View Full Version : Forgive me if this has been asked before...Do most people think lessons make sense

07-30-2011, 03:00 AM
early on when learning the uke - ie. to prevent bad habits from forming....or is learning the basics on own's own and then starting lessons a better course of action?

I'd like to improve my chances of success with this instrument. I've heard that most people give up (not with ukes) new instruments within 3 weeks of buying them.

Thanks in advance for any and all thoughts.

07-30-2011, 06:26 AM
If you have access to lessons then by all means do it! I don't see how you can go wrong that way.

People have different learning styles, and I think knowing what yours is is the key to whether or not you'll give up. Some people - lots of folks on UU for example - can learn from videos just fine. Others will do better learning from books, and others will do better learning via interaction with an instructor or other players. Personally I can't learn a darn thing from videos - I do best in person, where I can ask questions and get explanations via interaction. I'm pretty sure that without lessons, I would have given up on this uke thing a long time ago!

07-30-2011, 06:53 AM
I agree with the above ,
different methods of learning for different people. some folks are visual learners, some learn better by ear etc.

Lesson can be very important early on and make a huge difference, but not all teachers or teaching methods are created equal. again differnet ones will suit differnet people, Id recomend finding a good teacher through the recomendation of someone else who has had lessons (even if on another instrument) if you can, if not give it a go with someone, and if you dont have chemistry with them or they make you feel frustrated, dont give up the instrument , find a new teacher.

Bare in mind, most instrument instructors are not trained and acredited to be teachers persay, they are usualy just someone who was experienced on an instrument who decided to teach it to others at some point. Like anything, some folks have a passion and talent for teaching, and do their best for the student, others are just out to make a few bucks. Asking a lot of questions before you sign on with someone can help determine if lessons and that teacher is right for you.

suggestions on a few questions to ask:

what kind of experience do you have on the particular instrument?
How long have you been teaching?
and how many students have you taught on average?
In what styles of music do you teach?
Are there any specific books and materials you work from?
what are my requirements as a student?
what specificaly will you be teaching? (especialy important if you want to learn things like notes and sight reading)

as well as what their policies are on payment, missed lesson etc.

hope this helps

07-30-2011, 06:57 AM
If you're thinking about ukulele lessons, then ukulele lessons make sense! Go for it.

wolfybau's excellent advice above should help you find an instructor that will work well with you.

07-30-2011, 07:12 AM
I am a beginner who has not yet taken any lessons, but I think I can provide an observation. If you are concerned about staying on track and interested, I'd imagine that one advantage to lessons would be the structure they provide. If you "go it alone," you can spend a significant amount of time browsing web sites, blogs, videos, and forums, also buying books and CDs, looking for material to keep you learning and progressing without being overwhelmed.

If you are a person who learns best with structure and feedback, or who has limited time, then lessons might be a good choice. So why wait?

07-30-2011, 09:53 AM
I'd recommend you start here.


07-30-2011, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful responses everyone.

I think I'm going to go it alone - at least until I get past the sore fingers stage - and then look into lessons. NY happens to have a ukulele school - and the gentleman that runs it teaches on Long Island (where I live) on Fridays.

Although new to the uke - I have attempted the guitar on and off over the years. So, I'm on my way and have even learned quite a few chords in just 2days.

I do want to understand the "why" of chords - music theory - etc. so I'll need an instructor for that - as I learn technical stuff better face to face.

Just wanted to be sure I wouldn't be making a HUGE mistake by going it alone for a bit.

Thanks again!

07-30-2011, 01:09 PM
As someone who is currently taking lessons then I can only recommend it.

I have had good lessons, and bad ones, but never have I walked away from a lesson and felt I haven't learnt something new. It helps keeps you on track and focused. Lessons are a great way to learn, and the sooner the better really IMO as it'll iron out those bad habits early on.

07-30-2011, 02:27 PM
you want music theory, how about this


08-01-2011, 05:55 AM
This may seem counter-intuitive but you really don't need a face-to-face teacher for the technical stuff, i.e., music theory. There are several self-paced theory sites on the web, and good books on understanding chord construction. Keep in mind that both subjects are independent of the instrument involved. Music theory is music theory, and you can learn as much theory on your uke fretboard as you can on a grand piano. The fret wires on a uke are each one half-tone apart just like the black and white keys on a piano. Just start out gaining a total understanding of how a major scale is constructed, and everything will progress from there. What you need a teacher for is the technique involved in translating the theory you know into music you play. Finding a good teacher is easy if you are in commuting distance from one of Roy Sakuma's studios in Hawaii, or you have a James Hill certified instructor in your neighborhood. Absent that, you need to find a teacher that can describe how they assess your current capability, and how they objectively measure your progress and move you to ever higher levels of performance. If all they offer is a "song of the week" approach, and have no proven assessment tools - you have the wrong person.

08-01-2011, 07:36 AM
Go with what works for YOU,as has already
been said.Only you know what you want from
the ukulele,and what you expect to get out of

08-01-2011, 08:54 AM
Excellent points, Wolfybau. Always remember that musical competence does not necessarily equal teaching ability. This applies to all musical instrument instruction, too.

Also remember that a "good teacher" is one that you learn from and makes you want to continue with your lessons......and practice for them :)

08-02-2011, 05:27 AM
I agree with all the above! My first lessons -as a kid, was in group classes
then later I had some private lessons. Along the way, I learned from books
& some school music classes.
There's so much available now-a-days! I started offering group lessons in the seattle
area & more recently have published my own books -at www.pekelosbooks.com
(& I've received a lot of nice feedback from many UU members on these)