My Personal Teaching Philosophy
After many, many years of serious study with world renowned musician, education, and jazz guitarist Chuck Anderson I've adopted his teaching philosophy and methods.
Here is what Glen H. has to say about my teaching:
“In my opinion, Curt is one of the most knowledgeable ukulele teachers today. His two websites, www.curtsheller.com and www.learningukulele.com provide a hint of his knowledge and abilities. His Learning Ukulele website has more than 600 lessons. Curt seriously studied and performed jazz guitar for more than 30 years before taking all of that knowledge of music and guitar and meticulously applying it to the ukulele.” - Glen
See my gear page for a few of my guitars that are for sale. I pretty much only play guitar to show a guitar student something. So, a couple of really great guitars need some playing and good homes.
Updated: May 22, 2019
- All levels of student are accepted and welcome.
- All lesson material for the student is focused on students achieving their goals - not my goals. It's your lesson NOT mine.
- My goal is NOT to teach you songs but to teach you the principles that are inherent in every song. This will allow you to learn any song and develop your own repertoire and voice.
- Focused, short and frequent practice is often more effective than long practice sessions. Here is a Checklist of Practice Principles for getting the most out of your practice sessions.
- It is NOT my function to motivate a student but to help then find their own motivation.
- Any topic that will help you achieve your goals can be covered in the lessons. Over my 30 years of serious study with Chuck Anderson we covered a lot of music as well as dealing with students, the music business and non-music business.
- All lessons are customized to the individual students goals. There is NO "One size fits all". You start with a blank music manuscript book and it all goes in there. On-line I add to your on-line equivalent.
- There are NO lesson assignments that are mandatory for every student. We do however build a solid foundation - based on your goals.
- Rhythm is an often neglected topic for most teachers and one I consider very important. Through Chuck Anderson's Modular Phonetic Rhythm System you'll learn Rhythm as a second language.
- We won't learn "licks" and "riffs". You'll learn the underlying principles behind these "licks" and "riffs". Allowing you to learn, create, and develop your own. We work on developing your own voice as a musician.
- Lessons focus on developing your Mind, Hands, and Ears. Allowing your musical creativity to come out. Spoiler Alert: for stringed instruments and the piano the hands take the longest to develop – It's these motor skills that take the longest to develop.
- Perseverance and persistence are more important than "talent" and "education". Stick with anything long enough and you tend to get good at it. Hock up witht he right mentors, teachers and you tend to get really good at it.
- For private and on-line students - If you show up consistently for the lesson you are guaranteed progress. The time spent at a lesson is even more important than practice. Don't let a lack of preparation stop you from getting to your lesson. There is always something valuable to do at a lesson above and beyond the assigned lesson material. There is no secret to learning music and a musical instrument - "What ever you put in you WILL get out."
- Lessons are NOT school and the practice you do at home is NOT homework. Think of it as more like exploration vs. practice. It's NOT "Play, Practice, and Rules." It's "Work, Exploration, and the Principles of Music." Duke Ellington said there are two rules in music., Rule 1: there are not rules in music. Rule 2: See rule one."
- There are no timetables or deadlines on learning anything - Music is no exception.
- Lessons will work on developing your own voice - your own unique personality. There is already a "so-and-so" ( insert your favorite musician here ) out there.
- People that give up NEVER achieve their goals. As long as you don't give up, you will be always moving forward to obtaining your goals. Goals often adjust or change - but forward motion and progress is certain with persistence.
- I teach to help those who have asked for help. I myself have always studied and learned new material. I personally took lessons from the time I was 9 or 10 and continued until just recently ( over 50 years ) and continue to explore new material on my own and revisit and refine what I've already learned through my previous studies. I studied contemporary and jazz guitar as well as anything music related and the music business that I brought up in lessons with Chuck Anderson for well over 30 years of my adult life.
- Generally in music if it sounds good it is good.
- Music is not a competition or sport. The old proverb says "It's the journey - not the destination."
- Although reading standard music notation is not mandatory but IT'S helpful. Learning to read music opens you up to music from other instruments.
- You are not going to learn this or that instrument in 7 days or 30 days. There is no "easy" method, etc... There are no shortcuts but there are many ways to learn efficiently. At times I might not seem like "fun". But - I can guarantee that the better you get, the more "fun" you'll have. It is a challenge at times but well worth is in the long run.
- Don't forget to build on a solid musical and technique foundation in your quest to get "advanced".
- Slow and controlled leads to virtuosity. It's all about efficiency of motion. Work smarter not harder. Speed is a by-product of performing accurately and in-control. I tell my students that "Fast is nothing more than slow, quicker." If someone is faster than you are the are just doining slow quicker than you can - for now.
- There are no tests, no grades and no performance reviews. You always go at your own pace.
- I recognize and actually ask why each student is taking lessons. I do not assume that everyone has the same goals, reasons or motivations. It's actually great that we can all develop you own voice in music.
Now lets get to work!!!
Should You Study Music With A Teacher or Should You "Wing" It On You Own?
This question always comes up in this type of discussion about music.
An objective assessment of the two alternative approaches leads me (Chuck Anderson) invariably towards the formal route. Why? Because without guidance, there is a tendency to go in circles, What do you practice, when do you move to the next topic? When are you doing something wrong? How do you practice what doesn't exist to you? - Chuck Anderson
Here are links to some great resources on Learning Ukulele with Curt for answering the questions to "What Do I Study?" when going it alone or with a teacher.
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Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee
Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys
Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg
I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland
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Original Curtie Animation - 1987 for my first web site
32 years ago.
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