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View Full Version : Ukes can be serious instruments too



Bao
11-03-2013, 01:34 AM
I sell sea shells by the sea shore. I want more.

austin1
11-03-2013, 01:47 AM
Eh. I think it depends on the context. Ukes can't compare to instruments like the piano in terms of range. That doesn't make the uke any less of a serious instrument, but I think you need to be very creative in how you apply music to it. Ukes can, of course, compare in plenty of other factors, like musicality or joy brought, but for teaching purposes, you may require the strengths of a different instrument.

I suppose it depends on what kind of teacher you plan on being. For example, if I were looking for a classical voice teacher, and I found out this one was only capable of teaching on a ukulele, I would run for the hills.

Bao
11-03-2013, 02:00 AM
I was thinking something like a regular highschool music teacher. But the issue is that in that system thing they recommended, we get tested on a specific instrument of our choice and follow through with that instrument until the end.

I don't know, I'm just disappointed that even though I have a choice of playing any instrument for this method of becoming a teacher, I can't pick the ukulele.

I guess the title of this post is kind of misleading, eh? sorry.

kissing
11-03-2013, 02:06 AM
Well how is your skill level with the ukulele?
If you can pull off instrumental pieces then there is nothing that makes the ukulele inadequate for testing


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyf9jR_vlqc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyf9jR_vlqc

Bao
11-03-2013, 02:11 AM
I wouldn't say I'm as good as the guys at HMS but I do play and make my own instrumental covers/original songs at this point in time. I'm currently doing a course in something else that I'm also interested in, so by the time I finish that, I'll have plenty more years of experience and who knows, maybe be half as good as the guys at HMS LOL

UkeKiddinMe
11-03-2013, 02:11 AM
You're the victim of those people's perceptions, not any kind of reality about the ukulele.

The ukulele in the hands of a skilled player can cover anything.

It has the same range as a bass, only in higher octaves.
What would they say about someone testing on bass?

didgeridoo2
11-03-2013, 02:20 AM
What are they testing you on? If you take a look at the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (Ukulele In The Classroom), you'll see it is based on what he learned while being taught in the Canadian school system. Maybe a glance at what teachers should be able to do using the ukulele in his program would help support your choice to move forward using the uke. You can look up the Langley Ukulele Ensemble to see the results of learning music using the ukulele.

ScooterD35
11-03-2013, 03:09 AM
Check out track 5.



http://jameshillmusic.com/a-flying-leap


Scooter

Five Ways
11-03-2013, 03:12 AM
In my world ukes are very serious instruments, and in many members hands of this forum are awesome.

ricdoug
11-03-2013, 05:02 AM
Your friends are right, Bao. They would hate this kid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJxdUR-XrUs

http://www.ukuleleintheclassroom.com/

Iolaus
11-03-2013, 07:08 AM
I'm a flutist. If I were to have gone to the University for Music Ed and said "I want to play only the piccolo," they would have said "No, you'll play the Flute, with the piccolo as a side effort for some classes." The piccolo is a serious instrument that some people make a career out of playing exclusively in orchestras.

janeray1940
11-03-2013, 07:31 AM
Two words: John King (http://www.youtube.com/user/NaluMusic/videos) :)

I feel your frustration - while I don't have any music-related career aspirations, I am continually frustrated by people who, when they first learn that I play ukulele, expect me to do some sort of cutesy Kate Micucci-esque thing or strum a few three chord songs. (I play instrumental only, mostly classical, and have learned more theory in 4 years of serious ukulele study than i ever did during childhood piano and voice lessons.) And it doesn't seem to matter how proficient one is - my instructor, who is an amazing player, has also expressed frustration at not being taken seriously since his main instrument is ukulele.

This documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ-7bYFmM18) features a gentleman who based his advanced degree on uke - I haven't watched it in a while so I can't recall the specifics, but you might want to check it out.

iamesperambient
11-03-2013, 07:54 AM
I talked to my music uni friends about how after I finished my course, I might want to join a music course and get a degree to be a teacher as well. They instead suggested that I do this music level system which will allow me to become a music teacher in the end without the more theory based stuff (I think). So anyway, they suggested I get tested with my other instruments rather than my suggestion of playing ukulele.
The thing that astounds me is the fact people don't believe that ukuleles can compare to other instruments, thus not allowing me (and probably other people too) to be graded with the uke in order to be a future music teacher.



