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View Full Version : How did you learn to play the Uke?



VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 02:52 AM
Hi! I can't seem to find many uke teachers in my area. I found a couple, but they are a little further than I would like to travel. So, should I just keep using YouTube videos, Internet sites, and Books for practice? I've always heard that a teacher is the best way to go. What do you think?

kirbo
09-11-2012, 03:04 AM
I learned from Youtube, different ukulele sites and UU. I could see how having a teacher may help once you feel you've hit a ceiling, like there's nothing more Aldrine can teach you, but I'm not nearly there yet and I probably won't be for years.

caroljean
09-11-2012, 03:07 AM
Hey again!

You know I just signed up for UU+, I'm still on the free trial period, and I've been checking out the Ukulele Underground University archives and they'll been really helpful. I couldn't chunk before and now I can! And even though I've been playing for over a year, there was basic stuff I missed.

Also, I really want to get a piedmont triad group together, and we may not be teachers, but I think, besides for having a ton of fun, that we could learn a lot from each other.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:10 AM
Hi Kirbo, I'm thinking about signing up for the UU lessons...I've heard some good things about Aldrines teaching style. Plus his YouTube videos are great. Thanks for the input!

lennymac
09-11-2012, 03:10 AM
Totally agree with above comment-go as far as you can until you feel you are unable to progress any further, then you may find 2 or 3 lessons allow you to break that barrier and move to the next level. Also, play with as many people as you can- even guitarists if,you don't know any uke players in the area - you'll be amazed bynwhatnyou can pick up just by playing with others.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:13 AM
@CarolJean yea, I had been contemplating on whether to sign up for the monthly subscription on here. I see a lot of members have, so it must be pretty good! I'll probably sign up today. I was looking for local groups and I didn't see any close by. It would be good to play with other ukulele players! I think it's the best way to learn!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:15 AM
Thanks for the advice @lennymac! I wish I knew some guitar players in my area...none of my friends play an instrument, ha ha!

luluwrites
09-11-2012, 03:16 AM
Are you anywhere near this place? North Carolina Uke Academy (http://www.alohau.com/)

If it is too far to go for regular lessons, you still might want to head over for a workshop or two.


Hi! I can't seem to find many uke teachers in my area. I found a couple, but they are a little further than I would like to travel. So, should I just keep using YouTube videos, Internet sites, and Books for practice? I've always heard that a teacher is the best way to go. What do you think?

MisterRios
09-11-2012, 03:18 AM
I sometimes wish I hadn't been so against the "for Dummies" tag, and ordered Ukulele for Dummies earlier. Lots of great stuff in there, and written by the guy who does the Ukulele Hunt website.

Also, what really helped me was playing with others (at least others in my uke meet-up) watching their technique and getting a few tips. As much as youtube and books help, real life interaction will make a lot of things click together and make you a better player.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:18 AM
Yea, I'm about 3.5 hours away! @luluwrites

caroljean
09-11-2012, 03:21 AM
@CarolJean yea, I had been contemplating on whether to sign up for the monthly subscription on here. I see a lot of members have, so it must be pretty good! I'll probably sign up today. I was looking for local groups and I didn't see any close by. It would be good to play with other ukulele players! I think it's the best way to learn!

You're in Greensboro right? I just opened up a thread on the regional get togethers. I really want to get a triad group together. Just have to figure out who, when, and where.

frankiefirefox
09-11-2012, 03:21 AM
I started off with UU+ then about four months in i went to an instructor. I found that the books just didn't do it for me. The UU+ is a great (and cheap!) way to get started.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:22 AM
@MisterRios thanks for the suggestions! Maybe I need to get a "Beginner" Ukulele group together in my area, but also have some experienced players there, also. I can't believe Greensboro doesn't have one already!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:23 AM
You're in Greensboro right? I just opened up a thread on the regional get togethers. I really want to get a triad group together. Just have to figure out who, when, and where.

Yep, I'm in Greensboro! Like I stated earlier...I can't believe that Greensboro doesn't have a group already!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 03:25 AM
I started off with UU+ then about four months in i went to an instructor. I found that the books just didn't do it for me. The UU+ is a great (and cheap!) way to get started.

