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View Full Version : Could I teach a uke class?



addicted2myuke
09-30-2012, 03:48 AM
I recently took the 45 minute free class at Guitar Center and although the teacher was well intentioned and friendly, he is a guitar player and not familiar with the uke like someone who is teaching this instrument should be. He has only been playing the uke for 3 months and not consistantly so he was pretty mixed up with the proper way to teach a beginner some basic chords. He was trying to teach beginners the E chord. Yikes! I have been playing daily for almost 2 years and have a difficulty with that one myself. I get that Guitar Center is trying to sell some ukuleles, but there was no thought going into this class at all. There were only three of us, and the other two students had never picked up a uke before. They left with no more knowledge than when they arrived. I have taught courses in other things, (jewelry making, and bartending) and know how to teach beginners. This whole thing got me to thinking that I could teach beginner's uke. How would I go about this? Do I need a special permit? I love this instrument so much that I would teach for free, but can use the extra income. Any advice?

JamieFromOntario
09-30-2012, 04:49 AM
I think if you bill yourself as a teacher for beginner players, you would be fine. I highly doubt you need any particular qualifications to teach. Maybe the Guitar Center will want you to have something, but my guess is, that if you make the customers happy, the Guitar Center will be more than happy to have you teach there.

I have been playing for about 3 years myself and have also been giving some thought to teaching some lessons, though i've been thinking of working privately, not through a music school or store.


Let us know how it goes.

addicted2myuke
09-30-2012, 05:04 AM
Thanks for your response JamieFromOntario. The current teacher there works there as a guitar consultant and seller so he is serving double duty. He was chosen by the manager because he plays the guitar. Obviously, the manager is not a guitar player or uke player as they are two different teaching methods. I would not want to teach there. I was thinking of giving lessons in my home or theirs.

SailingUke
09-30-2012, 05:24 AM
Playing and teaching are two different skills. While being proficient on the instrument is required you don't need to be a Jake.
I have taken many classes and workshops from some great players that were really bad teachers. I have tried to put my workshops and classes together using techniques from some of the best teachers.
If you want to teach my advice is take time to prepare your lesson plan(s) and stick to it so you don't wander during the session.

addicted2myuke
09-30-2012, 05:42 AM
Thanks SailingUke. I am a professional organizer in business for 25 years, so organizing a lesson plan is a cinch for me. You have given me encouragement to do this.

heyjohn
09-30-2012, 06:57 AM
I thought of this myself when I first started. I've played some guitar and uke was coming easliy enough. Time commitment was the problem for me. It's hard enough for me to find time to practice myself. But I thought I'm not really good enough for individual lessons but a beginners group would suit me just fine. It could be an 8 or 10 week class, about an hour each. Rather than in my home or someone else's I would try to hook up with a local music school or community center. The uke is growing in popularity and I bet either one would love to try a beginners class. Anyway, my goal would be to bring new players into the uke world and inspire them to enjoy the music. Anyone who wanted to go further would have plenty of options, online and elsewhere. Oh well, my 2 cents grew to near a quarter. Good luck in whatever you try!

Manalishi
09-30-2012, 07:04 AM
Back in the early days of our local club,which meets fortnightly,
myself and another member started a 'beginners workshop' for
absolute newbies.The other guy has better credentials than me,
as he is a music reader and understands more theory than I do;
but between us,we did a good job! We prepared our 'lessons' in
advance and made sure we covered basics,one step at a time.
The reason we classed it as a 'workshop' rather than a 'class'
was that we also showed the members how to set up their ukes
and do 'relative tuning' as opposed to relying on electronic tuners
all the while.
It ran for around six months, and did okay! So if you have the
nerve,prepare what you want to show them in advance, and
go for it! Any skill you have,no matter how small you may think
it, will help someone else who may have no idea at all!

vanflynn
09-30-2012, 07:45 AM
Howlin hobbit has some great stuff on his web site. http://www.howlinhobbit.com/ukulele/

I used the ukulele chord exercise sheets in the key of C with some success

Ted4
09-30-2012, 09:05 AM
I think SailingUke has nailed it. A GOOD teacher doesn't haveto be a GOOD player, it's all about imparting knowledge. I can play pretty well but I would be a RUBBISH teacher as I have no patience! My father used to teach Economics, and he used to say that he was only one chapter ahead of his students and was therefore a 'teacher'.

dannyman
09-30-2012, 09:44 AM
I Have been playing ukulele for abou 4 years now. I play shows and do gigs. I have never had any formal ukulele instruction, and taught myself how to play by looking up the chords online. Still, I teach ukulele lessons to private clients now and then, and they say that they love it. Having approached an instrument with no formal education means that you can relate more to the clients who (like you yeas ago) have no idea what their doing. If you love the uke and are able to play decently I say go for it.

OldePhart
09-30-2012, 12:07 PM
Honestly, I think someone who is going to set themselves out to teach strangers (as opposed to family and friends) should at least be proficient enough that an E chord is just another chord and not a big deal.

