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Thread: "Like" This Post If You Agree: Method Books Don't Have To Be Based on Folk Music !

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddiePlaysBass View Post
    While I get what you are saying, I can't agree with most of the above.

    For one: it is so about what you like. Playing songs you enjoy playing will motivate you to practise..

    A method book should give you tips, technique, pointers and exercises to work on, and work with. It should be fun and challenging. Just my opinion, of course. I currently have bass aerobic books for bass and ukulele and while I prefer the bass one, I totally dig what the uke one is doing.
    I totally agree. "Oh Susannah" and "I've Been Working On The Railroad" are not inherently the perfect "learning music" songs, they're just the songs that are most widely used in method books. There's no reason why the methods you're supposed to be learning with those songs can't be taught using a different song.

    The same is true for teachers. I've had two uke instructor. Both are very good musicians, both are actual music teachers and both have taught me a lot about theory and technique. However, my current instructor has tailored the lessons toward the classic, blues and jazz music I prefer while my past instructor taught more classic folk music focused lessons. Theres nothing wrong with either way but the ftact that I'm now playing music I really enjoy, music I find beautiful and exciting, makes me really look forward to practicing and going to my lessons. That enthusiasm gets me to practice more and, thus, has made my practice improve at a much greater rate.
    Andrea
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  2. #12
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    When I was in my teens I could play some backup on guitar whIle my friends played lead. When I was 30 I took a guitar course at a local school. There was a lot of theory and I did not recognize a single song, but the teacher was a Berkeley grad and was a great, but blunt teacher. I learned more in those 16 weeks than I thought possible. It gave me a foundation that has served me well.

    On the downside, we began with a class of about 20 students and finished with 2. So I can see both sides.

    I flew hang gliders for 15 years, 12 with an advanced rating and 6 as a certified instructor, (the last 4 as an advanced instructor). Students came up to soar with the birds, but soaring with the birds follows lots of study and many days on the training hill, (typically a couple years of training before you are at the intermediate level). Less than 2% of these students ever got to soar with the birds, but for those that put the time into tho fundamentals, it was worth it. The enjoyment as a student is sometimes the satisfaction of achievement and the dream of the goal that you seek. There may be good method books with exactly what you want to play, but for me, I would rather have a method book that helps me to achieve my goal. If it can be comprised of songs that I love already, that would be great.

    For the record, I have never played On Top of Old Smokey. Fortunately for me, playing guitar for 30 years allowed me to bypass the method book this time, so I probably shouldn't say too much because I have not actually seen or reviewed the available beginner method books for ukulele. The musician's journey is never really complete, so you better enjoy the journey.

    A very sound rule to developing a skill is to have an ultimate goal in mind, but to always have the intermediate and obtainable goals along the way to prevent being overwhelmed by the ultimate goal. Even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    Last edited by Django; 11-24-2016 at 04:42 AM.
    Current Herd:

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    Laughlin 3K, (1920 Martin 3K Bow Tie and Kite copy, 1 of 2) and Mahogany 3

    Concert:
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by thereadinghouse View Post
    I totally agree. "Oh Susannah" and "I've Been Working On The Railroad" are not inherently the perfect "learning music" songs, they're just the songs that are most widely used in method books. There's no reason why the methods you're supposed to be learning with those songs can't be taught using a different song.

    The same is true for teachers. I've had two uke instructor. Both are very good musicians, both are actual music teachers and both have taught me a lot about theory and technique. However, my current instructor has tailored the lessons toward the classic, blues and jazz music I prefer while my past instructor taught more classic folk music focused lessons. Theres nothing wrong with either way but the ftact that I'm now playing music I really enjoy, music I find beautiful and exciting, makes me really look forward to practicing and going to my lessons. That enthusiasm gets me to practice more and, thus, has made my practice improve at a much greater rate.
    Agreed. I don't know why people think that music has to be dull and uninspiring to make it some how practice worthy. Frankly, people who spend all their time playing dull and uninspiring music become dull and uninspiring ukulele players. Either that, or they quit. As far as the "if all you want to play is three chords" argument, give that one a break. You can certainly learn more than three chords playing fun music that you like, and there is certainly a lot of music with more that three chords that is fun to play. I think that eating one's peas first, before desert is not a good analogy. We aren't talking eating here. One has to eat to live and eat well to be healthy, one does not have to play the ukulele. I don't want to pick on Bill here, but I disagree with the "no pain no gain," theory of music practice. It is way too easy to lay down a ukulele and not play it at all if it isn't fun, and be no worse off for it. Not a lot of people are happy to trudge along and pay their dues before they get to play something that makes it fun, especially when they are first starting out, and especially when there are songs that they can be playing that they like.

    But moving on, and back to the original question, I think that they put those same old songs in all the beginner's books because people's tastes in music is so varied that the publishers couldn't afford to cater to them all. So they just put songs in there that are pretty much benign, and like everyone says, they are free.
    Last edited by Rllink; 11-24-2016 at 03:53 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Django View Post
    There may be good method books with exactly what you want to play, but for me, I would rather have a method book that helps me to achieve my goal. If it can be comprised of songs that I love already, that would be great.
    That's why I prefer the types of books I tend to select for bass tuition purposes: they don't contain known songs, but rather riffs, melodies etc. Some, like a walking bass book I am studying from, will contain "chord changes" that are eerily similar to old (copyright-free) jazz standards. But there, you are applying directly the things you learned a page or two back. The upstroke/downstroke variations and chord changes inherent in some of these old folk tunes could just as well be taught using different songs or by creating your own exercises (such as the Uke Aerobics book does, for instance).