Thanks! I may join today!

csibona
09-11-2012, 03:40 AM
I am learning through a diversity of methods - books, group lessons, videos, and one meeting with an instructor. I probably need more individual instruction at this time (either through books are through an instructor) and less group lesson time. I play plenty - but I need to work on specific deficits more...

Tootler
09-11-2012, 09:58 AM
I started out with an absolute beginners workshop but then worked it out for myself from there. I've taught myself to play a few instruments, so the uke was just one more.

I did buy Baz's book and Ukulele for Dummies and I go to occasional workshops when they are available locally.

I do a lot of watching and listening when I am out, mainly of guitarists, but a lot of the skills are transferable so I gain quite a bit from that.

janeray1940
09-11-2012, 10:09 AM
How did you learn to play the Uke?

Well, I should start by saying I doubt that my learning will ever be past tense - I doubt that I'll ever be able to say with finality "I've learned to play the uke" :)

I started in a group class and when that didn't get as complex as I wanted, I added weekly private lessons. Three years later, I'm still doing both.

iplayguitars
09-11-2012, 10:22 AM
youtube is a great resource, you dont really even need a teacher anymore

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 11:11 AM
I have a few songs and plenty of chords down. Do you think I need to learn scales to become a better player?

808boy
09-11-2012, 11:18 AM
Aloha,
Born and raised in Honolulu, lots of kids just grew into the ukulele while in grade school learning from other kids and our elders. Kinda like kids in Texas and many other states that grow into horse riding.
Although I learned that way, not having formal teaching has many drawbacks like not knowing the finger positions of many chords. When learning a song, some of the chords I don't know, but when I look it up, I DO know that chord but did'nt know the name of it. So having formal training is good....................................BO........ ....................

delray48209
09-11-2012, 11:34 AM
You Tube has been a blessing!

janeray1940
09-11-2012, 11:43 AM
I have a few songs and plenty of chords down. Do you think I need to learn scales to become a better player?

Depends what you want to play. If you're happy strumming chords and singing and don't want to take it further, probably not. If you want to play solos, then yes. Definitely yes.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 11:45 AM
Aloha,
Born and raised in Honolulu, lots of kids just grew into the ukulele while in grade school learning from other kids and our elders. Kinda like kids in Texas and many other states that grow into horse riding.
Although I learned that way, not having formal teaching has many drawbacks like not knowing the finger positions of many chords. When learning a song, some of the chords I don't know, but when I look it up, I DO know that chord but did'nt know the name of it. So having formal training is good....................................BO........ ....................

Thanks for the advice!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 11:46 AM
Depends what you want to play. If you're happy strumming chords and singing and don't want to take it further, probably not. If you want to play solos, then yes. Definitely yes.

I definitely want to take my playing further! Do you suggest any study materials for learning scales?

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 11:47 AM
You Tube has been a blessing!

Yea, YouTube has taught me a lot, also!

janeray1940
09-11-2012, 11:54 AM
I definitely want to take my playing further! Do you suggest any study materials for learning scales?

I'm one of those oddballs who can't learn from videos or books, so I'm of no real help here... My system for learning scales has been to draw out a fretboard diagram, identify where the notes are, and use that to improvise.

The Fretboard Roadmaps (http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roadmaps-Ukulele-Essential-Patterns/dp/1423400410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347400221&sr=8-1&keywords=ukulele+fretboard+roadmaps) is a good resource for this sort of thing - the author is one of my uke instructors, and while I couldn't learn much directly from the book, when he did a workshop on it everything sank in.

If you Google "ukulele scales" a lot comes up that looks like it could be useful.

uke4ia
09-11-2012, 11:59 AM
I learned to play with just a Mel Bay beginners book that had a few pages of chords in the back, and a couple books of piano/guitar sheet music of songs I liked. I would learn the chords I needed for the songs I wanted to play. (This was back before the Internet and on-line instruction videos.)

