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Thread: Just enrolled in a ukulele class

  1. #1

    Default Just enrolled in a ukulele class

    Hi everyone,

    Since I am looking to expand both my knowledge of the uke and my circle of friends, I have decided to enrol in a ukulele course.

    It's a 10-session group class, and will start in January 2019. It's actually an "advanced beginners" class but there is no "beginners" class and the description said a minimal knowledge of uke is required.

    I figured between now and January I should be able to memorize some of the more basic chords. Uncle Rod, I'll be bootcamping away!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    1,165

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    Sounds good! If your area doesn't have a uke group, maybe you can form one with the people from your class. That's what a small class in my area did about 8 years ago and the group now has about 30 members, meets weekly, and is great fun. You're right, it's a good way to meet people. Some of my best friends have been made through our group.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Posts
    8,113

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    Good idea. You'll love it. Learning and playing ukulele has brought me my greatest joy.
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  4. #4

    Default

    Alright, so yesterday was the first class. I decided to eat at work, stay behind and go directly to the class. It's a 45min drive so not too bad. What I failed to check beforehand was where exactly the class would take place. So at 19h15 I drove by the building, and with 15 minutes to spare I needed to find a parking spot. In the middle of a busy city ... Needless to say I was 5 minutes late

    Had a quick introduction, and then it was off to a start. First the teacher wanted to check the overall knowledge level of the 12 chords they learned in the Level 1 course. As it turns out, I do not know all of them by heart - so that is something to work on. Next up, we did 3 variations of the E-chord. That one will be interesting! Then the C-major scale, followed by hammer-ons and pull-offs, with a focus on right-hand plucking technique.

    Truth be told, there was not a lot for me to learn in this particular lesson, after 20 years of playing bass. But I recognize this as a trap I will not fall into. He sent over the course material + homework (Do-A-Deer from Sound Of Music), and I will dutifully work on all the exercises (and memorizing the chord shapes) for next week's course. If I do not do that straight away, I will start lagging behind at some point. Plus, he said by the end of the course (week 10) we will be able to play "Stairway To Heaven".

    The group is pretty diverse, and I had a chat about prog rock and music with one of the members after the class. All in all, I think it will be fun and I will come out a better and more motivated player. Not yet settled on whether or not I like the tutor on a personal level, but it's clear he knows what he is talking about.

    To be continued!

  5. #5

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    Second lesson was yesterday, and I must say it was significantly more fun than the first one, although overall the pace is quite slow. Continuing where we left off last week, our teacher had prepared an arrangement of Amazing Grace, with hammer-on's and pull-off's as ornaments. I think he meant to spend only a few minutes on this particular song, but it ended up taking almost half an hour. I noticed that I can't quite pull off one of the pull-offs (pun intended) so I will work on that.

    Up next he taught us a strum pattern that involves damping the strings. Being a bass player, I tend to gravitate towards finger picking so my strum technique is quite poor. I found myself playing it ever so slightly different than he does (right hand technique-wise) so forced myself to perform the strum exactly the way it's being taught. After all, I am there to learn and he is there to teach For next week, we will apparently work on an arrangement of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" in which said strum is partially employed.

    Someone mentioned the blues, and I played a simple turnaround exercise from the Ukulele Aerobics book to show that yes, you can play the blues on an uke. Our teacher picked up on it and played some more licks - it sounded brilliant! So he may throw his schedule out the window and focus on the blues instead for the next couple of lessons. No complaints here!

    After the lesson I walked to my car with one of the students, and she told me that several people have quit after the first instalment of lessons (keep in mind this is the Beginner Course Level 2 - I was never aware of level 1) because they expected, and I quote: "... to learn 3 chords and then play songs." Instead, they learned around 12 chords, a good bit of songs and several strum techniques, which was deemed "too technical" by some. Truth be told, I wouldn't mind if things went a bit quicker, but as my misses pointed out, not everyone in the class already plays an instrument. And really, my main motivation for enrolling has been to get motivated about practicing daily, if only for 15 minutes. So far, that seems to be working quite well

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    on a sunny FL beach
    Posts
    1,362

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    Sounds like you are doing great. Group lessons are nice for making ukulele friends but matching the pace to each students ability and experience is gonna be a challenge. You may want to move to private lessons after this class.

  7. #7

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    Alright, yesterday was lesson # 3 of 10. By popular request, the teacher spent the hour (actually 90 minutes) on a 12-bar blues progression in A. Being a long-time blues aficionado and primarily a blues/rockabilly bass player, I was familiar with the theory behind it but had never approached a 12-bar from a chordal point of view. While you can play chords on a bass, it's not something I have focused on so far. And this lesson right here showed me how right I was to pick up the uke. Approaching a familiar piece of music from an unfamiliar angle made me not only appreciate it more, but it gave me a better understanding of how the chords interact. Next week the lesson will focus on fingerpicking, but I am going to add this 12-bar to my "daily" practice routine, and once I have this one down, move on to a different chord progression and flesh it out, too.

    The students in my class have already requested the teacher to look into a possibility for a 3rd course (remember, this is Beginner's Uke Level 2) and one of them has repeatedly mentioned the option of starting a uke group once the lessons are finished. Someone also hinted that I should bring my bass for the jams Not quite where I was hoping to go with this, but hey why not!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Eastern Massachusetts
    Posts
    97

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    Quote Originally Posted by EddiePlaysBass View Post
    Someone also hinted that I should bring my bass for the jams Not quite where I was hoping to go with this, but hey why not!
    Sounds like you need to introduce the class to the u-bass!

  9. #9

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    Wow. I know you said this was a beginner 2 class but after my beginner 1 class there was no way the people in my class would be doing E chords much less some of the others. Yeah we were doing a lot of scales and actually some picking of slow songs but not a lot of strumming. I want to learn more fingerpick g as well, but figured we'd learn some strumming to be able to play with others.
    I feel like I'm learning in a vacuum because I'm not doing anything but run scales. It's really frustrating. I don't have the music background you do. I'm about to quit because I'm so frustrated.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    West Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    390

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    You know, here's something to think about. If you progress faster than the class you are in (whatever class you are in), don't worry about offending anyone by changing your class or teacher. You had 20 years on a bass. At some point you'll blast past most.
    * * * * * * * * *
    Solid Mahogany Tiny Tenor from Pepe Romero/Daniel Ho. Low-G. I named it "Lumière"
    Kala Soprano KA-ASOV-S Spruce and Ovangkol. High-G I named "Blood, Sweat, & Tears"
    KLOS Carbon Fiber Tenor Deluxe Acoustic/Electric Ukulele wound Low-G
    Cynthia Lin Performance uke. Concert scale with a cutaway Low-G
    Kala Soprano KA-KCT-S Ziricote fitted with Ernie Ball clear High-G
    Just ordered a tenor sized custom electric uke from Brian Fanner . . . wonder how long ETA. . .

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