TOP 7 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What exactly is MAUI ? I hear about other local ukulele gatherings and get a little confused.
Madison is blessed with a thriving ukulele community. MAUI is the Madison Area Ukulele Initiative, a volunteer-run organization that both supports other ukulele organizations in the region and offers it's own events. MAUI's own events include several Sing-Alongs each month as well as frequent public performances by MAUI members. Other local ukulele organizations include a) Good Day Ukulele - offering ukulele classes and lessons b) Ukulele Newbies - a beginner group coordinated through the Meetup website c) 1st Unitarian Beginners Group d) FUN - Fitchburg Ukulele Network e) HUGS - Happy Ukuleles at Good Shepherd church and f) Front Porch String Band, a ukulele performance group. For more info about these organizations and their respective events, please see the "Classes" and "Calendar" pages of this website.
2. How do I join MAUI ?
Joining MAUI is simple. Just subscribe to our mailing list on the "Join" page and indicate your ukulele interests. That's it! We include an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. So you can leave any time. And we never share your information. Our top priority is helping you find enjoyable, encouraging, and trusting musical community.
3. I signed-up for MAUI but I'm not receiving emails ?
Because our club has been so successful, we have more members than Gmail allows. So we now send email through a service called MailChimp. This occasionally results in emails being mis-categorized. For example, some email programs may route MailChimp emails to a promotional, or spam, folder. When you first submit your subscription request to MAUI, MailChimp will automatically send you a confirmation email. You haven't joined until you confirm. So, if the confirmation email doesn't appear in your inbox, look for it in another folder and then tell your email software to allow future correspondence from this sender. Ah! growing pains.
4. What's required to participate in MAUI Sing-Alongs ?
Just show up! All skill levels are welcome. If you only know one chord, play that chord every time it comes around. Soon enough, you'll learn another. Ukulele culture is very accepting. We sound great and have a lot of fun collectively even though many of us fall off the wagon every now and then. We just get back on and no one even notices. Many beginners think a certain level of proficiency is required before participating. Not true. Just come as you are. Let the group inspire you to play. Proficiency will happen at it's own pace...and you'll be smiling for the entire ride.
5. Can you recommend a good ukulele for beginners ?
Certainly. Here are our suggestions to cut through information paralysis. We don't get any monetary kick-back from these companies. We recommend the Kala model KA-C or KA-CG for roughly $110. The "C" stands for "concert", or alto, size. Buy it online from Mim's Ukulele Ebay Store. She does $40 worth of free quality-control and string adjustments (called "setup"). Without quality-control and "setup", you run the risk of discouragement from a ukulele that is unnecessarily difficult to play. And we don't want you feeling discouraged. If you have thick fingers or are interested in playling melodies (instead of just strumming), consider the next larger size, called "tenor". For you, the Kala model KA-T or KA-TG is a good choice.
6. Is there anything else I need to buy other than a ukulele ?
Here are our suggestions to cut through additional information paralysis. Again, we don't get any monetary kick-back from these companies. We recommend the Snark model ST-8 clip-on tuner for approximately $11. In Wisconsin, we recommend keeping both your ukulele and a humidifier inside your case during the heating season to prevent cracking. The OASIS model OH-6 is best and cost approximately $20. Make sure to read the instructions for this humidifier. Rigid cases retain humidity much better than soft cases. They also offer significantly more protection from damage. Consequently, we recommend buying a rigid case. Lastly, a strap that holds up the ukulele's head allows your chording-hand to be significantly more relaxed. We recommend the HUG strap for approximately $35, which doesn't require modification of your uke. Homemade straps of cord, yarn, or ribbon that attach like the HUG strap are also good and far less expensive.
7. What's the best way to manage the MAUI songbook ? It has so many songs !
If you're new to MAUI, we suggest attending without the song book and sitting next to someone who has a copy. Each month, 4 to 6 new songs are added based on member's requests. That will continue. Consequently, many members have migrated to electronic tablets, like iPads. We recommend you do the same. Used tablets are rather inexpensive these days and offer significant advantages over a printed book. The song book will continue to evolve in favor of convenient tablet viewing. Similarly, many people are replacing their music stands with floor-mounted tablet stands.