Impressions of One on One Lessons

ailevin

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I posted in the "What did you do today" thread that I took my first in person ukulele lesson yesterday. UUer rainbow21 suggested that I post my impressions compared to other resources I am using or may use. The beginner's forum seems like the right place and I thought I should start with a little background.

I am new here and I am a ukulele beginner, but, I am not new to music. I studied violin for many years starting when I sas six and continuing into my early twenties. In my teens and twenties, I did some solo recitals, and played in orchestras and chamber groups that performed regularly. I met many of my oldest and dearest friends playing music. I read music (treble clef only) and in my day was good sight reader, I can tell when things are in and out of tune, I have a reasonably good sense of intervals and rhythm. However, I have never studied music theory, nor do I have the ear training that many pro and semi-pro musicians acquire without the formal training. Tabs, chord progressions, strumming, picking, singing while playing are new and foreign. I tend to think in melodic lines or to some extent in multiple voices. I recognize changes and modulation, but I don't really understand them. I am now in my early 70s, and rarely pick up the violin. Every couple of years I attempt to get back in shape., but I end up more frustrated than satisfied with the result.

My wife and I first got interested in ukulele about a dozen years ago on Oahu at the premeire of a documentary about Kamaka ukuleles. It was very cool, the Kamaka family and Jake Shimabukuru were there, but that is a different story. Fast forward to a couple months ago and our first visit to HI post Covid. We took a tour of the Kamaka factory in Honolulu led by one of the founder's grandsons, and I was off to the races. I held a Jake Shimabukuru signature model at the factory shop but decided that any Kamaka was way out of my league, and when I got back to the hotel I ordered a Donner concert kit and an introductory book on Amazon to be there when we got home. I found TUS on the internet and we were completely captivated by Corey and Kalei, so we paid a visit to the store in Haleiwa which was a bit overwhelming, again a story for another time. My wife picked a couple introductory books and I confirmed by choice to learn a few chords before spending serious money a ukulele

When I got home, my Donner was waiting, along with Essential Elements for Ukulele Book 1 by Marty Gross. My wife's introductory choices in Haleiwa were Ukulele Method Book 1 by Lil' Rev, and a 3 Chord Songbook. I've since added Music Theory for Ukulele by David Shipway the Ultimate Ukulele Chord Chart, and Ukulele Method Book 2 by Lil' Rev to our uke library. Ukulele Aerobics by Chad Johnson is on the way.

While I was learning chords and chord shapes in the introductory books, I was also scouring the internet for instructional videos and easy chords for a few songs we like, but I spent most of my time looking at music theory for or using ukulele. I thought the series by Gracie Terzian was very good. As far as playing the ukulele, I didn't purchase or really commit to a particular online course, I was just browsing. I found lots of useful tips that helped me in one way or another. The handful of chords I could play steadily grew, but the chords and transitions that I found difficult didn't seem to be improving. I was spending a good deal of time playing and enjoying the ukulele (a good thing), but I wanted improve and thought I needed a little more structured practice time and a little less just noodling around. I started looking for a teacher. I wanted someone who specialized in ukulele, and I wanted a word of mouth recommendation if possible. I found several local groups that meet regularly for sing alongs or strum alongs, but I really wanted private joint lessons for my wife and me. I eventually found someone local, a friend of a friend who teaches both group and private lessons. Group lessons are $20 for either 1 hour or 90 minutes (not sure) and I'm not sure about the size of the group. The private lesson was $65 ($65/hr total for the two of us). The teacher came to our home for the lesson and we ran at least 15-20 minutes over with no additional charge.

I don't intend this to be a review of the teacher per se, but rather a diary of our experience with in person teaching. The teacher, who I'll call Sam, gave us background on their history and approach to teaching ukulele. They started developing a program for school children as part of a music education program and moved on to teaching adults as well. The approach is songs and tabs and as far as I can tell Sam does not teach from music. I found this somewhat offputting in the initial discussion, but I have to admit that Sam taught us quite a bit during the first lesson and I am looking forward to the next lesson. My wife did not know any of the chords Sam was teaching except C. Yet by the end of the lesson she was playing and singing confidently. Though I already knew the chords, Sam was able to help me with chord transitions, different ways of holding my left hand, and strumming with my thumb much more effectively. I was also surprised that my ability to sing, strum, and change chords at the same time really improved during the lesson. Sam is clearly a competent singer, player, and teacher. I like the fact that my wife and I are playing and singing together and she is very enthusiastic about the lessons. I am not sure whether Sam will add the structure that I am looking for, but we will be taking a lesson next week and I will continue reporting on progress.

