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~dave~~wave~
04-22-2013, 04:30 AM
I'd appreciate other peoples' take on this.
A surprise announcement by the group "owner" with no discussion by the club as a whole.

​http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Lincoln_Ukulele_Group/message/508




Recently we have been playing out of a couple of excellent (but [B]expensive) music books (Yes they include actual musical notation). These books can be a great challenge, but each one may cost more than your first ukulele.


As of our next meeting… …we will play from our website files... [exclusively]

glass
04-22-2013, 04:35 AM
One group I meet with has club files and the other uses a couple books. Also being the Daily Ukulele books but I don't have them as I prefer to play contemporary music rather then stuff before I was born my :2cents:

BlueLatitude
04-22-2013, 04:38 AM
I sort of get it where that's coming from, but I don't understand how you can learn to play your ukulele if people "openly take pride in playing the wrong chord." I'm all for relaxed and easy but that's pushing it a bit.

How can you improve if you don't play with people who know more than you? Can the people who aren't more advanced but still want to learn go play with the new group?

Sporin
04-22-2013, 04:39 AM
Interesting.... I wonder what the impetus was? Complainers? Hurt feelings? Reading between the lines it sounds like there was a big schism between the new players and the folks who were better players... I think it can be tricky to balance. Sounds like the club leaders want to focus on the newbies. It also sounds like the Daily Ukulele book was a casualty of that decision, not necessarily the crux of it.

Just a guess, no affiliation.

My local club has a similar schism right now, but we've stayed dedicated to playing a mix of easier and harder songs and everyone has kept a positive, communal outlook on it (as near as I can tell). No group should revel in playing badly, but all should try to be open and helpful with new folks so they aren't intimidated or feel judged, dismissed, or unwelcome.

sukie
04-22-2013, 04:42 AM
Absurd. I don't particularly care for the books myself. However, there are songs in both books that I can find to like. Everybody can find a song they like. Having those books makes it easy for everyone to have the same music.

I am more concerned about one person making all the decisions. It is a group, no? If you are already playing out of the book, people must have the book. People can share music, too.

We have club files. We are "allowed" to bring other music as long as we bring enough copies for all. (Sometimes we have to share, big whoop). Your club founder needs to lighten up or he/she could face a mutiny. Ukulele clubs are for fun. And voluntary. aAt least last I heard.

Edit: just read the link. I would not fit in there at all. I ALWAYS have a cocktail before Uke group. I wish we met at a bar. It'd be more fun.
Oh, I have so much to say about this, but I won't. I would just start another group.

Mooh
04-22-2013, 04:53 AM
Maybe it was a copyright issue, ie, not everyone had a copy of the books nor wanted to buy them and no on ewanted to risk photocopying.

Or maybe there's a control freak somewhere in the mix.

Or maybe it was simply easier to return to their previous resource.

Or maybe it IS as they said in the article, but I don't understand for the life of me why anyone designs things to stay "dumbed down".

I like the Daily books and use the first one for supplimentary material with 2 students who also bought them. They are accurate, clear and readable, not too expensive for what you get, and widely available.

There was a similar issue with the book Rise Up Singing in folk clubs.

Peace.

Kanaka916
04-22-2013, 05:01 AM
Just curious, what's the average age group of the club? That may have something to do with the decision. Also mentioned in the email another location was offered for more advanced players to use as an option to pursue different goals possibly a new club.

Harold O.
04-22-2013, 05:04 AM
We've been drawing from the Blue Book much of this year but are getting away from it. We use it because of the variety it offers, but also for the learning experience. Our group is aimed at beginner/intermediate players. Having the music notation in play makes us stretch our knowledge a bit. Of course, some of the arrangements leave us wondering why we tried that particular song... The book also keeps some of the photocopy costs under control.

Keeping a group vibrant is harder than it seems for a variety of reasons.

And (not trying to be too crude here) spending $30 for a music book that has enough arrangements to keep you busy with a fresh one every single day of the year is not out of line.

bborzell
04-22-2013, 05:08 AM
Not clear on why this might be viewed in a negative light. The message references ongoing discussions with folks as opposed to simply being an edict from on high. It re-emphasizes the apparent original group intent to focus on easy and stressless songs. And it recognizes the desires of players who are advancing in playing skills by noting the offer from a shop owner for space for an advanced group meeting.

No booze and family oriented language should be fine for folks who see those requisites as important. I don't see a big deal here. Sounds like a group of folks with specific wants and desires getting back to their roots while seeing to it that others who might want to play more complex stuff (and maybe tip a few with adult language:drool:) also have a play to play.

hoosierhiver
04-22-2013, 05:10 AM
Personally I think when you play in a group, you should try to watch others and watch what chords they are playing as much as possible if you don't know the song. It's kind of tough at first, but you quickly learn to follow others and learn the chord shapes by sight. This greatly improves your fun playing with others down the road.

TG&Y
04-22-2013, 05:23 AM
"please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member -gm"


i'd appreciate other peoples' take on this.
A surprise announcement by the group "owner" with no discussion by the club as a whole.

​http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/lincoln_ukulele_group/message/508

[bold emphasis is mine]

904cc
04-22-2013, 05:37 AM
Absurd. I don't particularly care for the books myself. However, there are songs in both books that I can find to like. Everybody can find a song they like. Having those books makes it easy for everyone to have the same music.

I am more concerned about one person making all the decisions. It is a group, no? If you are already playing out of the book, people must have the book. People can share music, too.

We have club files. We are "allowed" to bring other music as long as we bring enough copies for all. (Sometimes we have to share, big whoop). Your club founder needs to lighten up or he/she could face a mutiny. Ukulele clubs are for fun. And voluntary. aAt least last I heard.

Edit: just read the link. I would not fit in there at all. I ALWAYS have a cocktail before Uke group. I wish we met at a bar. It'd be more fun.
Oh, I have so much to say about this, but I won't. I would just start another group.

And this sort of attitude is probably what led to the group to return to it's roots, and the start of a more advanced group meeting elsewhere !

I have no affiliation, or knowledge beyond the OP's attached document, but I totally see where they are coming from. The original goals were to create a family friendly atmosphere where anyone would feel welcome and comfortable, i.e. clearly aimed at encouraging new players of every age. The stated fact that the books in question probably cost more than a "first ukulele", I presume reflect a feeling that new players will be dissuaded from attending or too intimidated to return, if expensive books that features "actual music notations" are required.

People like Sukie (a member here for approximately 5 years, so presumably a veteran player) who state that it's "Absurd" to stick to these basic original goals of the group, are probably the type of people who would also intimidate and dissuade the return of a new t new member.

Seems to me the group is just trying to please everyone - keeping to the original family/beginner/fun format and advertising a new group for the more advanced and serious players.

No offense meant to any of the previous posters, just the opinion of someone who clearly remembers the absolute horror and fear of first attending a group. Just sayin' !

sukie
04-22-2013, 05:46 AM
Au contraire. I am not that good. I go to ukulele club to play with others.

I clearly remember my first ukulele club meeting. I was terrified. I could maybe play every third chord. Maybe.
I believe ukulele club is for everyone. That's right -- every one. I also believe that it should be a democracy. I also believe it should be fun. I also know our club has met with more success by using those books. The yellow book is, in my opinion, easier than the blue book. But by using those books everyone has the same music.

Mods -- you may delete this post. I am terribly offended 904cc that you think so little of me. Have we met? Have you heard me play? Do you know anything at all about me? I don't think so.

SailingUke
04-22-2013, 05:50 AM
I believe it is great when a club as an official book or books, so everyone can play from the same source.
Printing songs from the internet is easy and free, but, I believe, it is a copyright infringement.
A few groups I belong to use the "Daily Ukulele" books as our club books, but many folks bring in other songs.
There are also times when the book key is just wrong for the singer so we transpose.
If you don't read music the lyrics and chords are still there for the beginning player.

