Impressions of the HMS Membership Lessons

manfromtexas

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Hello everybody -

I was wondering if any of you have signed up for the Hawaii Music Supply membership and have had a chance to look at some of the member lessons that are available. And what are your impressions so far?

Let me say - that you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fanboy of HMS than me. I visit their website multiple times a day and I’m a loyal viewer of the podcasts. I just love everything that those guys are all about. Love the store, the service, the podcast, al the people they have on. etc. etc. - you get the idea - I like them - a LOT.

But I’m going to have to say that I’m a little underwhelmed with these lessons so far. Most of them, not all but most, seem like they’re really oriented to beginners. And that’s fine - but I’m 52 years old and started playing when I was 11. I‘m a salty old dog. So I was really hoping to see some more advanced material. Especially since I know these guys can all play circles around me. Give me the good stuff!!! I already know how to press my fingers down on the strings at this point! In some of them it’s kind of funny they’re even speaking in these super soft Fred Rogers type of tones like they’re teaching a room full of children or something. Show me some of that wicked stuff you’re doing on the podcast!

On the other hand, there were a couple of lessons that I was kind of shirking off at the start as too beginner but then found that they did have some value to me when I got off my high horse and gave them an honest run. Sometimes you do need to revisit the basics - there is value in that. Also I’ve seen some that were covering things that weren’t so much valuable to me personally - but only just because I happened to already kind of know about the concept being taught already. But if somebody was showing me that for the first time then yes I would have considered that a valuable lesson. So I think there’s plenty good to be had there.

I’ve watched all but the latest 3 that they just put up from Sarah. So I’m kind of counting on her to come through for me. Come on Sarah show me the good stuff! Don’t give me another left hand finger exercise - I want to see how you glide across those arpeggios.

Anyhow I’m not displease with it - I’m confident that over the course of the year there’s going to be plenty of value. I was wondering if any of you have any thoughts or impressions about it
 

King David

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I don’t watch the videos, but thanks for your feedback. I can imagine though... a lot of these teachers are still operating in “workshop mode” from the days of yonder in the States where they really were mostly teaching conference rooms full of old (you’re not old btw) retired white people (and some kids) at a beginner level.

I’m a TUS member for the free shipping on ukes, 2 day shipping on my string orders, and just supporting Andrew’s staff. I haven’t played for 40+ years like you but definitely 10+. From what I’ve observed from my own experience: playing more, just practicing specific movements more, and playing by ear more - I’m wondering really what other “techniques” you need to learn at this point. You’re probably just like me - you’re a better player than you think you are and when others hear you play I bet they remind you that you are good! Am I right? Either that or I’m totally off! 😂
 
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Cadia

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Perhaps you should email HMS with these suggestions on more advanced classes, and see what they have to say. I can certainly see where they'd have the clientele to be interested, given the talent of their staff. It's a great suggestion, if they don't offer it yet. Fyi, I'm a big fan of HMS also. The ukes I've received from them have spoiled me for other places, and I can listen to Kalei play all night (literally, as sometimes I fall asleep during a podcast and will wake up to another one playing 🤣). Mika helped me pick out my Tiny Tenor. And Corey, the more I listen to him the more I appreciate how very talented and knowledgable he is.

I have a gift certificate to use for Sarah and Greg's online courses, and I think I've just been a bit intimidated by them to start it. I plan on remedying that next week, while I'm off from work.
 

Bluesy

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On the other hand, there were a couple of lessons that I was kind of shirking off at the start as too beginner but then found that they did have some value to me when I got off my high horse and gave them an honest run. Sometimes you do need to revisit the basics - there is value in that. Also I’ve seen some that were covering things that weren’t so much valuable to me personally - but only just because I happened to already kind of know about the concept being taught already. But if somebody was showing me that for the first time then yes I would have considered that a valuable lesson. So I think there’s plenty good to be had there.
Yes, this is where I stand too. I'm self taught so I tend to watch everything b/c there can always be one little nugget of wisdom shared. I've watched them all and gleaned minimal bits from the videos, yet having said that I must admit I do enjoy them. I'd like to hope that they will continue to beef up the content with more substantial fare. I want to support HMS in their endeavors so I don't mind chipping in the annual fee. They've got the best demos and podcast material around, so if my 50 bucks somehow shows my appreciation in addition to my business when I'm in the market for an instrument, great.