On the other hand, if you have the patience to deal with the same questions and mistakes over, and over, and over again...and the people skills to actually enjoy that and make the students feel that you are enjoying teaching them as much as they are enjoying learning...then you are probably already a better teacher than I will ever be. :)

John

addicted2myuke
09-30-2012, 01:58 PM
The E chord is not a chord a beginner should start off learning. C, F, Am, G, G7, C7 etc are enough in the beginning to be able to learn dozens of songs and encourage further playing. Expecting a beginner to stretch to make an E chord is unrealistic. IMHO it is not just another chord. I would never teach it at first.

Garydavkra
09-30-2012, 03:25 PM
I recently took the 45 minute free class at Guitar Center and although the teacher was well intentioned and friendly, he is a guitar player and not familiar with the uke like someone who is teaching this instrument should be. He has only been playing the uke for 3 months and not consistantly so he was pretty mixed up with the proper way to teach a beginner some basic chords. He was trying to teach beginners the E chord. Yikes! I have been playing daily for almost 2 years and have a difficulty with that one myself. I get that Guitar Center is trying to sell some ukuleles, but there was no thought going into this class at all. There were only three of us, and the other two students had never picked up a uke before. They left with no more knowledge than when they arrived. I have taught courses in other things, (jewelry making, and bartending) and know how to teach beginners. This whole thing got me to thinking that I could teach beginner's uke. How would I go about this? Do I need a special permit? I love this instrument so much that I would teach for free, but can use the extra income. Any advice?

No, you don't need a special permit or any certification. However, speaking from experience, it helps to have some kind of certification or formal training. I don't teach music but, I do teach art. That may be important to some students and you may have some ask you about your background or your credentials.

connor013
09-30-2012, 04:00 PM
Hey addicted,

I don't know about permits, etc., but I can tell you there's a market.

A student of mine started a uke club last year, which was basically an excuse for the two of us to jam and goof off after class. We now have a dozen regular members, and they're all keen to learn. We've even had another teacher join up.

I can't imagine there's any real money in it, but I can imagine it would be a pretty cool way to spend an afternoon.

You could also check out local music schools. I know Marblehead/Salem has one, for example: http://www.marbleheadmusic.com/

Good luck.

OldePhart
09-30-2012, 04:20 PM
The E chord is not a chord a beginner should start off learning. C, F, Am, G, G7, C7 etc are enough in the beginning to be able to learn dozens of songs and encourage further playing. Expecting a beginner to stretch to make an E chord is unrealistic. IMHO it is not just another chord. I would never teach it at first.

I wasn't implying it should be taught first, merely that if one is going to hang out a shingle as an instructor that chord shouldn't give them, i.e. the instructor, any problem. In fact, I would expect an instructor to know the three common forms of the first position E and that he or she would not find any of them particularly difficult.

It's true that the C, F, G, and Am (and Dm) chords should be the first a beginner learns not only because they are easy chords but because with those chords a beginner can play dang near anything (transposing it to C, of course) and it's crucial to get a beginner making real music - and songs he or she likes, not "Row, row, row your boat" - as quickly as possible.

Still I wonder how many uke players think the E chord is difficult merely because they were told it was! And that's kind of my point...someone who is going to hang out a shingle to teach strangers should recognize that some people might have difficulty with the E at first - but they shouldn't predispose them to having that trouble!

Frankly, I never have understood the fuss over the E chord, anyway. None of the three main ways of playing a first-position E chord should be a problem for an adolescent or adult with normal-sized hands (on a soprano or concert, anyway), and the 4447 barre form is cake even on a baritone. For that matter, I find the 4442 form easier on a tenor or baritone than on a soprano because typically the soprano neck is so narrow that it makes getting that three-string third-finger barre a bit tight to get the arch over the first string unless I finger it barre-index instead of barre-barre.

And...in my opinion anyone who is going to hang out a shingle should teach the 4447 and, on soprano at least, 1402 (IP_R) forms before the 4442 form. Both of those forms are more useful unless you are an advanced player who needs the versatility of being able to finger pick the 4442, 4445 (7th) and 4447 chords from a single hand position. In fact, if you're doing anything except that melody run the 4447 leaves your hand in a better position to do variations of the E chord (E, E6, EMaj7 E7, Esus, and E7sus are all literally right there under your fingers). In fact, the only real transition you loose over the 4442 from is the ease of getting from E to Em or vice verse and that is a VERY rare transition. (Edit to add - my bad, you miss out on one other variation, the E2, however, that chord is pretty rare in most music.)

Well...sorry for hijacking the thread...didn't mean to make it about the E chord :)

John

itsme
09-30-2012, 05:19 PM
No, you don't need a special permit or any certification. However, speaking from experience, it helps to have some kind of certification or formal training. I don't teach music but, I do teach art. That may be important to some students and you may have some ask you about your background or your credentials.
I think that may be true of some things/instruments, but not all. What aspiring rock guitarist wouldn't drool at the chance to take lessons from a real rock star, even if said star was entirely self-taught, couldn't read a lick of music and had zero credentials other than being an awesome player? I think credentials matter much more in the classical arena.

