Learning to read standard notation - need easy sheet music

fretie

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I am on a hunt for fairly easy sheet music with standard notation so that I can practice sight reading music as a way of applying my newly acquired knowledge of scales on the low G uke.

Broadly speaking, I can read music, however, specifically with the uke I have not been playing notes on the scale. I have been strumming chords and reading tab. But now I would like to actually read standard notation and get some practice with playing specific notes up and down the fretboard.

Can you suggest some resources to help me move towards my goal of increased musicianship with the ukulele?
 

kypfer

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Jack Campin's "Nine Note Tunebook" can be a good place to start http://www.campin.me.uk/Music/Chalumeau.abc though it does miss out the low G string, but you've got to start somewhere. The link goes to an ABC listing, which can be converted to a PDF in standard notation using on-line converters or a local program.

And before we get into another "don't want/need to learn another notation" thread, ABC is just programming code, with a very low download overhead, which can be used to generate conventional notation sheet music and MIDI files, so you can read the tune and have something to play along with ;)

Enjoy :music:
 

ripock

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I am on a hunt for fairly easy sheet music with standard notation so that I can practice sight reading music as a way of applying my newly acquired knowledge of scales on the low G uke.

Broadly speaking, I can read music, however, specifically with the uke I have not been playing notes on the scale. I have been strumming chords and reading tab. But now I would like to actually read standard notation and get some practice with playing specific notes up and down the fretboard.

Can you suggest some resources to help me move towards my goal of increased musicianship with the ukulele?

When I was doing what you're doing, I didn't use particular resources, but rather used certain strategies:

1. I started by playing the chromatic scale starting with open G string, going to the G on the 10th fret of the A string, and from there sliding up the A string until I hit the E on the 19th fret. I would say the notes as I played them. I played them as sharps as I went up the fretboard and flats as I came back down. And I looked at my hands as I played them. In that way I was learning my notes by touch, by sight, and by mouth.

2. I would take a key and play it in all its modes, starting from both the G string and the C string. This is similar to the previous exercise, except that you only using 7 notes over and over again in different orders.

3. Finally, just pick a song arranged for any instrument (the true beauty of reading music) and start practicing it. The two songs I began with were Bach's "Jesu joy of man's desiring" and Cole Porter's "My heart belongs to daddy." This is the important step because you learn by doing. The one thing you will need to do as a ukulele player is transpose. The ukulele only has a little more than two octaves in its range. You don't always need to do this, but when you do here is what I would do: find the lowest note of the piece you're reading and then transpose to a key where that note is the open G string. By doing this you give yourself as much room as possible on the fretboard.
 

Martinlover

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I practice from Jim Beloff’s yellow and blue Daily Ukulele.
 

rainbow21

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I recently started and first source was the local library. Most songbooks are standard sheet music with just a line of melody and the corresponding chords. I am also on the James Hill Ukelele Way site. He has a number of free lessons and his songsheets are presented in this manner.
 

fretie

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Wow, lots of good ideas here! Thank you so much.
 

Davoravo

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Having just come to the ukulele as an adult but having played lots of sheet music as a child I would suggest learning the way the kids do. Get a kids music learning book for ukulele or flute or any wind instrument and just play through the book from absolute beginner to exam level. Most Kids never practice, except at their lessons which Must drive the teachers nuts, so they are always sight reading and they simply pick up skills by progressing from one tune to the next without the need we adults have to get it right first.

It’s a different skill, it still surprises me now that I can’t sight read a song tab for strumming chords but i used to be ale to pick up my flute and sight read a fairly complex melody.
 
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Jarmo_S

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I don't think it is really so rewarding to play flute music. Ukulele is not really a melody instrument. Guitar isn't either.
I also played flute a few years and naturally much easier than same tunes in uke.

My advice to notes and ukulele is play the song's melody from songbooks. Many times the notes fall below C4 (standard uke's lowest note), so it rewards to learn the notes on G-string as octave lower too. Like you were playing a low G uke. It won't sound exactly right, but works as a compromise in helping to read music with uke.
 
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Tonya

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This book: https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Kanikapila-Steps-Ukulele-Hawaiian/dp/1939487145

It has a great approach to teaching ukulele, including reading notation. I used it a lot with my ukulele group--it worked especially well for those who'd never "read" standard notation previously and were a bit flummoxed/afraid/reluctant to learn to do so (choose your adjective!).

I'd purchased it at Costco originally on a visit to Hawai'i just to add to my collection, but discovered it worked like a charm for many folks to learn standard notation.

Have fun learning!
 

fretie

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Cool, I appreciate all your suggestions and experience based insight, thanks!

Tonya, it is so neat to ‘bump into you’ here in the forum.

I have read your blog and, of particular interest to me, has been you experience at LUE because, the reason I am jonsing to learn to read standard notation is because I just started the LUE that Peter has offered in the Vancouver, BC area. So, you can probably imagine my motivation, after the first LUE which was held last month, to improve my grasp of music theory as it applies to the ukulele!

Our next workshop with Peter is in two weeks time and I am totally jazzed about how this ensemble training has already upped my musical game. Isn’t it a blast to be taught by someone as energetic and skilled as Peter?!

