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tbeltrans
06-26-2014, 11:58 AM
Being new to the ukulele (and having rather high aspirations as to what music I eventually want to play), I am curious what motivated other beginners here to want to start playing and to continue practicing (i.e. what makes you pick up the instrument day after day)?

For me, it was hearing a shop owner play standards and show tunes in a fingerstyle solo manner. He could just whip off tune after tune by ear. The shop is a guitar store that focuses on expensive vintage guitars, both acoustic and electric as well as vintage expensive guitar amplifiers. They also sell new gear and have a rather higher end selection of ukuleles (Collings and up in terms of cost), which is most likely due to the owner's love of the ukulele. He is also a professional guitar player.

But, though the shop owner's playing got me interested enough to get a ukulele from him, I then encountered Daniel Ho's CD Polani. That is still some of the most beautiful solo stringed instrument music I have yet encountered - every piece on that CD. I got the book that goes with it, with all the pieces transcribed. I want to learn to play every tune on that CD. So my motivation is to do what it takes to get proficient enough on the ukulele to be able to tackle these pieces.

Since I have played fingerstyle guitar for many years, I am able to play through these pieces slowly and haltingly now. For me, the biggest thing to overcome (at least it seems that way right now) is that my "muscle memory" is set for the larger guitar fretboard. It is amazing to have a reach of 5 frets and more, but that is only maybe three frets on a guitar. I am getting acclimated, but having taught myself to play guitar and keyboard, I have a good sense of how much practice and time it will take to learn to play ukulele. One step at a time for me.

I have seen a number of amazing players on Youtube and they are inspiring. However, that one CD, Polani, for some reason, really does it for me.

Also, I have to say that I am absolutely fascinated by the ukulele. It is so small, only has four strings, but has seemingly unlimited musical possibilities. What a wonderful instrument!

Tony

Rllink
06-26-2014, 12:29 PM
A couple of things for me. First of all, I'm retired. I don't have a job. I have lots of time. So I sit on my front porch a lot with a rum and coke and watch the world go by. The uke gives me something to do with my hands while I'm sitting around on my front porch drinking rum and cokes. Also, I paint. I'm an artist. And a lot of times I have to quit painting and just let it alone until the paint dries. I am impatient, so the uke gives me something to do for a while so I don't sit up there and muck up my paintings. Finally, I have some friends who are very musical. They play all sorts of instruments. I hope that someday, hopefully sooner than later, I can play my uke with them. That probably is my number one goal. I just want to play music with my friends. That is what keeps me motivated.

janeray1940
06-26-2014, 12:34 PM
Agree completely, Polani is a beautiful recording.

I played uke (*badly*) when I was really little, then abandoned it to play (also *badly*) piano, guitar, and bass, all of which I lost interest in because I was a very impatient young person. Then in my mid-40s I picked up a uke again, with no thoughts beyond playing it for the duration of an 8-week beginner's class, but those 8 weeks kind of changed my life. At first I didn't expect to do much beyond strum chords to a few standards; at some point during those 8 weeks I discovered John King (https://www.youtube.com/user/NaluMusic) and all of the possibilities the ukulele had beyond chord strumming, and there was no going back.

I'm a lot more patient as a middle-aged person than I was as a young person, which helps keep me motivated. I really enjoy the challenge of playing complex pieces on a simple instrument. And I'm told I don't play *badly* any more :)

Pueo
06-26-2014, 12:39 PM
I hope to supplement my future retirement years by playing music for people. I love Hawaiian music and I am learning as much as I can. My goal is to be able to earn a little $ doing something I would be doing anyway - singing and playing ukulele. Technically I could do that now, but I really want to be able have all the songs I know completely memorized, and I would also like to be able to play them in any key easily. I have some more work to do to get there...

Ukulele Eddie
06-26-2014, 02:39 PM
I stumbled on ukes almost a year ago while shopping for a violin for my daughter at McCabes Guitar Shop. Having no musical background, I had never given ukes a second thought. For some reason, I was captivated by their look and then picked up a few to strum. I went home, did a bit of research which landed me on videos of Jake S and Singha Jung, decided with age 50 around the corner (which has now come and passed), it would be good to challenge myself.

