Thank you for tuning in to Adventures in Social Music for Guitar and Uke here on Sonic Junction.
These are beginner and intermediate lessons. We’ll be exploring the basics for both instruments as we dig deep into the idea of Social Music. I spend a lot of time playing and practicing by myself but it’s when I play songs with other people that I feel the real joy that music making has to offer.
To a person who hasn’t had this experience, the idea of friends sitting and jamming together often seems like a magic trick. Something along the lines of pulling a ferret out of a shirt sleeve. So, we’ll break it down and make it possible for all of you to get to a place where you have a bag full of songs for most occasions and the skills to play them, by yourself and with others.
We’ll gather tunes for campfires, house parties, weddings, funerals, block parties, classrooms, and family reunions. We’ll talk about developing a personal style.
I’ll break each song down for guitar and ukulele and work as many of my musician friends as possible into the lessons in order to give you a sense of what things can sounds like with a few people playing together.
I’ll also talk about singing, song leading, and the various ways to get everyone engaged ... remember, it’s social music!
Below I’ve listed specifically where I plan to go with all this and what songs I’ll be using to get us there. I look forward to sharing the adventures with you.
Tuning Your Instrument
- How to use an electronic tuner
- How to tune by ear
- What you should know if your instrument is new
- Over all posture and position for guitar and uke playing
- The left hand mechanics of playing chords
- Troubleshooting when things sound janky
- Open position chords for guitar and uke
- How to begin using a pick with the guitar
- Basic strumming patterns for the uke
- Simple fingerpicking for guitar and uke
- Finding your voice
- Singing in tune
- Finding the right key for a song
Rustic Music Theory
- The basic language of music
- What are scales?
- What are chords
- Why is a little theory important?
Choosing an Instrument
- New or used?
- The trade-off with starter instruments
- Considerations when shopping online
- What to look for in a guitar
- What to look for in a uke
Developing an Individual Style
- The benefits of simplicity
- How to get inside a song
- The value in recording yourself
The Signature Song
- A song for every occasion
- How to use the internet to find songs and chords
- How to memorize lyrics
- Why is group singing important?
- Effectice ways to teach songs to an all-ages group
- Effective ways to teach songs to children
- What makes a good song for group singing?
- What to understand in performance situations
- How to guage the audience
- How to develop confidence
Arranging for Two Instruments
- The beauty of two ukes
- The beauty of two guitars
- What is an arrangement?
- The importance of dynamics
- George Harrison's uke legacy
- Fundamentals of harmony singing
- A few different styles
- How to develop harmony singing
More Chord Adventures
- Chords up the neck of the guitar and uke
- Chords as the basis for solos
- Simple chord substitution
- What is a solo?
- Soloing when you're the only instrument
- Soloing when you're part of a group
- White Dove (Stanley Brothers)
- Honey You Don't Know My Mind (Jimmy Martin)
- Liberty (trad. fiddle tune)
- Nine Pound Hammer (we will explore the different approaches of Tony Rice, Norman Blake and Clarence White)
- Eighth of January (trad. fiddle tune)
- Church Street Blues (in the respective styles of Tony Rice and Norman Blake)
- Whiskey Before Breakfast (trad fiddle tune)
- Wildwood Flower (Carter Family)
- Banks of the Ohio (Trad., Doc Watson)
- Let Him Go On Mama (John Hartford)
These are all topics that I'm interested in and that I plan on teaching. I welcome suggestions for any other related topics that people want to explore as well. Let me know!