Friday, July 20, 2007

Kobayashi's Ukulele Method book

Well, I broke my promise to myself and ordered Kobayashi's book without looking at it first. I've got the CD coming out the speakers as I type. So far, so good.

The table of contents is broken up into three sections: exercises for the left hand, exercises for the right hand, and practice songs.

Had I been the editor, I would have broken the last section into two. Pages 58-78 contain a collection of practice pieces of varying lengths (8 bars-over 40 bars) and of graded difficulties noted by numbers of stars. Following the practice pieces are songs from Kobayashi's albums, mostly his own compositions. These do not really seem to be graded, but are simpler versions of what he put on his albums--and sanely so.

Working backwards, the section on the right hand (pages 46-56) is considerably shorter than the section for the left (pages 6-44). The right hand section focuses on using the thumb, arpeggios using multiple fingers, and rhythm patterns. There are 43 rhythm patterns introduced, but unfortunately, these are not included in the accompanying CD. The arpeggio practices are included.

The left hand practices what most would expect, scale training, hammer-ons, pull-off, slides, stuccato, and the like. One part of this section that I am looking forward to working with most is almost in the dead middle--diad positions in keys C and F. These should be pretty useful for adding a little color to arrangements.

Am I happy with the purchase? So far, it looks good and I am looking forward to being able to say that I have worked my way through it. But, I will really need to work through the material in the book before I can responsibly give it thumbs up or down.

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