Fast forward almost a year and I've rotated through 8 or 9 ukes already and spent an embarrassing amount of time everyday playing my uke, thinking about playing my uke, talking to people about playing uke, researching ukes, and buying and selling ukes. I may never be very good, but I love it nonetheless. Yes, I'm an addict.

tbeltrans
06-26-2014, 04:03 PM
These are interesting responses, thanks so much!

@Rllink - It sounds as if you have an interesting retirement. I am retiring, with tomorrow being my last day at work. I have worked all my life since I was about 15, so retirement will feel strange. I can take example from you. :) Personally, I believe that we can all learn to play quite well, given consistent attention to the instrument.

@Janeray - It seems that 8 week class was a life changing event for you. There is a woman in our condo building who, at 87 years old, took a painting class and found she really loved it. She has been painting a lot and really enjoying it. Who knew? She really has a knack for it. I think we all have something we can do to express ourselves, but it seems rather chancy that we will really find and connect with it.

@Pueo - Hawaii! You are definitely in the right place. With a solid goal like you express, I am sure you will achieve it and more.

@Ukelele Eddie - It sounds as if you too have found your musical self. If we could all spend as much time as we desired playing and socializing around our chosen instrument(s) I think we would all be a lot less stressed. Music is a wonderful pasttime, and for some, much more.

Tony

Ukulele Eddie
06-26-2014, 04:06 PM
I am retiring, with tomorrow being my last day at work. I have worked all my life since I was about 15, so retirement will feel strange.


Congratulations! Enjoy it!

tbeltrans
06-26-2014, 04:12 PM
Congratulations! Enjoy it!

Thanks Ukulele Eddie. I noticed you live in Santa Monica. My first "real" job was with Dept of Water and Power at the Canoga Park yard, though I don't know if that is still there. I grew up in Granada Hills and graduated from Granada Hills High. I have lived in the Twin Cities since 1978, and that is where I graduated college. I have been to McCabes, but it has been quite a number of years.

Tony

Rllink
06-26-2014, 04:15 PM
Tony, the secret to retirement is to never look back.

whysprs
06-26-2014, 04:34 PM
I really couldn't tell ya exactly why I chose the uke... played guitar in highschool, started to re take it up about a year ago but I'm a bit shy on space.. started to build 3 string cigar box guitars and played them for about a year or so... lol I've got 5 now that I've built.. I still need something smaller than a 38 in cigar box guitar, so started looking towards the uke which I can find parts for easier and will make for an easier build and after picking this one up and playing, I believe I'm in love... soo easy to learn. And play

Ukulele Eddie
06-26-2014, 04:47 PM
Yep, I'm in Santa Monica, 'bout a mile from McCabes.

I visited Twin Cities this winter for an ice fishing trip in Isla, MN. Man, it was soooooooo cold. How cold was it? It was -30F with the windchill the morning we departed. Fortunately, it was more drinking and cards then ice fishing (it was a networking event for lender based there). You guys had a rough winter. Hopefully, you've thawed out!

actadh
06-26-2014, 05:12 PM
I wanted to play for my mother who is in a nursing home. She really lights up when I play songs from when she was a young girl.

tbeltrans
06-27-2014, 05:11 AM
I wanted to play for my mother who is in a nursing home. She really lights up when I play songs from when she was a young girl.

I can't think of a more appropriate motivation than kindness toward another person, especially your mother!

Tony

brUKEman
06-27-2014, 05:33 AM
To keep my motivation up I play/practice every day. I set small goals for myself. Eventually I look back at things and think (wow, I remember when that seemed hard and now I can do it without thinking). Once you know a song try to enhance it with different strumming, or a fancy intro.
Just keep learning new techniques and as you learn them, apply them to the old songs your already know.
I learned a basic song (Freight Train). The chords are C/G7/E7/F. Once I learned the basic strum and knew the chords well I added a fancy intro.
Also learned a little finger picking style which works nice as chord melody. Lot's of tutorials/videos online which you can learn from.
Also, see if you can find a local Ukulele meetup group in your area, as talking/watching other players in person is a great motivator.

haertig
06-27-2014, 05:54 AM
I decided to learn ukulele because I can't take my piano on camping trips.

MuShu
06-27-2014, 07:13 AM
I'm a music teacher in an elementary school. A lot of other music teachers in my district use ukes instead of guitars for singing. The population of kids at my school is very high English Language Learners, so I really wanted and needed an instrument that I can sing with that gives me the freedom to adjust the tempo of a song if the kids are having trouble with the words. I had tried guitar several years ago, but could never wrap my brain around the chords. I handle the chords on a uke much better.

