the Uke University

AndieZ

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I hope this question doesn't come across as on the weird side but are most of you regulars here paid up members of the uke university that's associated with this forum.

I'd really like to be a paid up member too but its sort of awkward for me this year.

Which of you learnt to play the uke via the university? What can you say about it. Don't forget I'm a beginner and interested in the point of view of people who are/were beginners when they used that site to learn. I'm less interested in people who are already good when they joined it because at this point, we don't have much in common. :) If you know what i mean.

One thing i noticed though and have a question which you might also be able to clarify for me. What happens in the second year? Can you reapply? Do you pay the full amount again - if you paid by the year? (I probably wouldn't consider paying on a monthly basis at all. )I was abit confused about what they said there - not that i can remember it exactly.

Or is it free in teh second year or don't you need to subscribe for a second year (beucase youe' already learnt everything).

Any clarity would be nice.

I'm not really after general testimonials outside of my questions because i can read those on the site already. Have already read them so i already get it that its a good place to learn.

Cheers
 
I'm hoping to hear from those who are. Perhaps my message was a bit garbled.
 
I have no experiences to contribute, but I'm interested in the same answers.

I had planned to subscribe to The Ukulele Way, but the way they set up the subscription system is that you must have a credit card even if your PayPal account is verified, has funds, and is linked to a bank account. I don't have a credit card (not all that common here, and I don't want one as I prefer to spend money only when I have it). There is an option to pay for a year, without a discount. But if I have to do that, I might as well subscribe to the UU University where there is a discount for making the commitment of a year (and I really value this forum, so I feel I should contribute to its financial well-being, especially since I block ads on all sites I visit).

But, like you, I don't know how useful it will be. I hope people who have first hand experience will respond, especially from the perspective of long term improvement over the course of several months or longer.
 
OK. I'm a paid up member. I started learning to play about 9 months before I joined, but I found it to be very valuable. I've been taking my time, so I've only completed UU101, half of UU102 and a few other short lessons, but it has definitely helped me. In particular, it has given me some of the tools to work out strumming patterns etc. If I have a chord sheet, these days I can get very creative with the strumming patterns, adding chunks, rolls, and arpeggios as I see fit. It's also given me a better ear for working out my own chords etc., or at the very least, tell when a chord on a chord sheet is wrong.
 
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Thanks Robin. Can you answer the other part of the question about the way the annual payment works. I don't know if you are paying by the year but if you are, will you just do the same next year or will something be different?


I wasn't questioning the usefulness of it Mivo. I was already positive it would be useful. The reason i'm delaying is because I'm going to travelling and won't be able to access the site very much and if that's the case, I might feel I'm not getting enough value for my very limited funds. And this will stress me further. For instance there will be two whole months when I won't have any internet access. And I am sure there will be many days when i'm too tired from my travels to do much but i am hopeful that a few months in, I will be able to ease up on my daily mileage to make time for more practice.

In the meantime, i must muddle along without even though i am sure its very inefficient.

I think i haven't seen the Ukulele Way. lemme go see...
 
Back - I had a quick look. I think the University sounds heaps better than The Way. But if you want some free tutorials i know where to find some good ones so maybe pm me. I also bought a nice little book which covers in very concise form, some fundamentals in a very nice way.
 
Thanks Robin. Can you answer the other part of the question about the way the annual payment works. I don't know if you are paying by the year but if you are, will you just do the same next year or will something be different?


I wasn't questioning the usefulness of it Mivo. I was already positive it would be useful. The reason i'm delaying is because I'm going to travelling and won't be able to access the site very much and if that's the case, I might feel I'm not getting enough value for my very limited funds. And this will stress me further. For instance there will be two whole months when I won't have any internet access. And I am sure there will be many days when i'm too tired from my travels to do much but i am hopeful that a few months in, I will be able to ease up on my daily mileage to make time for more practice.

In the meantime, i must muddle along without even though i am sure its very inefficient.

I think i haven't seen the Ukulele Way. lemme go see...

