Why did I make this book? Selfish reasons. I read that you can learn a lot more if you teach. So I was started to teach on the beach. I really liked it and was told I was a good teacher. My students made a lot of progress quickly. I knew it would be useful to have worksheets. So I designed some simple worksheets. My students really like them. They used what I call the Ukulele Crossword. A simplified fretboard where you can circle notes and learn chords.
The book Ukulele Utube Notebook took way longer than I thought. In fact, one book turned into two. I originally just wanted to create a book filled with these crosswords so that I could just have a place to discover new chords and memorize the fretboard.
I later realized that I never started with the Ukulele Crossword. I was only really interested in memorizing the fretboard after I learned some songs and had some success. Besides the Ukulele Crossword can look a little intimidating at first glance.
I started learning to play like a lot of people, by watching Youtube videos. So while I was doing research for this book. I was looking at all the ukulele books on Amazon. I was reading a ton of reviews. I found myself drawn to the one star reviews. I wanted to know what was wrong with the book. What was it that people really didn’t like. If I knew this than maybe I could avoid that mistake and make my book better. I read everything from the print is too small, the book is too simple, the book is too hard, and I don’t know any of these songs. Not everyone is going to like everything. Even this book below, with 31,212 reviews, and 86% gave the book 5 stars, 1% gave the book 1 star.
The one thing that stood out was that songbooks are full of songs that nobody knows. The problem is everyone has different tastes. What good is a song book that has 50 songs if you only want to learn 5 of those songs? The rest of the book is wasted. So I thought ” Wouldn’t it be great if I could create a songbook that you were able to fill with the songs you love?” This means that the book wouldn’t actually be a songbook, because there wouldn’t be any songs in it except for a few examples. The songs would all be online, in Youtube tutorials and on websites. So the book would be an ukulele notebook, an ukulele youtube notebook. A companion piece to the largest free video library of tutorials. A place where you can right down everything you are learning. With chord diagrams and song pages to make the whole process super easy. It would need to have song pages to easily add the songs you love and are learning.
I was hooked. I had to create this book. So I worked on it. Day in and day out. Many sleepless nights. I thought the ukulele was making me crazy. But trying to create a book to teach ukulele was a whole different story. I had originally created all the song sheets in the book to use my ukulele crossword design. This is great if you want to learn about the notes behind the chords. But not so useful if all you want to learn is songs, and most people just want to learn songs. I realized after months of work that most people watching Youtube need diagrams that match exactly what is being used in the Youtube videos. So I redid all the diagrams to reflect what the vast majority of ukulele tutorials use.
Standard Ukulele Diagram
This is an example of the song page used throughout the book. Beside each song page is a blank page you can use to take notes. If you’d like a free download of this song page you can get it here.
Notice at the top of each song page I made room for the Song name, tempo (BPM). The artists name and the always elusive strum pattern.
At the bottom of every song page I also included a place that you can write in your own ukulele tablature (TAB). Many songs include an intro riff or section of the song that you want to write down quickly. In this case you can now neatly just write it on the same page.
I also thought it would be great to have a cheat sheet at the bottom of every page if you forget common chords. Even writing this book I forgot what F minor was. Maybe I never knew it. As you can see, it is very useful to have a reference for the most popular chords.
So there you have it. The Ukulele Utube Notebook is now available on Amazon after months of hard work.
Get it here.
It feels great to have seen this project to completion. It is hard sometimes to finish what you start. Whether it’s a new song you are trying to learn or a book you are trying to write. Along the way there may be many obstacles that prevent you from doing the work necessary. While writing this book I was inspired by a few different books. Which I would often listen to while working. One of my personal favourites is Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle.
An inspiring book focused on resistance, the one thing that stops us from doing our work. I also really enjoyed Josh Waitzkin’s, The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance.
A great story about how a chess grand master became a martial arts champion and what he learned along the way. Another book I really enjoyed while working on this book was Robert Greene’s, Mastery.
A look at some of history’s greatest masters and how they developed there skills to become masters. One more favourite is Mason Curry’s, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.
This book looks at the daily habits of many great artists throughout history. Really interesting stuff. Finally, one of the most influential as it relates directly to practicing music was Jonathan Harnum’s, The Practice of Practice: How to Boost Your Music Skills.
What I’ve learned is that everything is practice. Listening to music, watching live music, watching youtube tutorials, reading about music, studying theory, doing crosswords, or visualizing yourself playing. I took the step of getting better faster by creating something I never thought I would do, writing a music book. I still have so much to learn but I have learned so much in this process. Teaching music is amazing. Understanding the psychology behind why someone might struggle when learning music and how these barriers can be overcome is fascinating. The more I learn, the more I want to learn.
Get it here.
The book is 146 pages and includes 56 song pages to build your very own custom song book. The book is now available on Amazon.com and can be shipped world wide. It still kind of blows my mind. I hope you really like it and it helps you learn. I’ve tried really hard to make it the best possible book to learn the ukulele available using Youtube.
Lets take a look inside. You do get a lot more than just song sheets.
As you can see there is a ton of great stuff in there. The book continued to expand. It started without many sections and after showing it to people, I just had to add one more page. Explain something else in greater detail. Before I knew it I had this huge book. Here is a bit from the about section.
Of corse an ukulele book isn’t complete without chords. Strumming is also a very important first step.
Here is a song page that uses Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T’s as an example.
I’ve recently started creating short little Youtube videos doing my best trying to teach on camera. Harder than I thought and also more fun. I find changing the environment for teaching songs keeps things interesting. Stay tuned for more tutorials. Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about my new book and that you continue to enjoy learning and playing the ukulele. Happy practicing.
Get it here.