Ukejenny
06-27-2014, 07:59 AM
I wanted to play for my mother who is in a nursing home. She really lights up when I play songs from when she was a young girl.

Wonderful motivation.

Ukejenny
06-27-2014, 08:03 AM
Ukulele came into my life after a horrible bout of flu. While convalescing on the couch, I picked up my son's blue Mahalo and it was instant love.

I am a great lover of music and it is a large part of my life, so I'm motivated by just doing it every day for so many years. If I don't play for a day, something is missing, like I didn't take my vitamin for the day. Listening to all the good "stuff" out there also keeps spurning me forward. There's so much I want to learn.

Vagrant
06-27-2014, 08:14 AM
I started because... well, I had a number of life changing events this past year, which all made me realise I need to do the things I want to do now, and stop putting them off. One of the big things was to learn to play an instrument... I stumbled around a bit on guitar and mandolin before I heard Eddie Vedder's album, and although it's not the sort of music I want to play, it made me aware of the ukulele as an instrument. And suddenly a whole new world opened up to me.

As for practicing, I want the things I do to sound as good out loud as they are in my head! As my art teacher told me once - "the world is full of mediocre s***, try not to add more mediocre s*** to it", so I try to get better each day. I might not succeed, but it's the trying that I'm enjoying!

Ukejenny
06-27-2014, 04:30 PM
I started because... well, I had a number of life changing events this past year, which all made me realise I need to do the things I want to do now, and stop putting them off. One of the big things was to learn to play an instrument... I stumbled around a bit on guitar and mandolin before I heard Eddie Vedder's album, and although it's not the sort of music I want to play, it made me aware of the ukulele as an instrument. And suddenly a whole new world opened up to me.

As for practicing, I want the things I do to sound as good out loud as they are in my head! As my art teacher told me once - "the world is full of mediocre s***, try not to add more mediocre s*** to it", so I try to get better each day. I might not succeed, but it's the trying that I'm enjoying!

Wise words.

haertig
06-27-2014, 04:40 PM
I wanted to play for my mother who is in a nursing home. She really lights up when I play songs from when she was a young girl.
Your mother is blessed to have such a wonderful daughter.

Shastastan
06-28-2014, 07:28 AM
I'm a trumpet player and an old curmudgeon. I play in a couple of bands and duets with my wife (flute) at retirement homes and church. I know that my chops won't hold up forever so I know that I need to learn another instrument. I tried guitar and piano, but my old man hands didn't work too well. My piano teacher (a friend) asked about a uke since she had just started playing. We got ukes and started a uke club, but it just sort of drizzled out. I now have more ukes than I deserve, but hope to continue to play after my trumpet days are over. I don't practice the uke enough right now to play in public except for singalongs in my teacher daughter's classroom. She's going to learn uke for her classroom also. The idea from the teacher about slowing the tempo for English learners is excellent! I just really like the uke, but I'm not sure I can put it all into words. It's just fun!

DownUpDave
06-29-2014, 12:30 AM
Four months ago I was flipping channels and stumbled upon a documentary called "The Mighty Uke". I sat there mesmerized by the music coming out of this ukulele thing, I had NO idea. Two days later I am at a music store looking at guitars and I see the ukuleles so I pick one up and start messing around. I really liked the sweet sound that it produced. Early on in this adventure I met someone from the Toronto uke community that pointed me in the right direction and I found three different uke jams in the area. That gave me the motivation to learn. Hearing Izzy perform Somewhere over the Rainbow on youtube fueled my desire to make this happen.

I gave my very first performance at an open mike for newbies last week and I am hooked on the rush from that. I had practiced at least an hour a day for two weeks to get a simple song down pat. I now really want to do more open mikes, though it does scare the life out of me. This is all very new and exciting for me............that is how life was meant to be.

tbeltrans
06-29-2014, 01:54 PM
I'm a trumpet player and an old curmudgeon. I play in a couple of bands and duets with my wife (flute) at retirement homes and church. I know that my chops won't hold up forever so I know that I need to learn another instrument. I tried guitar and piano, but my old man hands didn't work too well. My piano teacher (a friend) asked about a uke since she had just started playing. We got ukes and started a uke club, but it just sort of drizzled out. I now have more ukes than I deserve, but hope to continue to play after my trumpet days are over. I don't practice the uke enough right now to play in public except for singalongs in my teacher daughter's classroom. She's going to learn uke for her classroom also. The idea from the teacher about slowing the tempo for English learners is excellent! I just really like the uke, but I'm not sure I can put it all into words. It's just fun!

