is an inheritantly fun and cute instrument. There is nothign better than a uke making someone feel good because they can strum a simple song on it. the gift of music is a beautiful thing. I'd hate to see that lost in some sort of pompus battle for virtuocity. And turning into something that makes people feel bad because they don't 'messure up'.

I think you've just nailed down what makes the uke so special - it's simply impossible (well, extraordinarily improbable) to be a prima donna about your ability to play "a little guitar." It's a park your ego at the door, thing. Most people who are on an ego trip aren't even going to pick up a ukulele (there are a couple of notable exceptions but that only proves the rule, IMHO) and that makes the "ukulele world" a lot more pleasant place than the "guitar world" or the "piano world" or ...fill in the blank. Probably the only more humble instrument is the kazoo :)

Also, the guys who are truly great on uke obviously have the chops to be equally great on anything else (guitar, etc.) - when you get into "top drawer" musicianship it's far less about the hand-eye coordination to handle some given number of mechanical moves and far more about feeling the music - the phrasing, the subtle nuances, etc.

John

southcoastukes
07-11-2011, 07:29 PM
Well, I'm going to go against the grain a bit on this one. It's not that I don't agree with the majority of posters here - one of the ukuleles main strengths is it's accessability. With a ukulele, it doesn't take either a great instrument or a great player to produce very enjoyable music.

Just the same, I think too many people, including us in this community, underappreciate the abilities of this instrument.


janeray1940
Two words: John King. Definitely not "low expectations" of ukuleles.

I'll quote one other anonymous email I received not long ago:


Mr. Dirk Wormhoudt,
I just discovered your website and find it very informative and refreshing. I look forward to seeing more of and maybe even playing one of your instruments someday. We Hawaiians have never considered the ukulele as a toy or instrument of whimsy (emphasis mine). So, to see that you have taken it upon yourself to explain its heritage is very gratifying.

Not being that familiar with the feelings of Hawaiians about their most famous instrument, I don't know if this gentleman speaks for the majority or not, but I'm inclined to take him at his word.

Finally from the final paragraph of the "Philosophy" page on our website:


We know that ukuleles, in particular, have been marketed as fun, simple instruments that anyone can play. We feel that now, however, the interest in these instruments has reached a point where discerning players will appreciate true traditional design and the resulting responsive performance...... We think you’ll find that instruments that are designed with their full potential as the overreaching goal, in the end, turn out to be the most fun of all.

My point here is not to take away from that simple, easy accessability that the ukulele offers, or from the fun that comes from even the most basic playing. I just want to make the point that maybe our own expectations are sometimes a bit low. We should be able to recognize the true capacity & potential of these little gems called ukuleles without looking down on those who enjoy them in their most basic form.

ricdoug
07-11-2011, 08:12 PM
Thank you, Ric. Gosh, we have a fan?

Hail yeah! Ric

ricdoug
07-11-2011, 08:20 PM
I don't know you Ric... But I know that I like you :-)

Allan

Ditto. We'd jam through the moonlight if we met. Canada's got probably the most sophisticated system of teaching ukulele on this earth:

http://www.chalmersdoane.com/

uke4ia
07-12-2011, 10:55 AM
Just the same, I think too many people, including us in this community, underappreciate the abilities of this instrument.

I think there's a lot to that. We limit the uke more than the uke limits us. As a uke player outside of Hawaii, for many years the attitude I got from most uke players I met was that you weren't a real uke player if you played anything other than songs from the '20s. Over the last 5 years, as Jake Shimabukuro became popular, the tolerance expanded to also include people who play instrumentals in exactly his style.

Jake is great, the '20s style is fine, but I've never been interested in playing either of those styles of music. I think it's great to see the uke expanding into other areas now, even if it didn't happen until I was old and irrelevant. I love hearing people use the uke in various kinds of rock. I saw a guy a couple months ago who bills himself as "Uke Springsteen", doing uke covers of Bruce songs -- he was great. I think it's great that a teenage French girl can sing her favorite songs in a Lily Allen voice with a uke and get a half million YouTube hits. I don't particularly care for "Hey, Soul Sister", but the fact it can become a big hit, the fact that Taylor Swift can play a song on uke to a stadium filled with teens, that Eddie Vedder does an album of uke music, it all means that the door is open wide for uke players. The listening public now accepts the ukulele as an instrument, not just a throwback from a century ago. I look forward to the day when the people who used to sneer "Can you play Tiptoe Through the Tulips?" ask if I can play "Soul Sister."

