2015 Workshops

Ok! Ok! I’m jumping the gun just a little bit.  But, I am so excited by the line-up of new and exciting workshops we have to offer this year that I couldn’t wait to share them with you! And this is just the beginning! Our newest addition to the team, Paul Hemmings, is still hard at work coming up with some brand new material just for us. And a few of our regulars are waiting to see what “holes” we may need to fill. But, as you can see from the list below, we’ve got plenty for you to choose from, whether you’re just getting started, just starting to boost your skills, or getting ready for Carnegie Hall. And this doesn’t even include a number of terrific workshops that our participant-instructors are pulling together just for us or all the other fun activities we have planned. So take a peek and, if you haven’t done so already, register now.

with Del Rey:

Del ReyUkulele Blues Party                

If you’re comfortable with first position chords and are able to keep in time when changing between them, then you are ready for Del Rey’s Ukulele Blues Party. Here, the master of the hokum-blues shindig will introduce you to a number of jug band and blues songs with playing and singing parts for many levels of players.  Plus you’ll have opportunities to work on both strumming and picking. This will be  a great class for beginning players who want to increase their skill level, intermediate players who want to expand their repertoire, and more advanced  players who might want to learn a few new tunes and techniques to share with their group back home. (Level 2 – 4)

Fiddle Tunes for Ukulele 

Well, they’ve both got four strings, so why not? Here Del Rey will help you stretch your finger-picking skills with arpeggiated chord progressions while you work on Walt Koken’s arrangement of “Berkeley Daze.”  If there’s any doubt that what the world needs now are more fiddle tunes, here’s what Walt Koken has to say, “Old time music is for dancing and its songs are for lifting us above our burdens. Our music gives relief from the everyday burdens of modern life, and an insight into a simpler time, with a glimmer of hope for us all.”  Chord sheets with picking patterns will be provided. But, you will need an ukulele with re-entrant tuning (no low G’s) for this one. (Level 3)

Fingerpicking the Blues

Lots of right hand technique in this one as Del Rey gets your fingers picking on some great old rag-time blues, Papa Charlie Jackson’s “Mama Don’t You Think I Know.” And when you’ve mastered that, she’ll bring out a few more tunes from the Memphis Jugband, arranged for fingerstyle ukulele. It’s easy to fall into a rut playing the same old tunes over and over. So, if you’re tired of all that and want something new to add to your repertoire, this could be a good one for you. (Level 3 – 4)

with Kevin Carroll

Kevin CarrollFolk – Blues – Jazz Progression 

Join Kevin Carroll for a journey through American music that will begin at its core in folk and end up in jazz, with a stop at the blues in between. You’ll start by looking at the rhythms, chords , and forms of folk music and learn how, by changing a couple of elements it becomes the blues.  (Otis Redding’s version of “Down in the Valley” comes to mind right away.) From there it’s a simple matter of adding a couple of ingredients and voila! you’ve turned it into jazz. A small dose of music theory, a big dose of music, and a bigger doe of fun.  Not only that, it’s a wonderful route for Level 1-2 players to take to level 2-3 and beyond. (Level 1 – 3)

Our own “Billie Jean”

Move over James Hill, cuz the. . .(Oh dear!…we’ll need to think of a name!) … are moving in!  Kevin Carroll is nothing if he’s not ambitious, and his plan is to “ukestrate” James Hill’s classic rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” in three parts for a big group.  Yes! Our group!   And then…if all goes well…we will make our You-Tube debut and go viral…..(in a good way, we hope!) In order to pull this off, Kevin will be looking for a few strong singers to sing the lead, then the rest is up to the ukulele players, and players of skill levels will have a part to play.  We dazzled ‘em last year with the “Duke of Earl,” so let’s see what the mental health group (yes, they’ll be there again this year) has to say about this! (Everyone)

Shimmy Like Your Sister Kate

According to Kevin Carroll, the Tin Pan Alley classic, “I Wish I Could Shimmy like My Sister Kate,” is an “ukulele fingering miracle.”  Using a variety of chords with similar shapes that move and progress easily by simply adding or subtracting a finger, this tune, which looks complicated, actually yields a sound of great musical movement in the simplest possible manner. Plus, for beginners, it gets us out of the very familiar key of C and into the key of G. There’s a little something in this one for every player out there of the beginning persuasion. (Level 1 -2)