You are touching on areas that also concern me. I just retired last week, and have a decent Yamaha workstation (Motif XS8), Lyon and Healy lever harp, acoustic guitar, archtop guitar, and now ukulele. I am hoping that out of these, one or more will be compatible with my fingers as they age. From what I have been reading, it seems that most likely, it will be ukulele and harp for me, though I do routinely see people play the archtop and classical (nylon string) guitar well into old age.

Tony

Shastastan
06-30-2014, 06:01 AM
You are touching on areas that also concern me. I just retired last week, and have a decent Yamaha workstation (Motif XS8), Lyon and Healy lever harp, acoustic guitar, archtop guitar, and now ukulele. I am hoping that out of these, one or more will be compatible with my fingers as they age. From what I have been reading, it seems that most likely, it will be ukulele and harp for me, though I do routinely see people play the archtop and classical (nylon string) guitar well into old age.

Tony

My plan is go as long as I can. Our section leader in the symphonic band is 86 yrs old and that's out of 20 trumpets. I'll be happy to just still be playing at 86. I probably won't get much further than strumming with songs on the uke, but that's okay. I just feel fortunate that I can learn and play a stringed instrument since I'm such a klutz.

Kevs-the-name
07-01-2014, 07:26 AM
I started playing because my wife thought it would be good for ‘her’ to learn.
i bought her a bargain Uke that she never played.... so I did!

I have played many instruments to a poor standard! but enjoy music!
I play almost daily and the rest has been said by ‘Ukulele Eddie’
I can concur with this almost word for word!



Fast forward almost a year and I've rotated through 8 or 9 ukes already and spent an embarrassing amount of time everyday playing my uke, thinking about playing my uke, talking to people about playing uke, researching ukes, and buying and selling ukes. I may never be very good, but I love it nonetheless. Yes, I'm an addict.

tbeltrans
07-01-2014, 02:26 PM
The contents of this post are probably "old hat" to those of you coming from other instruments, especially other string instruments and maybe piano, but I am just discovering this for myself and I am motivated!

Over the past few weeks, I have purchased a number of books, mostly focusing on solo fingerstyle and chord melody ukulele. However, what I am finding is that absolutely the most interesting practice I engage in is finding my way around the fretboard on my own. I know how to spell chords, what chords go to a given key, key signatures, and I am getting a good handle on where the notes are on the fretboard. So I am finding my own chords and inversions rather than looking in a book. In addition to that, I am continuing to pick out familiar melodies by ear and am starting to put chords under them. Fingerstyle arranging just seems to come with that territory. What I know from the guitar - how I found my way around the fretboard, etc. and especially the technique for fingerstyle, seems to translate well on the ukulele. What I mean by "translate" is NOT finding something on the guitar and then finding it on the ukulele, but instead the manner in which I went about finding my way around.

In another thread, I said that I intended to get serious about the ukulele and study a series of books I had purchased on the ukulele, but I am discovering that my previous music experiences are providing a much more fun and direct way of learning this instrument. For now, I have decided to put the books aside and stop playing guitar altogether while I get through the early stages of finding my own way around the ukulele. This is fun, and I can definitely see that in time (no shortcuts as far as I can tell, just different approaches), I will be able to pick out any melody I can hum and with the fretboard knowledge I am gaining, be able to put together an arrangement on the spot.

Things I see common between the guitar and the ukulele are that there are no shortcuts - I have to put in consistent effort, and music theory translates to either instrument equally well. What I find different is that the ukulele fretboard is A LOT friendlier than that of the guitar in terms of figuring stuff out on it. Instead of knowing nothing about the ukulele as a beginner, I am finding that my experience on the guitar gives me a perfectly good musical foundation from which to approach the ukulele. I am finding the ukulele much easier to navigate and for some reason (I don't claim to know why, though I can make guesses), the ukulele just invites "doing your own thing" as in playing completely by ear and it just seems much easier to "see" the entire fretboard and find what I want quickly even after owning a ukulele for only a couple of weeks. I am fired up, to say the least!

