To Strings Attached Guitars and Ukuleles
Beginning in 2022, Strings Attached project will no longer be a non profit program of The Vine at St. Stephen’s in Ferguson and will provide private online lessons as Strings Attached Guitars & Ukuleles through weekly appointments on Zoom to music students anywhere. Lessons will continue to be available in guitar, baritone ukulele and ukulele.
Non profit activities and subsidized lessons for students ages 5 to 17 will continue through the end of 2021 and be phased out by July, 2022
NEW! Read the interview with “Mr. Steve” in this issue of Parentology: Parenting in the Digital Age on “Teachers We Love,”
To REGISTER FOR CLASSES PLEASE USE OUR REGISTRATION LINK AT TEACHERZONE https://app.teacherzone.com/Registration/RegistrationPlan?PlanID=9335
Become a Friend to Strings Attached Guitar and Ukuleles by sponsoring at our Patreon page https://www.patreon.com/stringsattachedproject
To inquire about lesson times available, non profit lesson rates for 2021 and lesson rates for 2022, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Strings Attached Guitars & Ukuleles is an affordable option for families looking for music education opportunities for kids. By using online methods, we reduce costs associated with studio space for live lessons and pass the savings on to parents. We also make it convenient to access lessons from anywhere without traveling to and from a lesson space each week (think winter snow storms and icy roads.) We work with youth during after school hours or with home school families/groups looking to add music education to their lesson activities. Morning, early afternoon and early evening appointments are also available!
Ukuleles are a great way for the very young (5 and up) to get started. The size of the instruments make it easy for kids to manage. They can learn to read music charts, chords and chord frames, strumming patterns, and beginning note reading. They also develop their voices and begin to sing!
Many graduate from ukulele and take up the baritone ukulele as a transition instrument to learning to play guitar. Baritone ukuleles are mid-size instruments and tuned like the first four strings of the guitar. They make an ideal instrument choice for kids who are too young to manage the size of many guitars and very affordable! Too many children stop playing guitar because they use hand-me-down guitars that are too large to hold, with steel strings that hurt their fingers when they practice. Using ukuleles to start music lessons encourages playing, rather than unknowingly discouraging them with the wrong instrument.
For students and parents new to guitar music lessons: There are three types of guitars to choose from – nylon string acoustic guitars, steel string acoustic guitars and electric guitars. Most kids fantasize about being rock stars and want to start right away on electric steel string guitars. This isn’t always a good idea. Electric guitars are generally more expensive and require support purchases as well, like an amplifier, cables. While there are some mini size electric guitars available on the market, most kids don’t choose them and purchase electric guitars that are too big and heavy for them to handle. Then they can become discouraged by the feel of the steel strings on tender fingertips that haven’t developed. Soon electric guitars sit unused and collecting dust in the closet. I find it’s best to have students work up to the electric guitar of their dreams with at least a commitment of a year or two of lessons. This also helps them develop finger strength and appreciation of a practice routine worthy of the electric guitar investment.
For guitars it’s best to consider nylon string guitars for new students and also to take the size of the student in consideration when making a purchase. Guitars can be purchased in half size, 3/4 size, parlor and full size. Don’t give a student a guitar that is too large or too small. Find the right size for their age.
Ukuleles come in four sizes: soprano (the smallest) concert (medium) and tenor (larger.) Size choice isn’t as important here. Many adults play sopranos and concerts. Then there is the baritone ukulele (the largest.) Baritone is tuned like the first four strings of the guitar, great for guitarist/ukulele players and a good transition instrument for kids who want to continue ukulele studies into guitar playing. The quality of ukulele manufacturing varies greatly. While ukuleles are generally affordable, instruments that are too cheap don’t tune properly, sound really bad and can fall apart quickly.
I also recommend Reverb.com https://reverb.com/ as a online resource for buying new and used instruments. You can shop here and price compare with stores around the country. Be sure to always check store and instrument warranties when buying and also shipping costs! Some stores ship for free!
What to Expect Taking Lessons with Strings Attached: Lessons are weekly and scheduled in half hour spaces. Families with three children can be scheduled in 20 minute spaces for a reduced lesson fee. I use Hal Leonard guitar and ukulele method lesson plan books. These books can be purchased through Amazon, Reverb.com, or directly from Hal Leonard Publishing https://www.halleonard.com/digitalbook/guitar Books can be purchased as hard copy or as digital versions. If buying hard copy lesson books, I recommend the “audio access included” versions. These versions come with access to the Hal Leonard digital audio library so students can listen to material assigned and practice playing along with it. The digital versions of the books also have audio access to digital files along with audio files directly above each lesson on the digital page (very handy.) CD versions of the book are a little outdated. Students tend to misplace the CD’s, don’t have CD players that work and won’t use them because it’s too much hassle for them!
: ) I come from prehistoric times when we learned to play from vinyl albums, carefully and skillfully lifting a record needle back to repeat a section of recorded music we wanted to learn. I marvel at all this new technology available for students to use.
Additional lesson materials are provided for free through the learning management platform, Teacherzone. Each student has an account where they can access lesson materials there, audio files to practice with, lesson descriptions, a chat room where they can leave questions for the instructor during the week and act as a portal to connect to Zoom lessons. Additional lesson materials include music charts, virtual ensemble lesson assignments where students learn to play their own part in an ensemble setting and links to curated, worthwhile YouTube videos that help with the lesson material.
Lessons are provided by “Mr. Steve.” Mr. Steve has been teaching full time for the past 25 years. For the past 12 years with Strings Attached project, a non profit program in Ferguson, MO and before that in Los Angeles with a variety of after school programs, non profits and churches. He started teaching guitar while still in high school in the 1970’s and has also taught in music stores like Music and Arts and privately. He has worked as a recording studio musician in Los Angeles and had a 20 year career in the film industry as a film location manager and location scout on over 40 films.
Read more about Mr. Steve in these interview news articles with Reverb Gives and NPR: https://reverb.com/news/strings-attached-project-reverb-gives https://news.stlpublicradio.org/arts/2011-11-29/strings-attached-links-kids-music-and-heritage#stream/0
He grew up around music. His father was a working country/western musician in St. Louis, performing with country artists Skeets Yaney, Roy Queen, Paul Turner and many, many others.
We are now Online Remote, which means if you are in Arizona, Texas, China, Alaska, Finland, Washington state or anywhere else and would like to take a class – it’s POSSIBLE! Register https://app.teacherzone.com/Registration/RegistrationPlan?PlanID=9335 and you’re on your way to starting your musical path.