The Mega List of On-Screen Ukulele Play Along Videos

I have been working with a new program, LumaFusion (wonderful!), a $20 video editor that is letting me do nearly everything I need to do to make a ukulele play along video on my iPad, without accessing my MacBook.  I blogged about this on techinmusiced.com earlier today.

My goals are to keep working on the songs that are in the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society Beginner Handbook, as well as to start putting more holiday music into ukulele play along files.

Last week, I went through all of the songs that have been converted to Ukulele Play Along files by various educators, specifically Dr. Jill Reese, Dr. A, Kevin Way, Kris Gilbert and myself.

We can talk about the benefits and drawbacks to this methodology at another time…but as for now, here are over 170 songs that are out there on YouTube ready for your use in educational settings.  They can be used privately, in classrooms, or in ukulele jam sessions.

YouTube has strong Copyright algorhythms, therefore, when a song is under copyright, monetization goes to the rights holder.  Furthermore, I do not believe that any of the educators listed above receive any ad revenue from their contributions to music education.  Most of these songs already have existing “lyric” videos; the addition of chords and “follow the bouncing ball” icons is an additional labor of love (as well as trying to put things into keys that are better for ukulele players).

If you have suggestions for the collection, please let me know.  If you know of others songs by other educators that should be added, let me know.  Additionally, I am not counting play along files that are not based on original performances (e.g. Ukulele Underground).  One of the goals is for students to play with the original instrumentation and sounds.

The list posted here will be static; I will attempt to occasionally update the list of songs on the “Play Along” page of this blog.  The text is VERY small.  It is a PDF, so magnify it to see more detail…and ALL of the songs have an active hyperlink to the appropriate video.

Ukulele Play Along List

 

30 Ukulele Play Along Videos in 30 Days

As with most music educators, the end of the school year, following the last concert, is an easier time of the year.  Not with classroom management, perhaps, but that was particularly true for me this year.  Instead of trying to find worthwhile activities for the last days, we went back to ukuleles and played through various songs.   This worked tremendously well.

Brian Ellison, a middle school Band and general music teacher, recently posted this tweet about using ukuleles…

Ultimately, this is what it is all about.  I have up to 60 students at a time on ukulele…but the involvement is the same.  And the bonus is that KIDS SING ALONG.  Watch the video again if you need to…you will see it.  Robin Giebelhausen (https://soundeducators.org) talks about the power of fooling middle school students into singing.

Some people are even using these songs with adult ukulele jam sessions!

If you are going to use these…I suggest planning ahead, downloading the videos you want (www.keepvid.com, but don’t get fooled by the misleading download options) rather than relying on Wi-Fi in a presentation!

About copyright…YouTube notifies us that songs are under copyright, they cannot be monetized (not the goal anyway), and any advertisements you see generate income for the copyright holder.  Only one song that I created (Faith! From “Sing”) was banned…and another educator created a version which is being allowed.  Who knows.

I have made a few of these videos in the past…and have been trying different approaches in doing so.

Early on, I was trying to make scrolling “sheet music” with accompaniments made with iReal Pro and Notion.  Later, I was using lyric videos from YouTube (see Dr. Reese’s “How To” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2n1Lb9TL9Q).

After our concert, I started making a few new songs and then just kept going.  I made videos of songs that my choirs had sung.  I made videos of songs that came to my attention that were fun (and sometimes challenging).  Eventually, I stopped using lyric videos and made my own Keynotes of lyrics and chords.

I have been working with John Baxter from ukefarm.com to develop some ukulele chord resources for music education.  Coming soon: Chordette for Education which is a program that allows you to use ukulele fonts in documents, keynotes, etc.  You can even do this on an iPad!  One of the fonts features colored strings to match the Aquila KIDS strings.

One of the challenges with ukulele is that many songs were written for ease of playing on a guitar.  E is a great key for Guitar.  It is a crummy key for ukulele.  Therefore, a lot of songs need to be “tweaked” up or down a half step or a whole step to be more accessible on ukulele (more than that, and the original audio really starts to suffer).  Sometimes the original key was OKAY, but a transposed key was more accessible.  In those cases, I started making two versions of a play along.

Pretty soon, I had a bunch of songs going with my format, and if the song was easy, I could make a video in an hour.  I had a new goal…make 30 unique videos (not counting multiple keys) in the month of June…one a day.

The songs have different purposes.  Some are standard ukulele jam songs.  One of the benefits of this approach to teaching ukulele is that you can teach kids with THEIR music.  However, they should also learn some of the standard songs used in ukulele jams so they can play along with players in other places (and in other age groups).  And as I said, some are songs that I like.

