Monthly Archives: July 2014

Final Uke Course

The final session of the ukulele course has happened. Yet again, they astounded me at how quickly they progressed. This week we looked at moving the basic strumming pattern using just the thumb onto using the index and middle finger. By extending them slightly from a loose fist, you can strike the stings with the nail on the way down and the fleshy part of the finger in the way up. This suddenly opens up new possibilities and strumming patterns.

They got this fairly quickly, and we moved on to learning new chords, this time the A family where A, A7 and Am are all very similar and just one finger different from each other. We also had a go at learning to read tab and picking out some tunes. With only such a short amount of time, it was important I showed them enough to progress by themselves. They could do everything by the end, but it was just a case of being able to coordinate it all together, and that’s where practice comes in!

It was fantastic to see how happy they were as they left. An interesting comment was made by one person who has said she had been trying to teach herself for months and got nowhere. And then, after just two hour and a half sessions, she was now able to play chords, strum the Uke and sing all at once.

They were a great group and it was a real pleasure to teach them. So much fun!


Our House

Well, it’s been an amazing week which saw three performances of the school show ‘Our House’, the Madness musical. The kids were fantastic and it was such a pleasure to be the musical director for the production. We had great fun in the band, you can’t he;p but enjoy playing all these songs.

The three nights had packed audiences and the students out did themselves each night. Audience members were giving rave reviews and several people told me they booked extra tickets for following nights so that they could see it again.

It was a great experience for all, and one which will stay in the memories of all those who took part for life. 

New Course Begins!

The latest Raunds Ukulele course began today. It was great to see 15 eager people arrive with their ukulele in hand ready to play. They were fast learners, within half an hour we had four chords learnt and two songs done. By the end of the hour and a half session, we had five chords nailed and five songs learned and performed with confidence.

We all agreed that playing the Uke can’t help but make you smile, and that was clearly the case as there were plenty to be seen! The hardest thing is always changing between chords, so that’s their homework for this week. 

I’m looking forward to seeing them again next week ready for the final instalment of this short course. More happy ‘uke-ers’ on the way!!

New book for the orchestra!

Well, they asked for a challenge, and yet got one!

I launched the new song book for Raunds Ukulele Orchestra tonight and we had great fun playing through some of the songs. The new book is a collection of songs from a range of genres and styles. I’m particularly excited that we’re trying some of the folk songs from Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger session, one of my favourite albums. There’s also some Kirsty MacColl and some Joe Brown.

The challenge? Well, some new chords, some rather fast changes, some me riffs, some slides…oh yeah, and a key change thrown in for good measure!

It’s all good fun, and we have a great time everytime we meet and play. Te challenge just makes it even more so!

Choirs from scratch competition

Today saw the first time I met my assigned choir that are taking part in a local competition, the Cransley hospice from scratch choir. In October six choirs, who have never sung together before, made up from various local businesses will meet for a one off competition, each group will perform two songs to what is set to be a packed crowd. There will be two professional judges and an audience vote to choose the winner. And I have the honour of leading and teaching me of these groups

We’ve made a good start and had a lot of fun learning to singing together tonight. I can’t reveal the songs were doing as we don’t want to let the opposition know our secrets! However, if the progress we made tonight is anything to go by, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with – the others had better up their game!