I honestly don't get it.


show your friends jake or james hill and they will stop with the 'use something else' comments.
While im not a huge fan of flashy playing or technical playing those guys prove the ukulele is just
as serious of an instrument as an electric guitar. Even roy smeck was doing hendrix style stuff before
hendrix on the ukulele (even though it was kind of done in a cheesy way) its still very much a real instrument
you can use like any other. Its sad people have that perception.

iamesperambient
11-03-2013, 08:02 AM
I talked to my music uni friends about how after I finished my course, I might want to join a music course and get a degree to be a teacher as well. They instead suggested that I do this music level system which will allow me to become a music teacher in the end without the more theory based stuff (I think). So anyway, they suggested I get tested with my other instruments rather than my suggestion of playing ukulele.
The thing that astounds me is the fact people don't believe that ukuleles can compare to other instruments, thus not allowing me (and probably other people too) to be graded with the uke in order to be a future music teacher.


I honestly don't get it.


also i just noticed you have a baritone you could totally play a classical piece on a baritone
and i think it would be more the sufficient to use for that.

BigMamaJ40
11-03-2013, 09:46 AM
You've talked to your friends; now, talk to a few professors in both the music program and the music teaching program, to see what they have to offer and how that fits with what you want to do.

Flyinby
11-03-2013, 01:36 PM
A lot of folks can teach newcomers a few chords and strums so they can have fun playing, but I think a music teacher in a school would need to know his music theory pretty well. I'm not sure what system they're suggesting, but I think if you really have an interest in music and want to teach in a formal situation, you'll need to (and hopefully want to) learn the theory behind how it all goes together.

If your goal is to make music a career because you love music, then you should probably follow the smoothest road to get you there; if the goal is to gain respect for the ukulele, then maybe you can push it to try to be able to take your tests on ukulele...you may not succeed, but if that was your goal you did your best, and maybe music teaching wouldn't have been the best career anyway. If the goal was for the music career, then I'd think twice about making an issue of it.

Ukes will find their own proper place; with artists like Jake S. and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain doing tours, and use of ukes by popular artists not previously known for playing them, along with things like the UBass becoming popular in places where stand-up basses were used, people are bound to see their potential. But that takes time, and with the image of laid-back Hawaiian beach music, or around-the-campfire sing-along, and the continued emphasis on how easy they are to play, I doubt there's any quick shortcut way to elevate their status. Better to just play and enjoy, and show first-hand all the great things you can do with a uke. If you want a music career, focus on that rather than worrying about the specific instrument.

Bumgardner
11-03-2013, 03:05 PM
Have you considered that it could be a staffing issue at your university? The university that I attended is world famous for music and they don't even have a ukulele program. They do have some of the worlds best music teachers, just not any for ukulele. It is partially a staffing and a business decision. When I was in college Commercial Music, Classical Music, and Performance majors had to take one hour of lessons in their primary instrument each semester. They also had to complete 3 hrs of piano in their first three semesters.

BlackBearUkes
11-03-2013, 06:37 PM
This is an interesting discussion. The ukulele has a unique sound and is known for certain types of music where it is the standard. If you take that instrument out of the arena for which it is known, it will drawn comments, both bad and good. It is the listener that decides if it will be accepted, not the player, no matter how good they are. For example, I listen to lot of classical music and when ever I hear something like a harmonica, the pan pipes or the banjo step into the classical realm of music, I find it somewhat grating and annoying. I guess the long and the short of it for me is that some of the classical tunes I have come to know and love, sound funky when performed on the banjo, etc. I really don't want to hear the Bach violin solo pieces done on a set of pan pipes, harmonica or banjo. I don't mind hearing some Bach on the uke, aka John King, but I wouldn't want it as a steady diet. You however may feel differently, and that's OK.