Alan
 
Very well reported Aileven. It's great you and your wife are doing it together. I think having a partner for lessons accelerates learning.

I plan to take in-person lessons once we get settled in Arizona in the Spring. There just aren't any ukulele teachers where I live. The two that I talked to were really guitar musicians and weren't very knowledgeable about ukuleles. Sure they could teach me about music fundamentals. but I wanted someone that could critique my form and posture and demonstrate what they were talking about.

Like you, my self learning has been too scattered and unfocused. I jump around too much instead of working my way through a book or course start to finish.

One of the ways I improved my chord changes dramatically was to decide on a chord that was problematic, say Em and then practice changing from other chords to Em 0432 over and over. Just fingering the chords back and forth, back and forth. (You can do this while watching TV and muting the strings. Once I could do these smoothly I'd do the full Em 4432. Then without looking at the fretboard.

Once I had the positioning down, I'd start doing them to tempo in 4/4 and 3/4 times. Speeding it up as I progress.

I still consider myself a beginner. Because I am still learning chords and trying to memorize the fretboard.
 
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Thanks a lot, Alan, for your background and feedback. Very interesting. I'm so pleased for you and your wife that you've found someone knowledgeable, competent and able to teach you something valuable to you. That's so much fun that you're both feeling more confident and enthusiastic after the first lesson.

I found that I'm learning much more nuanced subtle things about technique during my in person lessons than I could ever hope to through YouTube or books, and that's exactly what I wanted, specifically, out of in person instruction.
 
I studied privately for about 3 years after saving and ordering a Kamaka Tenor. I was a music ed/trumpet major in college. I had strummed casually for a few years and thought I could teach myself to play finger style. I was in way over my head. Lessons helped tremendously.
 
My wife and I are practicing together the last couple days and it really is more fun than solo practice. It's funny, but both of us find it a bit difficult reading from chord lists or lyic sheets with chords. It's like "where's the music?" How do I know where the melody start? What exactly is the rhythm supposed to be?

She is having more trouble with the chords and I am having more trouble with the singing, but I think we are both progressing. This morning we discovered Kimo Hussey and could stop listening/watching. Ukulele is a wonderful joint activity.
 
Lyric Sheets with chords indicated are often mistakenly called Tabs on the Internet. It is assumed that you know the tune well enough to sing the song with just the lyrics. And you can figure out the time by tapping your feet or clapping your hands.

This can cause all kinds of problems if it's a song that a number of artists have covered. For instance, "Lemon Tree" by Will Holt was made popular by Trini Lopez. Then the Kingston Trio. And Peter, Paul & Mary. (I'm sure many others as well.) Each interpretation is very different. Plus, our memory of a song can become flawed over time. We remember a note going up on a word, but in fact the music shows it going down. Etc.

In a group setting like a ukulele club, it is very helpful to let people know ahead of time which version you will be using as reference so people can listen to it and reaquaint themselves, or hear it for the first time to become familiar how it goes. I usually will include a link to a video or recording in an email. It gets a little crazy when there are several live performances as well as studio recordings of the song by one artist and they are all slightly different. I don't think John Prine ever sang one of his songs the same way twice.

Often the key has been changed to make the chords easier to play or the song easier to sing.
 
Thank you for your impressions of live tuition. Other forms of tuition have value too, but something focussed at your particular issues will move you forwards better.

For a big percentage of people - though not necessarily ones on this forum - one to one tuition can be either beyond their means or uncomfortably expensive. I’ve found that live group lessons can be both constructive and be more affordable; such lessons need to be with similar ability folk and whilst not targeted at individual needs the participants also learn from each other and typically have overlapping learning needs which are usefully addressed.

Experience from playing other instruments will aid your Ukulele playing, well I find so.

Ukes are all about fun, well I think so. The most fun I’ve ever had on Ukes has been in a Uke Club, just singing and playing along with others - not a lot of skill required for that so don’t get hung up on what you’re finding difficult and enjoy whatever you can do 🙂.
 
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My wife and I continuing daily practice and we have been picking some new songs and even did a little transposing (from F and C7 to C and G7) to get one of the songs better into our vocal range. We are definitely progressing.