Bottom line is I don't understand the ban or the point.

quiltingshirley
04-22-2013, 05:52 AM
Between the 2 Daily Uke Books there is a variety of super easy kids songs. At most of the Jams we go to folks can play from the books, bring music to share and sing, or just play and let folks join in if they want. (We do like the casual feel). I guess some folks do find the Daily Uke books too easy but they can always change it up. Like play it in E. We were still beginners and enjoy any music we can recognize and they let us play.

SailQwest
04-22-2013, 05:58 AM
And this sort of attitude is probably what led to the group to return to it's roots, and the start of a more advanced group meeting elsewhere !

I have no affiliation, or knowledge beyond the OP's attached document, but I totally see where they are coming from. The original goals were to create a family friendly atmosphere where anyone would feel welcome and comfortable, i.e. clearly aimed at encouraging new players of every age. The stated fact that the books in question probably cost more than a "first ukulele", I presume reflect a feeling that new players will be dissuaded from attending or too intimidated to return, if expensive books that features "actual music notations" are required.

People like Sukie (a member here for approximately 5 years, so presumably a veteran player) who state that it's "Absurd" to stick to these basic original goals of the group, are probably the type of people who would also intimidate and dissuade the return of a new t new member.

Seems to me the group is just trying to please everyone - keeping to the original family/beginner/fun format and advertising a new group for the more advanced and serious players.

No offense meant to any of the previous posters, just the opinion of someone who clearly remembers the absolute horror and fear of first attending a group. Just sayin' !



Wow. I'm pretty offended about your comment about "People Like Sukie."

teruterubouzu
04-22-2013, 06:11 AM
Absurd. I don't particularly care for the books myself. However, there are songs in both books that I can find to like. Everybody can find a song they like. Having those books makes it easy for everyone to have the same music.

I am more concerned about one person making all the decisions. It is a group, no? If you are already playing out of the book, people must have the book. People can share music, too.

We have club files. We are "allowed" to bring other music as long as we bring enough copies for all. (Sometimes we have to share, big whoop). Your club founder needs to lighten up or he/she could face a mutiny. Ukulele clubs are for fun. And voluntary. aAt least last I heard.

Edit: just read the link. I would not fit in there at all. I ALWAYS have a cocktail before Uke group. I wish we met at a bar. It'd be more fun.
Oh, I have so much to say about this, but I won't. I would just start another group.

Can I meet you for a cocktail before I go to my first StrumMN meeting? You have convinced me I can join in even though I'm a n00b.

ETA: Sorry for posting off-topic. I had a few tabs open and got confused about which thread I was in.

teruterubouzu
04-22-2013, 06:12 AM
[/B]

Wow. I'm pretty offended about your comment about "People Like Sukie."

Word. I think you should edit and apologize, 904cc.

904cc
04-22-2013, 06:15 AM
Mods -- you may delete this post. I am terribly offended 904cc that you think so little of me. Have we met? Have you heard me play? Do you know anything at all about me? I don't think so.

You're right. I don't know you, so am unable to determine if you're serious or not. If you are, I apologize sincerely - it was not meant to cause offence (I actually state that in my post). The last thing I want as newbie is to get involved in a peeing match with a veteran of your stature! However, if you're going to call the actions of another group "Absurd", you should expect some counter argument.

I was merely expressing an opinion as to why the group may be doing what it is doing. The leader seems to have had discussions with other group members about the decisions taken, and refers to "we" having decided. In fact he/she uses the term "we" a lot in his explanation, so I can respect that.

mailman
04-22-2013, 06:20 AM
Our group uses the first Daily Ukulele book heavily, but not exclusively. Folks are welcome to bring other music. If submitted ahead of time, that music will be made available via e-mail for the club members to print out at home. If not, the person submitting the song just brings sufficient copies for everyone.

I don't think banning the use of the books makes sense. I can understand not requiring members to purchase the book, but banning the use of the books that members already have seems counterproductive.

I also don't understand the perceived need to separate the beginners from the more advanced players. The folks that are further along could (and should) be helping the new players along. Also, more skilled players can challenge themselves during the simple songs by playing chord inversions up the neck, or by playing instrumental lead breaks.

I can also see the benefit of a separate, more advanced group where beginners are not slowing the pace. But this could be just another outlet for the advanced players, and shouldn't keep them from the original group.

I'm just a little confused by the OP's group's lack of ambition. Don't they want their players to learn to play better? Is entry level good enough for them....forever? Seems to me that there should be room enough for all skill levels in this type of group....

hoosierhiver
04-22-2013, 06:24 AM
I agree with Mailman, just playing easy songs will not help you progress much if you are a beginner, and if you are somewhat of a "veteran" I think you can still benefit from playing easier songs with a group by working on picking out the melody or trying some chunking, etc.

OldePhart
04-22-2013, 06:43 AM
Personally, I understand where the club is coming from but I think they are going about it all wrong. As Mike says above, encouraging players who improve and go beyond entry level to go elsewhere is a very poor idea. If a club is going to be more than a vehicle for introducing people to the instrument then it needs to encourage members of all levels to mingle.

The most successful model for public jams in my opinion is the "slow-jam, fast-jam, show" format. With this you spend about the first 1/4 to 1/2 of each meeting warming up with easy songs. You actually encourage more advanced players to come and help newbies by not letting them play in the fast-jam and "show" formats that follow unless they are there from the beginning of the meeting.

The second major part of the meeting is the "fast-jam" where you are playing more complex music. Beginners are encouraged to stay and even participate but you make it clear that they should not expect the group to hang back for them and that they should play softly and to the side. This gives them an opportunity to stretch a little so that one day they can fit in in the fast jam.

The third part of the meeting is optional and pretty short - it's kind of like an open mic except planned in advance. Here one or two folks might be encourage to get up and strut their stuff as a solo act or small ensemble, instead of a group activity.

This format gives everybody a chance to participate at a level they find fun, helps encourage beginners to progress to the next level, and kind of formalizes something that tends to happen anyway (i.e. stratification of playing ability). This removes some of the snappishness that can build tensions, and it also blurs the line between the beginner and the expert because the beginners are being helped to progress instead of left behind.

Just my $0.20,
John

bigchiz
04-22-2013, 06:50 AM
Stuck in the middle of the current controversy and see it as growing pains. What started as a group with a focus on novice players is returning to their roots. I feel fortunate to live in a community that is creating and hopefully can sustain both novice and intermediate groups.

It is disappointing to witness to smear tactics. That is a part of group involvement that is difficult to cope with.

Hopefully the bridge between the two groups can remain in tact and they reunite for joint efforts.

Skitzic
04-22-2013, 06:58 AM
I would not fit in well with that group. I'd also like to see what kind of ukes everyone is playing if they all cost less then $35.

I don't agree with banning the books. It's okay to share. We often have 2 or 3 people looking at the same music stand.

I don't do well with highly organized groups. I was at a group once that banned non-ukuleles from playing. I was astounded. I've also been to groups that only played one style of music.

Jams, to me, are about making music with other people. I don't care where the music comes from, or if I have to crank out my chord chart to look up a chord I'm not familiar with. I don't care if I'm sitting next to a guitar, bass, banjo, or a ukulele. I just want to make music. I would never ban anything in the jam I pseudo organize.

OldePhart
04-22-2013, 07:04 AM
I would never ban anything in the jam I pseudo organize.

Even, gasp!, accordians? :)

Skitzic
04-22-2013, 07:15 AM
Even, gasp!, accordians? :)

Nope. I didn't even ban banjos when there was an...issue...I just made them bring a mute, or stuff a towel in the back.

My jam fliers say 'All Instruments Welcome' and we really mean it.

Bring on the bag pipes! :D

quiltingshirley
04-22-2013, 07:18 AM
Isn't there a song called "Stuck in the Middle"?

OldePhart
04-22-2013, 07:21 AM
Isn't there a song called "Stuck in the Middle"?

By Stealers Wheel - boy, does that bring back memories.

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

Sounds like maybe this club should learn that one... LOL

Edit to add: Might have originally been a Steve Miller Band, hit. Not sure who covered who. I know the Stealers Wheel version is the one that I think of.