70sSanO
07-12-2011, 04:55 PM
I have been around guitars for 45 years and I fully embrace the low expectations of the ukulele. What makes the uke so great is that it is a non-competetive instrument. I hope it is never elevated to the same level as a guitar where "inferior" players are just fodder for the wanna-be stars out there.

l also disagree that the people in this community underappreciate the abiities of the ukulele. I think everyone here is very much aware of how incredible the ukulele is...whether it is ripping through a George Harrison tune or just playing C, G, and F chords over and over.

But more important is the love shown to those who play regardless of their talent level or the dollar value of the ukulele that he or she plays.

John

Shastastan
07-12-2011, 05:47 PM
Thanks for all the great comments that I'm thoroughly enjoying! I'm a trumpet player but always wanted to also play the guitar. I bought a guitar, spent way more on guitar lessons than my uke cost, and finally just gave up since I couldn't get my fingers to cooperate. Our piano player got a uke and so I decided to give a try. I've only had my Lanikai tenor for 3 weeks and thanks to such great resources and kind folks on the internet, I can already play some songs and also know about 15 chords. I've spent zero, zip, nara for lessons. My fingers are not sore and the uke is just so much easier to hold and play than the guitar. My wife, a flute/piano player also wants to play so we are getting another uke-a concert. Then we can play duets in addition to what we already play now To me it seems to be an instrument of the all folks of all ages. Yep, fun is what it's all about and music is a wonderful gift from the Lord. I'm really thankful that I gave the uke a try and the adventure is just beginning.

southcoastukes
07-12-2011, 06:14 PM
This thread has been a bit of an eye opener, mainly because of the remarks of former guitar players. For me, it's hard - actually not hard, but impossible, to imagine the kind of competitive environment they speak of.

I come from New Orleans (now just outside of New Orleans). I think we may have more musicians per capita than anywhere in the country - maybe in the world. Whether it's in the city or the cajun countryside, music is a part of the fabric of eveyday life.

People don't look on a musician as some extraordinary or gifted individual - he's probably your next door neighbor. And the one thing that is universally understood, from the backyard crawfish boil to the Bourbon Street Jazz Hall, is that "competitive" and "musician" are mutually exclusive terms. I truly feel sorry for those who have spent years in some sort of "competitive" environment, because that isn't in any way, shape or form, a musical environment.

We've almost never have had "cutting contests" here, or when we do, it's in good fun, usually between a pair of friends who know they are of equal abilities. Music at it's highest is an ensemble art form, and an ensemble doesn't funtion when there is an ego in the house.

Nonetheless, it doesn't mean we "embrace low expectations". Beleive me, we know a thing or two about how to have a good time, and music is about a good time - first and foremost! But the level of musicianship here is at a very high level. Not high because of some "competitive environment", but because truly high levels of communication in the ensemble are more fun! To have more fun, you naturally want to get better.

It's not that we don't enjoy sincere musical expression at any level, but here it's like learning to talk. A baby's first words are beautiful and exciting to hear, but you'd be awfully disapointed if that child didn't learn to better express himself.

rasputinsghost
07-12-2011, 06:31 PM
Any musician worth his or her salt should be able to appreciate their instrument, simply played, expressing something genuine - especially if it's a little kid whose study of the instrument could quite possibly extend into his lifetime. What you're seeing is something beautiful, a moment when a person finds THEIR instrument (or one of them!)

Look at folk music - if a banjo player looks down on a simple folk song, played earnestly and cleanly, and has only disdain, I'm not sure that player has their priorities right.

Finally, that people aren't really familiar with virtuoso ukulele playing is probably a good thing, since it'll allow you to stand on your two feet as a player. They will react to your playing, in about as much isolation as you can ask for in an insanely connected world. Don't waste that opportunity.

southcoastukes
07-12-2011, 07:04 PM
Any musician worth his or her salt should be able to appreciate their instrument, simply played, expressing something genuine...

...that people aren't really familiar with virtuoso ukulele playing is probably a good thing, since it'll allow you to stand on your two feet as a player.

I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that ukuleles "simply played, expressing something genuine" and "virtuoso ukulele playing" are two different things?

