What’s Missing in Teaching Ukulele…

Imagine if you were interested in cooking and wanted to take it a bit farther than simply following a pancake recipe on the back of a box of pancake flour. Imagine wanting to actually know how to mix ingredients to make what you are wanting to make; to know what various ingredients do when added to each other.

I would think that you’d take a culinary class. The teacher wouldn’t give you pre-measured, color coded portions of mystery powder and a recipe that was pulled off a questionable website – they would teach you units of measurement: teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, etc. They would teach you about oven temperatures and how to season properly to achieve the desired effect. How does yeast work? Why? Vinegars, sugars, flours, corn starch…

A good teacher would teach a willing student about cooking.

So why doesn’t this happen as often with ukulele instruction and group meetings?

Why are so many players content to learn the minimum with the least amount of effort and playing off of inaccurate song charts pulled from the internet? I hear them “say” they want to get better, but….

I see uke players “charts” scribbled full of instructions: strum [C] 12x [F] 4x UDDUUDDU…  No actual musician I have ever played with ever counted 12 “strums” of anything. We are taught to think in measures (groups of 4,) so we would think of 3 measures (groups of 4,) followed by one measure… (so much easier to count and keep track of)… and all that DUUDD business only works if you already have a knowledge of what down and up means.

Why aren’t teachers teaching this?

Well, I have two reasons to offer: One, is that they themselves don’t know. They are self-taught, doing the best they can with what they know, and they are happy to share it. That’s cool.

But here’s a more important reason it’s not being taught: many ukulele players don’t want to do the work.

I’ve had several students who, after telling me they want to improve their playing, suddenly decide they aren’t that interested after all, after finding out that there will be some work involved.

I’ve taught a lot of private lessons, group lessons, and workshops over the years and I have come to realize that many ukulele players (and players of other instruments, as well) don’t really want to learn about music – they just want to hold that cute, little instrument in their hands and be part of a community.

And that’s fine. As a matter of fact, that’s more than fine – it’s great! No entry fees, no tests, no… nothing. “You’re in!” Heck, you could bring a picture of a ukulele and be as welcome in a uke club as if you had an actual instrument.

But as people begin to want to learn more about their instrument and participate in Open Mics, bands, and other group activities – they are in a position where a basic music education would be helpful.

And I want to provide that. I want to teach you about the basics: notes, chords, rhythm… because you will be and feel amazing as you experience what it has to offer.

It’s not easy. If you want easy, sit down in front of the TV and do nothing – that’s easy. Everything else takes effort. But it’s worth it, and it’s fun, and what else are you doing?

You say you want to play the uke and get better?

Let’s do it!

 

Please post your comment or question here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: