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View Full Version : Which way to learn? It's too overwhelming!



heyjohn
08-05-2012, 09:29 AM
I've only been trying to learn for a few months. Took a group class. Tried private lessons. Can't afford them. Tried some online stuff, UUU and others. But I haven't found a method that suits me. There are so many options it's overwhelming. It's hard to separate the teachers from the ukulele 'bandwagon jumpers'. I love listening to the music. Maybe that's what I was meant to do. Thanks all. You're a great group!

G Hill
08-05-2012, 10:37 AM
Hi John
A great way to start is to get yourself a copy of 'Uncle Rods Boot Camp, you can find it here.

http://files.meetup.com/2868152/Ukulele%20Boot%20Camp%20rev%5B2%5D.pdf

Its a first class way to get the ball rolling and it is a very easy format to follow. Take your time with it and you will
start to improve rapidly.
Oh! and one more thing, ITS FREE!!!
Cheers
Gary

Tootler
08-05-2012, 10:52 AM
Think hard about what you want to achieve with the ukulele.

Do you want to accompany yourself singing, play it as a melody instrument or what?

What type of music, popular? classical etc.

If you can get that clear, you can then identify what aspects of playing you need to concentrate on.

I mainly wanted simple accompaniments for my singing so I focussed on learning chords and strums. Initially a fairly limited range of chords, enough to get started but then gradually increasing the number of chords I can play.

It helps to have clear goals and don't try to achieve too much at once.

Yestyn The Great
08-05-2012, 11:48 AM
Look up ukulele Mike's you tube vids. Learn a few songs/chords from him. Then find an ukulele group or club. Playing live with others is the best way to learn.

Tailgate
08-05-2012, 12:16 PM
Hi John
A great way to start is to get yourself a copy of 'Uncle Rods Boot Camp, you can find it here.

http://files.meetup.com/2868152/Ukulele%20Boot%20Camp%20rev%5B2%5D.pdf

Its a first class way to get the ball rolling and it is a very easy format to follow. Take your time with it and you will
start to improve rapidly.
Oh! and one more thing, ITS FREE!!!
Cheers
Gary

ditto on Uncle Rod's practice sheets.. My attention span is short and I wandered all over the place until I tried them. Just keep practicing until you've got them nailed. Try different strums and even some in/out or out/in/out picking to keep it interesting. Now I've added some theory lessons from UU and another site to learn about chord families, etc.. and it's finally 'clicking' for me. Not intimidated anymore. Good luck.

Kayak Jim
08-05-2012, 12:21 PM
Good advice so far. I'll just add to be patient. Improvement comes gradually then before you know it you'll be saying "Hey, I couldn't do THAT before".

Ken Middleton
08-05-2012, 12:55 PM
I've only been trying to learn for a few months. Took a group class. Tried private lessons. Can't afford them. Tried some online stuff, UUU and others. But I haven't found a method that suits me. There are so many options it's overwhelming. It's hard to separate the teachers from the ukulele 'bandwagon jumpers'...

I don't know if I fit into the "bandwagon jumper" category (sounds a bit too athletic for someone of my age), but you are correct in assuming that there are people teaching correct stuff and some teaching wrong things. Can't help you to sort out which is which though.

mm stan
08-05-2012, 01:45 PM
Hey John
All I can say John, is take it slow and enjoy the journey...when you try to learn to fast you get fustrated and confused.. the learning curb is as hard as you make it...many plateau out
and lose intrest for a while...learn nursey rhymes first, because you know the song by heart and rhythm and tempo...yes,, don't laugh you need the foundation before the walls my friend..
Happy Strummings and Good Luck....http://www.guitaretab.com/m/misc-childrens/12149.html
As for teachers, find one that is on the same page as you and what you want to
learn and your style...and no fillers, meaning they are there to teach you...not
extend your lessons so you pay more:o

PhilUSAFRet
08-05-2012, 01:58 PM
I would say the "Nui Ukulele" club in Chicago, but their website is down. I'd check stores that sell ukes in hope someone knows if they exist.