Exploring the “Blue” Notes

There is a method to that madness known as improvisation, and it is generally accomplished with a liberal dose of the “blues scale.”  These 6-note scales provide pleasing sounds that fall “outside” of our native musical language.  But in order to use them, you’ve got to learn them. Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to do and in this workshop Kevin Carroll will help you explore the “blue“ notes in a variety of one, two, and three chord contexts, and you’ll come away with a whole new set of skills to ponder and ways to improvise. (Level 2)

4 Strings = 4 VoicesExploring melody, harmony and rhythm 

Tall and tan and young and lovely…………which one (or more) of Carlos Antonio Jobim’s classic Latin songs will emerge from this carefully orchestrated workshop with Kevin Carroll is yet to be revealed. But, if you’ve witnessed James Hill perform Jobim’s “One Note Samba,” you know the possibilities on your ukulele are endless.  In this unique workshop, Kevin will take you on an exploration that will reveal the four voices inherent in your four strings along with melody, harmony, and rhythm, so that when she passes, each one she passes, goes “Ahhhhhhhhh.” (Levels 1-3)

with Daniel Ward

10492437_10204867207752737_4976524026606799212_nFly Me to the Moon

Or, “Chord Melody Immersion 101,” an exciting and brilliant way to really LEARN a song on the ukulele in three fabulous lessons with Daniel Ward. On Day One you’ll spend time internalizing the melody, learning how it fits on the uke, and making connections with different fingerings and performance techniques. Day Two is all about chord shapes in open and closed positions, and you’ll work with 2 or 3 different options for every chord in the song. And on day three you put it all together and in the process learn how easy it is to make your own solo arrangements of any song as you learn it. And, finally, you’ll work in pairs, and learn how to “comp” for each other by switching off between chords and melody, a brilliant technique for playing in ensembles and adding something meaningful without missing a beat! And the best part is that the skills learned here will translate to every other song you know, and open up a multitude of huge new possibilities. (Level 3 – 4)

Performance Master Class 

You’ve played for others before, but you know you can do better.  You’ve got a great tune you’ve been working on, and now you think you’re ready.  But something is holding you back.  Wait no more. Daniel Ward, with more than 25 years of professional musicianship under his belt, has the solution with a performance master class that will boost your confidence and perfect your skill in a gentle and supportive environment. There are two ways to attend this workshop: as an active participant (Level 3 – 4) or as a curious observer (All Levels.) Those who step up to the challenge will be invited to play a song for the whole group, followed by a 10 – 15 minute “private” lesson with Daniel that all in attendance will gain from. The player will get immediate feedback in a safe place, where everyone is learning and growing. Observers will learn from the critique. Hand positions, tone, stage fright, chord changing, strumming, and more will be covered.  If there’s enough interest we’ll offer this one again and again, and you can take it as often as you like, though no more than four students will be “featured” during each session and no student will be featured more than once.  But there will be something new to learn every time. (Level 3 – 4)

Ukulele Drill Sergeant

This is way more than the standard group of lame warm-ups for ukulele players; it is a comprehensive group of exercises used by professional musicians that will take just 10 to 20 minutes to play through each day, but with benefits that will last a life-time. Based on 25 years of professional experience with a variety of stringed instruments, Daniel Ward has pulled together the best of the best right and left hand workouts and drills that will keep your skills up to par, and when done daily, will improve your technique and abilities more each time you run through them. But rather subjecting you to ukulele torture, these studies are fun, musical ways to ease into freer and more confident playing.  And, you’ll get an easy-to-read handout to take home and use every day.  No excuses! (Level 2 -3)

Flamenco Focus on the Right Hand

Garner “terminator” machine speed and abilities in this workshop with Daniel Ward where you will take a close look at four specific right hand techniques that separate the flamenco guitarists from all the rest. The combination of lightning thumb drills, arpeggios, and fancy secret strumming chops will ignite your skill level and boost your enthusiasm. Plus you’ll learn a series of patterns that can transfer easily to all styles and will give you musical superpowers! (Level 4)

with Dave Egan

Dave EganWasted Away in Margaritaville?

Does your ukulele group sound as though they really wasted away in Margaritaville?  Has your audience lost that loving feeling? Nothing is worse than hearing one of your favorite tunes destroyed by a lackluster or mundane group effort, whether you’re in the group or in the audience. Sure it’s fun to play and sing with your ukulele pals, but it’s even more fun when you sound really great together. So, if things are getting a little too sticky in your jams, this workshop with Dave will prevent your toast from falling jelly-side down. Rather than busting through a repertoire of old favorites, you’ll take some time with some really cool tunes, learn them together while looking for ways to spice them up for dynamic group play. And, perhaps most important, you’ll discuss how to diplomatically suggest changes to the rest of your group if you’re not the group leader. Believe me, the folks back home will thank you and you’ll have a great time in the process. (Level 2 – 4)

