Where is my ukulele teacher?
January 7, 2010 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Ukulele lessons in Washington, DC?

It's about time I learn to play the ukulele I bought. What do I know about playing the ukulele already? Nothing. But I bought a tenor ukulele and a tuner. I tried to use the tuner during my first and only teach-myself lesson, and I'm pretty sure I broke it. I think I need an actual instructor. It's possible that I have no innate musical ability, but that won't deter me.

Does anyone know of possible ukulele lessons/teachers available in Washington, DC?
posted by ihavepromisestokeep to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
thinking two places to look:

(1) House of Musical Traditions--Bruce Hutton does the Uke lessons there. Close to Red Line Takoma station.

(2) Guitar Gallery in Cleveland Park. Also close to Red Line.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:50 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Uke player here, but on the other side of the country so no face-to-face teacher recommendations. However, there is a *wealth* of information online, so I wanted to point you toward a couple of recommendations.

On YouTube, check out MusicTeacher2009. Also get to know Ukulele Hunt and Ukulele Underground.

Getting an instructor is always preferable to teaching yourself, but in the meantime, don't get too discouraged!

It's not that hard. I mean - I can do it.
posted by chez shoes at 1:32 PM on January 7, 2010

Dr Uke is not really local for you - but he does give classes - and he is a proper doctor (in case you have complications).

The online ukulele tuner will sort you for standard and non-standard tunings.
posted by rongorongo at 1:43 PM on January 7, 2010

What kind of tuner do you have. I doubt you broke it, unless it was dropped. One type of Korg tuner does break on droppage.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:44 PM on January 7, 2010

Yeah, I'm curious-- do you mean you broke the tuner, or you think you broke your uke? It's pretty hard to break a clip-on chromatic tuner, but if you were trying to tune up in a noisy room (say, your beloved SO was playing Borderlands on the Xbox right next to you at the time, not that Mr. F has ever done that), the tuner might have picked up on the ambient noise and led you astray.

Read your tuner's manual again, set it to "chromatic" instead of guitar or bass, and then sit someplace quiet and work at it a little. It took me a full hour to get Eleanor tuned when I bought her, and I thought for sure I'd broken everything more than once.

Also, if your strings are new or your weather is wonky, it's going to come untuned. I tuned Eleanor maybe three times a day the first week to get the strings stretched and settled.

Lastly, do you have geared or friction tuners? Geared tuners are exactly what they sound like-- they have tiny gears on them that turn when you adjust the tuning pegs. Friction tuners can be finicky; if you have a friction-tuner uke, and your pegs are not staying put when you turn them, you need to get a tiny screwdriver and give the screw on the end of the wonky peg a *very gentle* eighth or quarter turn to the right. Geared tuners don't do this; some folks prefer them for that reason.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 4:37 PM on January 7, 2010

Seconding chez shoes. There's a lot of great online tutorials and places to learn the basics for free. Also check out meetup.com to see if there are any local uke groups in your area. There are a lot of great ukulele communities popping up all over the place eager to give newcomers plenty of advise.
posted by cazoo at 5:28 PM on January 7, 2010

Mark Occhionero gives lessons by Skype at $25 per. He might be better after you pick up the basics, though.

What kind of ukulele did you get?
posted by Sallyfur at 6:23 PM on January 7, 2010

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