Music Theory course for the uke?

decidueye

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Hello all,

Like I said in previous posts, I am just getting back in to uke, and one and done Youtube videos just don't really work in regards to music theory for me.

I was wondering if anyone has some online course recommendations to figure it out, especially if it also helps with time signatures and using a metronome cause I've always been terrible at that, I mean I would usually play up to speed from remembering the song and quite frequently I was a little off on timing.
Any ways I have a course that I only recently remembered I brought from Uke Like the Pros, which I think is fantastic, but it's not for theory so if he has one that is good for theory/notation that you've tried, please let me know how it is.

Thanks!
 
I have recently signed up for Aldrine's courses here on the UU site. You can click on the "Learn" button at the top of this page.

They have a great "try before you buy" option at $20 per month... the first 14 days are a free trial and then the monthly billing begins. Thus, the $20 will buy you six weeks or you can terminate it before the first two weeks end. And they are good at sending you a notice that this free period is ending to allow you to end before billing.
 
While this doesn't cover your specific request, here's a pretty good beginner starting point for the ukulele:


If you're interested in learning time signature/using a metronome stuff, YouTube likely has lots of resources. Our member @Yukio has posted a lot of comments on timing & using the metronome. He's supremely helpful about that!


A recent conversation about cut time:


There are quite a few posts related to stuff about using a metronome in this thread (there's a lot of other chatter too, but there are some great covers by Yukio that include his use of the metronome as an integral part to the piece):

 

Music Theory for Ukulele: Master the Essential Knowledge with this Easy, Step-by-Step Method for Beginner to Intermediate Players​

This book, by David Shipway, lays the theory concepts out in a logical way each chapter building on the next. Highly recommended!
 
Hello all,

Like I said in previous posts, I am just getting back in to uke, and one and done Youtube videos just don't really work in regards to music theory for me.

I was wondering if anyone has some online course recommendations to figure it out, especially if it also helps with time signatures and using a metronome cause I've always been terrible at that, I mean I would usually play up to speed from remembering the song and quite frequently I was a little off on timing.
Any ways I have a course that I only recently remembered I brought from Uke Like the Pros, which I think is fantastic, but it's not for theory so if he has one that is good for theory/notation that you've tried, please let me know how it is.

Thanks!
Brad Bordessa of liveukulele.com has a short video course with handouts called “Street Theory” that is pretty good. It’s $8 from his store on the above website. https://liveukulele.com/store/street-theory-workshop/
 
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Music Theory is a phrase that is used in many different ways, and it is covers a vast amount of material depending on how you use it. It is not surprising that there is a wide range of opinion on how to learn, or even the need to learn, whatever it is that a particular person intends when they use that phrase. I'm not a music teacher, but I think of music theory in terms of theory and practice, kind of like lecture and lab in a chemistry or language class. You mention time signatures and using a metronome. Learning the notation of time signatures, how time is organized into measures or bars, the ways that time can be subdivided to give you notes of different length, and the notation for the length of time a note is to be played, are the theory side. However, keeping time, recognizing and repeating rhythms, using a metronome etc. are more on the practical side.

In addition to time signatures, what is it that you would like to learn about? To the extent that you can articulate it, it will be easier to recommend material.

I came to ukulele with enough musical experience that I already read music and understood a bunch of the basics about key signatures, major and minor scales, etc. However, I knew little or nothing about harmonic structure, chords, song structure, modes, circle of fifths, and on and on. I was most interested in learning about chords, chord progressions, chord voicings/substitutions, key transposition. I thought the David Shipway book that @bilbo56 recommended was very good for what I was trying to learn. I'm not as certain it is the best option if you are trying to learn to read sheet music. There are also a series of youtube videos by Gracie Terzian that I thought were very good.
 
For folks looking to do it online, I'm going to recommend Matt Stead's Uke Theory course. It's very specific to ukulele (obvs), but also quite practical in its application. There are three free samples, and the whole 29 video course is either £20, or available as part of his £10 monthly subscription. There's also a free 7 day trial.

It happens that all of these videos were free on YT for a couple of years, and many of us here can testify to the quality of the information here.


For practical application of theory, I also highly recommend his Kanikapila Mondays at his YT channel, where he teaches songs by chord numbers, rather than reading chord sheets (although he provides free song sheets with chords too). I learned more about the WHY of theory in a couple of these hour-ish sessions than in everything else I'd explored up to then combined, and got a couple of nifty songs out of it, too!