The only really dirty trick was played by Mika with his "It's a Small Small World" lesson. Now IMHO, that is an obnoxious song, a complete earwig that sticks in the brain like Velcro. I never knew that Mika had such an evil streak! :sick: or a wicked sense of humor.
 

rainbow21

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A big issue with the membership is that you cannot view the concerts or lessons menu without joining. They would likely get more signups and participation if they allowed viewing of what was available.

Appreciate the feedback as it is largely a black hole currently.
 

Peter Frary

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I've spend most of my life working in high education as a music professor specializing in classical guitar (and 'ukulele on the side). Outside of teaching music majors preparing for their junior and senior recitals, the demand for advanced level guitar teaching is extremely small. Microscopic. On the other hand, there are potentially millions upon millions of beginning to advance beginner students. That's where the money is for classroom/conference and video driven instruction. Advanced techniques are normally taught one-on-one is a private lesson or, to a lessor extend, in a masterclass setting. The lesson is highly customized to the individual's needs and abilities. If you really want the big juice, Cory and some of the other guys at HMS have been known to teach a private lessons via video conferencing. Gigs are far and few between so I suspect they have time...
 

necessaryrooster

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Mika does intermediate to advanced private lessons; he has a website. He offers a free consultation as well. I'm nowhere near intermediate but if I was, I'd give him a try. I like the way he teaches the lessons on the HMS site.
 

badhabits

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I've only watched part of one lesson, and it was geared towards newer/beginning players... which seems a bit of a disconnect as (imo) the the store caters to the more experienced players (or maybe it's just those who are more serious and willing to spend more).
 
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Bluesy

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Mika does intermediate to advanced private lessons; he has a website. He offers a free consultation as well. I'm nowhere near intermediate but if I was, I'd give him a try. I like the way he teaches the lessons on the HMS site.
I agree that Mika's a great as a performer and a teacher. I just thought he was wrapping a good lesson inside a practical joke. A little lighthearted ribbing here.

Bluesy.
 

Brad Bordessa

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I've spend most of my life working in high education as a music professor specializing in classical guitar (and 'ukulele on the side). Outside of teaching music majors preparing for their junior and senior recitals, the demand for advanced level guitar teaching is extremely small. Microscopic. On the other hand, there are potentially millions upon millions of beginning to advance beginner students. That's where the money is for classroom/conference and video driven instruction. Advanced techniques are normally taught one-on-one is a private lesson or, to a lessor extend, in a masterclass setting. The lesson is highly customized to the individual's needs and abilities. If you really want the big juice, Cory and some of the other guys at HMS have been known to teach a private lessons via video conferencing. Gigs are far and few between so I suspect they have time...
This is pretty much it. "Advanced" classes are rarely actually advanced because there just aren't advanced players showing up to group workshops. I've taught like two people over the past decade that I didn't need to tap the brakes for in private lessons, let alone in a group setting (or video course) where you have to strike some sort of balance between levels.

Just last week I taught at a workshop where I was scheduled for "Advanced Improv Uke". It was my only class all week that nobody showed up for. 🤷‍♂️

Andrew already provides all the masterclass material you could wish for with his pristine video and audio demos featuring such amazing players. There was certainly nothing that nice 15 years ago when we were trying to figure out Gently Weeps off the crappy video from Central Park! If I were Andrew I'd also be skimming off the top with the easy stuff to attract more people.

FWIW, I also think most advanced players already know what they need to be practicing and would be reluctant to fork over any kind of money for lessons that are unlikely to fill their needs - even if they were marketed as "advanced" (Jake's "Masterclass" starts with C and G7). This makes it even harder to make the time and effort that goes into creating truly advanced content worthwhile.
 

Peter Frary

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I've only watched part of one lesson, and it was geared towards newer/beginning players... which seems a bit of a disconnect as (imo) the the store caters to the more experienced players (or maybe it's just those who are more serious and willing to spend more).
I've visited HMS many times and the only advanced players in the shop were Cory and Kalei! Most of the folks buying the high end instruments were elderly male beginners. And they're usually repeat customers. Custom shop 'ukuleles don't stay in the shop very long.
 

necessaryrooster

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The question that I have is, does anyone else have trouble with the Vimeo videos on HMS' website? They don't seem to want to load more than a few seconds at a time for me. They're constantly buffering. It's really annoying.
 

badhabits

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The question that I have is, does anyone else have trouble with the Vimeo videos on HMS' website? They don't seem to want to load more than a few seconds at a time for me. They're constantly buffering. It's really annoying.

