View Full Version : Sharing the fun of a uke

07-13-2014, 07:49 AM
Just got back from our annual street camping trip. This is our 5th year, we have 6 familes and about 25 people total. I brought along two of my ukes with the intention of letting Norm have a go at it. He had fumbled around with trying to learn guitar a few years ago (his words) and gave up on it.

We spent the better part of an afternoon noodling around and you could tell he was getting hooked. He hands and wrist would get sore, he would take a break and get right back on it. I taught him a couple riffs and a very simple version of "You are my sunshine". He really enjoyed himself and you could see that gleem in his eye that the sound of a uke brings

Tell us your stories of turning someone on to the uke

07-13-2014, 09:50 PM
I have turned on four of my adult children to the uke and it's a blast playing with them. I think the most fun was when my oldest came to visit for a week. He plays (struggles with) the violin and picked up one of my ukes out of curiosity while he was here and started fiddling around with it and his eyes just kind of lit up (like "hey, this is more fun than violin). Before you know it, he was carrying it around, bringing it into the bedroom to play, looking up worship songs that he plays on violin and trying them out on the uke. Needless to say, he left with that uke (just a starter concert Luna tattoo) when his visit was over. Now he is completely hooked. He still studies violin, but plays uke just for the joy of it. He also has a baritone now (louder for acoustic playing in church) and keeps a little beater in his car for "uke emergencies". It's wonderful to see someone get so much pleasure out of playing.
I sent one of my other kids (out in Cali) a uke as a surprise for Christmas, not knowing if she would like it. I also sent a little book of song sheets (Old rock & pop songs she loved growing up, simple 3 & 4 chord progressions). She loves music and tried to pick up guitar as a teenager but gave up. Well...she too got hooked on the uke. It was so cute getting those first videos of her playing one of the songs (trying so hard with her little dudududu strum). The look of concentration on her face and the big smile when she successfully made it through the song was priceless.
I'm looking forward to reading other folk's stories of spreading the uke-love.

07-14-2014, 12:56 AM
Two years ago, I started teaching beginning uke to adults 50 and up through a local program called The Shepard Center. It meets in a few local churches in the Fall and Winter, with two classes, one starts in October, the other in January. The class size has been steadily growing and I started with about 17 last class. I quickly found out that with only an hour, by the time you teach them to hold, finger chord, strum, and tune the uke, you really need a helper, especially for the first few weeks. Fastest hour imaginable. It's great fun. I love nurturing their learning curve, whatever it is. Often the slower beginners get left behind in some classes or clubs. I get their email addresses and send them all the best sites I've found for beginners. Most have been featured here on UU. Lots of copyright free stuff online for handouts. They end class with the equivalent of a pretty good beginner's uke book, with songs graded according to difficulty. I enjoy that part of it too.

07-14-2014, 03:08 AM
I teach guitar to a couple of kids at a children's shelter. One little guy was struggling with the guitar, and just became bored with it. He said he wanted to quite guitar, but he still wanted me to visit him. I asked the director, and was given permission to teach him the ukulele instead. I asked the little guy about it and he was interested, so I purchased a white Mahalo ukulele for him, which, to my surprise, was delivered to me as if it had been set up already. Anyhow, I broke it in for him the best I could over a week, gave it to him, and he fell in love with the uke. He even said white was his favorite color. We've only had two lessons with the uke so far, but I swear, this kid is a natural. We were already playing songs together with him strumming chords while I played melody on the guitar.

Also, I was at a bluegrass festival this weekend, and this little 3 or 4-year-old boy was really close to the stage watching the banjo player while strumming on his banjo uke. The lady from one of the bands called him up on stage to play a song with them. He was strumming on his banjo uke next to the banjo player. He was the highlight of their set. I don't know if this guy will be a future uke player or future banjo player, but it was something to see.


07-14-2014, 04:18 AM
I am pretty new to the uke myself, having only been playing for four months, but the ease of getting others into it is testament to its power, even in the hands of a beginner. I brought a uke and a songbook to my son's school picnic as something for me to do while the kids were playing--no intentions of getting others to participate. But like moths to a flame, other parents flocked over and soon enough we had ourselves a great singalong. Lots of fun! One of those moms called me a couple weeks later and told me that she'd been inspired to get herself a uke and was having a lot of fun with it. She was about to go visit her father, who was ill and in a nursing facility, and was looking forward to playing for him. That made me happy. :)