What I'm Up To: First Time Ukulele for 55+ Seniors

I answered a call to do some volunteer work to teach ukulele for a group of seniors, "no experience required". That's good because I've only ever taught my niece and children are like cats... hard to get them to do something they don't already want to do.

So what's it going to be like? I imagine a small group of people... 9 loaner ukuleles from the library... many of these people will never have held an instrument before. It will be my job to have them leave with a sense of possibility: that there is the potential for them to make music and they already have everything they need to make it (just add a uke).

First Time Ukulele

Having never run a class, I'm not certain whether I would need to stretch this across two 1-hour sessions but these are the sorts of things I might wish to cover in a First-Time-Ukulele class

  1. How to hold the ukulele without a strap
  2. Tuning: G-C-E-A
  3. Right Hand: The Thumb Brush Stroke
  4. Your first chord: C7 (dominant 7)
  5. Your second chord: Almost F
  6. Your first 2-chord song

Office Hours

In order to make accomodations for people who are more advanced, I'm thinking that I'd like to follow the class with a short break followed by a general session of "office hours"... 30-60 minutes of individual Q&A at any skill level. Others may be present but I will take questions from only one person at a time.

Future: Recommendations and A Progression of Classes

It is my hope that over time, serious students will purchase their own ukuleles and do their own studies at home. As such, I should prepare:

  • recommendations for a first ukulele purchase (and other helpful equipment such as music stands)
  • recommended websites and videos for beginners and intermediates
  • recommended books

If there is enough of a critical mass of students that bring their own ukuleles, I would like to structure a progression of courses over 4 sessions that would take students deeper into being able to play songs and rudimentary music theory.