The Rainbow Ukulele books are written for GCEA tuning, with a high G (4th) string. Continue reading
In Rainbow Ukulele Book 1, the pupil plays open string melodies to start with. Fretted notes are added one by one until the pupil knows an octave of natural notes from C to C. In Book 2, the sharps and flats are added, and the pupil learns to fret higher up the neck (as far as high F note at the 8th fret).
Here is a fingerboard graphic Continue reading
In general, the approach to chords in the Rainbow Ukulele books is very flexible. The main focus is on melodic skills, but at every stage there is scope for chord work alongside this. The music is printed with chord symbols, and there are chord diagrams at the back of the books.
The Rainbow books aim to be as flexible and universal as possible with regard to the right hand, as the right hand seems to be such an individual thing in the ukulele world! In a nutshell:
- all the music in Book 1 can be plucked using just the thumb
- Book 2 deals with finger plucking, and various combinations of thumb and fingers
Generally the books are just as applicable to a plectrum pupil as to a fingerstyle pupil. All the pieces from Book 1, and almost all the pieces in Book 2, can be played just as well with a flat pick as with thumb and fingers.
Some ukulele players also use a soft, thick plectrum – usually made of felt – for strumming. These can be very useful in the early stages, especially for faster down-and-up strumming.
(It’s important to point out that the music for a grade test will be printed in black and white, so pupils will need to have made the transition to reading notes without colours. Check out the Rainbow Ukulele Black and White Tunebook #1 and #2).
The ukulele is still something of a newcomer on the music education scene, but yes, there are grade tests for ukulele! Several of the smaller exam boards have developed their own syllabuses. Here are some more details and links, and some idea of how the Rainbow Ukulele books fit in. Continue reading