SkeerRacing
07-12-2011, 07:16 PM
This is one of the reasons I picked up the uke. I was in a very intense music program from the time I was 13-15, playing guitar. We would put on shows and would have little time to practice with the entire band. We were covering some pretty intense songs and making our own that were pretty complicated and really frustrating, it got to the point where it wasn't fun anymore. So I decided to tell my parents that I wanted out. I soon saw Jake Shimabukuro in concert and bought an uke the next day. I have never had more fun with music, it truly is a joy to play. No pressure, no stress, just pure enjoyment. What are "standards" for if you are having fun?

ichadwick
07-13-2011, 02:34 AM
well it is kinda true what he said. Like I went into this guitar store...
Most music shops I've been in treat ukes like saxophones or accordions: they have them but no one working there plays them. Only the customers do. So they're easily impressed by anyone who can.

I have a question because I'm confused. You say Crazy G is "like three chords." Are four chords like three? Or two? What is similar to three chords, but not actually three chords? Two-and-a-half? What possesses similar but not identical characteristics to three chords so it can be said to be "like" three chords? And you wrote you played "like those two finger chords". What is comparable to two-finger chords but isn't a two-finger chord? Three-finger chords? One-finger chords? Very confused.

lindydanny
07-13-2011, 04:07 AM
I take issue with some of this. Granted, I haven't read the entire thread yet (been out of touch for a while), but I think I get the jist.

Music is a complicated thing. A lot goes into not only being able to play an instrument (or sing for that matter) but also being able to play it for anyone. When someone else is playing, I'm not a musician anymore; I'm an audience member. As such, it should be my express goal to want the person playing to do as good as they can and for them to enjoy the experience as much as I do. If not, I should pack up and leave.

I love listening to simply done tunes. Whether it is a virtuoso or a beginner, simplicity can be quite beautiful. Complex things can too. But music is music. Enjoy it.

One of my biggest pet peeves are those among us (the human race) who will tell you how they did it better. This constant one-up-manship that goes on in our society is a bunch of crap. Even those that know they are out matched who then say something like, "That Jake guy plays better than you." Yeah, I know. That's why he tours and has a freakin record contract and I have to play for you ungrateful jerks. (Sorry, got a little out of hand there.)

~DB

ichadwick
07-13-2011, 04:28 AM
I truly feel sorry for those who have spent years in some sort of "competitive" environment, because that isn't in any way, shape or form, a musical environment.
Huh? Gotta disagree. Music is VERY competitive. All the arts are, of course. But it's healthy, trying to come up with the lick no one has done, the song no none has written, the arrangement no one has collated. If it wasn't for fierce competition in music, we'd all be playing Alexander's Ragtime Band and there would be little if anything new since then.

Go to any open-mic jam and tell me it's not competitive, everyone trying to be the best, the loudest, the fastest, the coolest. And strangely it's cooperative too because all these people are working on a single song and trying to make sure they maintain the rhythm, pitch, and feel. Every jam session everywhere is a competition, as well as an education.

Kids in orchestras and school bands compete to be the best student. Bands with CDs compete with other bands to get air time, to get stage time. Two guys strumming the same song together are competing to prove each is the better strummer, competing to be heard, competing to be perfect.

Read the biographies of Bach, Mozart and Scarlatti. They lived and worked in a fierce competition for favour and affection - which meant getting paid. Made them great composers. Ever listen to Bach's contemporary competitors? Right: unless you're a classical music student, you probably don't even know their names. A musical environment, like life, is VERY competitive.

Competition beings out the best in people. It's healthy and invigorating. It challenges us to rise above the mediocre, to be at the top of our game. Without competition, we get stale, we get self-satisfied, we get dull and slow. Just look at what happened to the West (especially the USA) when the USSR - its biggest competitor - collapsed.

salukulady
07-13-2011, 06:41 AM
I have played music my entire life for enjoyment. Maybe thats why in high school I started off as first chair and by the time I graduated I was last chair. When people challenged me I just gave them my chair. It's all about the fun for me. Yes, it can be that simple.

Guess I'm dull and slow.

bec11mort
07-13-2011, 07:30 AM
I think this thread is quite interesting, fascinating even. However, I hate to see what appears to be hurt feelings in the middle of a good debate.

