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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff.
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Original Post By: Muttzukii Date: 3/24/2018 1:42:36 PM   (Updated: 3/24/2018 1:47:41 PM)
My Granddaughter is turning 8 and has a strong interest in learning uke. She is a very focused person & I think she'll stick with it. BUT my daughter thinks I should work with her on it. My Granddaughter is also [typical for this age group] extremely digital, so I don't know in terms of working out of one of the many books available would be as good as if there were a digital program. If Dora the Explorer has a program, my granddaughter would probably jump right in. Also, my fantasies about how I would teach involve starting with I, IV,V,etc use of same chords in different keys on the same song. However, based on my experience with my UU Religious Exploration class, I find theories feel good but what will work with the Kids has little to do with theories. If there is a book anyone would recommend as a method for me to follow while working with her one on one [not necessarily a book for her to learn from although a book for her is an option] OR as I know one of the best local teachers personally, is it better in the long run to pay for lessons & do the pickup & dropoff?
Posted By: Ukubee Date: 3/24/2018 8:23:06 PM
Hmmmm. It's got to be fun for an 8 year old, so don't push. Let her explore Youtube and other children who play like Grace VanderWal. Shecan find plenty of resources on line on her own I'm sure!
Posted By: J Boy Shyne Date: 3/25/2018 7:33:20 AM   (Updated: 3/25/2018 10:50:33 AM)
"[M]y fantasies about how I would teach involve starting with I, IV,V, ...."

Is she a sharecropper working the fields in the Mississippi Delta in the 1920s?

"[I]s it better in the long run to pay for lessons & do the pickup & dropoff?"

Yes. She should also have a keyboard of some kind. Ideally, a piano and proper lessons on the piano is the way to go.
Posted By: Muttzukii Date: 3/26/2018 1:10:36 PM
Oh, I knew I'd attract a sarcastic comment from Mr Shyne. While in the past, I have enjoyed butting heads with you, I have promised to play nice and am trying to live up to that promise. That being shared, I don't get the Sharecropper comment. And, it is OK to insult me, and with regard to Mr Shyne, I've earned it, but please leave my granddaughter out of it. I think knowledge of keyboard is important, but not necessarily the best starting point for a fretted instrument player. Now for everyone else, I am told by another parent that they are using an I-pad & an app, which is I think a valuable tool for her. If anyone who has worked with a child this age wants to share their experience with an app, I appreciate it.
Posted By: J Boy Shyne Date: 3/26/2018 1:53:10 PM
Yes, I've taught children that age. Like the majority of music teachers (and Mel Bay books, my generations intro to music), I start with melody, beginning with how to read melody lines. Many start with "Twinkle Twinkle." See https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twinkle_Twinkle_Sheet_Music.png

For older kids and adults, I ask them what songs they want to play and then teach them how to play it.

Posted By: Muttzukii Date: 3/27/2018 12:59:53 PM
Thank you, I appreciate your polite response.
Posted By: J Boy Shyne Date: 3/28/2018 9:24:51 AM
Actually, MZ, my initial response was also polite. The fact that you "didn't get" my comment concerning the origins of the Blues (a style that often employs a I-IV-V chord progression), suggests that grandpa ought not become a music teacher. If the means are available, instruction from a qualified music teacher is the way to go. Simply put, would you want your granddaughter to be able to do this
https://youtu.be/ZnRAntB1OLI
or this
https://youtu.be/1FyWkV91Nkw ?

I note that you stated that your granddaughter has shown an interest in learning to play a musical instrument. If that's the case, then playing an instrument is the way to go as opposed to wasting time online searching the web for videos of talent show competition contestants like this Grace VanderWal (yes, I had to search), who scratches out a few chords while singing.

But I don't know...
Does she want to play an instrument or be a "rock star" like Taylor Swift? If she wants to do what Taylor does, I'd still start out with melody, then move on to harmony, always emphasizing timing. Always tapping the foot like a machine and playing in time is critical. Then and only then teach her the exact songs she wants to do played exactly like Taylor. That means learning the songs note for note and then providing instruction in how to play them note for note. Personally, I'm unaware of Taylor doing any Blues (I don't know the gal's catalog), so rudimentary lessons in 12 bar I-IV-V progressions might be counterproductive.

I've found that most young children need guidance and instruction. That means introducing them to all types of music and not just what's presently labeled "pop." Having a background in the classics (no not "classic rock") will only be an asset for future musical development.




Posted By: Muttzukii Date: 3/28/2018 2:44:06 PM
Thanks for the clarification. I agree that grandparents [& parents] shouldn't be trying to teach their own kids to play music BUT it is an opportunity to share with "M" something I love & that she wants to learn. She is unusually focused on the things she is interested in & shuts out anything else. She has repeatedly asked her Mom, so it is worth a shot. I didn't think about blues reference when I said I, IV,V; I was thinking like "Happy Birthday" in its simple form. I also like your advice in your other post about not knocking the idols of another generation, but I do have to say, for me, it was more motivating when the "Old Folks" trashed them than it would have been if they were polite about it.

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Flea Market Music offers an on-line community for ukulele players, informative books on the ukulele, ukulele CDs,songbooks, videos and information on our instrument manufacturing of the FLUKE ukulele. Brought to you by "Jumpin" Jim Beloff. -