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Thread: Do you feel a teacher is necessary?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013


    Personally, I've had hundreds of teachers. I've learned something from almost every ukulele player I've had the honor of playing with.
    Kamaka HF3, Tenor
    Eastman EU3C, Concert
    Martin S1, Soprano
    Martin T1K, Tenor

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2017


    My first 6 months of playing was mostly self taught via You Tube. I did take a 6 week community ed class through my local university, which built on what I had already learned. My biggest gains in playing came when I discovered local ukulele groups and began monthly attendance at them. Two of the three groups I attend incorporate teaching skills in addition to just playing music. The leaders of those groups also lead smaller workshops, where I've learned a ton. They have also brought in teachers like Kimo Hussey and Stu Fuchs to do multi-day workshops for us. All of these avenues of learning have helped me immensely. We all learn in different ways, so find what works best for you. If you can find local groups that teach as well as jam, that's a good way to go.
    My ukulele family.....
    KoAloha Koa concert - circa 2006
    aNueNue Moon Bird concert - Spruce & Rosewood - 2018
    Blackbird Clara - 2019
    Kanilea KCS-SSP super soprano - circa 2016

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    SE Connecticut, USA


    No, I donít. A natural talent and a love of playing will, in my opinion, take a player as far, or even further than a teacher could. And, in the end, the self-taught player will be more likely to innovate - just as they have always done, to overcome the various hurdles they have encountered along the way.
    Sopranos: aNueNue Khaya Mahogany 1, Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Queanbeyan, NSW Australia.


    Life is a teacher. How are you going to get by without life?

    Define "Teacher".
    Does everyone need structured music lessons with a qualified music teacher? No, but maybe some do.

    Its a lot easier these days to say your "self taught" when there is so much information available on YouTube.
    Like most I got to where I am with a wide variety of teachers from structured lessons to unstructured lessons.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2019


    Thanks for all the input. I am going to stand strong on what I believe that I do not need human interaction lessons from a teacher. I am doing quite well on my own.

  6. #16


    Interesting discussion. Pose the same question on a piano board and IMO the large majority would say that a teacher is essential. Maybe this reflects the relative "formality" of the instruments?

    I've chased different pursuits throughout my life and have come to the conclusion that a great teacher is an invaluable resource leading to acquisition of more skill in a shorter period of time and in a more enjoyable way. However, I've also concluded that a bad teacher is far worse than no teacher at all.

    Unfortunately, bad teachers are common and great teachers are rare.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    San Francisco Bay Area


    fingerguy -- Sounds good, I hope you continue to enjoy your playing.

    tm3 -- re your statement "Unfortunately, bad teachers are common and great teachers are rare." -- my experience is the opposite. I've had a lot of great or at least good teachers in my life. Only a few bad ones.
    Kala KA-TE tenor uke (currently tuned re-entrant gCEA)
    Kala APB-CTG baritone uke (currently tuned DGBE)
    Ohana BK-35CG baritone uke (currently tuned low-octave ADF#B)
    Various guitars, banjos, and basses

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    There is no right or wrong, there is what works for you.

    The huge problem about online tutors or video tutorials is finding the good ones amongst the hundreds who think that they can teach yet cannot.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2017


    Quote Originally Posted by fingerguy View Post
    Some of the most amazing musicians are self-taught.
    This is one of my favorite fibs. It makes me giggle when I think Jimi Hendrix believes we are gullible enough to buy that. We're supposed to imagine him as a kid noodling around and all by himself coming up with all those blues progressions and those jazz chords like the dom7#11. Give me a break! Maybe he didn't go to a Guitar Center and take lessons from some guitarist whose band will never make it big...nevertheless someone showed him some stuff.

    As far as the topic of the thread is concerned, in ukuleledom as in every other aspect of life you can get along without a teacher until you hit that point (if you ever hit it) when another set of eyes are needed to advance your goals. I find that refining one's sense of rhythm is especially useful with another person. Also, one aspect of coaching that hasn't been touched upon in this thread is the motivation of a personal relationship. When you know that if you don't practice you'll be letting down another person's expectations of you, it actually keeps you focused and motivated. Also...speaking of obligations...another great way to be taught is to compete. When you know your failure will be made public, you practice. So commit yourself to playing in public. That's a good way to learn and be taught.

  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Honolulu, HI


    I taught myself guitar and did most of the work with ukulele and can say that a good curriculum with steady progression in difficulty and knowledge might not be required, but it makes everything feel less random and hopeless. When I was teaching myself, I was looking at where I wanted to go and then had to try to reverse-engineer how to get myself to that point and a teacher with experience would have been able to help out a lot along the way.

    I bit the bullet and signed up for Artist Works and the flow of the lessons makes sense, Sarah and Craig explain things and I’m getting to the point where I can use principles behind songs to figure out or arrange other songs instead of what I’ve done forever, which was just wait for someone to figure a song out for me.

    So after lots and lots of resistance to the idea, I’ve realized teachers reduce the heartache and time required to understand and play things and give you a good path. And I’d rather have that than say I taught myself the uke.

    (Besides, there’s a very slim chance anyone is teaching themselves anymore. The days of wearing out a record, blindly looking for notes is long-gone and you have to question whether getting lessons on YouTube or downloading tabs from Dr. Uke is truly teaching yourself.)

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