Contest Over, Judging in Process…

Thanks to everyone that sent in their entries for the Play it Forward Ukulele contest! Now for the hard part, picking three winners! I’m curious, who do you all think should win? Give me your advice and one of you that comment to this post will win a uke sticker and a brand new eNote tuner.

32 Responses to “Contest Over, Judging in Process…”

  1. Wow!! I can’t pick three let alone one πŸ˜‰
    It’s hard to decide because there are so many factors to think about such as:
    -how useful was the tip(s)?
    -is the video easy to follow?
    -were you impressed?
    -was it well thought out? ie:did it flow well and was easy to follow?
    -was it well planned out? ie:camera shots and sound?
    -was it original or was it just a repeat explained in a different way?
    -was it creative and entertaining?
    -does the person have teaching ability?

    These are just some of the factors off the top of my head that I would consider when juding.

    Looks like you have a lot of thinking to do, Julie
    SO now I’d like to wish you good luck!

  2. Hahaha I’m obviously biased as to who should win πŸ˜‰ but I was really glad to see all the different videos that were entered! I also ended up learning quite a few new things for the ukulele so congrats on a successful contest Julie!

    I was kinda bummed when I ran out of time. I had one more video to submit lol.

    It was cool to see the tutorials that kinda went together like the multipart tutorials for songs or multiple entries that teach different techniques or strums.

    I think Didgeman said it all as far as criteria to consider. I know that many of the people who entered spent a LOT of time on their videos myself included so good luck on the judging!!

  3. Julie,

    I would think to choose among those videos that show basic playing techniques…I know it is fun to learn songs but it is more fun (and far more useful) to learn the basics first…Multipart tutorials are a nice effort but I think they defeat the purpose since they become boring and hard to follow after a while…I think you should consider how useful was the tip/lesson…If the video clearly explained what was being taught…The sound shall be of good quality…As well as the video…Did the entry also include some help on the side panel?…And probably one of the most important things would be to ask yourself (or someone else) if the video could be a way to teach someone who has minimal or no playing experience…If it does, you might have a winner…If it doesn’t (ie too advanced) , I would say nice try but no…I guess since it is a video competition, creativity should be considered…I would aim at how “creative” was the instructor at delivering the message (lesson)…Just some random thoughts…I enjoyed posting for the contest…I have actually never got to film myself before…I loved it and I had tons of fun…I am happy with the number of entries…Maybe next time you’ll have more…Good luck on tis hard task!

  4. drfrancov said: “And probably one of the most important things would be to ask yourself (or someone else) if the video could be a way to teach someone who has minimal or no playing experience”

    I don’t agree with this one statement. If the videos were only intended for rank beginners, then they would all be instructions on how to play a C chord.

  5. Hey!

    Love the site. I JUST got my Tiki Concert Flea, and have really appreciated the tutorials your contest has generated!

    I can’t pick one, but if pressed Ian’s tips on 4 note and barrre chords helped alot!

    I’ve been a guitar player for years (Poorly) and am just learning Uke. I’m chronicalling my Uke adventure in a weekly podcast “JT Ukes at 40” and in video at

    Thanks again for you spearheading this contest!


  6. drfrancov said: β€œAnd probably one of the most important things would be to ask yourself (or someone else) if the video could be a way to teach someone who has minimal or no playing experience”

    I don’t fully agree with this by I think I understand what they meant. There were almost no videos for a rank beginner but this is not exactly what the contest was all about. I am an intermediate ukulele player, if that πŸ˜‰ I know some chords, I know songs and I play just about everyday for pleasure and enjoyment and love; however, there were really only a few videos that I watched and walked away from having learned something that I could use….and yes, I watched all of the videos.

    drfrancov said: “Multipart tutorials are a nice effort but I think they defeat the purpose since they become boring and hard to follow after a while” I fully agree with this statement as an beginner/intermmediate player but maybe as an expert I would have got more out of them? Let’s hear some feedback from the experts who watched the multipart tutorials πŸ™‚

    The goals that I set for myself with my own videos was to provide something useful, a strum or a song (or a custom ukulele creation), that the viewer could walk away with after one viewing and use in their playing. I also wanted the videos to be entertaining and to have a small performance somewhere in it…I believe this to be very important. I also took the time to set up my shots making sure that the viewer would have the clearest view of what I was saying or doing. Though I like close ups on the strings, I would rather see my teacher’s face when they’re teaching me something and I like to be entertained. I’m being tought by a human, show me some emotion here!!