John

RichM
04-22-2013, 07:23 AM
I feel very lucky to have my ukulele group-- it is very welcoming to beginners, and while the music we play tends toward the simple, there is commitment to making it musically correct and good sounding. We have people at most meetings who might no have more than 2 or 3 basic chords, but they get a lot of help and support from the more experienced players. As a more experienced player, I don't come to this group expecting to rock out; it's a great social experience, playing music with other people an enjoying their company and the colaboration of playing music together.

I have another jam I attend (not ukulele-specific, but uke-friendly) which is populated by more experienced musicians where we get a lot more serious about the music. I love it because it challenges me in ways the uke jam doesnt. But it would be silly for me to demand that the uke group play more complex music; it's just not that kind of group.

I guess the long and the short of it is that collaborative music takes on a personality of its own. I do think that groups that encourage new players to join need to create an environment where the new players feel welcome. That doesn't mean encouraging them to play badly; it means helping them gain the tools they need to be better players. For experienced players who want a more challenging experience, create a new jam, or start a band!

RichM
04-22-2013, 07:26 AM
I would not fit in well with that group. I'd also like to see what kind of ukes everyone is playing if they all cost less then $35.

I don't agree with banning the books. It's okay to share. We often have 2 or 3 people looking at the same music stand.

I don't do well with highly organized groups. I was at a group once that banned non-ukuleles from playing. I was astounded. I've also been to groups that only played one style of music.

Jams, to me, are about making music with other people. I don't care where the music comes from, or if I have to crank out my chord chart to look up a chord I'm not familiar with. I don't care if I'm sitting next to a guitar, bass, banjo, or a ukulele. I just want to make music. I would never ban anything in the jam I pseudo organize.

I don't disagree, but if a club is specified as a ukulele club, I think its reasonable to believe it's for uke players. In a more open jam, sure, bring whatever. I think that's why it's so important for a jam to have some sort of guidelines. At the acoustic jam I attend, there is a mostly unwritten rule against electric instruments. It's not a bias against them, just and acknowledgment that electric instruments can overwhelm a group of acoustic instruments. Stuff like that is common sense to me.

glass
04-22-2013, 07:38 AM
I heard a guy here, I forget who but he is a beginner and said at the groups he attended the more advanced songs helped him out in becoming a better player.

Skitzic
04-22-2013, 07:45 AM
I don't disagree, but if a club is specified as a ukulele club, I think its reasonable to believe it's for uke players. In a more open jam, sure, bring whatever. I think that's why it's so important for a jam to have some sort of guidelines. At the acoustic jam I attend, there is a mostly unwritten rule against electric instruments. It's not a bias against them, just and acknowledgment that electric instruments can overwhelm a group of acoustic instruments. Stuff like that is common sense to me.

I think location has a lot to do with my perception. Our jam is the only true jam within an hour driving distance. There's a fairly close bar that has a 'Jam Night,' but it's basically an open mic with a house band. You are required to submit sheet music in standard notation and you get 2 songs on stage.

You can go an hour north to the monthly jam in the mountains, or an hour south to the Philly/NJ jams. There is a blue grass jam I hear is uke friendly, but I don't care for blue grass music.

So to me, banning anything seems silly because there really are no other options. I imagine I would have a different outlook if I lived in a place with more communal music making.

buddhuu
04-22-2013, 08:21 AM
Nope. I didn't even ban banjos when there was an...issue...I just made them bring a mute, or stuff a towel in the back.

My jam fliers say 'All Instruments Welcome' and we really mean it.

Bring on the bag pipes! :D

Yup. This ^

Same as the session/jam that I run on Tuesday evenings. ALL acoustic instruments are welcome including accordions and banjers. Heck, I even run a hybrid session on Saturdays where electric players can join in as well.

IMHO, inclusive beats exclusive every time. Playing with people of more advanced ability is nothing to be afraid of. In fact it is one of the surest ways to make quicker progress in one's learning of the instrument.

SailingUke
04-22-2013, 08:23 AM
We have a uke only jam, because we don't want guitars overpowering the ukulele. Many of us play guitar as well so we are not biased we just enjoy our ukulele night.
Also our space is really small and we can fit more ukulele players than guitar players.
The only player who plugs in is our u-bass player. Kazoos and harmonicas are also present once in a while.

sukie
04-22-2013, 08:32 AM
Can I meet you for a cocktail before I go to my first StrumMN meeting? You have convinced me I can join in even though I'm a n00b.

Yes. Plan to meet for dinner. I usually eat at The Loop. Although I could be convinced to go to Smack Shack instead.

Sorry to go off topic. I forgot where I was.

I am not known for my tact. If I offended anyone with my word choices -- sorry.

Patrick Madsen
04-22-2013, 09:14 AM
Our local uke group is planning to start using a digital projector to show the song on a screen. No more books eventually. I'm looking forward to the change.

ukeofcarl
04-22-2013, 09:17 AM
Doesn't the original message just imply that they are not going to use the book for a single meeting and perhaps concentrate on perfecting the website sheets?

RichM
04-22-2013, 09:19 AM
Yes. Plan to meet for dinner. I usually eat at The Loop. Although I could be convinced to go to Smack Shack instead.

Sorry to go off topic. I forgot where I was.

I am not known for my tact. If I offended anyone with my word choices -- sorry.

I am going to be in Minneapolis next week-- is there a meeting next week? And can I borrow a uke? :)

...preferably with a flamingo on it? ;)

SailingUke
04-22-2013, 09:21 AM
The digital projector is nice, but see if you can sit in a an arrangement where the players can see each other.
I have been in groups where everyone is sitting facing the screen.
A circle is much more intimate and players can learn from watching other players.

Gillian
04-22-2013, 09:37 AM
Our local uke group is planning to start using a digital projector to show the song on a screen. No more books eventually. I'm looking forward to the change.

I've been toying with this idea also, because our song book is getting quite heavy. The problem is finding a portable folding screen with dimensions large enough so everyone can see it.

ksiegel
04-22-2013, 12:05 PM
Most of the song circles around here use "Rise Up Singing" as a book. I drag a large-format copy with me, so I always have DU I & II, Rise Up Singing, and my 3-ring binder.

And now I've added the Lou & Peter Berryman 2nd Edition songbook to the mix, and I've pretty much filled the carry bag.

But I agree - keeping a group just for beginners will stagnate the group.



-Kurt

OldePhart
04-22-2013, 12:06 PM
The digital projector is nice, but see if you can sit in a an arrangement where the players can see each other.
I have been in groups where everyone is sitting facing the screen.
A circle is much more intimate and players can learn from watching other players.

:agree: I've been to one or two sessions (a few years ago and non-uke) where they used a screen and projector and it felt more like being in a classroom. That was much of the reason I never went back. I really like the "gather 'round the table" format that you see a lot at UWC, for example - makes it much more of a social event and players learn more about working with other musicians by "reading" their body language (and chord fingering, of course).

John

Nickie
04-22-2013, 12:21 PM
I'm really glad that our club gets to meet in a variety of locations. We meet in a Sr citizen friendly place, a Hawaiin style restaraunt, a bar and grille, a resort hotel, and our own individual homes. Different behaivior protocols for each venue...we love it!

gyosh
04-22-2013, 02:14 PM
Not really sure where I fall on the experience spectrum, but just in the last week I went a meetup in San Jose (Hi Gillian) where I sat next to two girls who were brand new. It was fun and we had a blast. Most of my night was spent showing them the chords and little tricks to make playing easier. Later that week I went to a uke meet up in Carlsbad (on vacation) that was heavy in Hawaiian music and songs that were much more challenging. I ended up being the newb as the couple next to me started showing me how to play some chord melodies in different keys.

Completely different experiences.