For any other guitar players, especially those who worked at least partially by ear (I can read music, but more often than not, choose to use my ear if at all possible), the ukulele is a real "freeing" experience. I wish I had waited to buy all the books because most likely, other than occasionally referring to them for ideas, I probably will just go my own way on the ukulele.

Imagine if somebody asks if I can play tune X, maybe "Happy Birthday" or some standard, at a party. After a small bit of fumbling around, I come up with an arrangement. That is much nicer for me than "sorry I don't have the music or TAB for it", or having to memorize a repertoire (which I have always been really terrible at doing since my memory has never been very good). That is where I want to be, and I really think I can get there in the not too distant future. I would bet that most of the ukulele players we really admire can do that sort of thing without even thinking about it, especially those who compose much of their own music. This stuff is REALLY motivating for me.

Tony

ukemunga
07-01-2014, 02:51 PM
Because it's fun as hell. What more do you need? :cheers:

Shastastan
07-02-2014, 06:37 AM
@Tony

<<Imagine if somebody asks if I can play tune X, maybe "Happy Birthday" or some standard, at a party. After a small bit of fumbling around, I come up with an arrangement. That is much nicer for me than "sorry I don't have the music or TAB for it", or having to memorize a repertoire (which I have always been really terrible at doing since my memory has never been very good). That is where I want to be, and I really think I can get there in the not too distant future. I would bet that most of the ukulele players we really admire can do that sort of thing without even thinking about it, especially those who compose much of their own music. This stuff is REALLY motivating for me.>>

Well, I wish I could say the same. I can't play anything without the charts. That's due to my old age. I can remember songs from jr. high, but now I can play a song 50 times and not remember it. We have been embarrassed on gigs more than once when asked to play a particular song and we didn't have the chart for it. The way you are going about this is obviously correct for you since you are having so much fun. Way to go!

Trinimon
07-02-2014, 07:12 AM
I've been stuck in advancing my playing skills after having reached a plateau in my playing. It kinda sucked 'cause I started sounding like a one-trick pony show. I decided to take some time away from the uke (hence my low presence on the UU the last while). I need something to kick start the interest again... A trip back to Oahu and a new Kanile'a tenor uke should get the fire going again. :)

KnowsPickin
07-02-2014, 07:14 AM
@Tony


Well, I wish I could say the same. I can't play anything without the charts. That's due to my old age. I can remember songs from jr. high, but now I can play a song 50 times and not remember it. We have been embarrassed on gigs more than once when asked to play a particular song and we didn't have the chart for it. The way you are going about this is obviously correct for you since you are having so much fun. Way to go!

That is me to a tee. I've played music all my life and generally play 95% by ear. But with uke I find myself chained to the sheet music and cord symbols. It is embarrassing. CRS is a terrible thing [Can't Remember S**t]. But I'm doing my best to still have fun with it.

tbeltrans
07-02-2014, 10:02 AM
@Tony

<<Imagine if somebody asks if I can play tune X, maybe "Happy Birthday" or some standard, at a party. After a small bit of fumbling around, I come up with an arrangement. That is much nicer for me than "sorry I don't have the music or TAB for it", or having to memorize a repertoire (which I have always been really terrible at doing since my memory has never been very good). That is where I want to be, and I really think I can get there in the not too distant future. I would bet that most of the ukulele players we really admire can do that sort of thing without even thinking about it, especially those who compose much of their own music. This stuff is REALLY motivating for me.>>

Well, I wish I could say the same. I can't play anything without the charts. That's due to my old age. I can remember songs from jr. high, but now I can play a song 50 times and not remember it. We have been embarrassed on gigs more than once when asked to play a particular song and we didn't have the chart for it. The way you are going about this is obviously correct for you since you are having so much fun. Way to go!

I think that most likely, there are as many ways to approach music as there are people doing it. I tend to shy away from any one "right way" after watching people fight over belief systems and all manner of things that really should be very individual. I am hoping the way I laid out will work for me. So far, it seems to be getting some results - nothing overnight, that is for sure. It seems to me that we can all hum melodies (quietly to ourselves, for those of us who don't want to sing). As long as we can do that, there really would not be anything else to forget, so we would have a repertoire of anything we can hum. Of course, most of us can hum PARTS of songs rather than the whole thing, and that is something I will have to overcome to ultimately be successful at this path.

