You Deserve to Know the Truth

I often get a bit critical when it comes to discussing play-along groups – specifically ukulele dominant gatherings and their leaders.

While I absolutely love the community that is created by the legions of adventurous and enthusiastic uke players, many of whom are for the first time in their lives discovering the joy and pure pleasure of playing music – I sometimes cringe when I hear a group leader dispense incorrect advice and instruction.

“But what’s the harm,” you might ask, “as long as everyone’s having fun?”

“That is absolutely true,” I say to myself. But something nags at me. An inner voice tells me that it is important to point out when incorrect information is being inserted into the DNA of these minds starting out on the musical trail.

I have solved the dilemma of how to dispense correct information to these groups: I lead workshops at uke events, and I started my own weekly workshop/performance group in my home town – The All In Good Time Orchestra.

But I have been struggling with how to answer the question of why do I feel the need to “put the train back on the track.”

Because the train has fallen off the track. The train that was on its way to a wonderful musical destination fell off the tracks somewhere near the station from where it just departed. No one was hurt, thankfully. In fact, no one even realized that they had stopped. They just started playing where they were – but never moved on.

Again you might ask, “So what’s the problem with that?”

The problem is that some of those people wanted to continue their ride. They were hoping to join others at the other end. They wanted to learn how to play with the native music speakers they admired and hoped someday to be.

Imagine taking a language class in preparation to travel to Mexico city and you find yourself in a classroom of people being taught by someone who simply adds an “o” to every word and calls it Spanish.

“I have to go to the bathroom-o.” “Where-o is the library-o?” “Muchos grass-ias for your help-o.”

I imagine it could be a fun class, but imagine your embarrassment when you actually get to your destination and say that out loud. You would be wishing someone had spoken up in class and pointed you to a better teacher.

You may not be planning a trip to Musicland, but you may change your mind. You may want to “speak” with other musicians in actual musical language – not some localized pidgin concoction that is shared by only a few.

You deserve it. You deserve to be led in the right direction with the best information you can get.

6 Responses to “You Deserve to Know the Truth”

  1. Jerri Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Rhan. I agree, it’s great to see so many first time players pick up a Uke and start playing, but it’s so frustrating to see people content to put their charts on their music stand and never move beyond it. Music is that and so much more!

  2. Sam Says:

    I can’t speak for others, but for my own learning process, I could use some examples as to what is ” incorrect advice and instruction” as it relates specifically to the uke, not adding o’s to Spanish words. What is it? Wrong chord shapes, wrong rhythm, or such. I would like specifics. Thanks, Sam.nrvs112@gmail.com

    • Rhan Wilson Says:

      Thank you for commenting and for asking for clarification.

      My article wasn’t intended to provide examples, but rather to explain why I feel it is important to do so when needed. My book, blog site, and videos and are filled with information I’d like people to know.

      My comparison to a bogus Spanish language class is just that – a comparison to illustrate why it’s important to teach correct information when possible.

      Now, with that said – if you have specific questions about music, please ask.

    • Rhan Wilson Says:

      And yes, the information I spoke of often is: wrong chord shapes/names, rhythms, and performance etiquette.

  3. Jeff Says:

    How did you know my secret language-o?

  4. Walt Says:

    Very well said

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