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myrnaukelele
04-23-2013, 06:17 PM
Well, we now have a classroom set of ukuleles at our middle school. About 70 students altogether will be learning for now (the piano kids- 80% of our students take a music class - either band, orchestra, choir, or piano). The piano/uke teacher is stuck on fingering i.e. she is insisting that every student finger their chords exactly the same way always using a certain fingering. Including the C chord- always with the ring finger. My question: do you think is she correct in emphasizing fingering like this? I have always played using whatever fingering is easiest and sometimes play a C chord with my index finger, sometimes with my ring finger. But then I strum with my thumb...I'd like to hear what others have to say about fingering chords.

Jim Hanks
04-23-2013, 07:05 PM
My take is that if is best to have a default/standard fingering for purposes of developing muscle memory. But having said that, once you start playing progressions, all kinds of pragmatic considerations may cause you to deviate from standard. I can certainly see in a classroom situation trying to teach a single method. Kind of a "you gotta know the ruled before you can break them" vibe.

gitarzan
04-23-2013, 08:26 PM
There are certain fingerings that lead to more efficient chord changes. I suppose that's what she or the book she is using says to do.

Too many teachers, however, get hung up on one right way to do everything.

PhilUSAFRet
04-24-2013, 01:22 AM
Agree, more or less. I teach Seniors and while I teach the "standard" fingering for various chords (fingerings in "the book" are "standard" for a reason) , I also explain other fingerings that some prefer and suggest they try them out and play what feels/sounds best. I also emphasize ease of transitioning to the next chord as a primary consideration in deciding which fingering to use.

I'll have to go with the teacher on this one, especially for kids. Alternate fingerings usually come a little later than beginner's lessons, especially for kids. Just my two cents worth.

drbekken
04-24-2013, 01:59 AM
I'll have to go with the teacher on this one, especially for kids. Alternate fingerings usually come a little later than beginner's lessons, especially for kids. Just my two cents worth.

I agree with this. When and if the kids move on to more difficult playing, alternate fingerings will be rooted in what they originally learnt as 'standard'. The 'standard' will then be common ground for all.

connor013
04-24-2013, 02:48 AM
When students want to rebel from any standard, I paraphrase the Buddha:

One must learn the rules in order to break them properly.

Edited to add: I fret my G backwards, ie my middle finger frets the C string instead of the A. I realized this a year ago, but didn't find a reason to change. Now that I'm adding more riffs into my strumming, it's a problem. What's worse is my fingers won't abide by some of these shifts, because the muscle memory is strong. I end up using barre chords when I shouldn't have to. PITA!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-24-2013, 07:21 AM
I agree with the teacher at this point, to establish a frame of reference for the class (not just for one or a few students) and because for future chord work certain 'standardized' fingerings seem to work well as 'best practices'.

Again, your mileage may vary, esp if you've learned to finger chords differently (see left-handed players :) ).

I teach: index for fret 1, middle for fret 2, ring for fret 3, etc. when feasible.

keep uke'in',

BIGDB
04-24-2013, 07:54 AM
In some ways I agree with that like if you're gonna go from c to f then that's a good finger to use however if I'm going from c to g I'd use my middle finger. Try to anticipate where the next note or chord will be and position your fingers on the best position so you can get there smooth and in some cases fast depending on what song you're playing

addicted2myuke
04-24-2013, 12:29 PM
Sorry, but I'm gonna have to agree with the majority of the answers. She wants all the students to be on the same page when learning. It's up to them to change it around once they are comfortable enough to do so. I have taught courses, though not in ukulele, and everyone learned the same things the same way.

OldePhart
04-24-2013, 01:01 PM
Yeah...teaching a group of kids is like herding cats anyway. Best to keep it simple and uniform in the beginning. If it's anything like the recorder classes we had when I was a kid they aren't going to get much beyond playing a handful of very simple songs for a recital for the parents at year end, anyway. ;)

But, if it plants a spark of appreciation for music in even a couple of youngsters it's worth it.

Kyle23
04-24-2013, 01:07 PM
For me it all depends on the chord that comes after. If I have a C and then an Em I'll put my middle finger on the C and my pointer on the 1st string second fret to make the Em as easy of a transition as I can. I'm big on doing what's easiest for YOU.

SailingUke
04-24-2013, 01:07 PM
I agree with most. When I teach beginners I teach the standard chord shapes and fingers.
My exception would be the Bb and D chords where there are some optional fingerings.
I also never teach the using the thumb as a fretting finger, I let them pick up that bad habit after I am done with them.
As students progress I will show them some alternatives and get them thinking about the transition from chord to chord..

bonesigh
04-24-2013, 01:22 PM
We have ukes in our Grade school and the music teacher and I run a uke club on Fridays. I think it's important to teach them a basic set of rules that they can break later when they are more experienced (:

myrnaukelele
04-24-2013, 05:35 PM
Thanks to all who answered. I now see the value in teaching standard fingering. It's important to form good habits from the get go. Especially when you have large groups of young kids all strumming at once. I helped teach them how to tune -cacophony! But it's so fun to see the kids all excited about learning to play the uke.:)

itsme
04-24-2013, 05:53 PM
Utilizing all four fretting fingers can give you a tremendous advantage.

Brought to mind this article about how the little finger can do a lot.

http://ukulelelanguages.com/ukulele-beginner/improve-your-ukulele-technique-a-tip-by-herman-vandecauter/

frugalaudio
04-24-2013, 06:22 PM
When students want to rebel from any standard, I paraphrase the Buddha:
Edited to add: I fret my G backwards, ie my middle finger frets the C string instead of the A. I realized this a year ago, but didn't find a reason to change.

Maybe I'm nuts, or weirdly shaped, but I cannot fret G in the "standard" way. Even if I use my right hand to place the fingers of my left. My middle finger is simply too long to allow my index finger to reach the C string while cleanly fretting A.