Tony

tbeltrans
07-02-2014, 10:05 AM
That is me to a tee. I've played music all my life and generally play 95% by ear. But with uke I find myself chained to the sheet music and cord symbols. It is embarrassing. CRS is a terrible thing [Can't Remember S**t]. But I'm doing my best to still have fun with it.

I like that - CRS! Maybe there will eventually be some pharmaceutical cure for it, now that it has an "official" acronym. :)

Tony

sukie
07-02-2014, 10:34 AM
Yep, I'm in Santa Monica, 'bout a mile from McCabes.

I visited Twin Cities this winter for an ice fishing trip in Isla, MN. Man, it was soooooooo cold. How cold was it? It was -30F with the windchill the morning we departed. Fortunately, it was more drinking and cards then ice fishing (it was a networking event for lender based there). You guys had a rough winter. Hopefully, you've thawed out!

You mean they fish in those things?


Best way for me to stay motivated is taking lessons. He'll know if I don't practice.

Vagrant
07-02-2014, 12:15 PM
Best way for me to stay motivated is taking lessons. He'll know if I don't practice.

That's my next challenge - to find a tutor... I need deadlines and tests, otherwise I just get lazy. You're lucky in the states, ukulele tutors and groups seem pretty thin on the ground in the UK...

Shastastan
07-03-2014, 11:09 AM
That's my next challenge - to find a tutor... I need deadlines and tests, otherwise I just get lazy. You're lucky in the states, ukulele tutors and groups seem pretty thin on the ground in the UK...

Depends on "where", in the states or elsewhere. In some places the ukulele "craze" has really taken off. in my town it has not. Our uke club had members who are experienced musicians on other instruments and even some on guitar, but they dropped out just like most everyone else. I'm not sure why this is except it's a choice of where to use your time. Many of these are retirees, too.

sukie
07-03-2014, 06:56 PM
That's my next challenge - to find a tutor... I need deadlines and tests, otherwise I just get lazy. You're lucky in the states, ukulele tutors and groups seem pretty thin on the ground in the UK...

I take lessons via Skype. He lives on Kauai. I live in Minnesota. There are many teachers available through Skype. A week or so ago -- maybe longer, but not much -- there was a thread listing possible teachers in the UK. Good luck.

KoaDependent
07-03-2014, 07:31 PM
That's my next challenge - to find a tutor... I need deadlines and tests, otherwise I just get lazy. You're lucky in the states, ukulele tutors and groups seem pretty thin on the ground in the UK...

Check out Zahra - she's an astoundingly brilliant player, and a patient teacher. Her rates are the lowest I've ever seen a tutor charge as well. http://www.theukuleletutor.com/

rappsy
07-07-2014, 01:36 PM
Do we know anyone here on UU that has used Zahra? I checked out her site and the rates are great and she teaches for the hour. A half hour and I'm barely started. I would like to be able to chat with someone who is taking lesson from her through Skype. She's in the UK, but that doesn't matter through Skype.

tbeltrans
07-08-2014, 01:08 AM
Here is a site that may be of interest: http://www.playukulelebyear.com/

I discovered this by going back through the UkeTalk forum pages from the beginning. I am about halfway through them now and have found out about a number of really good books and a few sites, with Jim D'Ville's being a goldmine. He has a series of 26 videos for beginning players (such as me) on Youtube and a series of 4 DVDs (also available as download) that constitute his workshop on playing by ear.

Then, in addition to these, there is another "by ear" video called "Hear the Strum" at http://www.musiclessonsvancouver.com/page6/page6.html. The idea in this video (DVD or download) is that instead of trying to memorize a bunch of strums as "down down up down ...", you learn to FEEL the rhythm of the music and strum with it as you hear and feel it.

I am working through these at the moment. I think the cost is very reasonable for what you are getting. We each have at least slightly different learning styles and ways of taking in information. For some, taking lessons either in person or via Skype is the way to go. For others, this series of videos/DVDs is the way to go. For others, books and other DVDs might be a good path. I suspect that for most of us, some combination is a workable solution.