PhilUSAFRet
09-11-2012, 12:08 PM
If you are like me, I like to see someone demo what I'm trying to learn. I used emedia's guitar course, it was decent. This should get you comfortable with the basics so you can move forward more confidently on your own with books, etc. Do some price shopping, this is available at Music123, GuitarCenter, probably Amazon, etc. don't forget to check half.com and ebay too.

http://www.emediamusic.com/dvdrsc.html

For example: $16.95 at Musician's Friend

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/books-videos-music/emedia-ukulele-play-along-with-ralph-shaw-dvd

PoiDog
09-11-2012, 12:20 PM
First time I ever picekd up an 'ukulele was in Hawai'i about 15 years back. I was living with my wife's extended family, and her uncle had some buddies over for some pau hana beers. They got to playing instruments (mainly samishen and uke), and handed me a uke after I expressed curiosity. I told them I had no idea how to play, when one of the guys showed me how to hold it, pointed at my index finger and said something like, "You take dis buggah and strum da kine. Den with da oddah hand you wen go an jus press da strings."

That was lesson one, and still the most useful thing I've learned.

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 12:33 PM
First time I ever picekd up an 'ukulele was in Hawai'i about 15 years back. I was living with my wife's extended family, and her uncle had some buddies over for some pau hana beers. They got to playing instruments (mainly samishen and uke), and handed me a uke after I expressed curiosity. I told them I had no idea how to play, when one of the guys showed me how to hold it, pointed at my index finger and said something like, "You take dis buggah and strum da kine. Den with da oddah hand you wen go an jus press da strings."

That was lesson one, and still the most useful thing I've learned.

LOL!! What ever works, right?!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 12:33 PM
If you are like me, I like to see someone demo what I'm trying to learn. I used emedia's guitar course, it was decent. This should get you comfortable with the basics so you can move forward more confidently on your own with books, etc. Do some price shopping, this is available at Music123, GuitarCenter, probably Amazon, etc. don't forget to check half.com and ebay too.

http://www.emediamusic.com/dvdrsc.html

For example: $16.95 at Musician's Friend

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/books-videos-music/emedia-ukulele-play-along-with-ralph-shaw-dvd

Thanks, I look into that!

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 12:35 PM
I learned to play with just a Mel Bay beginners book that had a few pages of chords in the back, and a couple books of piano/guitar sheet music of songs I liked. I would learn the chords I needed for the songs I wanted to play. (This was back before the Internet and on-line instruction videos.)

That's basically how I've taught myself, what I know now...just by playing songs that I like on YouTube...I really want to learn how to play some stuff on my own

VaGoddess
09-11-2012, 12:35 PM
I'm one of those oddballs who can't learn from videos or books, so I'm of no real help here... My system for learning scales has been to draw out a fretboard diagram, identify where the notes are, and use that to improvise.

The Fretboard Roadmaps (http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roadmaps-Ukulele-Essential-Patterns/dp/1423400410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347400221&sr=8-1&keywords=ukulele+fretboard+roadmaps) is a good resource for this sort of thing - the author is one of my uke instructors, and while I couldn't learn much directly from the book, when he did a workshop on it everything sank in.

If you Google "ukulele scales" a lot comes up that looks like it could be useful.

Thanks for the suggestion!

OldePhart
09-11-2012, 12:49 PM
Still working on that...

Lalz
09-11-2012, 01:16 PM
Aldrine's lessons, Ukehunt, Fretboard Roadmap: I totally agree, they're all excellent methods!
There's also Jimmy D'Ville's Playing by Ear method (http://www.playukulelebyear.com/). It's been of great help for me, especially in terms of learning how to play along with others. There's two DVDs you can get from his website. Really good stuff as well.