Both sides of this issue are quite intriguing. On one side I understand yome1995, and their point. When you are good at something, and when you work very hard to become good at something, it is sad to see someone getting more attention when they haven't put in the work. In this case, there are many masterful ukulele players out there, yet a child/pop star who barely knows the basics gets all of the attention. Most people on this forum are here because we want to learn to become better ukulele players, whether that is mastering the basics and being able to correctly hold and strum a uke or asking other advanced players about their technique. We should understand the frustration over someone who doesn't care enough to learn.

Personally, I play (if you can call it that) the ukulele because I love music. I love that when I am trying to figure out new chords and contort my fingers into a seemingly impossible shape I am challenged. But I also love that I can play a simple C - G - F progression with a simple rhythm and impress my friends. I know that there is absolutely nothing impressive about such a simple progression, but their attention makes me feel good about myself so that I keep trying when my fingers can't quite manage a particular chord (Bb...). I love that this is an instrument that anyone can be comfortable learning to play.

salukulady
07-13-2011, 07:32 AM
No hurt feelings here at all....I'm just not competitive with anyone but myself. (And I'm a snarky bitch, ha ha ha.)

70sSanO
07-13-2011, 09:32 AM
When you are good at something, and when you work very hard to become good at something, it is sad to see someone getting more attention when they haven't put in the work.

If this were true, MTV would have called the show Diggings instead of Cribs and it would have featured bluegrass pickers.

John

diego
07-13-2011, 03:08 PM
I started playing uke about 4 years ago, but never really got into it until say a year and a half ago. I am a guitar player coming from a death metal environment that started enjoying Jack Johnson music that in turn got me hooked on uke. Last Monday I played a three hour gig at a cafe. It was mostly guitar covers. After the first of two breaks I pulled out my little instrument and played in this order; I'm yours, Over the rainbow/wonderful world, Island in the sun, white sandy beach and finally lemon tree. people where dancing in their seats at the first song, clapped after the second and the last one was also picked up by some. Then I grabbed the guitar again and continued with other songs. To me it is a great addition to my performance that gives variation.

I definitely would like to play ukulele "classics" or Hawaiian music. But I am not connected with those,I grew up in the caribbean with other influences that will reflect in myplaying. Well technically Jack Johnson plays Hawaiian music or correct me if I'm wrong. So I play (mostly strum because that is my current level) songs that easily translate to uke. I am a much better guitar player, but hey, I've been at it for about 18 years now.

France
07-13-2011, 05:30 PM
Most music shops I've been in treat ukes like saxophones or accordions: they have them but no one working there plays them. Only the customers do. So they're easily impressed by anyone who can.

I have a question because I'm confused. You say Crazy G is "like three chords." Are four chords like three? Or two? What is similar to three chords, but not actually three chords? Two-and-a-half? What possesses similar but not identical characteristics to three chords so it can be said to be "like" three chords? And you wrote you played "like those two finger chords". What is comparable to two-finger chords but isn't a two-finger chord? Three-finger chords? One-finger chords? Very confused.

You're such a sh#t stirrer. Haha.

rasputinsghost
07-13-2011, 05:38 PM
Competition beings out the best in people. It's healthy and invigorating. It challenges us to rise above the mediocre, to be at the top of our game. Without competition, we get stale, we get self-satisfied, we get dull and slow. Just look at what happened to the West (especially the USA) when the USSR - its biggest competitor - collapsed.

If you really think the 'greatness' of the west was contingent on having some great foe to battle, you must really like Hegel.
Competition can just as easily bring out the worst in people, or do you blame the financial collapse of 2008 on there not being a Soviet Union, too?

haolejohn
07-13-2011, 06:09 PM
Ok u are all taking this wrong.....firstly i am not talking about myself for all of "u" cough cough that think that i am. One of my key points is that this kid on youtube has been on the news for being a prodigy because he can play and sing hey soul sister...i'm yours...and baby...and he has been taking lessons for 4 years. That cute little asian kid yes has guts...and is very cute...but people are saying he is a great ukulele player. Yes he is very entertaining...and has guts...but everyone is idolizing him for is great ukulele playing. Everyone expects that from a ukulele. I agree with everyone saying that it is an instrument for everyone, but when those who dont play are just getting sick and tired of jason maraz and other cliche songs there is something wrong. my friend once said that 90% of people hate ukulele. My very intellectual retort was that 90% of people think that they hate ukulele. They think ukulele= cliche simplistic songs that they have heard way too many times. My things is that we should try to stop this negetive view of most people. A quote from jake shimabukuro is that the ukulele is a simple instrument with not that much of a range...but that makes him/us push the music in other ways.
Sorry if i offended anyone... but i just didn't explain things too well and expected more people to know what i was talking about.

