This is a review of Ukulele Aerobics: For All Levels, from Beginner to Advanced by Chad Johnson that I posted on Amazon . . .
Who this book is NOT for: Beginners. The only reason this book got a one-star rating from someone is that it is marketed as an ‘ALL LEVELS’ book, which I consider false advertising (which is why I see it as a four star book). I can say this with some confidence because I’ve taught hundreds of beginning students to play the ukulele and this book would leave most of them in the dust, discouraged and disheartened. Also, this book is NOT for people who prefer to learn the ukulele organically . . . by which I mean ‘one song at a time’ (the book includes drills for skills in seven categories, there are no songs in this book). Despite these drawbacks . . . this is an awesome book.
Who this book IS for: players with a firm grasp of the basics, that have a good number of chords already under their belt, have good practicing skills, aren’t afraid of standard staff notation and are glad to see it side by side with tablature. If this is you, you’re going to get a lot out of this book.
That said, I consider myself an intermediate player with a lot of musical knowledge that translates over from other instruments I’ve learned to play. Even with that kind of background, there’s some pretty tough stuff in this book that you’re going to have to be patient with . . .
The toughest part may be the advanced/tricky chord shapes that are thrown out pretty early in the book (I have a hard time understanding the rhyme/reason for the order in which chords are introduced). But, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy stretching yourself a bit to make your fingers fit these shapes.
I like what one of the other reviewers said about using each week as a daily round of seven drills. I think people will get a lot more out of the book practicing this way as some of the drills are not going to be mastered in a day.
WHAT I LOVE: There’s stuff in this book I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I’ve bought about twenty instructional ukulele books in my quest to be a better teacher. Also, as a singer/songwriter, it is so nice to be able to pick up new techniques, fingerpicking, strumming, chords, riffs to inspire my own writing.
Ukulele Aerobics can be found on Amazon (link above) or on Hal Leonard’s website: http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=102162