As for the ukulele being accepted in the academic setting just as the violin or flute, there is going to be a long wait for that, but it probably will happen if the uke has staying power and we can't know that.

tainauke
11-03-2013, 08:42 PM
In France, in middle school, we had to learn the recorder. It's a looooong tradition dating back to the 50's (perhaps even older). I didn't see any interest in that instrument. The range is quite small, the teachers never bothered with any music theory, and all we learned were classical tunes; I don't even know if the recorder can play anything else... :rolleyes:

I personally think the Langley music program is great (I skimmed the books a bit)!!! The kids learn music theory, they get to learn a wide range of style of music, and they are also able to sing and play an instrument at the same time (which you can't possibly do with the recorder).

I don't see the recorder being taken as a "serious" instrument, it doesn't have the biggest range either, yet it is the standard on which French kids are taught.
So why not the ukulele? It has been proven to be a great tool for middle and/or high school.

But I do agree with Flyinby, that knowing music theory is a must if you want to become a teacher. You have to be able to teach kids how to read sheet music, what a Major scale is and how it's formed etc... Especially, if you want the ukulele to be taken seriously... Also, I did have one teacher that did stand out (and he got fired for it), because he also taught us a but about "music history". What different styles of music were played, going from classical, to swing, to mo town, to rock... That was really interesting.

So yes to the ukulele in schools!!!!!!

kissing
11-03-2013, 09:26 PM
Violins are as serious as instrument gets, and they have the same number of strings and range as an ukulele. case closed.

Tootler
11-04-2013, 12:00 AM
In France, in middle school, we had to learn the recorder. It's a looooong tradition dating back to the 50's (perhaps even older). I didn't see any interest in that instrument. The range is quite small, the teachers never bothered with any music theory, and all we learned were classical tunes; I don't even know if the recorder can play anything else... :rolleyes:

I don't see the recorder being taken as a "serious" instrument, it doesn't have the biggest range either, yet it is the standard on which French kids are taught.


The recorder most certainly can play "anything else". There is a whole repertoire of solo music from the 17th/18th centuries including the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. When composers of that era specified "flute" or "flauto" they normally meant recorder. If they wanted transverse flute, they would specify "transverso". From about the second quarter of the 18th century, the transverse flute was replacing the recorder and it was the recorder's limited dynamic range that saw it marginalised. However, it's now possible to study recorder as a first instrument in music conservatories in the UK & most North European countries. Possibly in France as well. I don't know about N. America but I wouldn't be surprised if there were music colleges which accept recorder as a first instrument.

As for ukulele, acceptance by music colleges takes time and the recent revival is too recent. You might be more likely to get acceptance from a school that has a course in popular music.

tainauke
11-04-2013, 01:38 AM
The recorder most certainly can play "anything else". There is a whole repertoire of solo music from the 17th/18th centuries including the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. When composers of that era specified "flute" or "flauto" they normally meant recorder. If they wanted transverse flute, they would specify "transverso". From about the second quarter of the 18th century, the transverse flute was replacing the recorder and it was the recorder's limited dynamic range that saw it marginalised. However, it's now possible to study recorder as a first instrument in music conservatories in the UK & most North European countries. Possibly in France as well. I don't know about N. America but I wouldn't be surprised if there were music colleges which accept recorder as a first instrument.

As for ukulele, acceptance by music colleges takes time and the recent revival is too recent. You might be more likely to get acceptance from a school that has a course in popular music.

Wow, thanks Tootler, I had really no idea...
I got curious and checked out a few videos on the internet... People playing Gagnam Style, Moves like Jagger, a Harry Potter Hedgwig theme...
Hum... once I have mastered the ukulele (one can always dream:p), perhaps I'll dig up my old recorder... (I did like the Harry Potter theme)

prooftheory
11-04-2013, 02:50 AM
Possibly in France as well. I don't know about N. America but I wouldn't be surprised if there were music colleges which accept recorder as a first instrument.

I know an Eastman School of Music graduate whose first instrument was recorder.