That's been my experience, as brief as it is...I thought it was my wifi.
 

merlin666

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One of the complications with offering more advanced teaching at class level is that attendants will often have different level of skill and different perceived needs. So inevitably, any more advanced class will need to focus on a specific theme to get the right audience. Does HMS have themed courses?
 

tluxtele

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Hello everybody -

I was wondering if any of you have signed up for the Hawaii Music Supply membership and have had a chance to look at some of the member lessons that are available. And what are your impressions so far?

Let me say - that you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fanboy of HMS than me. I visit their website multiple times a day and I’m a loyal viewer of the podcasts. I just love everything that those guys are all about. Love the store, the service, the podcast, al the people they have on. etc. etc. - you get the idea - I like them - a LOT.

But I’m going to have to say that I’m a little underwhelmed with these lessons so far. Most of them, not all but most, seem like they’re really oriented to beginners. And that’s fine - but I’m 52 years old and started playing when I was 11. I‘m a salty old dog. So I was really hoping to see some more advanced material. Especially since I know these guys can all play circles around me. Give me the good stuff!!! I already know how to press my fingers down on the strings at this point! In some of them it’s kind of funny they’re even speaking in these super soft Fred Rogers type of tones like they’re teaching a room full of children or something. Show me some of that wicked stuff you’re doing on the podcast!

On the other hand, there were a couple of lessons that I was kind of shirking off at the start as too beginner but then found that they did have some value to me when I got off my high horse and gave them an honest run. Sometimes you do need to revisit the basics - there is value in that. Also I’ve seen some that were covering things that weren’t so much valuable to me personally - but only just because I happened to already kind of know about the concept being taught already. But if somebody was showing me that for the first time then yes I would have considered that a valuable lesson. So I think there’s plenty good to be had there.

I’ve watched all but the latest 3 that they just put up from Sarah. So I’m kind of counting on her to come through for me. Come on Sarah show me the good stuff! Don’t give me another left hand finger exercise - I want to see how you glide across those arpeggios.

Anyhow I’m not displease with it - I’m confident that over the course of the year there’s going to be plenty of value. I was wondering if any of you have any thoughts or impressions about it
Thanks for sharing your experience. People only know if something is worth it by hearing other's experience. And the producers of good and services can only improve if they hear feedback. So again, thanks for posting.

Also, you're very much correct. It's good for those of us who have been playing for a while to be humble and remember that there are always new things to learn... even from some basic things... but it's also nice to be pushed. There was a thread on here a week or so ago (I'm bad with time) asking if the ukulele is seen as a real instrument or a toy... something like that... or maybe if it was taken seriously. I've been thinking about that, and I think part of the problem is most of the playing and lessons I see are very basic... as if the people who have YouTube channels only expect people who are just starting out to be the ones playing. On the other hand, I can find some pretty in depth conversations about guitar and bass without looking hard at all. Various scales... how to add chords you would think to add... how to play different voicings in a band setting to add to the overall mix. It would be nice to see some more in depth stuff to stretch us a bit.
 

badhabits

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I've visited HMS many times and the only advanced players in the shop were Cory and Kalei! Most of the folks buying the high end instruments were elderly male beginners. And they're usually repeat customers. Custom shop 'ukuleles don't stay in the shop very long.

So that kinda confirms that people buying from the hms/tus brick&mortar store at least tend to be more experienced (usually repeat customers, not rank beginners) and are willing to spend more. A beginner playing ability doesn't always mean they just started.
 
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manfromtexas

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Thanks everyone - In the immediate 5 or 10 minutes after posting my comment I began to get a case of poster’s regret and was thinking - ah maybe I should delete that. But couldn’t figure out how to do it - so I’m glad to hear that my comment seems to have been taken in the spirit it was intended.

