Ukulele Workshops from Dr. Jazz to George Formby

We’re putting together the workshop schedule for the 2016 West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat, and wanted to share a little bit of our excitement with you, starting with the very fun workshops being offered by our guest from over the sea, Phil Doleman!  And this is just the tip of the ice berg!

If this looks like fun and you haven’t already done so, you should register to attend the retreat soon to make sure we have a spot for you.

OK.  Here’s Phil:


Unlocking the Fretboard

As a precursor to the jazz workshops Phil will be offering, this 3-part workshop will show you how to use four familar chord shapes to build chords all over the fretboard. At the same time, you will gain the understanding necessary to build on those shapes to create the more complex jazz chords you’ll be needing when you’re ready to progress in your playing. So, if you’ve got your basic chords down and can move pretty easily between them, and if you want to unlock the power of what you already know this would be a great next step in your lesson plan. (Level 3)

Dr. Jazz

What can a bunch of Yanks learn from a Brit about jazz, the most significant form of musical expression in American culture?  Well, we’re about to find out! From its obscure origins in New Orleans over a century ago, Jazz is beloved world-wide and continues to evolve and seek new levels of artistic expression (and incorporate some unlikely instruments, such as the ukulele). At the same time, some of the “basics” remain the same, whichever side of the pond you hail from.  So, here’s a chance to study some of the common chord progressions, chord extensions, and chord substitutions common to jazz everywhere from someone who is, most likely, completely foreign to you.  On the other hand the songs you’ll be working with should be totally familiar: “Ain’t Mis-behaving,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “How High the Moon,” and the theme from “The Flintstones!”  Go figure! (Level 3 – 4)

“The real power of Jazz is that a group of people can come together and create improvised art and negotiate their agendas… and that negotiation is the art.”
Wynton Marsalis from ‘Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.’

Solid Strumming

Let’s create a foundation for right hand rhythm techniques that will allow you to build more complex rhythms such as the triple and split strokes that Brisitsh ukulele superstar George Formby was famous for. And who better to teach us these two strums (and more) than Phil Doleman? (FYI:  Both George Harrison and John Lennon were huge George Formby fans growing up!  So, you’re in very good company)

Finger-Picking with Phil

Everyone does it.  Everyone loves to do it! Everyone learns doing it.  But if all you’re doing is strumming your uke, you’re missing out big time! In this workshop your right hand will get the workout it has been longing for as Phil guides you through ‘Travis picking’, banjo rolls, blues turnarounds, swing rhythms, ragtime runs, syncopation, chord/melody playing and campanella technique. Whew! That’s a lot of ground to cover, but you’re probably more ready for it than you think!

That’s it for now, but there’s loads more to come.  And if you don’t take one of Phil’s workshops, there will still be plenty of time to rub shoulders with this British Ukulele Super Star over breakfast, lunch, and dinner, during “office hours” or, possibly, “band practice!” And don’t forget casual strolls along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world………all packed into the West Coast Ukulele Retreat, May 4 – 8, 2016.

Hope you can join us!


~ by UkuleleLady on February 10, 2016.

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