Saturday Workshops 2015

Session 1

LEARN TO PLAY IN A DAY! with Heidi Swedberg. Never even picked up an ukulele before?  Found Grandpa’s old ukulele while cleaning out the basement? Haven’t played since you were in grade school? Then this one’s for you!  Let Heidi Swedberg be your guide as you embark on a journey that could very well change your life!  (Or not!  But at least you will have great fun and lots of laughs in the process.) Heidi has taught hundreds of beginners the basics and is always looking for more!  (Level 0 – 1)

HAWAIIAN STRUMMING PATTERNS with Liko Puha. What gives Hawaiian music that distinct Hawaiian sound?  It’s usually in the strum. And if you’re just starting out,  there’s no better way to get your right hand in gear than to get it wrapped around a few simple strums from the islands…..and Liko Puha is just the fellow to show you how. (Level 2)

SYNCOPATED PATTERNS with Dani Joy. Once you’ve got a few of the basics under your belt, it’s time to try some simple right-hand patterns that will give your music the twist and flavor that you (and your audience) have been craving! All you need is a handful of easy-to-learn techniques–rolls, taps, outside pulls, and chucks, that you can apply to music of just about any genre, and you will wow yourself in no-time. Well…..not exactly “no” time—because in order to master any of these techniques and pull them into play without having to think about it, you’ll have to practice them at home. But you will come away from this workshop with all the tools you’ll need to kick that muscle memory into gear and launch your playing to a new dimension. (Level 2 – 3)

BEAT IT! with John Bartlit. Four-on-the-floor, Bo-Diddley, Backbeat, Shuffle…You may never tune your strings again once you learn to play these rhythms on your ukulele.  In this intermediate level workshop, John Bartlit distills his 30-years’ experience as a sought-after drummer into essential rhythm parts you can play using only your body and your ukulele. (No fancy gizmos required.) Here is a chance to explore a new way to enjoy your instrument and become the backbone of your ukulele ensemble by taking over the drum throne! (Level 3)

TONE TO THE BONE! with Daniel Ward. 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)

Session 2

SILLY LOVE SONGS with the Smoking Jackets. This is the song du jour. Easy-to-play. Easy-to-sing. Easy to listen to. And sure to get everyone involved. It was the basis of the most successful ukulele Flash Mob, yet, at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, and one you’ll want to take home to anyone who’ll join you in the fun. Under the expert guidance of Heidi Swedberg, John Bartlit, and Daniel Ward, we’ll have the song done, in three parts, by the end of the session…and if it we choose, a flash mob to rock the Flea By Night Band Saturday night. (All Levels)

UKULELE JUMP START FOR BEGINNERS with Nicole Keim. No experience? No problem.  Nicole Keim promises to help folks get the basics in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. There will be lots of time for questions – and lots of instructor attention. By the end of the class, students will be playing common chord progressions and strumming with confidence using several different styles of music.  This is a safe place to get started, no matter what your age or experience. (Level 1)

BLUES UKULELE with Fred Sokolow. The best way to lose the blues is to play the blues. And since the blues is at the heart of all forms of American music (jazz, rock, country, you name it) you really do need to learn to play the blues on your uke. In addition to strumming some classic blues tunes in this workshop, you’ll learn some single-note soloing/jamming techniques that will help you ad lib blues solos regardless of the key you’re playing in. You’ll also learn how to play blues chord changes in any key, using movable chord shapes. (Level 2 – 3)

CHUCK ‘TIL YOU DROP: Lessons in Left and Right Hand Chucking with UkuLenny. Here’s a great way to add a little pop to your playing: Chuck it, baby, with both hands! In this workshop, UkuLenny will cover a number of different chucking techniques and show you how to apply them a variety of genres: rock, funk, pop, and reggae. The songs you’ll be working on include, “Wipeout,” “Superstitious,” “Hotel California,” and “Three Little Birds.” But the skills and techniques you learn will carry over to just about every song in your repertoire. This workshop is designed for participants who are already comfortable with basic chords and strum patterns, and who have some familiarity with barre chords…..that would be a solid Level 2 or Level 3.