Rubio MHS
09-11-2012, 01:30 PM
My background is a little different. I'd been a serious musician for 20 years, with a teaching credential in math and instrumental music when I first bought a Lanikai soprano at a music store. I learned to play the uke using fakebooks, playing one chord a measure and singing. When I got better, I started strumming swing patterns and fingerpicking a little bit. Eventually, I started reading tabs.

addicted2myuke
09-11-2012, 03:00 PM
Go to www.meetup.com and type in ukulele in the search bar. It's like getting free uke lessons because members of the meetup group are all skill levels. It's free to join. They meet at churches, other members houses etc. and just play and talk about ukuleles. youtube has literally hundreds of tutorials from some amazing uke players. Look at any of ukulele mike's videos. He is an great teacher and does not talk down to new uke players. Dr uke has many easy uke songs to print off and learn, and www.scorpex.net/uke has hundreds of songs. Private lessons are very expensive. $25.00 for 30 minutes where I come from. Get to a meetup. You'll be glad you did. Best of luck.

Dan Uke
09-11-2012, 03:16 PM
You can also take lessons from skype...I was looking up krisfuchigami's site and his lessons seem reasonably priced. I know The Jumping Flea teaches via skype as well.

thegame1944
09-12-2012, 02:51 PM
you tube- Ukulele Mike, the guy's lessons are great and easy to follow, only been strumming for 2 months and i know close to 80 songs, i am still learning and enjoying every minute of it

Pondoro
09-12-2012, 03:01 PM
I got a chord chart on the internet and a bunch of songs with chords and just started strumming. But I had played tuba, harmonica, tenor banjo and recorder, so I knew something already.

TCK
09-12-2012, 03:22 PM
My schedule does not allow me to take lessons very regularly, but I sat down the other day with another friendly UU'er and learned two strums, two chords and two song in a matter of minutes. I think, of course, playing with others is the way to go. At some point a may take a lesson or two, but I would certainly rather just watch someones hands and figure it out in a park somewhere.

Nickie
09-12-2012, 03:43 PM
From a video by Lil Rev, and You Tube videos, mostly Ukulele Mike.

itsme
09-12-2012, 05:28 PM
I came from a background as a classical guitarist. All my CG skills totally carried over to uke. It's like a small CG with 4 strings instead of 6. A bit easier (and for the most part, more fun!) to play than a CG. :)

So it was actually a very small learning curve for me. :p

Garydavkra
09-14-2012, 09:32 AM
Well, I started with guitar years ago. But, I approached it the same way I would teach my art students. So, what's the connection between art and music? Theory. I would tell my art students that if all they wanted to do was paint then learning a few techniques would probably make them happy. However, if they learn color theory, composition, etc. then they can do just about anything. So, I learned music theory right from the beginning.

Music theory and actually playing an instrument are two different things, however. I'm still working on the playing part and coming from guitar has really helped. Theory has also helped me understand composition and how to read and write my own music.

I've used books mostly and I have several FAKE books as well. The only formal instruction that I've had is through a local college. I took a semester of guitar. If you have a college in Greensboro, you might check it out. If you're lucky they might have a class for ukulele. By the way, when I was a kid I lived in Goldsboro.

slackkey007
09-14-2012, 10:13 AM
I highly recommend UU+ :shaka:

Tootler
09-14-2012, 11:27 AM
Well, I should start by saying I doubt that my learning will ever be past tense - I doubt that I'll ever be able to say with finality "I've learned to play the uke" :)


Nor will you ever. I've been playing recorder on an off for nigh on 50 years and I'm still learning.

VaGoddess
09-14-2012, 11:38 AM
you tube- Ukulele Mike, the guy's lessons are great and easy to follow, only been strumming for 2 months and i know close to 80 songs, i am still learning and enjoying every minute of it

That's great! You've been learning solely from the Ukulele Mike stuff?

VaGoddess
09-14-2012, 11:40 AM
I came from a background as a classical guitarist. All my CG skills totally carried over to uke. It's like a small CG with 4 strings instead of 6. A bit easier (and for the most part, more fun!) to play than a CG. :)

So it was actually a very small learning curve for me. :p

So you play a lot of classical stuff on the Uke?

VaGoddess
09-14-2012, 11:42 AM
Well, I started with guitar years ago. But, I approached it the same way I would teach my art students. So, what's the connection between art and music? Theory. I would tell my art students that if all they wanted to do was paint then learning a few techniques would probably make them happy. However, if they learn color theory, composition, etc. then they can do just about anything. So, I learned music theory right from the beginning.