Both equally fun!!!

nix
04-22-2013, 03:12 PM
Boy, this is a timely post for me. My group is starting to have some unease because some people want to pick some songs to really focus on and get good at and other people just want to strum and sing and never have to practice. The stress is really coming to a head right now because we have a relatively new player who has truly terrible timing and generally throws off the 2 people on either side of him. Of course, he plays a baritone so he is also LOUD. He's also really enthusiastic and happy to be there and a lot of fun. It's a real pickle. I don't know how we're going to resolve this but our group has been around for several years and we all enjoy each other's company so I'm hoping we can keep making music together.

Our group meets every week and we use the Daily books on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month and open jams on the first and third Tuesdays. We also have a special Saturday acoustic jam once a month in which we invite everyone and hope for more than ukes.

Good luck to that group! I hope they can keep having fun together.

Nix

ukulele-melee
04-22-2013, 04:07 PM
Sukie may not be known for her tact (her words) but she is one of the friendliest and most welcoming people at StrumMn.
We try to help the newbies along but we don't cater to them either.
We ask better players to explain their techniques so others can learn and share tips for fingering and 2nd position etc. The UD books keep things moving and give us a better variety of songs. When we used only handout sheets people were always missing songs because they'd missed a meeting a month earlier.
Not everyone is a fit for every group, you need to find what works for you.

Tigeralum2001
04-22-2013, 04:34 PM
Now that I was able to read the original message, I don't think it is too bad. My question is "will the advanced group allow drinking before club?" Not that I drink... I'm just asking! :)

itsme
04-22-2013, 05:37 PM
I honestly don't think the price of the DU books is a real issue. I think they're great for groups because everyone is working from the same reference point and has the same huge stockpile to draw from. You couldn't put together an equivalent book for any less by downloading things, especially given your time, effort and the cost of ink/paper.

If you can't afford the book, I'm sure someone will let you look on with theirs. In fact, I think that's preferable in groups. Cuts down on the number of those flimsy folding stands that are likely to get banged into and topple over in close quarters.

If you can't read that melody line of (gasp!) standard notation, fear not. There are lyrics and chords for you and some of us actually like seeing the melody line written out. Other than the chord diagrams at the top of each page, the DU books can be used by guitar/banjo/mando players as well.

I think uke groups should be welcoming to beginners, but the Lincoln group's "manifesto" of basically staying a beginners group where they "openly take pride in playing the wrong chord" makes me cringe.

And I read "Don't expect anything advanced" as "Don't expect to be challenged, and don't expect to learn anything new." Sure, some people will enjoy playing nothing but the same three-chord ditties, but it sounds like a recipe for eventual stagnation for anyone who wants to progress further than that.

Dwjkerr
04-22-2013, 07:02 PM
I've read that message two or three times, and the more I think about it the more I wish there was a group like that here, where I could join. One where I could have fun playing with people who are there to have fun. Where I wouldn't have to be ashamed of playing the wrong chord, or of not acheiving musical perfection.

I see nothing there that say that I can't improve my skills, or move towards musical perfection. Just that I'm not expected to push myself beyond my comfort level if I'm happy where I am. Unlike the one group in my area. That offers lessons if you commit to joining their band.

As for banning the books, not sure how that's going to work. But I can't really disagree with the thought, as it seems, to me, to fit in with their having fun philosophy.

Were I to join a group that made heavy use of those books, I would probably feel obliged to go out and buy them.

glass
04-23-2013, 03:38 AM
By Stealers Wheel - boy, does that bring back memories.

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you."

Sounds like maybe this club should learn that one... LOL

Edit to add: Might have originally been a Steve Miller Band, hit. Not sure who covered who. I know the Stealers Wheel version is the one that I think of.

John

Stealers Wheel........... (http://files.meetup.com/2287271/Stuck%20in%20the%20Middle%20With%20You.pdf)

stevepetergal
04-23-2013, 03:46 AM
After reading the group's original purpose and goals, I think it's a good idea.

FiL
04-23-2013, 04:09 AM
I've helped lead a successful weekly acoustic jam group (not uke-specific, but uke-friendly) for the past couple of years, and I've learned a few things about what makes a group work. The best thing we ever did was move to a weekly schedule. We weren't sure folks would have time to meet weekly, but that's when the group really took off. I can't tell you how much it improved everybody's playing. The groups that I've been in that meet monthly never seem to gel as well.

Another thing we did was come up with about 10 "semi-permanent" songs (about a quarter of any given night's songs) that we would play more-or-less every week. Some of those songs we've been playing for two years. If you pick the right songs, they don't get old, and they give everyone a chance to get really good at them. They are especially helpful for the beginners, as it gives them a basic repertoire that they get practice on each week.

Our songs tend to be a mix of easy and intermediate, and we attract folks of all abilities. As others have noted, that's extremely important. You need to play with people better than you to get better.

We regularly get 20-30 musicians each week, but we have smaller groups that meet on other nights to cater to folks who want to do harder stuff, or want more individual expression, and now we've started booking showcase nights to highlight the group's talent.

Another way we've accommodated more advanced players is that we bring an amp for them to occasionally plug into to take solos. (Otherwise, it's hard to hear one acoustic guitar soloing over 25 other acoustic guitars and ukes.) But it's important to make sure no one person stays plugged in all the time (except for the bassist.)

I think having our group on meetup.com has also been key to its success. In addition to making it easier for people to find us, we've used the "Files" section to post PDFs of songs. We don't use any books. Most of what we play comes from those PDFs. The PDFs are mostly well-written and easy to follow and written up by our members for the group. Whenever someone tries to post something they found elsewhere on the internet, it's usually incomplete or full of mistakes. Here's an example (https://www.dropbox.com/s/d3glk2finmz7ct6/I%27ll%20Fly%20Away%20%282%20keys%29%20%20-%20%20Alison%20Krauss%20and%20Gillian%20Welch.pdf) of what our chord/lyric charts look like.

Our reliance on PDFs has moved the group away from killing trees and hefting cratefuls of binders and into the digital age. Most folks bring laptops, netbooks, tablets, or iPads, and those that don't look on with those that do. Now we have about 1000 songs to choose from, and we're always adding more all the time. We also use Dropbox.com to share our files. For folks using non-iPads, they don't even have to worry about making sure they have the latest files--as long as they connect to the internet before the jam, they automatically get all the latest PDFs.

Finally, to address something one previous poster said, a group is not a democracy. The folks who put in the time, effort, and money to lead a group (and believe me, it takes all three to keep a group running) get to make the decisions. It's my firm belief (and the belief of most in our group) that strong leadership has been an important factor in making our group successful. If you don't like the way a group is run, either help to change it, or form your own group. (The same advice holds for those who can't find a group near them. If there's nothing near you, then start something!) Having said all that, good leadership will listen to their membership before making any big decisions and will always keep the best interests of the group in mind. Otherwise, you risk being seen as a control freak.

But a group can't be all things to all people, so it should have a clear purpose (e.g., ukes only, acoustic instruments only, all instruments welcome, etc.). Personally, I like a variety of instruments, but there are practical reasons limiting things to only ukes or only acoustic instruments.

OK, those last two paragraphs turned into a little rant--sorry about that! I now have more respect for folks that volunteer their time and money to keep groups together. It ain't as easy as it may seem, and you can't always please everyone, but you can always try to be pleasant.

- FiL

ricdoug
04-23-2013, 06:24 PM
All y'all will eventually end up with ASCAP/BMI issues at some point. Sticking with books such as The Daily Ukulele X 2, He Mele Aloha and Rise up Singing will help you avoid legal issues. Ric

OldePhart
04-24-2013, 04:23 AM
All y'all will eventually end up with ASCAP/BMI issues at some point. Sticking with books such as The Daily Ukulele X 2, He Mele Aloha and Rise up Singing will help you avoid legal issues. Ric

Not really. When they license someone to print a song in a book the license does not cover public performance of the song. Likewise, purchasing a book does not (edit - usually) give you a license to perform the songs in it publicly. It's almost always the performance that gets ASCAP/BMI attention, whether it's at a local coffee shop or on the internet.

Passing around private photo copies (i.e. not posting them on websites) isn't strictly legal but usually doesn't get noticed.