Over the weekend I spent time sampling the James Hill courses and the Matt Stead courses online. I was very impressed with both of them as teachers. They both started with fundamentals that I found very helpful. In paticular, I liked Matt Steads continuing focus on how to hold the instrument, and how to hold your fretting arm hand and fingers. He was very detailed in explaining the importance of getting the neck at the right angle so that the fretting arm can be put in a proper position and the wrist and fingers can be at the proper angle relative to the strings and frets. I resonated with this because it reminded me of my classical violin training. But though there are similarities, the geometry is very different, and Matt helped me understand what I had to adjust and why. I already understood bringing my hand and fingers around so that I could better place my finger tips on the fret board. But the angle of my fingers relative to the frets was off, and I found that I had a bad habit of playing with my left arm tucked tight against my body. I can't say that Matt has cured me, I have to work on that myself, but I will say that he pointed this out as a common problem and I had never read or seen that elsewhere. He had a similar very detailed analysis of simple strumming that was better than anything I had seen elsewhere.

I purchased both the $1 beginner course and the Booster Uke course from James Hill's site. James had different valuable insights into holding the ukulele and these also helped me. He has a very definite approach to teaching and he has carefully thought it through. He is trying to elevate the playing level of new students by focusing on commonality of chord shapes making many different genres of music available from the very beginning. While it is certainly not a theory course, the James Hill material is more theory oriented. He had music as well as lyrics and tabs. His lessons are nicely organized in exercises, songs, and a bit of extra credit or things to reach for in each lesson. Hill's approach is a bit more oriented toward performing. Even the rocket booster metaphor is very achievement oriented.

Matt Stead's course is more laid back and it feels like he is in your living room encouraging you and saying it is all about having fun. Yet his content is in some ways more technical and detailed about the mechanics of playing. It's like, lets have fun, but lets not form bad habits while we are at it. Contrasting the two approaches in a cartoonish way, I'd say that James Hill was teaching more about what to play and Matt Stead was teaching more about how to play.
 
Thanks for continuing to update us.

I did go back to Matt's "Holding the Ukulele" video. I have to revisit my body position periodically, especially if an ache or pain surfaces or I have difficulty fretting a chord or making a good tone.

James Hill was my intro to chord melody and I really enjoyed "The Ukulele Way" course. I watched every lesson, but only focused on a few so I could move on quickly to other stuff that I was anxious to get to in those first months.

I look forward to further posts.
 
Yesterday was our second in person lesson with Sam. We had practiced regularly during the week and had learned the songs from the first lesson plus a couple others that were in the package that Sam gave us during the first lesson. I texted Sam the night before the lesson to report on our progress and the fact that we had taught ourselves a few new chords/songs. I also asked if we could start learning some holiday music at this second lesson.

At the lesson we played one of the songs we had learned (Octopus's Garden) with Sam and were taught some alternate fingerings and substitutions as well as some "lifts" which I guess are tiny fills where an alternate or extra chord sneaks in briefly. Then it was on to Blue Christmas, Rudolph, Jingle Bells, Santa is Coming to Town, and some additional lyric sheets we didn't go over in the lesson. We learned a few new chords along the way.

Sam sensed that we were not struggling with the rhythms or hearing where the chord changes belonged. I got the impression that many of Sam's beginning students have no prior music experience and struggle with meter, major/minor intervals, where phrases start or end. It's not that we know a bunch of music theory, but we have enough prior music experience to recognize some of the basics. Recognizing this, Sam worked through the songs a bit more quickly and concentrated on intros and finishes. I got the sense that this is the sort of thing Sam does with putting together group performances now and then. The lesson went by in a flash, and now we have a bunch of new things to practice. Our lesson was in the morning and we did a practice session last night. I think it is important to practice the specifics of a lesson right away when the impressions are fresh. That way the new things are reinforced a bit and easier to recall than if you wait until the next day.