    Anywho, I bet Julie already has the winners picked out and she’s enjoying watching us wiggle and squirm as we wait in anticipation

  7. Well guys…Thanks for your feedback…Didgeman, I guess next video I will make sure to show my face :). That is a good point!…I agree with you, but one of the things I hate about videos that try to teach something is that you can’t see the right (or left) hand closely so you can’t learn well!…schwartz, the way I understood the concept was that it was aimed at teaching beginners…If you are intermediate to advanced, you probably don’t need to be watching tutorials at this point…You probably are better of working on how to read/write and arrange music…developing more advanced techniques…Didgeman, maybe I got a little too excited with the multipart videos…You are probably right, but yet again if you are an advanced player you probably don’t need to learn by videos since you most likely read music…At the end guys, I had lots of fun…I love playing uke and that’s all it matters…Of course, if I win I will be a happier person…But if I don’t, there is always a contest around the corner!…BTW, don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Fleen-a-le-le ukulele!…No videos needed!

  8. I disagree with the notion that the tutorials should be aimed at the beginner simply based on that fact that it wasn’t a stipulation in the contest rules. Also, there are plenty of beginner ukulele videos available out there that teaches the basic stuff. I could have made a video teaching basic techniques that Roy Sakuma taught in his DVD, but I think that would be pretty boring and unoriginal. I think advanced techniques, if properly taught, can benefit the beginning or intermediate player greatly. Same thing with the multi-part videos. If it’s well done, it should be very helpful. I was able to learn “Something” from Dominator’s 4-part tutorial in about a week, so I would say that’s very helpful. (and I think Dom should win one of the Fleas!)

    As for judging suggestions for Julie, I think you should just pick the videos that were the most helpful and enjoyable to YOU. It’s your contest after all.

  9. I think the point was what ever level you are, teach something and demo it in performance but most improtantly make it yours. Do it in such a way that it is different from other explanations.

    drfrancov, just to clarify, I liked your videos and I wasnt’ tryng to come down on yours or anyone else’s at that πŸ™‚

    I think everyone did a good job and I for one have had tons of fun taking part in contributing, learning and viewing which I think makes this contest a grand success.

    I have to go to work now πŸ™
    Bye all πŸ™‚

  10. Guys…I am sorry if my comments have offended anybody…I don’t see a reason for things to get heated…it just a contest, and it supposed to be fun!…My apologies if any of my remarks have made anyone uncomfortable…The only reflect my personal point of view…Have fun!…And remember that uke can save the world!…Peace.

  11. Wow, I have been so busy since posting that entry yesterday, that I just now got around to reading all the comments. Good stuff here guys!

    drfrancov, I don’t get discouraged by the comments about not showing your face in the videos. That seems to be a popular way to film demos. I see it all the time. That said, I do like to see the player / instructor’s face at least once. But don’t worry, it won’t effect my judging.

    davoomac, What would have been your next video? I’m curious. πŸ™‚

    JT, thanks for the link to your site and podcast. I’m going to go take a look πŸ™‚

    Didgeman and GX9901, thanks for your comments too. And no, I don’t have the winners picked yet. I’ll be watching all the videos again from start to finish over the next two days and will post the winners at some point Friday.

  12. Hey Julie, it sounds like a lot of work to be going through all the videos again. Have fun! πŸ˜€
    You should post a video of you playing the ukulele after all the new skills you’ve gained from the contest!

  13. Good luck in your decision, all of the entries were great and I learned from many of them! Now if only you had 50 ukes…

    As for judging criteria, the original post just says ‘creativity and content’ so it was really open ended. I agree with the other person who said you should just follow what you personally enjoy the most.