This is an old page, but there is an email address at the bottom..may still be good even if the webpage down.

http://www.nuiukulele.org/meeting_notice.htm

Also, for beginners, I like Ukulele for Dummies. If you are super basic, emedia has a uke course with the basics on DVD if you need something like that to learn...for some, beats cd's. Coaxe a friend or another family member into learning so you don't have to play alone. Good luck, lots of good videos online.

Also, sounds like you are focusing too much on finding the "perfect approach" to playing uke........jump in, practice.....lots's of practice. There are several ukulele playalong sites where they show you the chords while you play. Whatever learnin method works best for you, master the stuff in Uncle Rod's Bootcamp while you are searching. Having trouble with a technique, go to YouTube and search "ukulele...then list the techique yo want to see demonstrated." Most of the time you'll find a video to show you how. goodluck

chiefnoda
08-05-2012, 04:11 PM
Hi Heyjohn

I think the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy. You're overwhelmed because you're focused on learning??? Maybe you can pick three songs (probably from the lessons you took) and work on them. Once you get the three in a good shape, pick other three. You repartory continues to grow, while you're having fun?

I agree with the other suggestions, regarding learning techniques. Just dont lose sight - have fun!

Cheers
Chief

Asrafrate
08-05-2012, 09:09 PM
Thanks for posting this question. Not quite over whelmed, but wishing I could make that "leap" from being able to play chords, to being able to play MUSIC.

The Big Kahuna
08-05-2012, 09:12 PM
If you're playing chords, you're playing music :)

Asrafrate
08-05-2012, 09:25 PM
Nu way! Not the way I hear you guys make it :)

The Big Kahuna
08-05-2012, 09:56 PM
Nu way! Not the way I hear you guys make it :)

I honestly wouldn't include me in that statement.

Louis0815
08-05-2012, 11:07 PM
Zeb,

If you're playing chords, you're playing music :):agree:


Nu way! Not the way I hear you guys make it :)Depending on their personal background and experience, the "guys" have reached different levels of proficiency - that's all.
Which level do you want to achieve: something like e.g. The Fruity Ukuladies (http://www.youtube.com/user/FruityUkuladies) or rather something like Wilfried Welti (http://www.youtube.com/user/wwelti) or Ken Middleton (http://www.youtube.com/user/KenMiddletonUkulele) or Ukulele Mike (http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicTeacher2010) (just to pick a few random examples)?
Regardless of your final answer, never forget to enjoy your uke.

heyjohn
08-06-2012, 03:23 AM
Thank you so very much for all the support and suggestions. The response is overwhelming (pun intended). I've actually learned guitar (to advanced beginner) and piano (to intermediate) and was looking for more structured learning. I haven't found good structure online and there are few, if any, true ukulele teachers for private lessons, which are already too expensive. I find that I like listening to the music and losing myself in it, whether I'm making the music or not.

luluwrites
08-06-2012, 04:12 AM
If you're looking for structure, then determine a style you want to master and work your way through a book. For example: I'm interested in bluegrass, so I got Fred Sokolow's Jumpin' Jim's Ukulele Songbook. It begins with three ways to approach a bluegrass song: strumming with a thumb lead, strumming with an index lead, and rolling (Scruggs style). The book then takes you from the simplest of songs through to the most difficult and with each you're improving your skills in a systematic way. Many such books have a CD included, as this one does, and you can listen to how the song is "supposed" to be played while you work on it. Make your way through an entire book and you'll have come a long way not only in bluegrass, but in improving your rhythm, dexterity, and knowledge of chords. Then you can move on to a more difficult book in the same vein, or take up a different style like blues or Hawaiian. Some of your skills will apply, others won't, but you'll get better over time.