I wrapped that project up this evening with my 30th unique song of the month (June 22nd…ahead of schedule).   There are some special things in the last 30 days, such as a GREAT song by the Jive Aces called “Bring Me Sunshine,” jeremy messersmith’s “Everybody Gets a Kitten,” “Another Day of Sun,” me singing on a version of “The More We Get Together,” and tonight a very special video using the Bacon Brother’s recent video of a ukulele song they sang on their tour bus (had to figure out all the chords for the song…and included the original video).  The only dud, in my opinion, is Heart and Soul, but even that is okay…and it is interesting to hear the whole song…not just what kids play on the school piano all the time.  As always, if something isn’t of interest to you, don’t spend much time with it.

So, Ukestuff Play Along Songs (some have been around longer than this month).  The titles are clickable links to each of the songs I have created.  In the future, this PDF will be in the “Videos” page and regularly updated.  This version will remain static to 6/22/2017.

I also started another side project, which was to make an index of ALL the ukulele play along songs in this style…168 of them so far.  I am going to share that index as soon as I share it with the creators first.

What other songs are needed?  Religious and non-religious holiday music play alongs.  And then any other songs that you might want created.  Have a suggestion?  E-mail me.  If there is a YouTube video with the music, please reference that video–and of course, chord charts are useful, too.

I am not setting a goal of another 30 songs in July…but I will make some new videos…and there are some other projects that I want to get to.

Some might ask: aren’t you worn out from the year?  The answer is YES, and I will blog about that later.  That said, doing things like this renew my spirit and cause me to think deeper musically than I generally get a chance to do all year.  I have also had a chance to spend time with my kids, play ukulele at a Veteran’s Home, and participate in some local ukulele jam sessions.

This video will be cross-posted on ukestuff.info

 

 

Video Play Alongs

I have been creating a number of video play alongs for ukulele that are all listed on the page for video play alongs.  I want to give credit to Dr. Jill Reese (State University of New York at Fredonia) who created the genre of YouTube ukulele play alongs based on “real” recordings, Dr. Louise Anderson (Salisbury University, Maryland), and Kevin Way (Fredonia Middle School) who also have a growing number of resources out there.

The idea is to make play alongs based on “real” recordings embedded with lyrics and “follow the bouncing ball” for ukulele chords.   I have been experimenting with a number of techniques and am settling on some best practices.  I will blog about these later–and Dr. Reese has made a YouTube video about her process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2n1Lb9TL9Q

These videos can be used in an educational setting, or used with community play alongs. As Dr. Robin Giebelhausen stated in a ukulele session at ILMEA, “Often times you are tricking them into singing along.”

I have been combining all the videos into a Keynote Presentation that now holds over 100 songs (and is more than 1GB in size!).  I do occasionally cut out some of the introductory material to get right into the songs.

Ever need to save a video to a presentation (so as not to be at the mercy of internet?) Try keepvid.com, but make sure to click on the right choices (otherwise you will experience pop-up ads).

I am interested in making play-alongs for songs that sound GREAT with ukulele, and to also make sure that we are introducing songs that students may not know (or like) but are commonly played at ukulele jams.  We should have some common repertoire that interacts with each other.  Examples?  My new videos of Waltzing Matilda or This Land is Your Land, Dr. A’s or Kevin Way’s (they are different) Three Little Birds, or Dr. A’s “You Are My Sunshine.”

Have some suggestions for me to turn into a video?  Please send me an e-mail!

Video Play-Alongs

With eight chords in our arsenal, my students are ready to tackle some real music.  (Incidentally, in order: C, F, G, G7, C7, D7 [Hawaiian], Am, Dm).

I had forgotten about some of the wonderful resources on YouTube, such as the play-along videos of Dr. Jill Reese and Dr. A.  So I used some of these videos the last two days of class, and my students were jamming along with:

Participation massively shot up (some kids who have chosen not to use their ukuleles quickly got up to get theirs).

For the record, I download the videos from YouTube with Workflow (iOS App) or KeepVid, and if there is instructional material, I delete it so the clip starts with the playing.

I am going to add the following YouTube Clips in the days to come:

So tonight, I made my first play-along, specifically for my own needs, but I want to share it.  I have some songs that we use for certain chords.  One of those chords is the Hawaiian D7, which uses two fingers instead of a barre chord.  I use “Red River Valley,” so I made an accompaniment with iReal Pro (I bought the computer version), then imported that into GarageBand, recorded a ukulele track (you can hardly hear it), as well as the vocal line (pinao–I am not singing it).  Then I imported that file into Notion, where I had already created a score…and did some editing to make the score one continuous score without a repeat.  I exported the scrolling (kind of) video with QuickTime Player, and then used iMovie to re-stich the audio to the video.

The end result is a scrolling video with accompaniment that is a better marriage between my own desire for music literacy and ukulele playing.

We’ll see how this goes…there are a LOT of ukulele play-alongs out there, but play-alongs that feature more than “just” ukulele are helpful.  There is great power in everyone being able to look at the screen and follow along.

And if you want to use this video in your own instruction, please do so!