View Full Version : "Ukulele in the Classroom" - who's used it?

Kayak Jim
03-14-2014, 11:51 AM
I'm referring here to the Chalmers Doane/ James Hill series of books, etc. which teach playing the uke from standard music notation, ensemble playing, etc.

I've been ticking along for the past couple of years with the Dummies books and some online stuff, then Nelson's Fingerstyle Solos, now Fretboard Roadmap, etc., comfortable with my progress but wondering whether to make the jump. Most of the music I find online is in tabs so I don't see a need to revive my long lost high school music reading skills in order to find songs to play, and I have no aspirations of branching out to other instruments.

Only reason I'm considering it is there's a week long course near me this summer based on the U/C material and I thought it might bump my playing up a notch. The course is based on Book 2 and the instructor said if I do some self study of Book 1 to refresh my reading skills I should be OK.

What's your experience with this program? Is there any real benefit from reading standard music notation if I'm happy just playing the uke?

Jim B

03-14-2014, 11:59 AM
I think it would be cool to try a different way of looking at ukulele music. I read music and can read bass and treble clef, play instruments in both bass and treble clef, but it is strange that it is easier for me to read tab with the ukulele. I really need to learn the fingerboard and start reading notes. I sort of do, but Fretboard Roadmaps or this series might be good for me.

Kayak Jim
03-16-2014, 04:40 AM
Thanks for your response Jenny. Interesting that while you are already skilled at reading music, you find tabs easier with the uke. I'll take from the lack of others' input that it isn't widely used in the general uke community, and that no one sees a strong need to learn standard notation.

I have in the meantime borrowed the set of three U/C books from a friend. I can certainly see the value as a tool to introduce music in a class room setting with the ukulele as the instrument (vs. recorder or other). But I don't think I'll veer off my current "program" and re-learn standard notation just so I can take this particular course.

03-16-2014, 11:42 AM
I'll speak up for the value of learning standard notation. I re-learned standard notation---I hadn't read music since high school in the late 80s---about three years ago. It's opened up so much great music to me: folk music, Hawaiian music, popular music from the early 20th century, classical music, etc. Notation communicates much more than tab (rhythm and dynamics, for starters) and also reveals musical relationships (how chords are built, which chords work to accompany which melodies, etc.) that tablature can obscure.

I played bass guitar, guitar and ukulele for years and years without reading notation---I had terrific musical experiences the whole time---but, for me, learning to read music again has deepened my love for and understanding of music, and allowed me to connect with much more music than I could have using only my ears and tablature.

(Don't think I don't appreciate tablature as well---I use it all the time and understand its utility to quickly communicate chord shapes and melodic lines. Love tablature, too.)