It seems your dilemma is cost vs value for the time you're travelling probably because of no internet access. Why not contact the site admin, explain your situation and possibly work out an arrangement for the time you decide to travel. Worst that can happen is they say "No". The other option is to delay enrollment till after your trip and in the meantime use other available tutorials/lessons. Just my dos centavos!
 
If what you are asking about is the paid UU+ lessons program, then yes after 1 yr of using the forum, I signed up, paid the full yr in advance.

However, during that time the videos required FLASH to be installed, which I refuse to ever touch again due to major and as-yet unfixed security problems, but then I discovered the UU+ app for iPad and I used that for 3-4 months. I forced myself to start at the beginning despite having played guitar for 35+ yrs before the uke for 1 yr. I was hoping to correct any issues from being mostly self-taught on the uke, but honestly I was a little bored, which reduced my enthusiasm.

This is in no way a reflection of Aldrine's lessons, I thought they were excellent and well presented and offered lots of value for an absolute beginner, but I should have started at a higher level in the program.

Then life got real busy and it became difficult to find time for me to sit down and do the lessons. I did find that you could download the video segment for each lesson to the iPad, so that you could do the lessons OFFLINE with no internet, but this will take up storage space on your device. You can of course delete the videos once you have completed that lesson segment.

For a while I felt guilty that I was not doing the lessons, but since I was not actually interacting with an instructor in real-time, I was not wasting his time. I gave up and figured that the money paid was still going to a good cause in supporting the operations of UU overall, and reconciled that now was not the time for me to try lessons. I am glad I did it, and hope to bring it up later again and will not mind paying for another year.

To answer your question yes the yearly 'membership fee' is ANNUAL, i.e., 12 calendar months, whether you use it or not, and then you pay again, so it is more of a subscription or tuition model rather than like if you bought a DVD or a book for one price and can use it forever.

This makes sense because there are ongoing costs of keeping any web site going so to pay once and have access forever is not fiscally responsible on part of the web business owner, since eventually they will run out of money and have to shut down the web site completely.

For me, I'd likely get more out of a maybe MONTHLY 1-hr Skype lesson from an instructor, that is geared to help me with specific questions on technique or theory, when and if I need it, by sending my questions via email in advance so that the teacher can prep before the Skype session, and then having a follow-up 30-mins session maybe a week later...

I know it's a fantasy, but I wish I could do a Vulcan mind-meld (or Matrix brain-download) with (or from) each of the following:

Jake, Kalei, Gerald Ross, Aldrine, Jim Beloff, James Hill, Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, Li'l Rev, Aaron Keim and a few others to absorb their knowledge and understanding of how to maximize the potential of the ukulele...
 
So to start with Booli first.... Did you actually learn anything from your engagement with the UU. I know you were already well ahead than me but I wonder did you find any corrections and did you learn anything new yourself?

I'm not even an absolute beginner now since I understand quite a lot and know a lot of chords - even though in practice i'm not much good at anything. I know some strum patterns and can play them but i can't really play a single song right through beautifully, whilst singing it.

I have learnt how to read tab.

I can read strumming notation.

I understand the basics of some of the theory.

I know the scale and understand about ear training and have started on that.

I have a scant understanding of chord formation.

And so on. So i'm a beginner.

Oh yeah i know how to tune up, hold it properly and so on.

Its just songs and how to play them i want to learn and as I go along, be able to apply all the other theoretical stuff that has come up in other conversations i've had on here so yes i expect the UU will teach me that again. Actually what i want is an indepth structured program of learning and I think the UU does it and that's why i'm interested in it. You see Cynthia Lin has a lovely little online course but its a bit narrowly defined. And I find the same thing here and there and i suppose another thing that really attracts me to the UU is that they may teach you how to incorporate finger picking into the song tutorials where as many tutorials in the courses i've seen elsewhere stick with strumming. I've somehow got the idea that UU teaches you picking phrases right near the beginning to incorporate into songs.


