It’s not like I thought designing a course would be easy. When Jamie and I first decided to create a beginner’s class for ukulele, I knew I was in for a lot of work. Audio is my main focus, technologically, but I frequently dabble in video. Usually goofy little clips I edit on my phone. In this course, I’m assembling months worth of lessons into one package. That’s a lot of video. When I realized how much video, exactly, I panicked.
I encourage my students to take things slowly, to learn the three chord song before the twelve chord song. It never hurts to keep long-term goals in mind, but if you’re trying to reach that goal on the first day, you’ll only find disappointment. You’ll want to give up.
So when I set out to make a video series with slick edits and animated graphical elements and it didn’t look like the Michel Gondry-esque vision I had, and I realized my ten-year-old computer couldn’t handle even a fraction of all that video, I wanted to give up.
I didn’t give up though. I wouldn’t be writing this if I had. I’d be sweeping all the evidence of the project into a bag of rocks, renting a boat, and in the dead of night dropping said bag into the ocean.
Instead, I forced myself to step back and assess where I was and what I needed to progress. I had to examine my goals and adjust my expectations. While I am a creative person with big ideas, my experience in the field of video production is limited. That’s okay. I can still create a compelling course. I know I’m a good teacher. And I can convey everything I need to, and more, for these lessons to teach people how to play the ukulele. It may not have all the flash, the extra sparkles, or the cartoon gnome that introduces new concepts. A one-man Industrial Light & Magic I am not. No one is, and it’s unfair to ourselves when we set such unattainable standards.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard students who have been playing for less than a month mutter to themselves, “well, I guess this is a chord I’ll just never be able to play.” The excellence we hear on records, or see on YouTube, takes a lot of time and patience, and yet we often only see the result of hard work. As many times as I remind my students of this, I fall under the same delusions. Thankfully, my wife and business partner, Jamie, is there to remind me.
So I’m back on track. I’m filming, I’ve got a new computer on the way that can handle the editing, and I’m excited to share with you my excitement for the ukulele. And who knows, maybe by the end of it I’ll have figured out how to animate Pierre A. Diddle, the Drumming Dragon.
p.s. If you’re interested in some free tips, tunes for the ukulele or our joining our beta class when it’s ready, head here. Come join the Ukulele Village!
p.p.s. We’re giving away some lessons on Facebook if you’re interested!