My impressions after the second lesson are:
  • Sam adds structure to learning ukulele with a specific set of goals to practice for the next lesson (the songs taught and lyrics sheets left with us). That structure helps us to quite literally stay on the same page in the songs we are practicing. I am much more obsessed with learning what I call ukulele music theory, and ukulele technique than my wife is. I am doing the on line courses, while she is only doing the lessons with Sam. That structure helps me--otherwise I would be wandering all over the place over doing the "in your head" theoretical part and not doing enough of the practical part that gets it "into your fingers."
  • Sam recognizes where we are (jointly) and adjusts the material and emphasis accordingly.
  • Having in-person guidance is very helpful for alternatives, substitutions, and discussion of specific chords and chord transitions as well as strum patterns and general musicality.
  • I would not be satisfied with Sam's lessons alone if I weren't also doing the the other online courses and exploration.
  • My wife's assessment is similar. She is enjoying the joint lessons and practice, but she also needs additional material: chord diagrams and music for each of the lyric sheets. I think she is frustrated that she doesn't know where the notes are on the fretboard like she does on the keyboard.
My overall summary is that, at least for us, spending the money for in-person lessons creates a commitment and discipline of practice that is valuable. Prior to the lesson we were excited about ukulele, but we didn't channel that enthusiasm very effectively. On the other hand, although are issues are a bit different, my wife and I agree that the in-person lessons alone would not work for us. I can also imagine getting much of the benefit we get from Sam in a group lesson as long as the group was not too large.
 
There are a few new wrinkles in our local ukuleleverse that may have some impact on our lessons. A couple new books have landed, the Daily Ukulele Song Book, and Ukulele Aerobics. Ukulele Aerobics reminds me of etude and technique books from my violin days (Kreutzer and Schradieck). I have not started it yet because right now I am too busy with other ukulele playing activities and also my wife has shown little interest in that book.

On the other hand, the Daily Song Book, has had a big impact on both of us. I was hesistant to buy it as it was relatively expensive ~$30, and I really prefer electronic books to paper these days for general reading. But I saw so many folks recommend it and it was mentioned by so many ukulele groups that I figured it was a bit of a standard, so I ordered it. We really like most everything about it. We are finding songs we enjoy learning and playing/singing. The comb binding works great on a flat surface or a stand, as long as it is a sturdy stand--the book is large and rather heavy. The format is great with music, chords, and lyrics. Also, each song has diagrams at the top showing the chords and the starting note of the singing part on the ukulele. The range of styles/genres is quite broad and in my opinion the song selection is good.

I mention all of this because the Daily Song Book has gotten us thinking about looking for a new teacher. We are more comfortable working from music. I would like to learn more theory as I go, and my wife wants to be able to gain facility translating notes on sheet music to string/fret on the ukulele. And we both thought that the content and format in the Daily Song Book were vastly superior to the handouts we were getting from Sam.

The other new variable is a Pono ATD all acacia tenor strung with low G that arrived late last Thursday. I don't know that adding a low G tenor to our small stable of ukuleles will influence our thinking about lessons, but we have certainly been wowed by the new instrument. The tone of the all acacia tenor is pretty seductive and the low G just adds to that sense of full bodied mellow tonality. Focusing only on playability rather than tone differences, I am trying figure out if I will gravitate to the concert or the tenor scale as more natural to me. Currently, the concert feels more natural to hold, perhaps because I am so used to it, but the action of the tenor is definitely superior, so that certain chords that are difficult on the concert are much easier on the tenor. I am not playing many chords that are much of a stretch, nor am I wandering very far up the fret board, so the difference in fret spacing and the slightly chunkier Pono neck, while noticeable, have not posed issues or been opportunities so far.
 
I encourage you to bring your new favourite book with you to your class and have an honest discussion with your current teacher about what it's that you and your wife are keen to learn at this moment, and see what he says. If he's a good teacher, he should be able to accommodate what you need and give you a good experience. If not then yes, time to look again for someone who can help with what you need help with. Good luck! I'm lad that you've found something that you're both going to enjoy learning from!
 
I encourage you to bring your new favourite book with you to your class and have an honest discussion with your current teacher about what it's that you and your wife are keen to learn at this moment, and see what he says. If he's a good teacher, he should be able to accommodate what you need and give you a good experience. If not then yes, time to look again for someone who can help with what you need help with. Good luck! I'm lad that you've found something that you're both going to enjoy learning from!
Excellent advice, and it is only fair to Sam. Also, since we are hiring Sam for professional teaching advice it would be foolish not consult. My uninformed instinct is that if Sam does not read music (we were told this in the first lesson), it may be hard to scratch the itch that we have. OTH, Sam may have experienced this before with other students. And I'm certain Sam will easily read and play the chord sequences and likely know the melodies, so we should be able to work out of our new book. On the third hand (since my wife and I are taking lessons jointly, we are entitled to four hands right?) I do feel like I am pressing on a bruise bringing sheet music to the lesson.

In any event, the next lesson is next Wednesday, so I will report on how that conversation goes.
 