    Having said that: I don't think there is anything wrong with using these copyright-free songs. Obviously it will work for some, and it won't work for others. I won't buy any such book because I do not care for that type of repertoire. And since I do not care for that repertoire, I see absolutely no reason and feel no incentive whatsoever to learn any of those songs.

  5. #15
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    I've bemoaned this very point myself on more than one occasion and I completely agree with the general consensus that the song selection in method books (for beginners) is often uninspiring and predictable. I also agree that the main reason for this is to do with copyright issues.

    I also agree that learning to play the ukulele should be a fun, engaging activity and not some hair shirt donning exercise in building character. I don't see any inherent virtue in gritting your teeth and slogging your way through endless tedious repetitions of When The Saints, Li'l Liza Jane, Go Tell Aunt Rhody et al.

    Looking at what others have posted I wonder if publishers aren't maybe shooting themselves in the foot here, simply to avoid paying royalties. At least a couple of people have commented that they don't/wouldn't buy method books simply because of the type of songs included.

    When I started out I quickly realized that I needed to find stuff to play that was to more my taste but that was also simple enough to not overstretch my very limited abilities. I was thinking I might try to put together a pdf of about a dozen easy songs - mostly pop, reggae, rock'n'roll, country and maybe a couple of punk classics - don't anyone hold their breath but I might get around to it one day...

  6. #16
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    There are some exemptions to copyright laws when it comes to a piece of music being used solely for instruction. I am not a lawyer, but maybe someone in the community can clear that up.

    No matter how good a book is, chances are that as it progresses you will have to learn some songs that you do not like in order to progress to the next song. Wuth guitar, I always found the exercises to be more useful than the songs and I would use them to warm up, (and still do). I do not love the exercises, but they are very useful.

    If you take lessons from a good instructor, they will probably be able to put together arrangements of the songs that you want to learn that are targeted to your level of playing, (it will cost extra). If you go that route, you will not need the book because you will be compiling your own.

    Finding a book filled with your favorite songs that progresses from easy to intermediate or difficult as it teaches you techniques with each song is unlikely. Musical tastes are too personal and varied for an off the shelf book to have exactly what everyone is looking for. Personalized instruction is really the only way to get that. You can always use the techniques from a method book and apply them to sheet music that you compile.
    Current Herd:

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    Recent Martins: 3 Centennial, 5K, 3 Cherry and OXK
    Vintage Martin: 1950s #1
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    Concert:
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    Tenor:
    Kiwaya KMT-K, strung with Aquila Reds, sweet as can be
    Pono Master Series Tenor, Cedar/Mahogany
    Romero Creations Replica, Mahogany

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  7. #17
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    Well, I think that some people want only to learn to play the ukulele, and so they concentrate to that end, and in doing so it is a discipline that gives them a feeling of accomplishment. Others want to use the ukulele as one part of a bigger picture. They want to play music to entertain themselves and others. They want to use it for social reasons. I think that each has a different approach and mindset.
    Last edited by Rllink; 11-24-2016 at 06:49 AM.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Django View Post
    There are some exemptions to copyright laws when it comes to a piece of music being used solely for instruction. I am not a lawyer, but maybe someone in the community can clear that up.
    Probably not the case ... copyright is "just what it says on the tin" ... the right to copy, a right that can be assigned for whatever reason (often involving the exchange of money). Copyright is often, but not exclusively applied to written/printed material ... loosely translated as "can't photocopy printed music" without permission but may well be extended to include the creation and/or distribution of a printed representation of an original work. That is to say, preparing a transcription of a copyrighted tune then publishing that transcription in a manner that might be deemed to have lost sales of the original work, even if no charge was made for the copy!

    Do not confuse copyright with "performance rights", which is where a fee is paid to allow the performance of a particular piece of music. This is a whole different bag of parameters, which, theoretically, could include the guy on the corner busking ... certainly any situation where income or profit is generated for whatever reason, including charitable causes!

    The other problem to consider is that the various legal considerations can and do differ between countries. What you can "get away with" in the USA may not be the case elsewhere, or vice-versa ... if in doubt, don't do it. The legal costs involved can be prohibitive and "ignorance of the law is no defence" in many countries!

    YMMV
    There are those who will wax lyrical about the ability to play a double shuffle with a split fan and a tight G-string ...
    it just makes me walk funny!

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Django View Post
    There are some exemptions to copyright laws when it comes to a piece of music being used solely for instruction. I am not a lawyer, but maybe someone in the community can clear that up.
    The caveat here is pretty straightforward (and pretty standard I believe) - copyrighted music can be used royalty-free for the purposes of education or instruction but only within a non-commercial context (such as by a school). So, a published book, sold at a profit, even if it is an instruction book, doesn't count.

  10. #20
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    Thank you for the clarification. That may be why some ask for a donation.
    Current Herd:

    Sopranos:
    Recent Martins: 3 Centennial, 5K, 3 Cherry and OXK
    Vintage Martin: 1950s #1
    Kiwaya KTS-7
    Laughlin 3K, (1920 Martin 3K Bow Tie and Kite copy, 1 of 2) and Mahogany 3

    Concert:
    Magic Fluke Flea

    Tenor:
    Kiwaya KMT-K, strung with Aquila Reds, sweet as can be
    Pono Master Series Tenor, Cedar/Mahogany
    Romero Creations Replica, Mahogany

    Tiple:
    Yasuma (Martin T28 copy, Rosewood with Spruce top)

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