I have recently signed up for Aldrine's courses here on the UU site. You can click on the "Learn" button at the top of this page.

They have a great "try before you buy" option at $20 per month... the first 14 days are a free trial and then the monthly billing begins. Thus, the $20 will buy you six weeks or you can terminate it before the first two weeks end. And they are good at sending you a notice that this free period is ending to allow you to end before billing.

I think Aldrine is the world's most underrated ukulele resource! He's definitely at my personal pinnacle of ukulele players -- can play any kind of classical, rock, whatever it is that Jake does LOL, traditional Hawaiian, AND he sings like an angel. He's crazy good, and he's one of only a couple of teachers out there who actually has a degree in musical education.

His long suit as a teacher is finding you where you are, and helping you level up according to YOUR definition of leveling up. Every good teacher should be able to do this of course, and I've heard several of you happily testify to finding such a person in your local areas...and for everyone else, Aldrine is here at Ukulele Underground to help. :)

A side word here in my Mod mode AND my fan mode is that one of the things motivating me to raise my hand to help with the forum is that it pains me to see a giant divide between the lesson side of the house at UkuleleUnderground.com and the forum, and I want to do more to integrate them. Definitely not to make the forums paid or anything like that, and UU has HUNDREDS of free lessons that will stay free....and yeah, I get that plenty of you have been playing longer than Aldrine has been alive (he's "only" 39, which is about the age my kids would be if we'd had any), but no kidding -- if you want to level up with Bach, Frusciante, Hendrix, Shimabukuro, slack key, or your own originals (he's a terrific writer, too!) or anything else, Aldrine can help.

And yeah, he's a stone cold killer with theory. :)
 
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For folks looking to do it online, I'm going to recommend Matt Stead's Uke Theory course. It's very specific to ukulele (obvs), but also quite practical in its application. There are three free samples, and the whole 29 video course is either £20, or available as part of his £10 monthly subscription. There's also a free 7 day trial.

It happens that all of these videos were free on YT for a couple of years, and many of us here can testify to the quality of the information here.


For practical application of theory, I also highly recommend his Kanikapila Mondays at his YT channel, where he teaches songs by chord numbers, rather than reading chord sheets (although he provides free song sheets with chords too). I learned more about the WHY of theory in a couple of these hour-ish sessions than in everything else I'd explored up to then combined, and got a couple of nifty songs out of it, too!



I think Aldrine is the world's most underrated ukulele resource! He's definitely at my personal pinnacle of ukulele players -- can play any kind of classical, rock, whatever it is that Jake does LOL, traditional Hawaiian, AND he sings like an angel. He's crazy good, and he's one of only a couple of teachers out there who actually has a degree in musical education.

His long suit as a teacher is finding you where you are, and helping you level up according to YOUR definition of leveling up. Every good teacher should be able to do this of course, and I've heard several of you happily testify to finding such a person in your local areas...and for everyone else, Aldrine is here at Ukulele Underground to help. :)

A side word here in my Mod mode AND my fan mode is that one of the things motivating me to raise my hand to help with the forum is that it pains me to see a giant divide between the lesson side of the house at UkuleleUnderground.com and the forum, and I want to do more to integrate them. Definitely not to make the forums paid or anything like that, and UU has HUNDREDS of free lessons that will stay free....and yeah, I get that plenty of you have been playing longer than Aldrine has been alive (he's "only" 39, which is about the age my kids would be if we'd had any), but no kidding -- if you want to level up with Bach, Frusciante, Hendrix, Shimabukuro, slack key, or your own originals (he's a terrific writer, too!) or anything else, Aldrine can help.

And yeah, he's a stone cold killer with theory. :)
Oh yeah, maybe I should look more into his work. I use his tablature from time to time to learn songs, and I like that he (and the others on the site) provide dynamic, picking and strumming songs, instead of every tutorial being an Am, Cmajor, Gmajor chord progression with a Hawaiian strum and then calling it I Will Always Love You, just cause you added vocals to the tutorial.
 
Oh yeah, maybe I should look more into his work. I use his tablature from time to time to learn songs, and I like that he (and the others on the site) provide dynamic, picking and strumming songs, instead of every tutorial being an Am, Cmajor, Gmajor chord progression with a Hawaiian strum and then calling it I Will Always Love You, just cause you added vocals to the tutorial.