Music theory and actually playing an instrument are two different things, however. I'm still working on the playing part and coming from guitar has really helped. Theory has also helped me understand composition and how to read and write my own music.

I've used books mostly and I have several FAKE books as well. The only formal instruction that I've had is through a local college. I took a semester of guitar. If you have a college in Greensboro, you might check it out. If you're lucky they might have a class for ukulele. By the way, when I was a kid I lived in Goldsboro.

Thanks for the suggestions!

melodicADD
09-15-2012, 06:08 AM
... One day I just picked up the uke, went online to figure out the tuning and realized it's the guitar capo'd at the 5th fret... 1st 4 strings.

In 10 minutes, I added a new instrument to my obsession. =)

Barry Barmcake
09-15-2012, 07:05 AM
I'd a head start, played guitar since I was about 17 and I'm now 40.

Last year, a couple of friends who play uke got me going - one kindly restrung a cheap uke for me to try (I'm left-handed) - I loved to play 'finger-picking' style and was instanly hooked (or 'uked') here with the sound I got... I then bought myself a concert uke and from then on never looked back.

I also got myself a uke-banjo and learned how to play that 'Formby-style' - loads of tips and stuff I picked up were from 'youtube' - there are a wealth of online tutorials out there than people kindly share for free. :)

The only trouble is - I'm now a Ukaholic! I've got six of the damned things! :D

Mind you - I have to say this - I rarely touch a guitar now - I much prefer the uke any day! :)

UkuleleHan96
09-15-2012, 07:26 AM
i just tought myself watching tons of vids on youtube :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUV2VSxI4As&feature=plcp

itsme
09-15-2012, 10:24 AM
So you play a lot of classical stuff on the Uke?
Yes! I'm much more of a picker than a strummer. There are a lot of good fingerpicking arrangements out there covering the gamut of musical genres. :)

Newportlocal
09-15-2012, 10:33 AM
I have seen this thread up for awhile, but wanted my recall to be correct. Originally, a chord chart and songs with tabs at alligator boogaloo. A little later a few private lessons, but now days you tube is my friend. Uke minutes by Aldrine is very helpful.

VaGoddess
09-15-2012, 03:53 PM
I have seen this thread up for awhile, but wanted my recall to be correct. Originally, a chord chart and songs with tabs at alligator boogaloo. A little later a few private lessons, but now days you tube is my friend. Uke minutes by Aldrine is very helpful.

Seems like YouTube has been a help to a lot of beginner ukulele players! Thanks for all the suggestions and advice, so far!

americanidle
09-16-2012, 10:03 AM
I'm going to give a "shout out" to Uncle Rod Higuchi's 'Ukulele Boot Camp'. It's a free publication available for download. Just Google it for the link. He's a UU member. My progress skyrocketed after following his method. He makes you look a Bb chord in the eye and say, "Lets step outside, you're going down!" Many, many thanks Rod!

VaGoddess
09-16-2012, 12:49 PM
I'm going to give a "shout out" to Uncle Rod Higuchi's 'Ukulele Boot Camp'. It's a free publication available for download. Just Google it for the link. He's a UU member. My progress skyrocketed after following his method. He makes you look a Bb chord in the eye and say, "Lets step outside, you're going down!" Many, many thanks Rod!

haha! I will definitely check that out! Thanks!

quiltingshirley
09-16-2012, 12:57 PM
We took a 2 week Princess cruise from LA to the Islands. They gave free uke lessons and had ukes we could use. By the time we got home we could play 6 or 7 songs (just chords, strumming and singing) and our own ukes from Oahau. We thought we were great and went to the local Jam. Shortly after that we took Adult Ed lessons at the local college and printed out Uncle Rod's Boot Camp. We're now addicted.

VaGoddess
09-19-2012, 04:53 PM
i just tought myself watching tons of vids on youtube :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUV2VSxI4As&feature=plcp

What video lessons did you go to? Good playing!