If you really want to avoid ASCAP/BMI the best thing to do is stick to songs that are 80 years old or so. :)

John

Wicked
04-24-2013, 06:24 AM
Personally, I view the daily uke books as beginner material... but I know that many don't.

As for the original post, I think that it's perfectly fine for the group to choose to stay within their parameters. Those parameters would not appeal to me, personally - but the offer of meeting space for a splinter group should meet most of their members' needs, I believe.

I have sporadically met with the Ukulele Union Of Boston, for a few years now - and I think that group has achieved an acceptable balance. There are plenty of basic tunes, a smattering of more challenging tunes, and the opportunity for anyone to pull out the stops during "open mic." Does it exactly meet my wants... No, but it is close enough, and since I have neither the time nor the ambition to organize something else, I cannot complain.

The problem at the UUOB is actually too much success. Our meetups keep outgrowing our space. Some splinter groups are beginning to emerge - mostly due to geography. (Getting into Boston proper from outlying areas can be difficult - even without idiots throwing homemade grenades out of their stolen SUVs.) There is talk of more advanced meetups and genre specific meetups... but all are satellites to the main group.

Nobody judges, everybody helps.... and we do have booze.

acmespaceship
04-24-2013, 12:24 PM
Having survived one ukulele club schism already, I think it can be a difficult balancing act to keep things together as a club grows and changes. Too many people or too few... songs too easy or too hard... structure or anarchy... petty dictators... it'll never be perfect. The people who can be flexible and make compromises and enjoy themselves even when they aren't in love with all the details; the ones who aren't looking for something to complain about; those are the people who hold a club together.

The other people can go to blazes.

OldePhart
04-24-2013, 12:28 PM
Having survived one ukulele club schism already, I think it can be a difficult balancing act to keep things together as a club grows and changes. Too many people or too few... songs too easy or too hard... structure or anarchy... petty dictators... it'll never be perfect. The people who can be flexible and make compromises and enjoy themselves even when they aren't in love with all the details; the ones who aren't looking for something to complain about; those are the people who hold a club together.

The other people can go to blazes.

All good points, especially the last. Another rule of thumb that seems pretty much universal...it doesn't matter how large a club gets there will be about 12 people holding it together and organizing everything. The old "dirty dozen" rule.

Mostly, though, I just had to say that I love your avatar... :)

John

Rick Turner
04-24-2013, 02:02 PM
You guys should all come to a meeting of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz if you want to see a great way to get together, learn music, play at any level, have a fine meal, be with all ages (I've seen it range from babe in arms up to 101 at one meeting...), and have a drink if you want one... Song sheets handed out at every meeting with chord charts, rank beginners, good players...what's the problem?

rubber necker
04-24-2013, 04:54 PM
You guys should all come to a meeting of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz if you want to see a great way to get together, learn music, play at any level, have a fine meal, be with all ages (I've seen it range from babe in arms up to 101 at one meeting...), and have a drink if you want one... Song sheets handed out at every meeting with chord charts, rank beginners, good players...what's the problem?




I live in Las Vegas and have heard of the Santa Cruz Uke Club sounds like fun,if I am ever out that way I will join in Thanks

Sporin
04-25-2013, 01:48 AM
Nobody judges, everybody helps....


The people who can be flexible and make compromises and enjoy themselves even when they aren't in love with all the details; the ones who aren't looking for something to complain about

These are SO important in a Uke group (or any group for that matter). :D

UkeKiddinMe
04-25-2013, 02:00 AM
These are SO important in a Uke group (or any group for that matter). :D

Pretty excellent short list of life lessons.

Wicked
04-25-2013, 02:58 AM
These are SO important in a Uke group (or any group for that matter). :D

You forgot to include the part about the booze.

Sporin
04-25-2013, 07:14 AM
You forgot to include the part about the booze.

I know that's a touchy one so I left it out. ;)

Our Uke Club (http://www.uvukeclub.com/home) meets in the children's room of the local library so booze was never an option. :D

I jam regularly with a group of guitar and banjo players (and often fiddles, harmonicas, bass, etc.) and most folks show up with a few beers. Those events are pot-luck food as well so it makes sense in that setting.

Gillian
04-25-2013, 07:48 AM
I enjoy and recommend the Daily Ukulele books.

However, for the first hour of our meeting, we use the songs from our Song Book. After the break, it is open mike and jam time and anything goes. Some members use Beloff's books, others play songs they've gleaned from Chordie or other online song books. Some perform solo, others provide the music .

As for other instruments, we have had snare drums, bongoes, flutes, guitars, harmonicas and the U-Bass. The consensus is harmonicas and the U-Bass are OK but not the others which overpower the ukes. I've been to uke meetings that have had slide guitars, tambourines, and washboards. These instruments in the hands of proficient players, where they have a proper stage and a huge room, like at the Santa Cruz meeting, would probably have been fine, but amateurs playing scattered throughout a small room was hard on the ears.

One thing I do impose is that our members keep the songs secular, even the Christmas songs. I want every member to feel comfortable and not feel they are being proselytized or attending a tent revival.

Wicked
04-25-2013, 09:42 AM
One thing I do impose is that our members keep the songs secular, even the Christmas songs. I want every member to feel comfortable and not feel they are being proselytized or attending a tent revival.

I think this would make an interesting discussion within its own thread.

My personal secular meter is pretty much pegged… I am downright godless, to be honest, so I can understand your preference there.

However, one cannot divorce the human development of music from religious practice (past or present). Quite frankly, many (most?) of the greatest musical works were religiously inspired… or at least touch on religious themes (not always in a positive light), so I would find it hard to impose a ban on it.

…I just may start a thread on this theme, if I can word it correctly to prevent the discussion from degenerating into a heathen/zealot slamfest.

Stackabones
04-26-2013, 03:50 AM
One thing I do impose is that our members keep the songs secular, even the Christmas songs. I want every member to feel comfortable and not feel they are being proselytized or attending a tent revival.

I wonder if you'd allow Lennon's Imagine to be played? Or would you allow political/protest songs? If secularism is allowed, why not all the other isms? :D

acmespaceship
04-26-2013, 06:58 AM
I wonder if you'd allow Lennon's Imagine to be played? Or would you allow political/protest songs? If secularism is allowed, why not all the other isms? :D

Every song is about something. I happen to believe that life is NOT a bowl of cherries (it's gooseberries). And yet I have managed to swallow my personal beliefs and refrain from storming out of the uke club every time they play that blatantly cherryist song.

A late friend of mine who was Jewish loved to sing Sacred Harp. He said the joy and spirituality of the music was universal. The rest is footnotes.

SailingUke
04-26-2013, 07:17 AM
I wonder if you'd allow Lennon's Imagine to be played? Or would you allow political/protest songs? If secularism is allowed, why not all the other isms? :D

Tough question and not on topic for the thread, but I have mixed emotions about limiting songs based on content.
This is a form of censorship I do not believe in, but I believe group participants need to be understanding of other folks and not do a song that may be offensive to the group.
As a participant when someone does a song I don't believe in the message of, I just close my ears for a the 3-4 minutes of the song.
As long as there has been music it has been a vehicle of protest and/or political expression.
I may not agree with your politics, but I respect your right to expression.

Now back to the thread, I truly believe banning a song/songs/book/books because it is written out in music notation is ridiclous.

Steedy
04-26-2013, 07:30 AM
One thing I do impose is that our members keep the songs secular, even the Christmas songs. I want every member to feel comfortable and not feel they are being proselytized or attending a tent revival.

Thereby imposing YOUR FAITH on everyone else in the group, which hardly seems fair.

Tonya
04-26-2013, 08:45 AM
In our "jam" session of our meetings, we play what anyone wants to play (some members *always* go for Hank Williams stuff, others are always for songs from movies, others like Beatles and so on...) but we just lost two members because we're working on "The Dinosaur Song" and they objected to it on the basis of evolution. This song was mixed in with a general performance playlist including "I'll Fly Away," and "Peace Like a River"... I admire this couple's holding fast to their beliefs, but I have to admit that I didn't even consider ahead of time that "The Dinosaur Song" (popular with first graders mostly, as far as I can tell) dallied close to the line...