Yes you answered the business about costs too. Now i get it but its not necessary to justify it. Many people do similar things and give it away. I understand that people need to make a living and this is how they do it. While those who give it away may have other means of earning sufficient income etc - case in point - justinguitar who teaches guitar. He does a little with Uke but I think he got bored with it. I went there first because I was learning guitar first. But he's a professional guitar player and apparently earns most of his income from performing i think and only a little from the site which seems to be ok with him.
 
Phil, yes i would have seen them but i think i wanted a structured course and seeing that there was stuff missing i felt i was missing out if you know what i mean.

Kanaka, its also a good thought to contact them. Even at the moment, i am stopping to practice because of a number of other competing activities and issues - there's only so much my head can cope with.
 
AndieZ,

It's hard for me to say exactly what I absorbed from the UU+ lessons with Aldrine.

The main thing I felt was that I'd need to repeat viewing and playing along with the lessons several times and then put in the required many hours of practice to achieve the same fluid ease of playing as shown in Aldrine's play-through for the song or technique.

Honestly, the combination of my own laziness and lack of being able to schedule large and continuous segments of time, to invest in the structured practice, given my current lifestyle, was something I could not really make happen.

Also, my interests are not in learning and commiting into memory 1,000 songs that I could play, or play and sing at the drop of a hat. My interests are more in using the ukulele as a tool to write my OWN songs, and for that I am more interested in the subtle nuances that make the ukulele unique compared to other stringed and fretted instruments like guitar...

When I first came to the ukulele from guitar, I spend a few hours each day for many months just simply noodling, and investigating different ways of approaching strumming, plucking, clawhammer with all kinds of angles and techniques, as well as the same for fretting, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and all of this in the quest to fully understand the sound potential and dynamic range of the instrument, and the main purpose of all of this was to get both a feel for how to make the sound I wanted, as well as play without pain or injury from doing so.

Getting a uke teacher to show me 'the proper way' would defeat my purpose in wanting to intimately know the instrument in every way from a physical/mechanical perspective. If a teacher shows this at all, it is VERY slow and frustratingly painful for me, and often uses dumbed-down 3rd-grade vocabulary which offends me and I stop listening to the teacher.

Currently I have a very intimate connection with my instruments, and why I refuse to use a flat-pick, plastic finger-picks, or fake glue-on fingernails and will only every use my natural nails, which I have been maintaining now for 2 yrs and have built my playing technique upon having and using these nails.

Lots of this discovery was built also upon the foundation of have a Minor in music in college, specifically applied to classical guitar for 2 years. This was one-on-one instruction 2 hrs per session, 3 days per week. Prior to college, I had violin, piano and electric guitar lessons starting from age 7 all the way through second year of high school, when I quit the guitar lessons because the teacher was frustrating me in going too slow with rudimentary teachings, when at the time, I could basically play almost any song I hear on the radio by ear, and once I had the chords or melody picked out, I could typically tell you the key it was in, or the relative minor of the key if not the actual key itself.

For a while after college I also played electric bass in a bar band for 3 yrs. We played every weekend in 2 different places. That was a completely different education too, since starting in high school, when I began to write my own music, I taught myself to play bass from the Mel Bay bass method books, and sat down and learned note-for-note, the bass and guitar parts of literally every single song by The Police, U2, Rush and The Cars.

I did this for myself and because of my love of that music at the time. Most of it is buried deep in my memory, but if I listen to the song and noodle around it comes back to me after a few minutes.

My focus is what is useful to me at this point.

So for me, a structured lesson format has to be along a certain path, with challenges that I can ingest in small bites, and then walk away for a time, and chew on them and incorporate them, and then come back later and compare to the original instruction. This may not be the most efficient way to learn music or an instrument, but if there is time pressure or someone looking over my shoulder I tend to rebel and say F-it-all, since for me music is about pleasure and my private time enjoying it, so I rarely attempt to conform to what other people say, unless it is something that I am already thinking about.

If you already have the foundations that you mentioned, and are confident with those skills and that knowledge and are NOT frustrated by the efforts, and your interest is just songs, there are many teachers who do just that, Cynthia Lin, Ukulele Mike, The Ukulele Teacher, and many others....