And all really good points too. When I ask myself what was it I was really hoping to find there that is missing and why did I expect to see it there in the first place - I really don’t know! I mean I have an inkling though -

I don’t especially desire to be able to improv a jazz solo for 15 minutes straight. I’m more a fan of well crafted songwriting and compositions. I like it best when the guys play it a little more reigned in. Still - I watch those improvisations with awe a lot of times and even though I don’t especially want to play like that all the time, I would sure like to know HOW to do it so I could sprinkle it in here and there and just have that kind of fluidity on the fretboard and the knowledge. And what has frustrated me is that I think conceptually I do grasp WHAT it is they’re doing - they sometimes are riffing off the arpeggio of the chord that is being played, sometimes riffing off of the scale of the song, sometimes throwing in a blues lick here and there, and then also sometimes playing the “wrong” note - passing over it or sliding up or down. All of that with a super in depth knowledge of chords and chord structure and instinctively knowing how it all fits together, not to mention some great musical expressiveness. So yeah I get all of that - but HOW??!! ha ha ha!

On one of the shows not long ago when Abe Lagrimas was on there (I think it was Abe?) Andrew asked him to talk a little bit and demonstrate about playing the “wrong” notes and that little section of the show was spot on what I’m talking about - it was just what I was hungering to see. Sometimes it seems these jazz players either like to keep things kind of close to the vest, or they just come from the school that says you should watch, listen and learn. They don’t usually say too much. That was the first time I saw somebody open up a little bit about the how.

And I don’t know why in the world I could have or would have ever expected to find that level of stuff in the member lessons - I had no reason to. Like several of you said, I was happy to sign up just to support the guys in their endeavors and take whatever was on offer. But my own hunger for that deeper type of musical knowledge and the frustration at not being able to find it anywhere was what inspired my post.

Great suggestions on seeking out some one on one lessons. I think that’s kind of where I’m at and I would benefit most from - I’ll give some real thought to maybe seeking that out. I would have gone to your course Brad - That would’ve been right up may alley! I enjoyed your 6th sense course very much!

Thanks all
 

luv2uke

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I agree with manfromtexas "I would sure like to know HOW to do it so I could sprinkle it in here and there. I do grasp WHAT it is they’re doing - they sometimes are riffing off the arpeggio of the chord that is being played, sometimes riffing off of the scale of the song, sometimes throwing in a blues lick here and there, and then also sometimes playing the “wrong” note - passing over it or sliding up or down. All of that with a super in depth knowledge of chords and chord structure and instinctively knowing how it all fits together, not to mention some great musical expressiveness. So yeah I get all of that - but HOW??!!"
Brad, I too would have taken your course; just what I want to learn, advanced improv uke!
 

Jerryc41

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Hello everybody -

I was wondering if any of you have signed up for the Hawaii Music Supply membership and have had a chance to look at some of the member lessons that are available. And what are your impressions so far?

Let me say - that you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fanboy of HMS than me. I visit their website multiple times a day and I’m a loyal viewer of the podcasts. I just love everything that those guys are all about. Love the store, the service, the podcast, al the people they have on. etc. etc. - you get the idea - I like them - a LOT.

But I’m going to have to say that I’m a little underwhelmed with these lessons so far. Most of them, not all but most, seem like they’re really oriented to beginners. And that’s fine - but I’m 52 years old and started playing when I was 11. I‘m a salty old dog. So I was really hoping to see some more advanced material. Especially since I know these guys can all play circles around me. Give me the good stuff!!! I already know how to press my fingers down on the strings at this point! In some of them it’s kind of funny they’re even speaking in these super soft Fred Rogers type of tones like they’re teaching a room full of children or something. Show me some of that wicked stuff you’re doing on the podcast!

On the other hand, there were a couple of lessons that I was kind of shirking off at the start as too beginner but then found that they did have some value to me when I got off my high horse and gave them an honest run. Sometimes you do need to revisit the basics - there is value in that. Also I’ve seen some that were covering things that weren’t so much valuable to me personally - but only just because I happened to already kind of know about the concept being taught already. But if somebody was showing me that for the first time then yes I would have considered that a valuable lesson. So I think there’s plenty good to be had there.

I’ve watched all but the latest 3 that they just put up from Sarah. So I’m kind of counting on her to come through for me. Come on Sarah show me the good stuff! Don’t give me another left hand finger exercise - I want to see how you glide across those arpeggios.

Anyhow I’m not displease with it - I’m confident that over the course of the year there’s going to be plenty of value. I was wondering if any of you have any thoughts or impressions about it
I have no experience with their lessons, but I've found that even lessons intended for beginners can't hurt - and could help.