how old is your friend? 16? Very good response though but I have never met anyone who didn't like the 'ukulele, unless they were a guitar elitest.

haolejohn
07-13-2011, 06:14 PM
Huh? Gotta disagree. Music is VERY competitive. All the arts are, of course. But it's healthy, trying to come up with the lick no one has done, the song no none has written, the arrangement no one has collated. If it wasn't for fierce competition in music, we'd all be playing Alexander's Ragtime Band and there would be little if anything new since then.

Go to any open-mic jam and tell me it's not competitive, everyone trying to be the best, the loudest, the fastest, the coolest. And strangely it's cooperative too because all these people are working on a single song and trying to make sure they maintain the rhythm, pitch, and feel. Every jam session everywhere is a competition, as well as an education.

Kids in orchestras and school bands compete to be the best student. Bands with CDs compete with other bands to get air time, to get stage time. Two guys strumming the same song together are competing to prove each is the better strummer, competing to be heard, competing to be perfect.

Read the biographies of Bach, Mozart and Scarlatti. They lived and worked in a fierce competition for favour and affection - which meant getting paid. Made them great composers. Ever listen to Bach's contemporary competitors? Right: unless you're a classical music student, you probably don't even know their names. A musical environment, like life, is VERY competitive.

Competition beings out the best in people. It's healthy and invigorating. It challenges us to rise above the mediocre, to be at the top of our game. Without competition, we get stale, we get self-satisfied, we get dull and slow. Just look at what happened to the West (especially the USA) when the USSR - its biggest competitor - collapsed.

Are these like human beings? :) Sorry Ian. I couldn't resist.

By the way, excellent point in this post.

southcoastukes
07-13-2011, 07:12 PM
Competition? Healthy in economics - recipe for being at best a boring dilettante or at worst, offensive, when it comes to music and art.

Making music and making money at music are two different things. It's nice when they go together but you can certainly do either without the other.

I can tell you I have never been to a competitive open mic session here in New Orleans. People are always supportive of all who play regardless of talent. I have a hard time believing we are that different.

I suppose we are different in our exposure to ensemble jazz playing. Traditional it may often be, but to us, it's the highest form of musical expression. It teaches people to play with each other, and complement each other - not to try to outdo each other. Maybe these lessons are the things that give us a different outlook.

It's hard to try to explain things that we take for granted - they seem too obvious to explain. Here's a New Orleans trumpet player - Wynton Marsalis. He's done a lot of interviews through the years, and a lot of them deal with the subject of music. He's very good at articulating the things I guess we have such a hard time explaining to others.

It's a long interview, but starting at minutes 9 & 23 are sections that deal with how musicians make music.


http://www.youtube.com/user/wyntonmarsalis?blend=4&ob=5#p/search/4/mFNIvo-tx2s

p.s: Wynton is also a great teacher. In his own band, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, he takes the 4th trumpet chair. Think he's trying to send a message?

mm stan
07-13-2011, 07:28 PM
What I like about music is some of the great composers wrote simple arrangements too and it sounded great and pleasing...does music have to sound complex to sound good?? Hell no...
I am more amazed and awwwed by watching a musician take a very complex piece and simplifling it and making it more pleasurable to hear...slowing down the tempo and really
letting the notes resonate out is my style.. of course there are exceptions, like Jake and James...but then they are more for watching enjoyment..

70sSanO
07-17-2011, 04:49 PM
I was reading a interview with Eddie Vedder on the Anti-Vedder thread and found this gem...

Jake Shimabukuro virtuoso of the instrument, suggested in an email that the instrument's humble nature might be one reason stars like Vedder, Taylor Swift and Zooey Deschanel find it so attractive.

"I love that people don't take the instrument seriously," wrote Shimabukuro, who himself is known for kicking out major jams. "In fact, one of the best things about being a touring ukulele player is that audiences all over the world have such low expectations of the music. The ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to play, and you don't have to be a musician to play it."

John

PS... I would think Jake is in the final word on the standard of the ukulele.