There is a lot of good information to be had by going back through the UkeTalk sub forum, especially the earlier pages. I found one post by seeso (is he still around?) that I printed and laminated for reference. It gave a very concise example and description of coming up with a short musical phrase (motif) and developing it into a longer piece as a means of composition. There are some real gems in those pages.

I have also just "googled" for various ukulele related subjects. The best thing I found for me at this stage was a list of relatively simple two and three chord songs. The list consists of the titles and the letter of the first note of the tune as it fits nicely on the ukulele. This is great for daily exercise picking out the melody and chords of tunes for ear training on the ukulele.

Two books that were mentioned in the UkeTalk pages that I am finding particularly helpful are:

The Natural Way To Music (you can get the accompanying CDROM as a separate item) by Jim D'Ville and Bill Keith (the famous banjo player): http://www.beaconbanjo.com/product/music-etc/the-natural-way-to-music-wcd-rom/.

Understanding Ukulele Chords by Robert van Renesse. This is a Mel Bay publication, so it should be easily available. This book is very well laid out, with each page being a lesson. The book teaches most everything you need to know about understand how chords work in music and how to create them on the ukulele, all in bite-sized lessons that are easy to assimilate.

I hope this information is helpful at least to some reading here. Not all information is useful to everybody, but it is definitely worth a look to see if some of it may be useful to you. The books and DVDs discussed in this post are really foundational to whatever music and styles any of us learning to play the ukulele are interested in.

Edit: I forgot to mention what is really probably the most important part of all this - two "fakebooks" by Liz and Jim Beloff:

The Daily Ukulele and the leap year edition of The Daily Ukulele

From what I have read, these seem to be the standard books for ukulele jam sessions of various types. They are certainly a good way to both check your "by ear" efforts and as a starting point if you want to arrange tunes in whatever style you want to play them, as well as for strumming and singing. In other words, these are great collections for any ukulele player.

None of the information in my post is new, and is probably "old hat" to those who have been playing for even a few months. But sometimes it is good to post this information as earlier posts scroll off into the archive pages, where one must search to find the information.

Tony

rappsy
07-08-2014, 04:57 AM
Thanks Tony.

This is perfect timing. Just yesterday, I wrote UU+ about their program and have been talking to them (as well as doing some searching) about the fact that it is very difficult to get some focus and direction when you are a new player as there is so much information out there. You have provided many items for me to look over and it is much appreciated. This looks to be exactly what I needed to find some clarity in my direction.

Thx.

tbeltrans
07-08-2014, 05:24 AM
Rappsy -

There would need to be some coordination among the materials I listed. What I have done is to define what my musical/ukulele goals and then decide how I want to get there. There is an overwhelming amount of information available these days and it can be difficult to sift through it and come up with a solid plan to get from where you are to where you want to be using whatever materials appeal to you.

There is a set of three books from Alfred Publishing: Beginning, then Intermediate, and finally Mastering The Ukulele. Each comes with a DVD. That would provide you with a very structured approach from beginning to end. I have these, but have decided that I want to work on the "by ear" approach first. I did not find out about that approach until after getting these three books. I still intend to use these books, but it depends on how much I learn via the "by ear" approach as to whether I need to go through them in detail or just use them for reference.

Tony

rappsy
07-08-2014, 05:59 AM
I realize that. What you did was to provide a place to get an idea of the materials that are out there for beginners. I am bit past beginner, but I find that the focus and direction need to reigned in from time to time and the resources you listed makes it simpler than to reinvent the wheel and start looking at everything. For that, I thank you. It is good thing that every once in a while someone summarizes the massive amount of data on these forums into byte sized understandable resources.

Lenny...

UkeAndCatsCarol
07-08-2014, 08:32 AM
Hi Tony

I noticed you grew up in Granada Hills and also graduated from Granada High there. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley; Pacoima, Lake View Terrace and Granada Hills. I graduated from San Fernando High School, and I met my husband at SFHS, in our senior year. I worked at Granada High from 1960 to 1963 .. It was a brand new school that we opened - voted on the school name (Highlanders), colors, etc. I worked in the Main Office. Now I'm having fun with the Ukulele.

