Teachers

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Why teach this rather than what you're doing already?
  • Are the majority of your students headed to higher education in music? Probably not, but real humans are goofing with ukulele for their whole lives at all ages now. Give them a gift of life-long musical learning.
  • Do you need to get an ensemble of instrumentalists ready for the spring show? Probably. And the Christmas show ... OMG. This is the place to get the best ukulele Christmas book on Earth. The best.
  • Can you stand one more day of recorder and Orff instruments? Absolutely not -- well, the glockenspiel is okay -- but people don't play any of that stuff "for reals." They do play the ukulele.
  • Would you like a pre-packaged, pre-tested, world-class program written so you can teach it in lots of different ways and meet your state's standards? Well, duh.
  • How about something you could, in an emergency, just photocopy and survive the day? It happens.
  • Does free sound okay?
  • Would someone with almost two decades of ukulele and teaching be a helpful support to you? Well, he's kind of a tool, but yeah, you'll get used to him and he does know how to make you love teaching ukulele.
  • Would you like a way to support solo instrumentalists, ensemble musicians, singers and other teachers? Here it is. And it's good.
  • And, for your advanced kids, would you like a huge resource of music they can study independently? You know you want those students to go away and practice, right?
  • How about hundreds of video lessons (for you or your students) and MP3 recordings of every single piece of music ready to download? Geez, I'm helpful despite being notoriously iffy as a video star.
  • Does the music publisher you usually use have an ukulele program? Yep, I've seen it ...  I've seen them all ... and they're (for the most part) NOT good (sorry) and they're expensive and they're almost invariably designed to add ukulele into a singing program ... don't be confused by what they'll expect you to teach. If you want to teach instrumental skills, you almost certainly need to be here. Did I mention it's free?
  • So, let's go --->

Still working on the stuff below here ...

FIRST, let's get your classroom set of ukuleles and resources together. Go HERE for the classroom management and recommended purchases page.

THEN, go to our ukulele tab and download the Progress Tracker. It follows the list of songs on the web page in the proper pedagogical order to get students playing chord-melody arrangements almost right away. The stuff on the baritone ukulele page is a mirror image of the ukulele program, but it is in a different key so it can't be taught simultaneously. If you have both instruments in class, you'll need to use the "Ensemble with Baritone" PDFs so everyone can play together, but it's not as comprehensive as the solo baritone work.

NEXT, you need to learn to play too. Never fear, you only need to be one lesson ahead of the students. You already know music, you just need to get your skills and tools specific to this instrument in place. Don't be confused by your prior music training. Perfection is for those sitting for their Masters degree recital ... and really nobody else. This instrument is for making music in a fun way and making lots of mistakes along the way. You should make them, your students should make them, and you should instantly forget they ever happened. Music is a one-dimensional art form and yeah you should try your best, but you should allow a wide latitude for yourself and your students to play the "jazz" version and then move on along.

 


Other Resources

 
Day One Book: Here is one of the books I give to everybody. It includes:
  • Information on ukulele stuff going on in the Denver-metro (may not apply to you). It also helps with discussions about what your musicians need to own.
  • A full page on the important ways of tuning your ukulele (obviously very important). I ask my students to say "George Clooney Eats Apples" each time they meet to help with memorization.
  • Another page on important things to teach about proper posture (the most important). Get the left-hand thumb right, and get the 60 degree angle right, and everything else in the program is gonna be easier.
  • A page on standard notation and playing the C scale (for those who plan to use standard notation). Ukulele players for the most part don't use standard notation, but all musicians should understand the basics, and the standard notation in this program is used to get the timing correct.
  • Frère Jacques: This is the most important song. It teaches how to read tablature in 10 minutes.
  • My Spaghetti Monster: One song that will sound great and audiences won't sing along.
  • Three Blind Mice: This is the second most important song and the first piece where we study "TuffUke" or chord-melody -- use right-hand thumb down technique.
  • Happy Birthday: This song is a stretch, but everybody connects with it.
  • Strum Pages: Waltzing Matilda, Soft Kitty, Kookaburra, Hallelujah, Over the Rainbow, Lava. I only teach this stuff because there is an expectation all students own the chords in the Key of C. To be 100% honest, teaching chords to new students is a perfect way to get them stuck. Most students do not want to sing. Melody first! I never go over Hallelujah, Rainbow, or Lava because I've had it with those songs and students will go seek them out on their own anyway.

 

Three Chord Strumming Book: HERE is the way to make your life easy:

A brief commercial: Kids these days almost never know these "old fashioned" songs because they're growing up in a Disney-fied world. So I've gone back to teaching these to kids. They're easy to sing, require little or no prep on your part, have great melodies, and when I teach adults, I remind them they can teach their kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors, friends, or extra-curricular clubs. Teaching the Key of A chords is far easier than Key of C chords due to the challenges of G major, and this book mirrors the easy chords on guitar allowing you to use two different instruments at the same time. (I have a guitar and baritone ukulele version of this book if you need it.)

  • Songs with red headlines have one chord.
  • Songs with green headlines have two chords.
  • Songs with blue headlines have three chords.
  • Songs with purple headlines have four chords.
  • Start by teaching A chord and playing Frère Jacques and Three Blind Mice. Try various strumming patterns.
  • Next teach D chord. make sure their left-hand index finger is on 4th string 2nd fret and that their thumb isn't ending up someplace weird.
  • To make E7, start with a D chord and then slide the index finger back a fret and drop the ring finger to the first string.
  • After playing through lots of songs, I will teach the A » F#m » D » E7 » A chord progression and write songs.

 

Jumping Flea Arpeggiator: Please please read the cover before diving into the book. I believe this is the most important book you can use to create advanced ukulele players. It's good and I get emails from people all over the world who've been inspired by this. You should work through each key.

  • The Book is HERE.
  • The Sound Files are HERE.

 

Teacher Certification & Teacher's Manual: I've already built a certification program here in Denver, and I'll be cranking it up over the next year. Let me know what you require if you want continuing ed credit. Also, let me know what would help you need to build the right toolbox for your personal playing skills and what songs you need to make your classroom experience work for you.
 
I'm building a subscriber area for more copyright intensive stuff, so keep an eye out for that.