I'll miss them, too. Especially the husband since he played a mean washtub bass for us...

Wicked
04-26-2013, 08:46 AM
I think that we have hijacked this thread... I will start a new one later today.

sukie
04-26-2013, 08:52 AM
It'd be really dull if we all liked exactly the same thing. Variety is good. I personally can't stand Hallelujah. I go outside when it is played at ukulele club. But I wouldn't ask them not to play it. It's too bad they left, Tonya. They shoulda just gone outside.

itsme
04-26-2013, 09:01 AM
...we just lost two members because we're working on "The Dinosaur Song" and they objected to it on the basis of evolution. This song was mixed in with a general performance playlist including "I'll Fly Away," and "Peace Like a River"... I admire this couple's holding fast to their beliefs, but I have to admit that I didn't even consider ahead of time that "The Dinosaur Song" (popular with first graders mostly, as far as I can tell) dallied close to the line...
That has to be one of the silliest things I've ever heard. I might not like playing Barney songs but not because of dinosaurs or evolution. And it's only a song for a few minutes, so I'd probably just put up with it.

pulelehua
04-26-2013, 09:24 PM
I was in a group that split in two a few years ago. There was basically a core of group founders who wanted to maintain a particular atmosphere/standard, and a newer member who had a more ambitious/organised approach. It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but both groups have gone on to success in their own right.

One of the problems was this issue of ownership vs democracy. I suspect it's impossible to have a genuinely democratic club. The truth, as John and others have pointed out, is that a small number of people always do the vast majority of the work preparing music, bringing stuff, liaising with venues, etc. And I think they have a right to establish the ground rules of the club.

There can be a problem when people get the sense that "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." From the OP, I think this was probably the issue, as there was surprise that someone had taken an apparently unilateral decision. Reading the note from the club, it seems clear that the "leader" felt that they had tested the waters and asked opinions. We simply don't have all the facts to judge what happened. Did this person ask "others" meaning the other core members (his or her friends within the club), or did they ask a wide spectrum of the club membership (oldies, newbies, etc.)?

I think people feel let down when they realise that their club isn't what they thought it was. For older members, that can mean feeling that their club's purpose is being challenged. For newbies, that can mean realising that they aren't as free to bring input as they had thought. These are things which aren't always easy to talk about, and I think for a lot of people, the idea of talking about them runs counter to some kind of fundamental ukulele ethos. The problem then is what to do. Lots of areas simply don't have the capacity for that many ukulele clubs. So, do you stay cos it's the only game in town?

I haven't had much time to go to a ukulele club lately (busy at work, 2 small children, other commitments, blah blah), but since the club split, I haven't felt the same must-go-must-go feeling. Though I did go to the original club a few months ago, and it was so good to see familiar faces, and play some old favourites. Like an old shoe.

pulelehua
04-26-2013, 09:40 PM
Just listened to "The Dinosaurs Song" for the first time. I have to say, I think "I'll Fly Away" is a much better song. :) I suppose my instinctive response is that if you believe in secular evolution, Old Earth Creationism, or some other dinosaur-friendly belief, you still listen and play lots of songs which are fictitious and which you might morally object to. If I sing Tom Jones' "Delilah", I want in no way to be associate myself with the misogynistic homicidal tendencies in society. But I still sway from side to side as I talk about knifing my former love to death.

If you're a Young Earth Creationist, then you are, by definition, singing a song which you consider fictitious. Though a lot of YECs, in my limited understanding, believe in dinosaurs, just not the timeline associated with them. In that case, the only objectionable lyric is "100 million years ago". Could they just not sing this lyric, or else sing it, understanding that they don't believe it?

8 billion people. One planet. We need to be able to sing children's songs together.

sukie
04-27-2013, 04:35 AM
I still say ukulele club should be a democracy. Should the "leader" have final say? Absolutely. But since last I heard ukulele clubs have voluntary membership, the feelings of all members should be heard. This DOES NOT mean everyone gets what they want. It means their opinions are heard. I'm not sure what good all the preparations, music copying, yada, yada is if nobody likes the group and quits going. And, yes, groups evolve. It has happened to our group and there are now newer groups around town. It's very true if ya don't like it, leave. But I also think for an ukulele club to basically have that as an unwritten by-law sucks -- not that this has happened anywhere. Just sayin'...

All I really know is that it's really fun to play ukulele with other people. And it's really fun when a group "works".

mikelz777
04-27-2013, 05:26 AM
There are newer groups around the Twin Cities area? I'd be interested in something meeting in the southern suburbs, Bloomington, Edina, Burnsville, Savage etc. I was interested in StrumMn but the downtown Mpls. meeting place has been the major factor holding me back.

Dan Uke
04-27-2013, 05:36 AM
I would just go with the flow

Mooh
04-27-2013, 06:55 AM
I would just go with the flow

Me too. "What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?"

These issues won't make or break a community unless they're allowed to. Tolerance, understanding, acceptance, those are the makings of a community. There are tunes I'll sit out for the sake of the community, whether it's a jam, band practice, session, or whatever. Life's too short to get one's knickers in a knot. Sometimes the flow takes you to a new and wonderful place.

sukie
04-27-2013, 07:16 AM
There are newer groups around the Twin Cities area? I'd be interested in something meeting in the southern suburbs, Bloomington, Edina, Burnsville, Savage etc. I was interested in StrumMn but the downtown Mpls. meeting place has been the major factor holding me back.

Where do you live? I live in Burnsville. It's only 20-25 minutes. And so worth it. David comes from Aapple Valley and Mike from Eagan or A.V.. I know what you mean about downtown, but since people come from Anoka and somewhere else on the north side it's kind of a compromise.

redpaul1
04-28-2013, 07:35 AM
Interesting thread, and I don't want to intrude upon private grief. But, as a Londoner (I don't want to generalise any further than that), what I find particularly interesting is how _all_ the experiences shared here of how ukulele jams should be 'run' are so alien to my own experiences of ukulele jams. But then I live in olde London towne, which contains over 8 million people crammed into 600 sq miles (of which nearly 25% is green open space, so effectively 450 sq miles), and, consequently, possessed of an excellent public transportation system.

I can therefore attend a ukulele jam session pretty much 5 nights a week (http://www.mightyukulele.co.uk/). None of the jams I have ever attended contain less than 15 participants, usually between 25-30 (and one upwards of 80!). Furthermore, every jam I know of, even the most 'family-friendly', takes place in a bar, maybe the backroom of a pub, maybe the bar of a sports and social club, but always a space 'donated' by the licensee, on the understanding that the 'rent' will be paid by the bar takings (since 2003, children below the age of 18 - drinking age in UK - are allowed into establishments serving alcohol, at the landlord's discretion). So, it's free to turn up and, the songbook is generally all that needs to be organised.

With all this plethora of choice, the songbook that each group has developed is key to my decision as to which jam(s) to attend. I take Bill1's point about the 'real' cost of DIY songbooks, but with DIY at least you control the content. I don't mind Thirties showtunes once in a while, but not for an entire evening, so I tend to avoid jams where those sorts of tunes dominate their songbooks.

Generally speaking, these songbooks are collaborative products (as e.g., here https://sites.google.com/site/ukewednesdaycollaboration/new-songs-since-first-edition). Someone brings along some copies of a song they'd like the group to play, and it'll be given a go over a couple of sessions. If it 'sticks', then it'll probably be added to the next edition of the songbook.

Given that, as a result, most of these groups have songbooks that contain far too many songs to be played in a single session, how are songs chosen? Usually, by popular acclaim: people shout out a favourite, and hope the rest of the group agrees. Admittedly, that can lead to a certain staleness, the same numbers getting chosen again and again; and to combat this, at least two groups I attend use some form of random number generator to select every other song picked, so the evening session always contains a mixture of old favourites and new challenges. Another group has divided their songbook into about 14 volumes of about 20 songs each: only two songbooks are ever used at each session, however - the latest volume and a random choice of an earlier volume.