  14. Wow theres alot of discussion here πŸ™‚

    I personally like the multipart tutorials because they cover so much information. You can use the tutorial to learn the whole song just like with Dominator’s series. I also love seeing single videos teaching 1 ukulele technique really thoroughly. As far as beginners are concerned I tried to make my tutorials so that they were accessible to all levels. (but I’m not a real ukulele teacher lol)

    Julie, Jake shimabukuro just had his concert here on Guam and I went to his uke clinic and I wanted to make videos using the information that he shared. πŸ˜€

    It was actually going to be a series of videos aimed towards beginners and call it “quicktips”. I was going to include:
    -my approach to music
    -general music tips
    -‘all about the ukulele’ with the history and parts of the uke.
    -proper strumming techniques for beginners
    -advanced strumming techniques
    -picking tips
    -other techniques (hammer, bend, slide, harmonics)
    Next time! πŸ™‚

  15. oh yeah, I was going to say that fred’s elephant town tutorial was fantastic and I’d be suprised if it didn’t win!

  16. davoomac, I hope you go ahead and create that series of videos. I really enjoyed the ones that you entered to the contest and I’m sure I’m not alone.

    As far as Elephant Town goes, it really did inspire me. I get a little misty just thinking about it now…

  17. davoomac, I hope you put that series up too. It sounds really neat and useful!

  18. Julie and everyone here,
    I’ve really enjoyed the series and even more so to see a community of people willing to share & learn from each other. Kudos especially to Julie for fostering this unique community with your generosity.

    I thought everybody had good points to make about the videos. If I may, I would like to add a few more comments about jurying the videos. I am looking at this instance at the videos in terms of clarity of outcome of the lesson, pacing, image and sound quality, + all the points made by others above. I would suggest a list all the necessary criteria that you think a good lesson should comprise, and then create a ranking grid.

    I realise that there are intangible or subjective components too like humour etc. I suggest that the grid act as a guide to make sense of the numerous submissions. It would at least help you make a couple of cuts to determine the finalists. From here I suspect your intuition would play a role as this latter stage is probably the most difficult.

    I’ve juried many art shows before and I suspect the process outlined above may be useful to you too. I am really curious to see the outcome here and I think in the end it is the camaraderie and exchange of ideas that is what makes this endeavour of yours so exciting.

    Thank you for your reviews and blogs. I look forward especially to seeing your Boat paddle ukulele come together. Now if I can only convince my family that a fifth ukulele is needed around here…

  19. I’m going to keep working on it and post it up hopefully within a few weeks. I want to be really thorough this time hehe.

    By the way didgeman what’s your name from? I’m wondering because I have a dijeridoo i bought in australia. πŸ™‚

  20. My preference is for the videos that show techniques or other knowledge, rather than those that show song arrangements. I’ll also admit a preference for those where I can see the face of the performer, at least part of the time.

    To single out a couple of videos, I found Jim D’Ville’s to be very interesting, and on a topic I consider both valuable and easy to overlook. I had no idea he played ukulele, though – the first time I ran across his name was as co-author of the book, “The Five-String Banjo, the Major Scale, and You.”

    I also found Philip Fernandez’s video on the Triplet Rasgueado to be pretty interesting and informative.

    There are other videos I’ve enjoyed, and I’ll admit that I haven’t watched them all yet, but those two stand out for me so far.

    I think the contest has done what was intended. There’s a lot of stuff out there to learn, and I’d like to thank Julie for giving me the impetus to sign up for YouTube and learn enough about iMovie to make my video.

  21. Now, if only I can find out how to get good paragraph breaks in comments πŸ™‚

  22. I’d like to thank wheels for for his nice comment on my Open Strings
    video. I too think learning the sound of the open strings is overlooked when it comes to introducing beginners to the instrument.
    And thanks for Julie for inspiring us all to make these videos. I know I learned a lot,especially from the technique videos.

  23. BTW, I did used to play the banjo, until I found the uke, then I sold my banjo.

  24. wheels: Thanks for the wonderful comment on my Triplet Rasgueado video! I’m glad you found it to be informative. I can easily think of ways to spend well over the ten minute YouTube limit on the triplet rasgueado alone, so I’m glad I was able to communicate it within a short amount of time.

    Julie: I’m sure picking 3 out of 51 is going to be quite difficult. I’ll refrain from giving suggestions on how to judge this since I have an entry in there, but some of the folks here seem to have already provided useful guidelines. Good luck judging!