This is an important point, and I'm glad you raised it!

Back in 2007-2008 when UU began (first as a forum!!! The lessons came later!!!), there wasn't a lot out there. Aaron (@anaka, who came up with the Ukulele Underground name AND the lesson format!) pretty much invented the "here's how it goes, let's learn the chords, let's learn the strumming pattern, let's do it together" format, very much based around the traditional Kanikapila style. This is also how Aldrine and Aaron learned as kids back in the day -- one kid would have a cool thing, he'd show everyone else, and now a lot of people knew the cool thing. Repeat. LOL

Because they're professional musicians, and in Aldrine's case, also educators with degrees in both music and education, there wasn't an interest in keeping things simple. It was in teaching YOU to play the cool thing, and the cool thing almost always has bar chords, passing chords, weird extensions, mutes and/or chunks (and often both!), very specific picking, MULTIPLE strum patterns, and more. Not every song has all of these, but honestly, when it comes to the cool thing, most of them have most of them.

For example, here's Aldrine's most recent "singing" playalong. (I'm not a fingerstyle player, so I don't watch those as closely, tbh.) It's for the jazz-pop classic "Misty", made famous by some combination of Johnny Mathis and Clint Eastwood. LOL The opening chords are Ebmaj7, Bbm7, Eb9, and Abmaj7, and goes from there. LOL It's GORGEOUS, too.



Note again that this is the playalong, and yes, there's a tutorial for it. My larger point is that a lot of people poo-poo YT tutorials because you're exactly right, @decidueye, there's an awful lot of folks out there who saw an opportunity to hop on the pandemic ukulele wave, and have flooded the place with tutorials that are needlessly subpar, even for beginners.

Obviously not true for Cynthia Lin, Bernadette, Matt Stead and others -- basically, if they've ever been mentioned at UU, that's not who I'm talking about. LOL There's a LOT of fantastic stuff on YT, but it's getting harder and harder to find because of all the repetitive "transpose everything to C, same four or five chords, same strum, same songs" approach.

Another thing I dig about Aldrine's approach is that he takes songs that are perfectly fine as beginning strummer-singer tunes if you stick to the core basics, but then adds picked intros, riffs, and solos that let you level up as quickly as your practice habits permit. :) Examples include Brown Eyed Girl, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, and there are a ton more.

He's also got a lot of classical (Canon in D -- ACTUALLY in D, rather than the transposition to C that most other teachers do -- Spring, Ode to Joy, etc), advanced pop and rock (Classical Gas, Little Wing, Under the Bridge, lots of Santana, etc), and other things that will give you absolutely as much as you can handle, and a little more. :) And yeah, some great beginner stuff too, as well as plenty for fingerstyle folks at every level. His newest tutorial is for a very approachable fingerstyle version of Elvis's Blue Christmas, but the hard stuff is there if you want it too!

We haven't talked about this, but he's got quite a bit of music theory stuff too, including courses on Applied Music Theory, Musical Notation, and Advanced Soloing Techniques (which is VERY reliant on theory, including modes -- not just pentatonic, either) among others, but really, he weaves theory all through everything, because that's the thing. It's not a separate topic. You can choose to talk more or less about it at any given moment, but it's ALWAYS on the table.

It also comes up a LOT in the podcasts, including a couple the most recent episodes, which you can find in the forums here.

Most recently, he spent a good 40 minutes on theory, sheet music, and soloing and jams, which for Aldrine, represent arenas for practical application of theory.

28:35 How important is reading sheet music?
31:25 Sheet music is not the be-all, end-all
34:00 IS Music Theory more important than Sheet Music?
39:10 Aldrine is still learning theory himself
45:00 Music Theory explains why something sounds good
51:00 Music Theory is a Roadmap
56:45 How to make a Jam beginner friendly?
1:01:40 The Joys of Jams

Then in an episode a couple of weeks earlier, there's another half-hour that starts with a riff on ukulele jazz giant Neal Chin, then quickly flips into a discussion of how to understand chord extensions, how they fit into progressions, and how to demystify chords with intimidating names.