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Thank you for sharing your journey, I haven’t taken lessons yet, but I’ve thought about it, and it’s helpful to read your notes.
 
It takes some looking, but you can find ukulele scores that have musical notation as well as tabs: the treble clef at the top and the tab clef beneath. I too came from violin playing and prefer to have both music and tabs.

If you ever want to venture into classical ukulele, there’s a lot of good stuff out there, notably Jeff Peterson’s books and site (Ukulele Corner). And much info about classical uke resources has been posted on the UU forums.

 
It takes some looking, but you can find ukulele scores that have musical notation as well as tabs: the treble clef at the top and the tab clef beneath. I too came from violin playing and prefer to have both music and tabs.

If you ever want to venture into classical ukulele, there’s a lot of good stuff out there, notably Jeff Peterson’s books and site (Ukulele Corner). And much info about classical uke resources has been posted on the UU forums.

Thank you Patty. I have found a few classical chord/melody arrangements that are within my range: a ukulele duet version of the beginning of the second movement of Beethoven 7th and the beginning of Fur Elise. In my search I bumped into this, which is remarkable. As someone else commented on YouTube, it rivals the best orchestral performances that I have heard:

 
My uninformed instinct is that if Sam does not read music (we were told this in the first lesson),

It's hard for me to imagine a teacher not able to read music; so, definitely double check on that. If it turns out to be true, then he may not be able to help you with there you want to go.
 
I posted in the "What did you do today" thread that I took my first in person ukulele lesson yesterday. UUer rainbow21 suggested that I post my impressions compared to other resources I am using or may use. The beginner's forum seems like the right place and I thought I should start with a little background.

I am new here and I am a ukulele beginner, but, I am not new to music. I studied violin for many years starting when I sas six and continuing into my early twenties. In my teens and twenties, I did some solo recitals, and played in orchestras and chamber groups that performed regularly. I met many of my oldest and dearest friends playing music. I read music (treble clef only) and in my day was good sight reader, I can tell when things are in and out of tune, I have a reasonably good sense of intervals and rhythm. However, I have never studied music theory, nor do I have the ear training that many pro and semi-pro musicians acquire without the formal training. Tabs, chord progressions, strumming, picking, singing while playing are new and foreign. I tend to think in melodic lines or to some extent in multiple voices. I recognize changes and modulation, but I don't really understand them. I am now in my early 70s, and rarely pick up the violin. Every couple of years I attempt to get back in shape., but I end up more frustrated than satisfied with the result.

My wife and I first got interested in ukulele about a dozen years ago on Oahu at the premeire of a documentary about Kamaka ukuleles. It was very cool, the Kamaka family and Jake Shimabukuru were there, but that is a different story. Fast forward to a couple months ago and our first visit to HI post Covid. We took a tour of the Kamaka factory in Honolulu led by one of the founder's grandsons, and I was off to the races. I held a Jake Shimabukuru signature model at the factory shop but decided that any Kamaka was way out of my league, and when I got back to the hotel I ordered a Donner concert kit and an introductory book on Amazon to be there when we got home. I found TUS on the internet and we were completely captivated by Corey and Kalei, so we paid a visit to the store in Haleiwa which was a bit overwhelming, again a story for another time. My wife picked a couple introductory books and I confirmed by choice to learn a few chords before spending serious money a ukulele

When I got home, my Donner was waiting, along with Essential Elements for Ukulele Book 1 by Marty Gross. My wife's introductory choices in Haleiwa were Ukulele Method Book 1 by Lil' Rev, and a 3 Chord Songbook. I've since added Music Theory for Ukulele by David Shipway the Ultimate Ukulele Chord Chart, and Ukulele Method Book 2 by Lil' Rev to our uke library. Ukulele Aerobics by Chad Johnson is on the way.

While I was learning chords and chord shapes in the introductory books, I was also scouring the internet for instructional videos and easy chords for a few songs we like, but I spent most of my time looking at music theory for or using ukulele. I thought the series by Gracie Terzian was very good. As far as playing the ukulele, I didn't purchase or really commit to a particular online course, I was just browsing. I found lots of useful tips that helped me in one way or another. The handful of chords I could play steadily grew, but the chords and transitions that I found difficult didn't seem to be improving. I was spending a good deal of time playing and enjoying the ukulele (a good thing), but I wanted improve and thought I needed a little more structured practice time and a little less just noodling around. I started looking for a teacher. I wanted someone who specialized in ukulele, and I wanted a word of mouth recommendation if possible. I found several local groups that meet regularly for sing alongs or strum alongs, but I really wanted private joint lessons for my wife and me. I eventually found someone local, a friend of a friend who teaches both group and private lessons. Group lessons are $20 for either 1 hour or 90 minutes (not sure) and I'm not sure about the size of the group. The private lesson was $65 ($65/hr total for the two of us). The teacher came to our home for the lesson and we ran at least 15-20 minutes over with no additional charge.