    – Philip Fernandez

  25. Ah, well, I kept my banjos (I have two), but I don’t pick them up as often anymore. I still find it a bit easier to pick out melodies and figure out chords on the banjo, but it’s getting easier on the uke as I do it more.

    Chronos, I’ve been trying to figure out that stroke for some time. I just found a similar stroke in a video that predates the contest that seems to be a little easier for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to get both working.

    One thing I’ve noticed so far is that even in videos where I know the subject or the technique already, I can usually find something that’s new or brought up with a different emphasis that I can use.

  26. Hi All,

    I just wanted to add my two cents on the judging of the contest, I see there’s a lot of good discussion here already.

    My first thought when I saw there would be three equal winners is that the videos may naturally fall into three categories, and then a winner from each category could be awarded. I haven’t had a chance to look at all the submissions, but from what I’ve seen I might divide it up into:

    1) Mid-level/expert tutorials
    These are tutorials for seasoned ukulele players that want to take their ability to the next level. Dominator’s excellent and advanced breakdown of how to play George Harrison’s Something, or Ed Whitehead’s Seven Steps of Ukulele Improvisation, as well as Ian’s help with chord practice and theory. Something that showcases a level of expertise and knowledge for players who already know their way around the uke.

    2) Creative/Artistic ideas
    These are tutorials or educational videos that show off a bit of flair. Ideally, they teach us something we never considered, or something we’re familiar with, but in a style of presentation that makes it unforgettable. I’m sure there are more out there, but Sebastian’s nails video and Mary-Anns Ukulele advice were prime examples.

    3) Ukulele Inspiration, for everyone
    These are tutorials aimed at people who may have never even seen a ukulele. They should be simple, clear, and make the ukulele accessible to everyone out there. Someone could watch it and say “I could do that!” and want to buy a uke, or pick up the one they have gathering dust. They might catch the bug in the same way I did, the same way we all have, by realizing the power of the ukulele to simply make beautiful music.

    The last category is what I’ve been trying to get at (successful or not) with my videos at ukulala. I would also put Ken Middleton’s description of the music of Leonard Cohen, Jeremy’s video on the Lion Sleeps Tonight, and some of the other simple songs being taught in this category.

    However it ends up being judged, good luck to everyone! There may be just three people getting new ukuleles, but with 50 new lessons out there, the REAL winners will be anyone out there who logs on to youtube and searches for the word “ukulele”!

    haha corny

  27. Ukulele_Junkie on April 4th, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Well the best way to judge a tutorial video is on how simple it was, but still got its point across. Usually for newer ukulele players a lot of musical jargon can confuse them. So if I were to judge I’d choose the video that was simple, showed clarity in what they were teaching, and proper introduction into what they were trying to teach you. Also, add a few graphics to help get your point across. Good luck to all the entrants and good luck julie with your decision I know it’ll be tough.

  28. Ukulele_Junkie on April 4th, 2008 at 2:25 am

    haha i think i was late on that comment.

  29. Captain of Uke on April 4th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Julie, its your contest, choose anyone you want. Despite the competitive spirit some of us may have, the contest was successful in getting more teaching content on the web. Personally, I always learn more by teaching someone else, and this was a good exercise for me in learning what works and what does not in a video lesson. Simple things like lighting, can you see the fingerboard, overlaying a chord diagram, and things like that. The contest topic to “teach” something was right on target.

    As a video novice, I am now motivated to improve the video presentations for my own lessons, and post more. Hopefully it will help everyone learn.

    It may be an odd vote, but I used the tip in the strap button install video. Purchased one at my local shop and had it installed the next day.

  30. As an entrant I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to comment on specific entries, but I will say that I largely agree with suggestions already posted here.

    The entries have been of a very high standard and I really have learnt a lot from many of the entries and had a lot fun making my own. Win or not, it’s been a really great competition, thanks Julie!

  31. I learned Yesterday from Davoomac! I think he should win! he is really clear and it is easy to understand his lesson!

  32. It’s all over now. I just posted the list of winners. It was really hard finally picking 3, so I added a 4th. I wish I could add 50 more! It makes me feel really crummy that I can’t let everyone win a prize.

    I already know what I’m going to do for my next contest… It doesn’t have anything to do with videos, but it does require creativity and artistic talent. Hmmmmmm πŸ™‚ Stay tuned…

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