If you want to learn chord-melody, jazz style or finger-picking there are also specific resources to do just that as well. Gerald Ross, Glen Rose are two that come to mind...

For an absolute beginner, who has never touched a fretted instrument, the UU+ is a great start, but next time when I sign up I am going to begin my lessons at a more advanced level, and my only regret is that I did not do so in the first place when I had access.

I think that James Hill's Ukulele Way is also an excellent approach, but more advanced than just 'here are the chords and strum pattern, let's go'.

James gets into the music theory behind the chords, and how and why the song is composed in that key, as well as the very technical nature of how you play the instrument itself. I will also be signing up for The Ukulele Way and trying to go through he curriculum, but right now my life is very complicated and busy and cannot see being able to take advantage of these things because I do not own my time.

So currently, any new songs I learn are for The Seasons weekly video submissions here on UU, and all of my other uke time is spent on improving both my songwriting skills on uke, as well as improving the songs I've written so far, and all of which is an iterative process.

I'm not sure if the above helps you, or will create more confusion, but please let me know either way.
 
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That's all very interesting Booli. I mean it. Though interestingly, you are not the type of player I was actually targeting to respond to my original question. Nevermind. You have and your story is interesting so thanks for sharing.

I totally get where you are coming from. That's not me of course. But i'm also between being a completely beginner and someone who's got the foundations down. No. I've only been introduced to the foundations. I suspect UU would be useful for me. Also what you say about the Uke way is not what i picked up from my quick look but maybe further along i'll be interested in it maybe.

If i can get anywhere with this instrument, i might even have a look at songwriting down the track but its not something i'm desperate to go for. Or destined for.

btw I went to art school so I do know what you are getting at re your own practice.
 
+1 for The Uke Way. I learned more in a month there than any other learning tool. And I am learning many types of songs that help me to understand scales and playing melody and rhythm together.
James is a great instructor as well.
He gives you so many uke tips and tricks. Those alone are worth the 7.50 us a month.
Also, I didn't have to have a credit card to use paypal recurring payment. Paypal drafts out 7.50 USD monthly out of my bank account.
 
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Also, I didn't have to have a credit card to use paypal recurring payment. Paypal drafts out 7.50 USD monthly out of my bank account.

I don't know why it happens for me. I have subscribed to other sites/services (including NA ones) through my PayPal account, and I wasn't asked for a credit card. It just takes the recurring charges from my PayPal account (and would draw it from the bank account when there are no funds). I'd already have a subscription for The Ukulele Way if it didn't insist on a credit card. I sent them an email yesterday, though, so maybe this is fixable.
 
That's all very interesting Booli. I mean it. Though interestingly, you are not the type of player I was actually targeting to respond to my original question. Nevermind. You have and your story is interesting so thanks for sharing. I totally get where you are coming from. That's not me of course.

Please, keep in mind, that I was only trying to answer your questions from here:

So to start with Booli first.... Did you actually learn anything from your engagement with the UU. I know you were already well ahead than me but I wonder did you find any corrections and did you learn anything new yourself?...
and could not do so without the perspective of my own musical education history/experience and my current situation.

There is common ground to/for/with all of us, but it is up to each individual to seek it, and find their own meaningful use for it.

Sorry I could not be more helpful regarding UU+ lessons experience.
 
are most of you regulars here paid up members of the uke university that's associated with this forum.

I'm not, I take private lessons with a ukulele instructor.

One important thing to consider is your learning style. Some people do great with online learning - when I started playing, I already knew that I was not one of those people, so I never even considered it. But from reading other peoples' posts I think I'm in the minority as a lot of people on this forum seem to successfully learn from videos/streaming/Skype or whatnot.
 
Booli Don't be offended. You have nothing to be sorry for.
 
I thought this thread was closed. Anyway, now that it's open again, I can answer your question. I was given a yearly subscription for Christmas last year. If I get through most of the material, I might not renew, but at my current pace, it will take a few years to get through it all, so I guess I'll keep renewing until then.
 
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