2:35 What are Neal Chords?
5:45 What are Some Easy Fancy Chords?
9:10 Chord Progressions with Fancy Chords
11:35 minor 7th Chords
13:05 Fancy minor 7th
20:15 Flat 5 Chords
23:45 Aldrine's Favorite Fancy Chord
25:15 Intimidating Chord Names


So yeah, I'm among the people sending you all over the web to look at folks like Matt Stead, but I'm ALSO tellin' ya, just using Aldrine Guerrero for FREE here at the UU forums, and the hundreds of FREE tutorials at UU and YT, plus the podcasts, you've got as much music theory at your finger tips as you care to dive into, before you even dig into the paid lessons that have trained THOUSANDS of students for 16 years (including luminaries like Matt Dahlberg and Sammy Turton, aka @4stringboy), and one on one lessons with Aldrine.

Prophets often failing to find proper recognition in their home towns is an observation going back to biblical times, and while I wouldn't say that Aldrine is anything like "without honor" here, I do find that most of the folks who've found their way to the forums over the years have done so without having had the pleasure of Aldrine's tutelage. It's only natural then that they'd point to the people that they DID and DO learn from, including folks mentioned here.

Aldrine is also the first to say that nobody can learn everything they need to know from one teacher -- did you have only one teacher when you went to school? Of course not! -- so I'd absolutely expect anybody's list of great teaching resources to include plenty of other names (and I absolutely DO subscribe to Matt Stead, Matt Dahlberg, 4stringboy, and a handful of others)....but man, we've got one of the best right here, and I wish more folks were taking advantage of it!

Thus endeth the sermon. Go in peace and to love and play the uke! :ROFLMAO:
 
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He's also got a lot of classical (Canon in D -- ACTUALLY in D, rather than the transposition to C that most other teachers do=
Impossible.
So yeah, I'm among the people sending you all over the web to look at folks like Matt Stead, but I'm ALSO tellin' ya, just using Aldrine Guerrero for FREE here at the UU forums, and the hundreds of FREE tutorials at UU and YT, plus the podcasts, you've got as much music theory at your finger tips as you care to dive into, before you even dig into the paid lessons that have trained THOUSANDS of students for 16 years (including luminaries like Matt Dahlberg and Sammy Turton, aka @4stringboy), and one on one lessons with Aldrine.

Prophets often failing to find proper recognition in their home towns is an observation going back to biblical times, and while I wouldn't say that Aldrine is anything like "without honor" here, I do find that most of the folks who've found their way to the forums over the years have done so without having had the pleasure of Aldrine's tutelage. It's only natural then that they'd point to the people that they DID and DO learn from, including folks mentioned here.

Aldrine is also the first to say that nobody can learn everything they need to know from one teacher -- did you have only one teacher when you went to school? Of course not! -- so I'd absolutely expect anybody's list of great teaching resources to include plenty of other names (and I absolutely DO subscribe to Matt Stead, Matt Dahlberg, 4stringboy, and a handful of others)....but man, we've got one of the best right here, and I wish more folks were taking advantage of it!

Thus endeth the sermon. Go in peace and to love and play the uke! :ROFLMAO:
Okay, yeah don't know why I haven't looked more into this work.
 
One thing to mention on this topic: you need to have a purpose. Music theory is a mountain of facts but not all music theory applies to your life. If you just start learning random facts about music, you're going to get bored really soon and quit. My recommendation is to let theory come into your musical life naturally. Just do what you do, but when you find that a lack of knowledge is holding you back, research that specific piece of theory which is significant to you.
 
One thing to mention on this topic: you need to have a purpose.
Absolutely!

I am spending a lot of time playing with a piano teacher at the minute. As someone who was self-taught as an adult, I was quite intimidated about playing with someone with his level of knowledge.

He pointed out that almost all music theory is stuff that as an "ear" musician you basically know already. Apart from the technical skills like reading music. But then, you don't need that to be a musician.

So definitely work out what you want before you go down a rabbit hole!
 
One thing to mention on this topic: you need to have a purpose. Music theory is a mountain of facts but not all music theory applies to your life. If you just start learning random facts about music, you're going to get bored really soon and quit. My recommendation is to let theory come into your musical life naturally. Just do what you do, but when you find that a lack of knowledge is holding you back, research that specific piece of theory which is significant to you.
This! I took a year of music theory in college, but wasn't playing an instrument then. I learned a lot and did not get bored. But, 3 decades and several ukuleles later I haven't a clue as to how to apply it to the instrument. I know what it is and how it works, but not how to use it. I'm wondering if took a class now if I would be able to apply it.
 
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