News and Announcements for LearningUkulele.com

All the news, announcements and posts that's fit to print around here at LearningUkulele.com. For the latest on Curt Sheller or Funky Frets checkout their respective sites. There is a lot planned for the end of 2016 and for 2017.

Just What is a Strums?

Published: May 29, 2019

A strum is:

A Strum is the execution of a specific rhythmic pattern, in tempo, in a particular style.

Strumming requires a specific set of skills. They are: 1) Memorization of chords 2) The ability to switch chords smoothly and 3) The ability to choose and execute a suitable rhythmic strum.

Let's break that statement down from the end of the statement to the front.

Style

Each strum is identified with a term that differentiates it from every other strum. This term is typically called a “feel”. Drummers learn these terms early in their studies so learning this language is not only helpful to learning the strums, it’s also helpful with communications among musicians in general and drummers in particular.

A style's term. such as Rock, Country, Samba, FOlk, Bossa Nova, Double Time, Funk, Reggae, Island, etc. don't tell you much about what is actually needed to execute a specific rhythmic pattern. A style's term or name is an organizational tool for later when recalling the elements of a particular style.

In Tempo

Tempo merely is how fast the discernible pulses are going by. It can directly correlate to the downbeats or be implied.

Rhythmic Pattern

Strumming is inseparably linked to Rhythm.

This starts to get to the heart of what a strum is. It is also often the neglected part of music that is taken for granted. It is something identifiable by non-musicians as something wrong when it is not quite right.

The study of Rhythm is an integral part of really identifying and organizing particular song styles and genres.

One best ways to study rhythm is using Chuck Anderson's Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1. I've had great success using this method with students and myself to identify the rhythmic elements of a style.

Once you have started working on mastering the Rhythmic Syllables from Chuck's Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook you can then begin to work on the execution part.

Execution

Strumming can be executed with fingers or with a pick or really any device your like. Regardless of your own style of strumming, it ultimately involves combinations of down strokes and up strokes. In the finger style, down strokes can played with the thumb or the nail side of your fingers. Up strokes can be played with the thumb or fingers. Any technique is usable as long as you can differentiate between down and up strokes.

One strum is different from another based on the stroke direction, the stroke density, the subdivision of the beat and the accent pattern.

The tough part is getting your hands to follow your inner, musical ear an execute the desired rhythmic pattern, in tempo for that particular style. Typically the style will play an important role in determining how it is performed.

A strumming patter is NOT, "down down up up down etc..." and not how to organize a rhythmic pattern. On an instrument like the ukulele where gravity effects strumming and a down strum sounds different then the up strum. The verbal commands "down and up" can be helpful to train the strumming hand to follow and convey the pulse of the style and not go off on their own.

Links, Resources on LearningUkulele.com

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Forever Member Plan - Never Pay A Subscription Again

Published: May 29, 2019

As always I'm tweaking the site navigation, look and layout - trying to keep it easy to find what you are looking for. A challenge giving the number of lessons, songs, books and listings the site has. I'm adding new content and features everyday.

I myself am not a big fan of subscriptions beyond the traditional monthly magazine. I do know the need for them to generate a consistent income. I'll use a quote from Walt Disney applied to my site and music. "I don't make music and lessons to make money. I make money to make music and lessons." I would do this even it I didn't make any money - did before. Just trying to cove the hosting, software and time put into it.

Updated Sections:

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Adding and Updating Glossary Entries

Published: May 29, 2019

Learning and knowing the terms of music goes a long way in understanding how to apply the principles of music to the ukulele and learning.

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What Good is Learning Music Theory?

Published: May 24, 2019

Music Theory - Learning, discovering and exploring The Principles of Music. allows you to be literate, expanding your musical horizon, and to gives you a method for increasing your musical vocabulary.

Here are some myths regarding music theory:

  • It will stifle my creativity. Knowing music theory wasn't a problem for Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, etc...

That pretty much squashes that myth.

Why you NEED Music Theory by Gary Ewer, B. Mus - This is a great article on why we need music theory. Gary uses an analogy of how a native English speaker learned English growing up. 1) Learned the language in context, purely by ear. 2) Learned the theory of English, and learned to read. 3) Enhanced your use, and increased your ability to communicate your ideas.

Harmonic Analysis For Scale Selection And Chord Substitution

Applying harmonic analysis principles with harmonized scale charts for scale selection and chord substitution.

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition. This analysis is then used to make scale selections for improvisation and chord substitution.

Link to Harmonic Analysis For Scale Selection And Chord Substitution.

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It's Not the Gear

Published: May 20, 2019

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”- Dr. Suess

Granted - great instruments and quality gear can make big difference - in the right hands. It never will allow you to sound and play like ( Insert Your Favorite Artist Here ). You can play their gear and their songs, but you will only sound like you, playing their songs.

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Nail Tips

Published: Apr 9, 2019

With fingerstyle and fingerpicking a big part of playing the ukulele, keeping your right hand fingernails in top shape can be tough at time. Here are a few tips to protect your nails and keep out of trouble.

  • Keep nails short. DO NOT clip you nails on the plucking hand. Clipping sends shock waves through the nail weaken them. You can clip you fretting hand all you want.
  • Organize your pockets for potential nail damaging objects suck as keys, coins, etc...
  • Learn to reach and use your left hand more. You're left hand is already pretty developed from playing. Door knobs are what get me the most and wearing bi-focal glasses are what get me the most.
  • Wear gloves.Basically watch out for potential nail damaging situations in your day-to-day travels.

A great source for a lot of information on nail care is classical guitarists.

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The Study of Music Today

Published: Mar 25, 2019

Added a great video from Victor Wooten to the The Study of Music Today page. talks about learning music as we learned language.

This is a the approach that is used with* Chuck Anderson's* Modular Phonetic Rhythm. This is the system that I use all the time with great success with ALL my students. And, refer back to with my own rhythm studies.

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Book Download Sales Are Back

Published: Feb 22, 2019

You can now buy my books, again - if you are not Gold site member with FREE download access to ALL my , Curt Sheller books.

Books are prices from $1 to $3 and you can pay what you like from that starting price. Basically pay what you like based on the value you place on the content and the sitre content.

There are still several books that are FREE.

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January 2019 Updates

Published: Jan 16, 2019

As always I'm tweaking the site navigation, look and layout - trying to keep it easy to find what you are looking for. A challenge giving the number of lessons, songs, books and listings the site has. I'm adding new content and features everyday.

Forever Plan Extended Until Spring 2019 - $149

I myself am not a big fan of subscriptions beyond the traditional monthly magazine. I do know the need for them to generate a consisten income. I'll use a quoate from Walt Disney applied to my site and music. "I don't make music and lessons to make money I makye money to make music and lessons.". I would do this even it I didn't make any money - did before. Just trying to cove the hosting, software and time put into it.

Updated Sections

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Can Amplification Impact Repetitive Motion Issues?

Published: Sep 25, 2018

Here is a link to a great article from one of mys favorite places to buy strings, String By Mail.

Article: Can Amplification Impact Repetitive Motion Issues? by by Ken Donnell.

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Site Membership Plans

FREE Bronze Plan - A limited selection of basic lessons ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup to access associated lessons, books, songs and their related assets.

Premium Gold Plan - The Premium Plan gives you access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Forever Premium Gold Plan - The Forever/Gold Premium Plan gives you access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment due. And from of the que for responding to any questions.


NOTE: Each higher membership level includes ALL the benefits of the lower membership levels.

The Private Lesson Plans include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on on the schedule.

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 bestGlen 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

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

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Original Curtie Animation - 1987 for my first web site
32 years ago.

LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

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