Many years ago, I was paying $40/hr. for classical guitar lessons. These days, well qualified teachers probably go for a lot more.

I don't think there are many aspiring uke players willing to pay anywhere near that for lessons.

Just as an aside, did you know Chris Broderick of Megadeth has a degree in classical guitar performance? He's actually pretty darn good. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-ze51lEt3w

Garydavkra
10-01-2012, 10:40 AM
I think that may be true of some things/instruments, but not all. What aspiring rock guitarist wouldn't drool at the chance to take lessons from a real rock star, even if said star was entirely self-taught, couldn't read a lick of music and had zero credentials other than being an awesome player? I think credentials matter much more in the classical arena.

Many years ago, I was paying $40/hr. for classical guitar lessons. These days, well qualified teachers probably go for a lot more.

I don't think there are many aspiring uke players willing to pay anywhere near that for lessons.

Just as an aside, did you know Chris Broderick of Megadeth has a degree in classical guitar performance? He's actually pretty darn good. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-ze51lEt3w

I understand exactly what you are saying. It just depends on what a person wants to learn. There are so many different facets to music. The reason I mentioned it is because, it does make a difference to some people. I know that as an instructor and as a student. I practically interview the instructor before I decide to take lessons. It doesn't matter if its, guitar, ukulele, art or martial arts. I want to know if I'm going to get a good foundation on which to build especially, if I'm going to be paying for it. It doesn't mean that they need a degree or can read music or teach music theory. It all depends on what the student expects. However, I think the more well rounded a teacher is, the better it is for the teacher and the student. I'm talking mainly from an educational standpoint.

I had to smile when you said that you don't think that aspiring ukulele players would want to pay more for lessons. I'm not sure I would agree since I see a lot of people on this forum that are willing to pay thousands for a ukulele. :D

PhilUSAFRet
10-01-2012, 04:58 PM
I'm taking all this in because I am developing a ukulele for beginner's class for seniors at our local "Shepards Center" to be taught at session beginning in January. I'm no virtuoso, but have 35 years training experience under my belt and believe I can teach the basics to noobs far better than most of the really good players I've seen try. The leader of my uke club is great. I'm hoping to get a 10 pack of those Rogues, set them up, and sell at cost for those who don't have a uke. By the time they leave, they will know if they want a better uke and how and where to acquire one.

OldePhart
10-02-2012, 06:43 AM
I'm taking all this in because I am developing a ukulele for beginner's class for seniors at our local "Shepards Center" to be taught at session beginning in January. I'm no virtuoso, but have 35 years training experience under my belt and believe I can teach the basics to noobs far better than most of the really good players I've seen try. The leader of my uke club is great. I'm hoping to get a 10 pack of those Rogues, set them up, and sell at cost for those who don't have a uke. By the time they leave, they will know if they want a better uke and how and where to acquire one.

That's a great project. One thing to keep in mind with folks in that age group is that some will have pretty severe mobility and strength problems with fingers. Might want to be ready to recommend a concert to someone who is having difficulty managing some of the more crowded shapes on a soprano, etc.

SailingUke
10-02-2012, 07:48 AM
I'm taking all this in because I am developing a ukulele for beginner's class for seniors at our local "Shepards Center" to be taught at session beginning in January. I'm no virtuoso, but have 35 years training experience under my belt and believe I can teach the basics to noobs far better than most of the really good players I've seen try. The leader of my uke club is great. I'm hoping to get a 10 pack of those Rogues, set them up, and sell at cost for those who don't have a uke. By the time they leave, they will know if they want a better uke and how and where to acquire one.

Phil,
I teach a lot of beginners from all ages. My goal is just to get them strumming and singing. I teach a few simple songs. I start with two chord songs, "Everybody Loves Saturday Night" (F/C) & "Jambalaya" (C/G7)
I then move to "You are my Sunshine" (C/F/G7). I then teach Bb and play "Moonlight Bay" (F/Bb/C). Bb is tough, but since so many songs are in "F" it is important. I try and expose them to more advanced playing and picking in hopes that some are motivated to continue on. It is my experience that if I can get them strumming and singing they are happy and continue learning. Remember we were all total beginners at one time and were easily overwhelmed.
On the dvd "The Mighty Uke" there are some shorts. James Hill gives "Your First Uke Lesson", I have memorized it almost word for word and use it as my first lesson and/or workshop.
Good luck and keep it fun, easy and upbeat for you and the students and you will be great. Feel free to contact me if I can assist.

PhilUSAFRet
10-02-2012, 09:21 AM
Lots of good feedback...thanks...may take you up on that Sailing. I just want to have an inexpensive but playable uke if they don't already have one. One of my goals is that before they finish the class, they will know what kind and size uke they will want and how to go about getting a playable one. I will have ukes of all sizes for them to try (except baritone). Hopefully, a few of my uke club folk may stop by and give help. I'm 71, so I pretty well "get" the old folks. thanks again