MYSTERY CHORDS UNRAVELED with Dave Egan. At last!  The mystery surrounding all those minor-seven-flat-five and sharp eleven chords will be solved! No, this is not a complicated workshop in music theory–just a down-to-earth description of the function of each chord family.  We’ll go over some “rules” for how to simplify mind boggling arrangements and learn how to jazz up arrangements that have no flavor, at the same time. And that is just the beginning! You’ll come away with a whole new understanding of chords, how they’re named and what their function is, and plenty of ideas for making them work for you.  (Level 3 – 4)

Session 3

FUN STRUMS 101 with John Bartlit. Once you know a chord or two you can play hundreds of songs, but they will all sound the same until you learn to have fun with strums.  Easy rhythmic variations will give your playing style!  Don’t let the up-and-downs bring you down: Island Style, Latin Slap and Do-Whack-A-Do are all ready, able, and available for you! (Level 1 – 2)

CHORD MELODY 101 with UkuLenny. Take the next step in your ‘ukulele journey with UkuLenny and this easy-to-follow introductory workshop where you will learn how to read TAB, pick with your thumb and fingers, and hear and apply different chord voicings…..all with the ultimate goal of learning to play chord melodies.  You will also come away with a number of other tools and techniques necessary to navigate and create your own chord melody arrangements. Participants will focus on a variety of songs including “Happy Birthday,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “Something.” Beginners are welcome as the material will span across several levels and everyone will come away with something they can use in their pursuit of ukulele excellence.  (Level 2 – 3)

HOLDING DOWN THE GROOVE with Daniel Ward. 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)

PICK IT LIKE MAYBELLE!  with Aaron Keim. Maybelle Carter of The Carter Family was one of America’s first country music superstars and an early pioneer of the guitar. It was her style of picking melodies and chords on the guitar that became the foundation for American folk and country styles.  And it also sounds great on the uke…..and will sound great on your uke, after taking this workshop with Aaron Keim (and, of course, practicing what you’ve learned.) (Level 3 – 4)

Session 4

AULD LANG SYNE  — Bengali-style with Laurie Kallevig. By now you are probably familiar with the wonderful work Laurie Kallevig is doing with the Survivor Girl ‘Ukulele Band in Calcutta, a band comprised of young girls who have been rescued from human trafficking. Well, here is an opportunity to learn a Bengali version of “Auld Lang Syne,” as sung by the Survivor Girl Ukulele Band, with Laurie, Heidi, and John Bartlit.  Our goal is to learn the song during the course of the workshop, and video tape the outcome at the close of the day and send the video back to India with Laurie, so these brave young women can see they’re not alone. (All Levels)

CRAZY with Dani Joy. What does “Crazy” have in common with “Do-Re-Mi?”  Like every single song in Western music, they are both built off a center tone and a diatonic scale. “Yikes!” you’re thinking.  “This smacks of music theory!” Indeed it does, but Dani Joy has a developed a way to make this necessary bit of musical understanding both fun and enlightening. Take “Crazy,” for example, written by Willie Nelson and made famous by Patsy Cline.  All it is is a center tone + scale + chords + melody. Go ahead, challenge Dani with any familiar song in one of five  popular keys (C, G, A, D, F) and she’ll find the melody without any effort at all.  And by the end of this workshop, you will, too.  It’s a valuable tool to have in your arsenal.  And who knows?  No matter what your ‘ukulele skill level, you just might find yourself writing your own songs.  Now that’s just crazy.  (All Levels)

CHORDS UP THE NECK with Aaron Keim. You have all those frets, but you seem to be trapped on the first 3!  Relax, you don’t have to be a crazy virtuoso to learn a few new chord shapes higher up the neck.  These new positions will not only make your songs more interesting, they will keep you challenged for a lifetime……and that’s a good thing. You will also take some of this knowledge and learn how to harmonize some simple melodies while learning just the tiniest bit of music theory. But don’t worry, it wont be scary at all! (Level 2 – 3)

BANJO STYLES for the UKULELE  with Fred Sokolow. If your uke is armed with “high” G string,  you can play both old time and bluegrass banjo styles with it. And who better to teach you than Fred Sokolow who wrote a book on this very topic. In this workshop you’ll learn some basic picking and strumming patterns you can use on any tune (clawhammer and Skruggs-style) and some of the tunes from Fred’s book: such as Wabash Cannonball, Bile Them Cabbage Down, Friend of the Devil, and Paint it Black!  Who knew? (Level 2 -3)

SWING THAT UKE with Dave Egan. In order to really swing with your ‘ukulele you need to learn that irresistible, gotta get up and dance rhythm and how to strum it with a beat. And that’s where we’ll start.  Then we’ll take a look at the best movable chord shapes to get that jazzy swing sound. And finally we’ll tie it all together with a couple of classic standards and put our new-found swing into action. To get the most out of this one you need to be able to play a couple of barre chords (or be willing to learn how) and be able to make smooth chord changes….and you’ll be swinging in no time. (Level 3 – 4)

  • Share/Bookmark

Comments are closed.