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Very, Very, Very Basic Understanding of Music for Absolute Beginners

In this article I shall attempt to lay out the very basis of how music works in a straightforward, easily understood fashion. Please, if you’re a beginner, don’t be put off by the idea of learning and understanding anything about music. The basic stuff is really easy to grasp and will enhance your playing and following of what’s going on when you play with others. If you’re already into music this isn’t for you, it’s for those with no understanding at all.

Musical Notes – The Octave & Chromatic Scale

If you play a note and then double the frequency (ie the number of times a string vibrates in one second) you get the same note but higher. This is called an octave and can be heard on a ukulele if you play an open string and then count 12 frets up the fingerboard and play that note. It’s the same note an octave higher.

Listen to an octave being played from Wikipedia:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Sometimes people get a bit daunted at looking at sheet music or playing along to it. The fun TED-Ed animation below from Tim Hansen is a good way to see the basics without having to delve into too much detail.

After watching through, you could initially practice using a few tunes you know well. Try concentrating on the rhythm first and think about the pitch (ie the notes on the fretboard) later.

If you pick a simple familiar piece and look at the music whilst listening to it, you can follow the notes before even trying to keep up playing.  YouTube handily lets you slow the speed right down in the settings feature.

We have links to other quizzes and different ways of learning more about reading music and the basics of music theory in other articles to help you widen your skills. Plus more PLUC Weekend Workouts.

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Reading Music Mnemonics - Treble Clef Acronyms from http://cars.blurtit.com/

Reading Music Mnemonics – Treble Clef from http://cars.blurtit.com/
Notes on the lines are
E – G – B – D – F =
Every Good Boy Deserves Football
Notes in the spaces spell
F – A – C – E

 

 

Another interesting learning resource site I found this week is memrise. Its main section is on-line language courses, with novel ways of getting you to learn the vocabulary (along with mnemonics, submitted by fellow learners, which may or may not seem useful to you!) but it covers a lot more under Other Topics..

It’s a free sign-up. You do short, timed tests to build your knowledge & can return as often or infrequently as you wish to practice. There is a reasonable Musical Notation section with all manner of items to help your music theory knowledge, such as:

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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How Do You Feel About The Ukulele? – Survey & Interviews

portrait

Emma Winston (image from  usesthis.com/interviews)

Local Goldsmiths’ PhD student and musician, Emma Winston, is currently collecting information from the ukulele community for her research into the instrument, surrounding how people perceive it and their participation in uke groups. The results will eventually form part of her doctoral research.

Players and non-players are invited to take this short survey. Emma is also at the stage where anyone keen to talk ukuleles with her further is welcome to email her. She is conducting informal interviews – more just general fact-finding chats than a huge list of questions – which can be face-to-face, over the phone, by Skype, email or whatever suits you best! Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Southbank Chorus Festival 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014 – Part 2

Victoria Embankment Gardens Buskers 140405

Victoria Embankment Gardens  – Uke-Wielding Buskers

Off again without my uke for a day of vocal workouts at the Southbank Chorus Festival, as I bought some lunch for later on, I was delighted to spot a group of lively buskers by Victoria Embankment Gardens, with the lead singer wielding a ukulele & dancing around.

As with last year, there were events all over the Southbank complex – on the Riverside Terrace, Front Room at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, up in the St Paul’s Roof Pavilion, down in the Spirit level basement (very echoey – great acoustics) & dotted around various bar areas.

I’d decided to try out four of the free workshops & listen to whatever choirs I could catch in the gaps. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Yet another free courses website is ALISON. There are over 300 courses available, including an Introduction To Music Theory. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Playing Help – Sites & Resources

 

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PLUC Tales – The First Rule Of Uke Club…

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

Anthony Checking Out Tip 3a

I’m a recent convert to the world of ukulele. I’ve been playing around about 10 weeks and am really enjoying it. I’ve managed to learn the basics and am managing to play many more full songs than I thought I’d be able to play at this stage when I first picked the thing up.

Anyway… I was asked to put together a few words on what I’m enjoying and not enjoying about ukulele.  I’ve tried to do this below, its a little rambling (like myself), its personal to me and hopefully you’ll take these comments in the way that they were meant.

What I like… Read the rest of this entry »

 
25 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Members' Items

 

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PLUC Tales – Santa Rides Again

Alan Forster's Brunswick Blonde Solid Top Soprano 2

Alan Forster’s Brunswick Blonde Solid Top Soprano

Like many people, I have always wanted to play an instrument – any instrument. I have dabbled with the harmonica and the tin whistle and enjoyed both but never got very far. My music teacher even tried to teach me the trombone when I was at school – fantastic instrument but not for me.

Then in 2012, while reading the syllabus of the local authorities adult education classes, I saw Guitar for Beginners. Got a guitar, signed up and off we went. Met some nice people and enjoyed the classes a lot but struggled – particularly with the chord changes – the message left the brain but took about a week to get to the fingers. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Members' Items

 

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PLUC Xmas Weekend Workout

Ukulele Club Christmas

Ukulele Club Christmas (Photo credit: Simon Scarfe)

As a Christmas treat, we offer you two festive fun quizzes for the price of one:

1) Guess from which songs do the ‘Christmases’ come (NB If you get enough questions right you’ll win a surprise that can make any song into a Christmas tune!). I managed 10/12, so see if you can better that.

2) And here’s Ukulele Hunt’s annual puzzler – the Ukulele Christmas Quiz 2012 – which I’m just about to enjoy doing. There are also links to previous year’s quizzes.

Jeanette

Other quizzes include: PLUC Weekend Workout – EarMaster; PLUC Weekend Workout – On-line Ear Trainer; PLUC Weekend Workout – Speak Ukulele Challenge!PLUC Weekend Workout – memrise on-line coursesPLUC Weekend Workout – Theta Music Trainer;  PLUC Weekend Workout – Flashcard Machine; PLUC Weekend Workout – Music Reading Knowledge; A Question Of Uke – TV & Movie Themes; PLUC Weekend Workout – Fretboard Master GamePLUC Weekend Workout – Guitarator Chord Quiz; PLUC Weekend Workout – Vocal Match Game

 

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PLUC Weekend Workout

Music note bokeh cutout

Music note bokeh cutout (Photo credit: rob.wiss)

EarMaster is another interactive music theory site, with a useful page for learning how to recognise the interval (ie musical gap) between two notes. You can listen to ascending & descending intervals and play a daily quiz, Plus there is a long list of songs that start with each interval: choose the ones you know to make a customised reference chart as an aide-mémoire.

Other quizzes include: PLUC Weekend Workout – On-line Ear Trainer; PLUC Weekend Workout – Speak Ukulele Challenge!PLUC Weekend Workout – memrise on-line coursesPLUC Weekend Workout – Theta Music Trainer;  PLUC Weekend Workout – Flashcard Machine; PLUC Weekend Workout – Music Reading Knowledge; A Question Of Uke – TV & Movie Themes; PLUC Weekend Workout – Fretboard Master GamePLUC Weekend Workout – Guitarator Chord Quiz; PLUC Weekend Workout – Vocal Match Game

 

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