What sorts of players turn up at these sessions? Most of these ukulele groups contain people of all abilities, from absolute newbies (people who have literally stuck their heads round the door one week, liked what they saw, and have turned up the next week with a uke in their hand), to, quite literally, world-class players (who admittedly, don't show up every week - they've world tours to attend to).

What's my point? I have two: the first addresses the democracy vs. leadership debate. Ukulele jam sessions in London tend to be fairly anarchic (it is a jam session, not a teach-in). Given the low admin 'overheads' and low barriers to entry (there's always a pub or a club with an underused function room available for free), there isn't any real necessity to invoke OldePhart's "old 'dirty dozen' rule". To be sure, there are leaders (usually someone with a banjolele or a resonator, counting everyone in, once the choice of song has been determined), but nobody is standing at the front facing the rest of the group, 'leading' in the sense of conducting the sessions. Nor are there any real structure to them, in the sense of, e.g., "slow jam/fast jam" - and certainly no "open mic" spots (There is a monthly ukulele open-mic night in North London, but it's not the 'property' of any particular uke group).
Consequently (point #2), everyone (noobs -> pros) are equally important to the success of the session. A ukulele is not a selfish instrument, like, say, a guitar (when you pick up a ukulele, you've picked up a ukulele: when you pick up a guitar, it's an event). People, even the pros, want to play ukulele together. There's no point in calling for songs in a jam session that only you can play.

Finally, I have a couple of questions, one general and one particular. I suspect that the way jam sessions get organised here in London is a result of the geography of the place. Contrast the stats I quoted for London with those for Lincoln, Nebraska, which has a population of less than 1/4 million spread over 89 sq miles, figures that yield a population density nearly 7 times lower than that of London. As an urban geographer, who was brought up in the tradition of Walter Christaller and his theories of 'threshold population' and 'range of a good', I suspect that geography is largely responsible, but I'd be interested in others' opinions.

Assuming for the moment that Christaller is relevant, my specific question is this: does Lincoln, NE, have a big enough population to sustain two ukulele clubs, existing within the distance people are willing to travel in order to bash out some tunes with other ukulele aficiandos? If it does, I suspect the answer to ~dave~~wave~'s dilemma is to go off and form a new group. If it doesn't (and from what sukie & mikelz777 were debating about distances to ukejams in the Twin Cities, it probably doesn't), then he'll have to grin and bear it (and despite what bigchiz says, I don't think ~dave~~wave~ was resorting "to smear tactics" - unless highlighting 4 words can be said to involve smear tactics - he's simply put up one post, without comment and asked for advice).

mikelz777
05-01-2013, 07:54 AM
...As an urban geographer, who was brought up in the tradition of Walter Christaller and his theories of 'threshold population' and 'range of a good', I suspect that geography is largely responsible, but I'd be interested in others' opinions....

I'll weigh in but I'm not sure how much this will apply to what you're asking.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul area and its suburbs could easily support several ukulele groups with a population of over 3.25 million yet I only know of one group. (Just a cursory look tells me that there are over 600,000 people alone between me and the group that meets in downtown Minneapolis.) I mentioned in an earlier post that I'd be interested in attending a uke group but the only one I know of meets in downtown Mpls. which is the major factor holding me back. It's obviously not an issue for the group members because they have successfully been meeting for years now.

For me, getting to the group would be a 20-30 minute drive. That, in itself, isn't too bad and wouldn't be a deal-breaker but I would much prefer something that took half that time. In my opinion, getting into, driving around in and getting out of downtown Mpls. is a hassle I'd rather not have to deal with. Parking can be a hassle to find and you have to pay for it. All of that coupled with the initial social anxiety of trying to fit in with an old/established group of people familiar with each other has held me back from checking out the group so far. For me, I'm not ruling out the possibility of going some time and I'm not blaming anyone or anything but myself for not going but the negatives seem to outweigh the positives for me right now.

Given that the population in the metro area suggests that it would support it, it would be nice if there were other uke group options in the suburbs. (for example, southern metro, northern metro, eastern/St. Paul metro) It's so much easier to get around in the suburbs and depending on where the group would meet, parking is likely to be plentiful and free. The groups could choose to be autonomous or maybe there could be a couple of events each year where all the groups would meet. I'd float the idea of starting another group but a.) I don't know anyone else who plays a uke and b.) if I'm honest with myself, I'm more of a follower/facilitator, not a leader.

Anyway, for me, geography plays a big part on whether I choose to attend a group or not. Like Suki said, the choice to meet in Mpls. was a compromise for those coming in from the northern metro when several members appear to live in the southern metro. (Thus everyone gets a "fun" drive! LOL) It seems like a metropolitan area like the Twin Cities could support more than one group and I'm somewhat surprised that there aren't more. Is it due to lack of interest? Is it because there aren't enough people willing to step forward with the leadership demands of starting and running a group? I don't know.

ralphk
05-01-2013, 08:20 AM
I wish that I had to drive only 20-30 minutes to get to a jam.

Give all the effort necessary to get a group going and keeping it active -- and if that effort is successful -- a drive that short seems like a pretty small cost (in both time and money).

OldePhart
05-01-2013, 12:42 PM
I wish that I had to drive only 20-30 minutes to get to a jam.


I suspect you're from a rural area. Not all drives are created equal so I can understand mikelz777 is coming from. I grew up in small town and we thought nothing of a 60 mile round trip to another town for dinner. I live in the DFW Metroplex now and I don't even want to drive east of Hwy 360 when I can avoid it. For some reason - the thirty minutes where you drive 10 miles seems a lot longer than the thirty minutes where you drive 30 miles...

I can give you a good example - a few weeks ago I had to go to a business dinner - nothing fancy, just a "thank you" to our team for the time we've put in on the current project, but not the sort of thing you miss if you don't want to get a reputation as anti-social. I work from home and the dinner was eight miles from where I live, straight down a non-divided "highway" that connects what used to be the separate cities of Hurst, Colleyville, Irving, etc. (this is a "highway" in name only, the entire distance is like driving down main street in most small- and medium-sized towns, but with more traffic).

The drive there around 6PM took 35 minutes, and there were no unusual traffic jams. Once there, I got extremely lucky in that someone was pulling out of a parking space in the far corner of the lot that serves several trendy eateries and bars just as I made my first pass through the lot. So, I only had to walk about 100 yards from the car to the place we were meeting. Others in our group had to park as far as four (long) blocks away and hike the rest of the way, after making several circuits of the closer lots and finding nothing. The drive home around 9PM was about 25 minutes and traffic was only slightly lighter than it had been at 6PM.

That's pretty typical for life in major metropolitan areas - at least those that don't have a really good mass transit system. I rarely leave the house anymore other than to go to church or the closest grocery store or hardware store unless I simply have no choice (and all of those places are within a mile). It's not like I'm agoraphobic or anything, there's just not enough of my time left on this planet for me to be willing to spend significant amounts of it sitting in traffic to go someplace that isn't essential. :)

I do 90% of my non-grocery shopping online - not because the deals are great or to avoid taxes, but because I don't have to waste time in traffic jockeying around idiots. Now, I've recently downloaded the Kindle and Nook apps to my iPad so I don't even have to go out of the house to get reading material anymore!

John

UkeKiddinMe
05-01-2013, 12:50 PM
30 miles to get to a jam would be like playing in my backyard. Closest active group to me is about 1 hour, 15 minutes.

itsme
05-01-2013, 02:04 PM
Anyway, for me, geography plays a big part on whether I choose to attend a group or not.


Not all drives are created equal so I can understand mikelz777 is coming from...

That's pretty typical for life in major metropolitan areas - at least those that don't have a really good mass transit system. I rarely leave the house anymore other than to go to church or the closest grocery store or hardware store unless I simply have no choice (and all of those places are within a mile). It's not like I'm agoraphobic or anything, there's just not enough of my time left on this planet for me to be willing to spend significant amounts of it sitting in traffic to go someplace that isn't essential. :)
I can totally relate. I'm in Los Angeles and I don't know how you'd rate our bus system, but for me to use it, I'd have to walk several blocks to the nearest bus stop. I'd not against walking, but absolutely would not do it after dark for reasons of personal safety because of gang activity in the area.

