There are many ways to learn ukulele, from doing self-study through books and instructional videos to signing up for private lessons or group classes at a nearby music studio. Each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks – for example, studying on your own is often the cheapest way to go, but without a teacher around you probably won’t be able to tell if you’re doing something wrong, or which aspect of your playing needs to be improved.
This is why many aspiring ukulele players choose to take group music classes while others sign up for one-on-one lessons with an instructor. Individualised instruction is recommended if you want lessons to be tailored to your goals, needs and learning style, and if your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend group classes.
A lot of beginners choose to enrol in group music classes because the classroom-like setting and supportive environment motivates them to learn. Group classes are best for ‘social’ learners who absorb information and perform best when they’re learning with other people.
Group classes, in contrast to private lessons, are also more affordable to a majority of players and allow them to learn some skills they won’t get to practice when they’re studying solo (like playing in an ensemble).
If you’re also interested in learning to play the uke in a group, here’s what you can look forward to.
Inspiration and motivation from classmates
Different people have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning ukulele. Some are better at memorising chords, some take a little more time to get strumming patterns right and so on. It can be hard for teachers to address the needs of individual students in a group setting, but often this is where the class comes together and helps each other out.
In a group setting, beginners learn from each other and in turn be inspired and motivated to keep practicing. Someone who’s lagging would be encouraged to do better, or someone who’s learned a neat chord memorisation trick would share it with the rest of the class.
If you sign up for group ukulele classes, you’ll find that people who play the ukulele are some of the kindest, most helpful folks in the world. You can even get recommendations on the best concert, soprano, baritone or tenor ukulele models when you upgrade from your starter instrument.
You can learn performance skills
If you already play a bit of ukulele and want to advance in your playing, a group class can help you gain new skills. Performance skills such as improvising and playing in an ensemble are just some of the things you can learn and practice in a group setting. A simple jamming session with classmates can lead to you finding people whose style of music jives with yours. Who knows, you can even form a band!
When you’re in a group and you’re doing the same thing, the experience can give you a sense of belonging. Mistakes that seem horrible when you’re sitting alone with an instructor can be easily laughed off when you’re learning ukulele with other beginners.
It may feel awkward at first but once you get to know your classmates, become comfortable with one another, start playing together and learn from each other’s mistakes, it’s going to be a fun and rewarding educational experience for you.
All in all, if you want to have fun while learning to play ukulele, sign up for group classes!
This is a guest post by Rebecca Marlow