A late-comer to last year’s Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival, Janet Lenore garnered such an enthusiastic response with her workshops that we were compelled to bring her back this year. But, she’s had such a busy summer—teaching ‘ukulele at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, managing the stage and performing at the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts street fair, and leading the Alameda Ukulele Klub jams—that we were lucky to get her.
When Janet inherited her grandmother’s beloved ‘ukulele about ten years ago, she grew a big musical passion for the smallest instrument in her arsenal, already comprised of a guitar, a mandolin and a banjo. Since then, Janet has shared the stage with James Hill, Paul Hemmings, and “Viv Savage” from “This is Spinal Tap,” and has lead popular workshops at Burning Uke, the San Francisco Free Folk Festival, and Ukes On the Loose, in addition to the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival. As a jam leader, Janet has corralled as many as 90 ukulele players to play and sing together at the Kate Wolf Music Festival, the Berkeley Ukulele Club, and Bronco Billy’s Fremont Ukulele Jam! Working with recording engineer Dave Egan, Janet recently completed a ukulele-centric recording, “Pie & Four Other Tasty Treats,” that features Patti Maxine on lap steel and ukuleles built by luthier Ken Franklin of Ukiah. Janet currently makes her home near Alameda, California, where she’ll be starting a new series of ‘ukulele classes in late September.
In the meantime, we’ve got her for the festival and this is what she’ll be teaching:
IS YOUR RIGHT HAND READY FOR THE NEXT BIG THING?
If you are already pretty good at changing a handful of chords with your left hand, it’s time to have a little more than the standard “down-up down-up” going on with your right hand. And this is just the place to do it, under the expert guidance of Janet Lenore. You’ll start by clapping the new rhythms with your hands and then applying those rhythms to your ‘ukulele. Taking it nice and slow, you’ll focus on getting that rhythm right then play some familiar four-chords so you can stay focused on your right hand as you apply the new techniques. By the end of this workshop you’ll be strumming with ease through tunes with either a calypso beat or a measured waltz. And you’ll have a little something to use with the blues, as well. (Level 1 – 2)
BEGINNER’S FOCUS ON THE LEFT HAND
Its all about the economy…..of motion, that is. If you’re a beginning player and are still having a little difficulty moving from one chord to another, you may be making a few simple mistakes in the way you are holding your chords with your left hand. And while there are loads of instructional videos geared towards beginners on You Tube, they can’t see what you are doing wrong and make suggestions about how to place your hand on your instrument for a better “attack” and more comfort in playing. This workshop, with Janet Lenore, is all about fixing the common mistakes beginners make (and the one’s specific to you) and making your chord transitions work more smoothly and seamlessly at the same. It’s the quickest way for beginners to get better at playing their ‘ukuleles there is. (Level 1)