heyjohn
08-06-2012, 08:38 AM
Thanks lulu. I may give Jumpin' Jim a try (although I have to wonder why the auther uses Jumpin' Jim when maybe it should be Flippin' Fred). When I learned piano, I practiced scales every day but also played songs. I would concentrate on one or two until I got them to a certain skill level, then moved on to others, keeping the older ones in practice to 'perfect' them and keep them in my repertoire. Scales also increased in difficulty, and older ones were also practiced regularly. Practicing scales not only gave me dexterity, it taught me notes and keys. I guess I wanted something that combined the two but I see that I can do that myself. There's a lot of ukulele music that interests me. But I could be one, maybe the blues, and go from there.
Thanks again to everyone for the input and encouragement. Support goes a long way in keeping one on track.

Ron
08-06-2012, 11:04 AM
I agree with all those who remind you to enjoy.
I learned am learning) my teaming up with a mate and working our way through songs we ;like. he's a good player so i have to try and keep up. thursday nights, whiskey, a few laughs - three years later and I still really only strum and sing but we're having a ball and sometimes even get paid for it.

Tootler
08-06-2012, 12:25 PM
Thanks for posting this question. Not quite over whelmed, but wishing I could make that "leap" from being able to play chords, to being able to play MUSIC.

All I do is play chords. I sing over them and am quite happy because that's what I got the uke for. It all depends what your goals are. Nothing wrong with teaching yourself, there are many very good self taught musicians.

Zee
08-06-2012, 01:23 PM
If you're looking for more structured learning progressions, the Ukulele Fretboard Roadmaps book is good :)

Nickie
08-09-2012, 05:24 PM
I've learned a lot from Ukulele Mike You Tube videos... he teaches the basics.

hoosierhiver
08-10-2012, 04:46 AM
Don't forget to have fun. Look up some tabs for songs you really like, print them out and crack open a beer.

The Big Kahuna
08-10-2012, 04:48 AM
Look up some tabs for songs you really like, print them out and crack open a beer.

Mike's got it in the wrong order, but that's all part of the learning process.

Garydavkra
08-10-2012, 07:54 AM
Hi John,

It sounds like you are use to a structured approach to learning music since you studied piano and also play guitar which is a big plus. I approached learning guitar in a structured way also. I found that it has been very easy to crossover to ukulele from guitar and all of my guitar song books work just fine with the ukulele. So, I'm not sure where I'm going with this but, I've just been picking the songs that I want to play and singing along with them as I strum the chords. Finger picking is the next thing on my list and it is basically the same as guitar from what I've seen, minus two strings. I agree with what others have said and that is pick what interests you and go from there. That's what I'm doing and it's a blast.

mangorockfish
08-10-2012, 02:22 PM
Don't forget to have fun. Look up some tabs for songs you really like, print them out and crack open a beer.

Mike, you are da man!!!!

frets alot
08-10-2012, 03:06 PM
You've already received so much good advice. All I'll say is don't give up...be patient. You'll discover what works and what you're looking for.

1931jim
08-11-2012, 03:10 AM
You've already received so much good advice. All I'll say is don't give up...be patient. You'll discover what works and what you're looking for.
Ditto on this, also your own #18 posting. Pick your most favourite song that you don't need to think about the words and verses.
Have the chords embedded in your mind with the strumming first, then pick the melody, and then finally embellish with your arpeggios.
Thumb first,thumb second etc. "How slow can you go" is what I was told whenever I was starting anything new.

Yume
08-12-2012, 06:52 AM
Uncle Rod's bootcamp really helps and he also has a proficiency test for beginners. Once you can strum through this 'test', then you're no longer so green.

I also find a little bit of music theory alongside helps (for those with no music background), like what the hell is a 7th, or a sus, or a dim?!? :-)

Then, tackle the fretboard... you can simply start by trying to locating all the notes up each string.

One last thing, chord changes. There are many ways to hold down a chord--and there is no wrong way to do it. But the easiest, I think, are the ones that require the least amount of finger movements during switches. You will (self)discover these with the bootcamp exercises...