My in person lesson

Aloha Brad,

Hope all is well with you. I wanted to update you on where I am at since our in-person lesson at Ulu La’au Nature Park in Waimea a month ago.

You caught me by surprise when you asked me if I had ever tried arranging my own song. I was astonished when you said how foreign sheet music is to you. So I took what you told me to heart and for the last month, I worked on training my ear. I listened to music to figure out the key. then I applied the roadmap of each key, I,ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii. Then I listened for the progression and figured out the chords. I went back to the Hawaiian Melodies and started with Nani Ka’ala. I took your advice and didn’t look at the sheet music. I listened to the sample song links you provided. I came up with my own version. Then I watched your version. Watching your version makes me want to go back to the Developing My Groove lessons which I think may help me expand on my simple Nani Ka’ala arrangement. Namely, to get the feel for adding dynamics, strumming, and movement up the fretboard. I’m loving the creative element of playing by ear. I feel like I’m connecting with my ukulele in a way I haven’t been able to with sheet music. I love all of what the sheet music offers me in the selection of wonderful, beautiful music. I’ve progressed through hours of rich enjoyment with it and I wouldn’t change a thing as I am very happily satisfied with where it’s gotten me. But I want to be able to pick up my ukulele and play from the heart. So I am making that my goal for the year. My goal is to make arrangements of all the Hawaiian songs in your lesson along with a few more of my favorites. By the end of the year, I hope to have a repertoire of a dozen Hawaiian songs I can play, just my Uku and me.

Thank you Brad, for your thoughtful guidance. Having had an in-person lesson with you has helped me understand more of what you are about in your teaching and your approach to sharing the ukulele. I’m grateful for that connection.

Oh, I must not forget to tell you that I really enjoyed your last podcast on arranging and the use of dynamics. It’s perfect for where I am at and want to go. I’m so encouraged!

Me ke aloha,

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That’s wonderful, Cosie! I’m so happy to hear about your journey. This style of learning takes more time than we’re usually used to, but I think if you want to be able to pick up your uke and freestyle something, it’s the most effective way to learn this. And it’s fun! You just have to find the joy in the simple process.

I would love to hear what you’re working on and I’m sure others would too. Be sure to keep me updated as you work on each song! Feel free to post a video and I can give you some feedback if you have any questions.

Cosie, Welcome to the forum and Mahalo for sharing your experiences and love of the instrument. It is wonderful to hear the passion in your words and to totally understand the joy that 'ukulele brings to us all.

Thank you kindly, Bob! It’s wonderful to have this mutual love of ukulele.

Mahalo plenty, Brad, for your encouraging words! Yep, if that spark keeps burning, the patience and determination will be there. The reward is the joy that feeds the spark. I am almost there to posting my “arrangement”. As for your Hawaiian Songs video lesson, I am very grateful for the lyrics, the Hawaiian language and interpretation of every song you teach. That adds to the richness of every lesson and so helpful toward our quest to bring out the flavor of the song.

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