Carol

tbeltrans
07-08-2014, 01:56 PM
Hi Tony

I noticed you grew up in Granada Hills and also graduated from Granada High there. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley; Pacoima, Lake View Terrace and Granada Hills. I graduated from San Fernando High School, and I met my husband at SFHS, in our senior year. I worked at Granada High from 1960 to 1963 .. It was a brand new school that we opened - voted on the school name (Highlanders), colors, etc. I worked in the Main Office. Now I'm having fun with the Ukulele.

Carol

Hi Carol - Well, whoda thunk it! :) I was there from 1968 - 1970. I was finished after the 11th grade, only had to take one class after that to finish. I ended up in the Army from 1970 through 1972. After that I moved on and live in the Twin Cities. Oddly, I came here because at the time (1978), many of my fingerstyle guitar "heros" lived here (Leo Kottke, Peter Lang, a bit later Preston Reed, and others). It turned out to be a great place for me well beyond that and I stayed, graduating from college here, getting married, and now retiring. While at Granada Hills High, I worked summers for Dept. of Water and Power in the Canoga Park site. I didn't do particularly well in high school, but in college did really well because by then I had figured out a purpose for being in school. I think the highlight for me at GHHS was the LA teacher's strike. That is a story in itself. Being late 60s in Los Angeles County, it is an obvious scenerio. :)

Tony

tbeltrans
07-08-2014, 01:57 PM
I realize that. What you did was to provide a place to get an idea of the materials that are out there for beginners. I am bit past beginner, but I find that the focus and direction need to reigned in from time to time and the resources you listed makes it simpler than to reinvent the wheel and start looking at everything. For that, I thank you. It is good thing that every once in a while someone summarizes the massive amount of data on these forums into byte sized understandable resources.

Lenny...

That sounds great Lenny! I am glad that you can use the information.

Tony

Shastastan
07-09-2014, 04:16 PM
@theltrans

You are well on your way and have done your homework. You've certainly have a lot of info to refer to. I also like Uncle Rod's boot camp and this one:

http://doctoruke.com/songs.html

I got to attend a workshop by Guido Heistek and immediately bought his dvd, "Hear the Strum".. You might check his website and subscribe to his free monthly newsletter. He's a great teacher. I like Beloff's books also. Most people have their favorite learning tools. We are really fortunate to have so many to refer to. There's a lot of good youtube videos out there to learn from with lessons. Ukulele Mike's are very good as are many others.

tbeltrans
07-09-2014, 10:01 PM
@theltrans

You are well on your way and have done your homework. You've certainly have a lot of info to refer to. I also like Uncle Rod's boot camp and this one:

http://doctoruke.com/songs.html

I got to attend a workshop by Guido Heistek and immediately bought his dvd, "Hear the Strum".. You might check his website and subscribe to his free monthly newsletter. He's a great teacher. I like Beloff's books also. Most people have their favorite learning tools. We are really fortunate to have so many to refer to. There's a lot of good youtube videos out there to learn from with lessons. Ukulele Mike's are very good as are many others.

Thanks Stan. Youtube is definitely a tremendous resource. I have grabbed a number of videos. Hawaiian Music Supply has some teaching videos that have been helpful, as have the video series from Kimo Hussey. WS64's channel has lots of tunes, showing his hands quite clearly in most.

I have ended up getting more books than I originally intended, most focusing on solo fingerstyle and chord melody. I think I am pretty well set now after having combed through much of the UkeTalk forum's archives and found many really good recommendations.

Tony

rappsy
07-10-2014, 04:09 PM
I also presented this lack of direction and focus I have to Ryan here at the UU+ premium program plans and this is his reply. (I have his permission to repost this.)

<<< Actually many of our members are in the same boat as you. I would say the Practice Sessions improvement system (the 28 day course) would be a great place to start for you. This is a no nonsense system designed to help you practice daily so you can improve your picking and chord switching. This will help you with your finger dexterity. You can also check out the Blues Ukulele Underground University course. That will help you learn how to play a lot of blue songs and will teach you just enough music theory so it makes sense, but not burden you with studying and memorizing it.

You can also go through the song lessons and see if there are any that might strike your fancy

maybe something like this:
http://ukuleleunderground.com/2010/02/uke-lesson-26-europa/
or this
http://ukuleleunderground.com/2012/06/ukulele-whiteboard-requests-2-white-sandy-beach-by-israel-kamakawiwoole/

Hope that helps, if you have any more questions please let me know,

Thanks!
-Ryan >>>