Daniel Ward

headtoshinsOh, how happy we are that Heidi Swedberg introduced us to this guy! He has become one of our most popular instructors at the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival and West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, dazzling us with his blazing technique on a variety of instruments and delighting his students with his knowledge, ready smile, and generosity. And can he ever cook!  (Just ask anyone who joined us in Ajijic, Mexico last January for our Uke-Culinary Fiesta!)

A professional musician for more than a quarter of a century, in the last few years, Daniel Ward has become a beloved ambassador of the ukulele–from Shanghai to Haiti to Mexico (and many ports in between), bringing with him the skill and experience he gained as a flamenco guitarist, touring with Ottmar Liebert and playing for internationally known flamenco dancers around the world. And, his astonishing versatility as a musician has kept him busy composing, performing, and recording everything from jazz to heavy-metal-vaudeville. (Imagine: Spinal Tap meets Frank Zappa).

For the past five years, Daniel has worked closely with Heidi in creating the Sukey Jump Band, spreading ‘ukulele joy from coast-to-coast, teaching–but mostly encouraging–musical participation across America, including performances at the Austin City Limits festival, KindieFest in Brooklyn, Jiggle Jam in Kansas City, the Waterfront Festival in Chicago. Daniel and Heidi’s  latest adventure, The Smoking Jackets, is a fun, lively, and much welcomed addition to the circuit. Daniel Ward is a keeper, for sure!

True to form (and just one of the reasons we just love this man), Daniel Ward has created four brand new workshops for us based on what we know you’re looking for.  And he’s there for players of all skill levels, so you can all have an opportunity to gain from his vast musical knowledge and experience.



In this workshop Daniel will share a number of easy-to-learn, fun-to-play, short songs and warm-ups that you can “loop” over and over. It’s a great way to build even rhythm, tone, and chord changing chops while you float in a warm tub of beautiful, repeating patterns that make you a better player as you soak them in. You’ll come away with productive tools to practice with whenever you pick up your uke and become a much more expressive player in the process. If you’re a beginner, these are great tools to start out with.  If you’re more advanced, it’s a great way to break out of whatever rut you may have fallen in to.  (Level 2-4)



Saddle up and get ready to turn simple strumming into the very thing that drives the song–the rhythm.

Whatever style of music you play, the rhythm is the magic spell that keeps the music afloat. A strong but simple strum done with the right bounce will make any song vibrant and alive. In this workshop we will explore a few different styles of strumming and find the common things that make them really work. This workshop is all about taking what you do already, and turning it into what you do BEST. Geared towards folks at level 2 and above, the information offered here will also be invaluable to beginners anxious to get off on the right foot. (Level 2-4)



Pulling a beautiful sound out of an instrument is not magic and in this workshop Daniel will teach you how to make YOURS sing with a step-by-step approach to understanding how the fingers of your right hand can touch and speak to your strings. Whether you are strumming or picking melodies and arpeggios, this workshop will open up your sound and add new textures to your playing that will delight you…and everyone within earshot……It’s all at the tips of your fingers. (Level 3-4)



There’s a lot more to practicing than just playing the same thing over and over. But what happens when we sit down and really practice? Why can some folks learn and pick things up in 15 min, when it takes hours or even days for the rest of us? In this workshop, Daniel will take you to his secret cave of concentration, and show you the deep zone that brings understanding and enjoyment to every minute of your work. In this class, we will learn a short, brand new song designed to reveal the tricks and methods that make music happen right away. We will learn some surprisingly easy ways to get the most out of your time..…and love it. And you will come away from this workshop with an approach that will stay with you as long as you play. (Level 3-4)

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