Into the Wild

There’s a whole lot of real estate beyond the first three frets, just waiting to be discovered. But it is not the wild and wooly wilderness down there.  In fact, you already know just about everything you need to know to successfully venture into the great beyond and return with your tune intact. The patterns that unlock the whole fret board are simple and few and they are all based on those crazy easy chords you learned in your first few weeks. But in this workshop with Dave Egan, you are not going to stop with teaching your brain to see the patterns, you are going to teach your fingers to play them intuitively with a series of exercises that will make the rest of your ukulele as familiar as your own backyard and build your coordination at the same time. The goal is to get you playing up the neck without having to think about it. (Level 3 – 4)

with Jim D’Ville

Jim D'VillePlaying Ukulele by Ear, Volume 2

Have you ever remembered or heard a song and thought, I wish I could play that on my ukulele?  Here’s an opportunity to learn how to do just that under the dynamic guidance of Jim D’Ville who will show you how to hear the chord progressions in any song so that you can ultimately learn tunes right off your favorite CD. Tune your ears into the sound of the tri-tone, dominant seven, and diatonic chord progressions…and don’t worry if you don’t know what any of that means.  This exciting workshop will open your ears to the way all songs work. You’ll also explore the musical universe via the wonderful galactic star chart known as the Circle of 5ths.  Knowledge of chords C F G7 A7 D7 E7 Am Dm Em is helpful. (Level 2 – 4)

Play Ukulele by Ear Vol. 1 (All Levels)

Get the most out of your ukulele experience by learning to Play Ukulele By Ear. This entertaining and informative workshop will give you the tools you need to tap into your innate musical abilities. Playing by ear is easy, fun, and it will propel your understanding of how music works to a new level. This workshop will make you a better listener and student! All skill levels welcome, however, knowledge of basic chord shapes (C F G7) is helpful.

Strumming Ukulele by Ear (All Levels)

Free yourself from memorizing Down-Up patterns!  Starting with the basic index finger strum, Jim will quickly have your muscle memory absorbing fun strums like The Gallop Triplett, The Chunky Chop and many more strumming techniques that will spice up your playing.

Picking Ukulele by Ear (All Levels)

Learn to pick the melodies to your favorite songs without tab!  This ground-breaking workshop is the first of its kind to use the solfege syllables to organically train your ears to hear and play the patterns where all the melodies live.  Topics will include playing scales, arpeggios, rolls and fills, and of course songs!  This workshop is the first step to being able to play anything that comes into your head!

Jim D’Ville’s Happy Hour Country Jam with Hank & Buck

Hank Williams and Buck Owens were masters of the three-chord song form and responsible for some of the greatest toe-tappin’ country tunes ever:  “Jambalaya,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,”  “My Heart Skips A Beat,” “Together Again,” “Foolin’ Round,” and loads more.  And who better to lead us during our first paper-less jam than Jim D’Ville, the guru of playing by ear. A great way to learn about chord progressions, song structure, and the Nashville number system is by doing.  And “do” you will! (Everyone.)

with Elaine de Man

Elaine de ManF’ing Around

Calling all beginners!  We’re going to move you up to intermediate status by the end of the retreat via the key of F.  Sure, you’re probably well aware of the delightful and easy interchange between F and C7.  (And if you’re not, we’ll get you there in no time.)  But I’m willing to bet money you get stumped at Bb, one of the more challenging chord shapes you’ll encounter.  But by focusing on songs in the key of F, we’ll not only meet and overcome that challenge head-on, we’ll move beyond it adding one element at a time until you are jazzing it up with more chords than you can count on  one….maybe two….two hands!  Plus, I can guarantee you a fun time in the process. (Level 1 -2)

Keep Your Motor Running: Revving up your ukulele engine

Two-chord songs are the backbone of any beginners’ repertoire. Not only are they a great tool to practice common (and frequently necessary) chord changes, they can help form the basis of learning to play by ear. They’re easy to memorize (and should be memorized) so you can escape your reliance on the dreaded “paper” and begin to feel the song. They also offer a pathway to learning how to modulate….that is, changing a song from one key to another. The next time you take your uke to a party, you’ll be ready to play. (Level 1-2)

If all this sounds too good to pass up, you need to act soon.  We have filled all of our contracted rooms at Asilomar, but they still have a few in reserve to offer our participants. However, they could release those to the general public at any time.  We’d love to have you join us! Please visit our on-line registration form for more information. 

~ by UkuleleLady on February 18, 2015.

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