Now...back to practicing my music theory and working on the LUE homework.
 
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Tonya

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...because I just started the LUE that Peter has offered in the Vancouver, BC area. So, you can probably imagine my motivation, after the first LUE which was held last month, to improve my grasp of music theory as it applies to the ukulele!

Our next workshop with Peter is in two weeks time and I am totally jazzed about how this ensemble training has already upped my musical game. Isn’t it a blast to be taught by someone as energetic and skilled as Peter?!.

Yep, definitely get the notation down, fretie, but, even more importantly for the LUE stuff is to *memorize* that fretboard. Knowing the notation is needed, but you really need to get the fifth, seventh and up fretboard entirely so you can quickly go to notes anywhere on the fretboard and play the scales there. Seriously, that was my key to success (not sure Peter would call me a "success" so there's that!) in LUE.

I'll be writing up our LUE time in Hawai'i in July on my blog soon. I'll post it here when I do! In the meantime, feel free to PM me!
 

fretie

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Yep, definitely get the notation down, fretie, but, even more importantly for the LUE stuff is to *memorize* that fretboard. Knowing the notation is needed, but you really need to get the fifth, seventh and up fretboard entirely so you can quickly go to notes anywhere on the fretboard and play the scales there. Seriously, that was my key to success (not sure Peter would call me a "success" so there's that!) in LUE.

I'll be writing up our LUE time in Hawai'i in July on my blog soon. I'll post it here when I do! In the meantime, feel free to PM me!

Cool, thanks for the tips!

Plus, I’m looking forward to reading about your LUE in Hawaii this summer.
 

rubykey

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I did it without a book. I wanted to know where the notes were on the ukulele. Just like on a piano if I press an F sharp I know it's an F sharp because I know it like I know what the color blue looks like. I figured I ought to be able to do that on ukulele. It seems daunting at first. But you already know the notes of the open strings. And they are the same notes at the 12th fret. The only memorizing I did was to memorize the notes on the 5th fret. CFAE From there you can go up and down half steps. It sounds too complicated to "memorize" all of the notes on every fret. but if you approach in a user-friendly way, that is what will happen. It doesn't happen overnight. I think it took about a year to be comfortable. That was several years ago. Now when I want to learn a Melody from a lead sheet I no longer have to go over to the piano. I can pick the notes on my ukulele . And just for fun to floss my brain, I often find two or three positions to plunk out the melody. As you are learning in your Workshop where to find the scales, it's even more satisfying to locate the melody and know what notes you are playing. This level of detail is only for the motivated :)

One tip I got when I started was to locate a specific note on all the strings. Start with friendly notes like C F G, moving on to A E Etc and then tackling the flats or the sharps. So first I would learn where C was on every string. sometimes I would just think about it when I was out without a ukulele. It's great to be fluent with your instrument. Just like learning a foreign language, with practice and practical usage it will come naturally.
 

Jarmo_S

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Instead of looking for a specific tutor book, lash out and buy a songbook by your most favourite artist. The hard copy, it will last for the next 50 years. When you go through the book you are going to find tunes you can play now and some that you can't play now. So just play the ones you can play and keep the book. Over the years you will learn to play them all, and if it is your favourite artist, you will be going back to it all the time. After a while you will think that a fairy has been inserting material because you will be learning more and seeing more.

That has some good and some bads, your suggestion. Good that it is a songbook you recommended instead like the ubulele guy above, some flute "method". So yes definately a songbook instead a method whatever for to read standard notation.

Bad is that what ever a favorite artist is going to be limited in ways. I can't much listen to any my favorite "artists" from when I was 16 old. Even if I like someone now, I'm not interested exactly that much for that reason. Their styles are always limited.

So yes a songbook ( fakebook with notes how ever you call them) with many varying musical tastes and preferably also with chord names.
 

kypfer

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I have a book shelf full of song books by various artists, you can have more than one favourite artist. I bought some of them in the late 1970s and still use them.
Absolutely :)
My first song-books were bought in the mid '60's, they're still there on the shelf amongst more recent acquisitions!

YMMV :music:
 

Down Up Dick

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I have a book shelf full of song books by various artists, you can have more than one favourite artist. I bought some of them in the late 1970s and still use them.

Yeah, I use trumpet music and lotsa flute music, and I have a bunch of fake books some of which I hafta transpose a bit. I seldom play above the 10th fret though.

Actually, Im leaning more and more into playin’ by ear. I know lots of tunes by heart, and I either pick them out by ear or perhaps refresh my memory on a flute with music. However, though I don’t care much for tabs, I do find them very useful when chords are involved a lot.

One big problem I’m having is playing in different tunings (i.e. baritone uke or clawhammer banjos or 5ths). I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m working on solving that too. It’s always somethin’, but I guess that’s what makes learning new stuff interesting.
:eek:ld:
 
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zztush

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I play fiddle tunes on my guitar as bluegrass lesson. They may be good lesson for your sight reading too. There are many fiddle tunes on standard notations and tabs available on books and in the internet.