ukestuff

Ukulele "Stuff": Education, Technology, Play Alongs, Reviews, Accessories, and More!

Working with Ukulele Manufacturers

While I am a music educator, my dream job is a position that doesn’t exist–becoming a director of education for a ukulele company, helping them produce (or organize) resources, helping them create ukuleles that are a better fit in school environments, helping schools roll out ukulele initiatives, and then speaking and presenting sessions and representing the brand at conventions. I really do believe that the ukuleles students use (and see) at school will be the first ukuleles they buy on their own–and you can start a lifetime of brand loyalty this way.

The sad part is that there aren’t many ukulele companies that can support such a position–even if it resulted in a big increase in sales over time.

As my ukulele play along channel approaches 30,000 subscribers, I am starting to receive e-mails from some companies about some kind of collaboration, but when I mention that reviews and other content will go on the UkeStuff site, they are no longer interested. UkeStuff is just starting out and is approaching 200 subscribers. I am a little shocked that it hasn’t picked up more steam, but it is what it is.

Barry Maz, from gotaukulele.com, just posted a video about the ethics of reviewing instruments. Instrument reviews is a part of what I do and what I want to do, and I’m quite happy with my new UkeGuide. Barry is quite bothered by YouTube “influencers” that are sponsored or paid by a brand to review or use instruments. I’m not bothered by that aspect as long as they disclose that they are paid to review an instrument or if they were sent an instrument free, because then you can watch that review with discernment.

Although I haven’t reviewed any iPad apps for some time, early in my review process I learned that honesty is okay, but you also have to temper honesty with gentleness. I’m happy to accept a ukulele (or two–one to give away) to review, as long as I can be honest about my thoughts and as long as I can disclose that I was given a ukulele. And as things stand…reviews and other content will appear on youtube.com/ukestuff.

Another ukulele company gave me some valuable feedback (they are currently supporting an “influencer” as Barry calls them) about my videos, suggesting I stop making the play alongs and instead make tutorials. In fact, they called the play along videos “boring.” It’s not their fault–they are a manufacturer, and they don’t understand the desire to play along with a song that you love–the actual song itself–or the challenges of teaching a classroom of students (or a ukulele club) where kids want to play THEIR music, and you might have reluctant singers. So I disagreed with that advice (i.e. stop making play along videos)–but I did take their other advice to heart, which was to open comments (I still hold them for review) on my videos, to build a community, and to make more original content. So I’ve been working on that. Those videos are just on the other youtube channel.

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