PhilUSAFRet
11-04-2013, 03:49 AM
Show them James Hill's stuff and teaching methods. Not sure "other musicians are "snobs" or just ignorant. They need educated, not pitied, lol.

http://www.ukuleleintheclassroom.com/starter-kit.htm

BlackBearUkes
11-04-2013, 03:59 AM
Violins are as serious as instrument gets, and they have the same number of strings and range as an ukulele. case closed.

Well, a solo violin has the power and range to fill a concert hall and be heard with ease, a uke not so much.

iamesperambient
11-04-2013, 06:11 AM
Well, a solo violin has the power and range to fill a concert hall and be heard with ease, a uke not so much.


An A/e ukulele can fill a concert hall fine. There is a ukulele orchestra and they seem to do just fine. Theres some current famous players who play live on TV and fill concerts with no problem so im going to have to disagree with you there.

prooftheory
11-04-2013, 06:29 AM
Bao, what are your other instruments?

BlackBearUkes
11-04-2013, 09:38 AM
An A/e ukulele can fill a concert hall fine. There is a ukulele orchestra and they seem to do just fine. Theres some current famous players who play live on TV and fill concerts with no problem so im going to have to disagree with you there.

You can electrify any instrument, but I am referring to the acoustic uke and violin. I personally don't care for a/e ukes or guitars or violins. To me they seem to lose their soul.

prooftheory
11-04-2013, 10:25 AM
You can electrify any instrument, but I am referring to the acoustic uke and violin. I personally don't care for a/e ukes or guitars or violins. To me they seem to lose their soul.

Add that one to this list:


One could easily go nuts listening to what others declare to be best, or how you "should" do things.

One thing I've learned from reading this forum is that soprano ukes are best, the only real ukulele. And they don't sound right unless you have Aquila strings....wait, no that was a couple of years ago, now it's Worth Clear Fluorocarbon Martins I think. just twelve frets, no longneck. Genuine Koa (Hawaiian) and the manufacturer starts with a K, but not if it's under $800. Peg tuners only. Old Martins are wonderful, new ones are trash. Tenors with low G are the only way to go. D tuning is much better than the C tuning that the vast unwashed use. Re-entrant tuning gives the only real ukulele sound. Concerts are the best because they still sound almost soprano, and give you a little more fingering room and volume. Dolphins are the best, except for Fleas and flukes. Dolphins are OK but not all that great. They're better with D tuning. They're better with C tuning also. One should never buy a Lanikai or a Kala because there's a lot better brand that only costs a...little...more. It's best to have only one ukulele, which of course must be a D-tuned soprano tenor baritone with low G re-entrant tuning. You don't need frets higher than 12. You should have a cutaway so you can get to the frets past 14 more easily, which you don't need but if you insist on having them, you might as well be able to get to them. You must join a group so you can chukka-chukka every week, and swap uke stories. You must ALWAYS go to a luthier to tune your ukulele properly. You can set up or repair a ukulele pretty well yourself. Never buy anything from ebay or Amazon, except old Martins from ebay for which you pay thousands. Old beat-up ukes that appear to having been made with an ancient chainsaw are best, and nothing new sounds as good. The wood was better in those days. Laminated plastic ukes are best, that way they don't crack. Solid wood ukes are always better than anything, and you're not really 'there' until you only own one very expensive solid wood uke that you're so happy with you don't want anything else, ever. Collecting ukes is fun, line the walls with them, and play whichever one strikes your fancy. And of course, if you're going to play a baritone with standard tuning, you might as well play a guitar, or a tuba.

Just select whatever you need from the above, and ignore the rest, or add whatever you need, because I'm sure I've missed some.

iamesperambient
11-04-2013, 12:54 PM
You can electrify any instrument, but I am referring to the acoustic uke and violin. I personally don't care for a/e ukes or guitars or violins. To me they seem to lose their soul.

electric instruments loose their "soul" how Pete Seeger of you!

GB-uke
10-07-2014, 06:21 AM
Not sure if you realise you can now take graded exams in uke playing. They're fully accredited and run by the Registry of Guitar Tutors (RGT). You can read about them at http://www.rgt.org/exams/ukulele-exams.php

You can either upload a recording of your playing or attend an exam venue.