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Thread: Ukulele course: James Hill or Rockschool course?

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ht852 View Post
    Aloha from sunny Singapore again~
    Hello and thank you for posting this question HT. I am an early beginner Uke player. I would love to try the James Hill course now that you have introduced me to him.
    I hope you do not mind me asking a question to the general population in your thread. Its my first post here so I hope I am not doing anything wrong.

    Would I be ready to start the James Hill course. I started learning almost 4 weeks ago. I have probably eight or nine 3 finger chords learned with reasonable speed changes and am getting used to timing some simple strum patterns.
    The pre requesite for the Ukulele Way course mentions doing Jim D'Ville 26 basic uke lessons first. I do have some understanding of music theory before I started the Uke. Here is the meat of my question.

    I got to lesson 20 of JD's course and then he introduced the Bb Major chord. I think that chord will take me months to master. Is the Bb Major chord required to start the Ukulele way course?
    I really want to find an effficient method I can follow but I don't want to start the course if I am not ready.

    thank you.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davoravo View Post

    Disadvantages:
    James Hill is more of a musicians musician so the tunes are obscure and may not appeal.
    I appreciate the discussion as I've considered trying an online course.

    Can you, or anyone else, comment on the specific tunes used in the James Hill course? I looked at the www site and looked at the content of a couple of the books and it was not clear to me what the tunes are. If it is some stuff that I like, great. If it is stuff that I hate, I think it is very unlikely that I would continue with the course.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wab223 View Post
    Is the Bb Major chord required to start the Ukulele way course?
    No. The Booster Uke level is a very well done set of lessons for very beginner players. And even once you're ready to move onto The Ukulele Way, it stays pretty simple for the first bit, gradually working you up to harder material.

    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    I appreciate the discussion as I've considered trying an online course.

    Can you, or anyone else, comment on the specific tunes used in the James Hill course? I looked at the www site and looked at the content of a couple of the books and it was not clear to me what the tunes are. If it is some stuff that I like, great. If it is stuff that I hate, I think it is very unlikely that I would continue with the course.
    The songs are mostly traditional pieces. Here are a few:

    Shortnin' Bread; Acadian Lullaby; All Night Long; Roving Gambler; Take This Hammer; Long, Long Ago; Streets of Laredo; Au Clair de la Lune; Donkey Riding.

    IMO, if you're taking The Ukulele Way expecting to learn songs you "like," you're kind of missing the point and it's probably not for you. What James teaches are CONCEPTS and how you can apply them to any song you want to learn. From what I've seen, Rockschool focuses on the hip songs, but less on the concepts.

    "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life." James Hill definitely teaches with the intent of making people self-sustaining musicians and players.

    ...

    That said, as a teacher (and former admin for TUW), I think it's a total no-brainer to spend your money on James' stuff. Nothing against Andrew, but, really, James is teaching what people SHOULD be learning, not what they THINK they should be learning.
    Brad Bordessa

    My guide to fretting and fingering (NEW): Left Hand Technique for 'Ukulele

  4. #14
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    Brad thanks for the detailed reply. Very helpful. I'm more interested in the learning of concepts, for sure. What gives me pause is the advice I got from a couple of players in my group who cautioned that I should not work on songs that I don't like as I'm going to have to practice them so much the "not like" part would get counterproductive. I see their point as I don't think I could play Shortin' Bread more than twice without a gun held to my head! But I also see that basic concepts are more easily learned with simple songs and Bohemian Rhapsody does not fit that bill.

    Anyway, it is something that I'll have to ponder but I do appreciate your giving the additional info!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    Brad thanks for the detailed reply. Very helpful. I'm more interested in the learning of concepts, for sure. What gives me pause is the advice I got from a couple of players in my group who cautioned that I should not work on songs that I don't like as I'm going to have to practice them so much the "not like" part would get counterproductive. I see their point as I don't think I could play Shortin' Bread more than twice without a gun held to my head! But I also see that basic concepts are more easily learned with simple songs and Bohemian Rhapsody does not fit that bill.

    Anyway, it is something that I'll have to ponder but I do appreciate your giving the additional info!
    I signed up for The Ukulele Way over a year ago and stayed with it for about six months. It is really good to learn chord/melody. Your friends' caveat does not apply here. You will be playing the song during the video to learn the concept. After a lesson or two, you then go back to playing whatever pleases you until the next time you take another lesson.

    The cost is in Canadian dollars. So you can try some of his free lessons first. If okay, pay the $7 or so for a month. If you like it, renew. Not very many better deals around.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tm3 View Post
    What gives me pause is the advice I got from a couple of players in my group who cautioned that I should not work on songs that I don't like as I'm going to have to practice them so much the "not like" part would get counterproductive. I see their point as I don't think I could play Shortin' Bread more than twice without a gun held to my head! But I also see that basic concepts are more easily learned with simple songs and Bohemian Rhapsody does not fit that bill.
    It's all in what you ultimately want. If you just want to learn the songs you like and have fun, you can learn those songs specifically and be done with it. But if you want to get into the constructs of the song and then apply them to others to broaden your own musicianship, this is a good way. The way I look at it is that Hill isn't trying to teach me these songs but rather what goes into making those songs. Like a math example: the ultimate goal isn't to teach you what the specific answer to a problem is, but rather how you can use the process to solve any problem that's similar.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bordessa View Post
    That said, as a teacher (and former admin for TUW), I think it's a total no-brainer to spend your money on James' stuff. Nothing against Andrew, but, really, James is teaching what people SHOULD be learning, not what they THINK they should be learning.
    From the student side, James' course structure is clear and well paced - it builds slowly and steadily. I always feel like I'm learning but not over my head. Even from the beginning levels there's enough there to take to independent study on modern songs that I'm more interested in. Highly recommended.

  8. #18
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    Thanks to all who made additional comments. Very helpful! It sounds like a trial of The Ukulele Way would be a good investment.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bordessa View Post
    No. The Booster Uke level is a very well done set of lessons for very beginner players. And even once you're ready to move onto The Ukulele Way, it stays pretty simple for the first bit, gradually working you up to harder material.
    Thanks for your reply Brad.

    I actually decided to sign up for the Ukulele Way a couple of days after I posted. It starts out at pretty much exactly where I need to be. The content of Book 1 requires me to focus, practice and learn but so far there is nothing that is too overwhelming (just not too easy). (;-).

    Looking through the course material, Bb Major, does not come up until book 3 so I have lots of time to improve my bar chords by then (hopefully).

    I also signed for Booster Uke after reading on the uke way community forum. The material is not hard but it seems to be full of useful concepts that I might not have picked up as easily or as quickly if I had not signed up. I am having so much fun playing Mary Don't You Weep at the minute.

    So Ukulele way for strict practice and Booster for relaxing.

    Anyway that is my early opinion of those courses with the limited experience I have to give such opinions.
    Regardless, for me personally I feel I now have a good way forward to approach learning uke. I just need to apply dedication and practice.

    thanks everyone.

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