Music Education, Play The Ukulele!

Setting Reasonable Goals

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!

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Music Education

Time To Win Free Music Lessons!

We’re so excited to announce a giveaway!

This month at Tiny Village Music, we’re giving away a series of 4 free, half-hour lessons for guitar, ukulele, piano or voice, ages 5 & up (or 9 & up for voice). The series is to be used by one person and expires in twelve months.

This offer is valid for new students and for students who’ve never done an online lesson with us.

How To Enter To Win:
Like Tiny Village Music on Facebook. Then,
Share our raffle post on Facebook and
1. Set it to public
2. Answer the question “Why would you like to win?”
3. Tag two friends who might enjoy free lessons!

Further instructions are posted on our Facebook page, so head there and enter today. The deadline is April 15, 2019, midnight EST. You can also enter on Instagram, but you’ll need the instructions posted on Facebook.

Have your friends and family share it and increase the odds that one of you will win!

Have fun, and good luck.

Music Education, Play The Ukulele!, Ukulele Performance

A Mini-Documentary on Ross Airs Tonight!

This year Tiny Village Music is expanding its offerings online and in person, and we’re offering our acclaimed Play the Ukulele! classes for older adults across the country!

In the fall of 2017, Ross was asked to teach a ukulele class for older adults. It was such an incredible success that in the fall of 2018, he was asked to teach the same program with three different groups of students.

If you’re curious about what this program looks like, join us for the premiere of this five minute video TONIGHT, LIVE at 7:15 p.m. Eastern Time! And if that time doesn’t work for you, stop by any time after that and you’ll be able to watch too.

Want to see and hear more about Tiny Village Music events, including an online course on how to play the ukulele? Consider subscribing to our new Youtube channel! Or send us a message at tinyvillagemusic@gmail.com to get added to our email list. You can also learn more about the group ukulele program for older adults here.

 

Samuel_Coleridge-Taylor, Tiny Village Music
Ukulele Performance

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

In honor of Black History Month, Ross’ weekly ukulele video series (follow Tiny Village Music or Ross Malcolm Boyd on Facebook to keep up with these) features Ross’ arrangements of musical selections by black composers.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was a British composer, born in London on August 15, 1875. His father was a physician from Sierra Leone who, unable to pursue a career in Britain presumably due to racial prejudice, returned to West Africa, leaving behind his wife and son.

As a child, Samuel played the violin and sang with the choir of a church in Croydon. He was admitted to the Royal College of Music in 1890. A professor at the college, in teaching Coleridge-Taylor the music of Brahms, suggested that it would be impossible to write a quintet for clarinet and strings without being influenced by Brahms’s composition for that combination of instruments. Coleridge-Taylor took the assertion as a challenge and produced a work that received the respect of his professor and later audiences.

By 1896 he was teaching, conducting, and judging music festivals in addition to composing. His work was very well regarded, the most successful of which was The Hiawatha Trilogy (based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra: Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast (1898), The Death of Minnehaha (1899), and Hiawatha’s Departure (1900). Europe wasn’t the only place Coleridge-Taylor found success. He was welcomed during his tours of the US between 1904 and 1910. American musicians dubbed him the “Black Mahler.” He was invited to the White House to visit President Theodore Roosevelt.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, only 37 years old, died of pneumonia on September 1, 1912. He was survived by his wife, Jessie Walmisley, his son, Hiawatha, and his daughter, Gwendolyn, known as Avril.

Hear Ross’ ukulele arrangement of a selection from Coleridge-Taylor here.

#ukulele #ukulelesunday #blackcomposers#blackhistorymonth #samuelcoleridgetaylor#willowsong

Ukulele Performance

Joseph Boulogne, le Chevalier de Saint-Georges

In honor of Black History Month, Ross’ weekly ukulele video series (follow Tiny Village Music or Ross Malcolm Boyd on Facebook to keep up with these) features Ross’ arrangements of musical selections by black composers along with a brief biography.

Joseph Boulogne, le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a virtuoso violinist, composer and conductor. However, his skills were not limited to music; he was a champion fencer, a colonel of the first all-black regiment in Europe during the French Revolution, and an activist fighting for racial equality in France and England.

Born on December 25, 1745 in Guadeloupe, Joseph was the illegitimate son of plantation owner George Boulogne and Nanon, a teenaged house slave from Senegal. In defiance of the Code Noir, a royal decree defining the conditions of slavery among French colonies, Joseph was treated as a member of George’s family. In 1759, George Boulogne, his wife Elizabeth, Joseph and Nanon moved to Paris. Young Saint-George would go on to receive an education in the art of fencing (under the tutelage of famous swordsman named La Boëssière), literature, science, and music. He held the position of first violin under François-Joseph Gossec’s orchestra Le Concert des Amateurs, later taking the director’s seat when Gossec moved on to a new conducting post. He went on to conduct the first performances of Franz Joseph Haydn’s six “Paris Symphonies” in 1787.

While Saint-George accrued success, his heritage was not something much of French society could look past. Religious leaders (and King Louis XVI himself) opposed the practice of slavery but interracial marriages were illegal and the belief of genetic inferiority of Africans was ever present. Saint-George’s fame was widespread and growing and racial controversy was always close behind. He would form an anti-slavery group called the Société des amis des noirs (Society of the Friends of Black People) to the ire of British slave dealers, prompting an attack by five men with pistols. He would escape without serious injury after fighting them off with a walking-stick (an encounter not unusual throughout his life.)

After Saint-George’s death in 1799, commemorative editions of his music appeared, but his legacy would soon be stifled. Though slavery had been abolished in 1794, it was reimposed under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, who also removed the music of Saint-George from orchestra repertoires. It would be 200 years before there was a significant resurgence of the works of Le Chevalier de Saint-George.

To hear a one-minute excerpt of Ross’ arrangement of Saint-George’s Symphony No. 2 Op. 11 Andante, head over to Facebook!