I walk to the local supermarket frequently, but I always leave my wallet at home, put my keys in one pocket and my cell, ATM card/cash in the other. If someone wants to jack me for my purse, they'll get nothing of value. I would NOT carry something like a musical instrument that might tempt someone to want to steal it from a senior walking alone who could be seen as an easy target.

I was recently invited to a uke group that meets in Santa Monica on a weeknight at 7:30. That could easily be a good hour's drive one way, and traffic nerves me out, especially on the freeway.

janeray1940
05-01-2013, 02:42 PM
I can totally relate. I'm in Los Angeles and I don't know how you'd rate our bus system, but for me to use it, I'd have to walk several blocks to the nearest bus stop. I'd not against walking, but absolutely would not do it after dark for reasons of personal safety because of gang activity in the area...

I was recently invited to a uke group that meets in Santa Monica on a weeknight at 7:30. That could easily be a good hour's drive one way, and traffic nerves me out, especially on the freeway.

Fellow Angeleno here, and at this point the main reason I even have a car is my ukulele-related stuff. I have trouble driving (vision issues) and can pretty much walk everywhere I need to get to *except* my ukulele groups. I'm not about to take $2000+ worth of ukuleles on the bus after dark!

And, I suspect that 7:30pm group is one of my groups, and while we would LOVE to have you, I totally get the traffic thing. I live less than five miles from where it meets, but sometimes it takes me 40 minutes to get there. FORTY!!! MINUTES!!!

Harold O.
05-01-2013, 02:50 PM
I too am a geographer. MA in Urban Planning, so I am quite familiar with Christaller's observations.

And I too am in Los Angeles. I live in an area called the San Fernando Valley. Much of it is within the city limits of LA. A few years back there a ballot initiative to have the Valley secede from the city of LA. Had it passed, "The Valley" would have instantly become the sixth largest city in the US.

Point being, this is a very spread out place. Mass transit only works in high density regions. Getting from Here to There is a slow grind at most hours. Doing so in order to attend a function requires planning, timing, and mucho patience. The payoff has to be worth it.

We have multiple uke groups in "the greater Los Angeles area". As much as I like to play, I've only been to four or five different groups, and then only once or twice to those. I have my own group twice a month on Sundays, but usually only draw a half dozen. My particular neighborhood isn't the right demographic for a uke group (as opposed to a beach community, for instance). People who come to the Canogahana group typically drive from 15 to 30 miles to get here. Thus the low attendance. I mean, it COULDN'T be ME that's the problem...

Tigeralum2001
05-01-2013, 03:01 PM
F, I totally get the traffic thing. I live less than five miles from where it meets, but sometimes it takes me 40 minutes to get there. FORTY!!! MINUTES!!!

When I was recruited to the Bay Area from the rural Southeast, I told them I had to live within 15 minutes of work because I wouldn't deal with the traffic. I live 4 miles from work and that equates to 15 minutes of driving. I'm happy, but where I come from 4 miles = 4 minutes of driving. I don't know why people live in places where traffic is that bad! :)

janeray1940
05-01-2013, 03:04 PM
I don't know why people live in places where traffic is that bad! :)

Well... the thing is, it *wasn't* always that bad - it's the last 10 or so years that have been increasingly worse traffic. But hey, it's home, and I can't imagine living any place else :)

CoLmes
05-01-2013, 03:13 PM
I prefer to play contemporary music rather then stuff before I was born my :2cents:

Hallelujah!

ukulele-melee
05-01-2013, 03:15 PM
I need to throw in my 2 cents regarding StrumMn since I'm the one who started the group. We've been around for 7.5 years now and have met in a number of locations over the years, from Como Park (outside and in the café) to a couple public libraries (northern suburbs) to a couple locations in downtown Mpls.
My concerns have always been to find locations where people can feel safe, have decent parking options, public restrooms, and somewhat centrally located.
We have folks come from Eagan/AppleValley, Anoka, Woodbury, Lino Lakes and in the past have drawn members from Hudson Wi and St Cloud.
There is another active uke group (BUG, Bluegrass Ukulele Group) but they meet at Kenwood park, basically downtown again.
The current location is only 1 block off Washington Ave, 94 dumps onto Washington only 2 blocks from our location. There is on street parking right in front of the coffee shop and most of it is free. Traffic in the evening is MUCH better than downtown in the day. We regularly have new comers and I hope you can at least come check us out, you could even drop into the coffee shop incognito just to see what it's about without feeling any kind of commitment... but have your uke in your car because you'll want to join in!
If you want to talk about StrumMn offline with me just drop me an email and we can talk on the phone.
Brian

itsme
05-01-2013, 04:07 PM
I'm not about to take $2000+ worth of ukuleles on the bus after dark!
Or even a $200 uke. Like I said, I don't want to be a target. A potential thief probably doesn't know the difference between a Dolphin and a Kamaka, just sees it as something they can maybe pawn or offload for a few bucks.


And, I suspect that 7:30pm group is one of my groups, and while we would LOVE to have you, I totally get the traffic thing. I live less than five miles from where it meets, but sometimes it takes me 40 minutes to get there. FORTY!!! MINUTES!!!
Yes, I believe it was. Lori invited me. :)

Forty minutes to go five miles is insane, but that's what L.A. can be like at times.

I'm sure I'd really enjoy your group, since I heard you do a lot of instrumentals with fingerpicking which is right up my alley.

But no, I'm just not up for the drive. I actually went to a meetup in nearby Pasadena recently, and they're having another one this Sunday that I'm planning to attend.

Mostly strumming on pop tunes, but it was fun to play with fellow ukers for the first time. I'm hoping maybe I'll meet someone who might be up for some fingerpicking duets. :)

Dan Uke
05-01-2013, 07:39 PM
Or even a $200 uke. Like I said, I don't want to be a target. A potential thief probably doesn't know the difference between a Dolphin and a Kamaka, just sees it as something they can maybe pawn or offload for a few bucks.


Yes, I believe it was. Lori invited me. :)

Forty minutes to go five miles is insane, but that's what L.A. can be like at times.

I'm sure I'd really enjoy your group, since I heard you do a lot of instrumentals with fingerpicking which is right up my alley.

But no, I'm just not up for the drive. I actually went to a meetup in nearby Pasadena recently, and they're having another one this Sunday that I'm planning to attend.

Mostly strumming on pop tunes, but it was fun to play with fellow ukers for the first time. I'm hoping maybe I'll meet someone who might be up for some fingerpicking duets. :)

You would be much better than us as I'm stuck on the tabs you sent me!! :)

migal
05-02-2013, 09:43 PM
Interesting thread. We don't seem to have these problems "Down-under" firstly we run a 6 week beginners course a few times a year for the newbies to get to know a few basic chords and strums and then be more comfortable when joining the main group and secondly and probably more importantly we mostly have beer holders on our music stands so you can't spill your beer when playing.

teruterubouzu
05-03-2013, 02:45 AM
Interesting thread. We don't seem to have these problems "Down-under" firstly we run a 6 week beginners course a few times a year for the newbies to get to know a few basic chords and strums and then be more comfortable when joining the main group and secondly and probably more importantly we mostly have beer holders on our music stands so you can't spill your beer when playing.
This is a cool idea (and I love the beer holders).

OldePhart
05-03-2013, 03:02 AM
Interesting thread. We don't seem to have these problems "Down-under" firstly we run a 6 week beginners course a few times a year for the newbies to get to know a few basic chords and strums and then be more comfortable when joining the main group and secondly and probably more importantly we mostly have beer holders on our music stands so you can't spill your beer when playing.

That's a fabulous idea! More clubs should do that! Oh, and the thing with the beginner's classes is pretty cool, too... :)

John