The flood and the drought!

Over 20 people registered for the February Mini Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp, and 8 people were on the waiting list. Making sure no absolute beginner missed out was our priority. We asked people who felt that they’d mastered C, F & G7 to relinquish their places to absolute beginners on the waiting list.

The result? Fortunately, there were several generous ‘beginners’ gave up their places to ‘absolute beginners’. Sadly, one person decided not to learn ukulele, a couple sent unavoidable last-minute apologies, and several were unexplained no-shows. Unfortunately, that’s common with free events.

A grand total of eight people (including two very brave and well-organised baritone beginners) attended the February Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp. The unprecedent last-minute dropout rate at first seemed a little alarming … but upon reflection it was good news.

Many early Bootcamp registerers jumped in very early. Knowing they had hit their straps, jamming before February, was very heartening. Thanks to the wonderful January and February beginners’ sessions run by Donna, Linda and Erin those new to ukulele in 2020 were off to a flying start.

Bootcamp’s a Bargain

But our February Mini Bootcamp group was amazing. They whizzed through four hours work in two, and had a great time doing it.

As with most Bootcamps, we surveyed participants after the session to find out what they thought.

Kim summed up the feedback we received from most participants.

“I absolutely loved the session. The leaders were warm, welcoming and well-prepared.  The lesson flowed and allowed time to practise skills as well as play songs. It was a wonderfully uplifting and joy- filled experience, and I’ve been raving about it ever since.”

Gary pointed out the advantage of learning in a smaller group.

“We were a small group of “newbies”, therefore, it wasn’t as intimidating as a room full of people would have been. We were all made welcome and were relaxed. Although we were a small group, we had three people helping us, which meant that we all received assistance when it was needed. We were also encouraged along the way. I was amazed that after such a short period of teaching, we were all actually playing and singing songs together! I was elated that I could do this and wanted more.”

Bootcamp Take-Away

February’s Bootcampers shared some things they valued from the session.

  • It’s about having fun, and not to worry.
  • Learnt so many new chords and played songs in such a short time.
  • The ‘teacher-student’ ratio.
  • The benefits of using a neck strap.
  • Learnt the basics of how to read music.
  • Social learning was more fun than anticipated.
  • Made friends with people with similar interests to practice with and attend jams.
  • Learnt how to strum.
  • Using the Z chord.
  • Practice is the key.

What Beginners Want!

We asked what Bootcampers felt they needed moving forward. Bootcampers want. Like many Bootcampers, they found that once home alone, it wasn’t quite the same. So they said they want:

  • A beginners’ jam!
  • Chord diagrams placed on songsheets, so they don’t scroll off the page by the time you need them.
  • Tips on how to remember chord changes and progressions.
  • Learn to fingerpick.
  • Followup Beginners’ Bootcamp sessions.
  • More options for baritone players.
Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp

February 2020 Mini Absolute Beginners group at Bulimba BCC Library.