The Oz Ukulele Method
by Erol Ozsever
In 2019 I released The Oz Guitar Method: A Beginner’s Guide to Popular Music. 2020 has been a year for overcoming obstacles including the release of its companion The Oz Ukulele Method. Ukulele has recently seen a spike in popularity in the last decade or so. Most musical electronics are becoming more compact and portable, and it makes sense why this charming little instrument has made a comeback. Ukulele’s are relatively inexpensive, the strings are made of a nylon polymer, which feels less abrasive on one’s fingertips than metal guitar strings, and they are portable enough for just about any outing.
Many of the ukulele methods in circulation are targeted toward young kids. But as songwriters like Eddie Vedder and Vance Joy have taught us, ukulele doesn’t have to be a kids’ toy. My upcoming publication introduces the chords in a logical way that is based on research on motor learning. In the context of modern pop music, ukulele is used primarily to strum chords to accompany a singer, and that’s how this book is tailored. It starts with chords right from the beginning.
- This book starts by teaching rhythms, chord diagrams, strum patterns, and finally chord progressions. The book does not introduce reading monophonic (single-note) melodies, because the vast majority of modern ukulele-driven pop songs don’t use the instrument this way. The ukulele is a relatively quiet instrument and can easily be overpowered by louder instruments when the ukulele is carrying the melody.
- Additionally, the Suzuki school emphasizes developing basic proficiency on the instrument before undertaking the cognitive complexity of reading music. Many teachers have differing opinions regarding this, but my ukulele method marries the two schools–I introduce rhythms by using slash notations, so the students are incrementally scaffolding the complexity of learning to read music. The method also comes with online video tutorials with picture-in-picture images from the book, which are designed to augment student learning with a combination of visual and auditory resources. No two learners are exactly the same, and the combination of the text and video content allow students to use whichever combination of the material best suits their unique learning style.
- Additionally, strumming chords is more of a gross motor skill than the fine motor skills of picking individual strings, and research tells us that gross motor skills are often developed earlier. We learn to grip a pencil before we learn to write intricate calligraphy. We learn to jump before we learn to dance ballet.
This book is designed for all ages, and this book provides a great way for parents to learn ukulele along with their children. What a great way to have fun, learn a new skill, and ensure your child’s success! The Oz Ukulele Method is set for release in August of 2020. You will be able to find The Oz Ukulele Method & The Oz Guitar Method in paperback format on Amazon.com and in eBook format at https://www.fflat-books.com/.