I don't intend this to be a review of the teacher per se, but rather a diary of our experience with in person teaching. The teacher, who I'll call Sam, gave us background on their history and approach to teaching ukulele. They started developing a program for school children as part of a music education program and moved on to teaching adults as well. The approach is songs and tabs and as far as I can tell Sam does not teach from music. I found this somewhat offputting in the initial discussion, but I have to admit that Sam taught us quite a bit during the first lesson and I am looking forward to the next lesson. My wife did not know any of the chords Sam was teaching except C. Yet by the end of the lesson she was playing and singing confidently. Though I already knew the chords, Sam was able to help me with chord transitions, different ways of holding my left hand, and strumming with my thumb much more effectively. I was also surprised that my ability to sing, strum, and change chords at the same time really improved during the lesson. Sam is clearly a competent singer, player, and teacher. I like the fact that my wife and I are playing and singing together and she is very enthusiastic about the lessons. This is an important moment for us, and I hope that it will help us reach a new level of relations in the future. We had many difficulties: we visited a psychologist and explored sources like https://phdessay.com/free-essays-on/mental-health/ wherein one of the papers found the advice we needed. Now we enjoy the moment and will think about the progress later. I am not sure whether Sam will add the structure that I am looking for, but we will be taking a lesson next week and I will continue reporting on progress.

Alan
It's great that you and your wife have such an amazing activity. Let us know about your successes. I hope that someday I will be able to interest my husband in playing on something other than the PS 😀
 
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It's great that you and your wife have such an amazing activity. Let us know about your successes. I hope that someday I will be able to interest my husband in playing on something other than the PS 😀
The lessons are crucial to making this a joint endeavor. We tale each lesson together, and we practice together pretty much daily. The focus of the practice is what we were given in the last lesson and as of the last week or so, songs we find in our Daily Ukulele book or online. I am spending additional time reading, taking online lessons, and practicing. I am learning more chords, branching out to jazz chords a bit, and looking at a lot more theory, because I am interested in that. But the lessons, plus choosing songs for the holidays and songs we just like--that is quite literally keeping us on the same page. If we didn't have the structure of the lessons and the regular practice time, I don't think it would be a shared activity.
 
This morning was lesson number three. Last night, my wife and I discussed whether Sam was the right teacher for us, and decided that we should pay Sam for today's lesson and use the time to discuss why we weren't going to continue and see if Sam could recommend any local teachers who might be a better fit. Somehow this morning's lesson didn't quite go that way.

We started out with our usual greetings and then showed Sam our new Pono ATD. Sam loved the instrument, and it was a pleasure to hear someone competent play it. Sam had never seen or played a Pono. I brought out the Daily Ukulele book and explained that we found it much easier to work from music and that we really liked the format of having music, chords, and chord diagrams for each song. Of course, Sam was familiar with the book and said that many of the groups that meet regularly use it. Sam said that sometimes the chords in that book were complex for beginners and she would simplifying them. We had been working on Crazy by Willie Nelson (my wife singng and both of us playing), so we played for Sam and got a few pointers. From there the lesson just seemed to roll forward to going over songs from last week and learn a few new holiday songs, though we asked more questions and referred back the the Daily Uke book music regularly to figure out exactly where chord changes belonged in some of the lyric sheets and so forth. It is clear that Sam does not read music, as in play a melody line from sheet music, but rather can figure it out note by note via a laborious process. In fact, Sam was quite impressed when I played a melody line on ukulele from the Daily Uke book so I could figure out how to sing it. Sam has some sense of phrasing and a decent ear, but no sense of where the bars are--it's just strums and chord changes. Clearly Sam is willing to work with us if we want to use music, but after the lesson we both still believed that Sam is no longer the right teacher for us. We just didn't handle "the talk with Sam" very well; we chickened out and let the comfortable initial new ukulele conversation flow into a lesson.

I will probably call to discuss it with Sam over the phone before the next lesson. So we are actively looking for a new teacher.
 
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