Here are our 2023 Las Cruces UkeFest workshops! There is no need to sign up in advance — simply head to the workshops you’d like to attend. Workshop descriptions are below the schedule.
Bass Uke: Intro to Latin Patterns
Add some Latin spice to your next jam with interesting and easy to learn bass patterns that are useful in all styles of music. Helpful for more advanced ukulele bassists as well as those with limited (or no) bass experience.
Practice Made Perfect
One cannot improve on any instrument without practice. But how often do we seem to work long and hard with little to show for all our time and effort? Effective practice is an elusive beast, an art in and of itself. This workshop will help you learn to make the most of your precious practice time by developing strategies to maximize effectiveness in your sessions so that you actually see results.
Rockin’ Out with Ukulele Power Chords
BEGINNER AND UP
What do great rock songs like “You Really Got Me,” “All Day and All of the Night,” and “Smoke on the Water” all have in common? Power chords, of course! This workshop will teach you the ins and outs of using power chords to expand your chordal palette, add more color and, of course, generate smokin’ rock and roll riffs. You will not only learn how to play the most common power chord shapes but also how to apply them immediately to well-known songs as well as how to use them to enhance your everyday jamming. Put your best “jam face” on and come join us!
All of Me
INTERMEDIATE AND UP
Why not take all of me? It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore and learn this iconic tune with Daniel Ward and discover all its lovely jazz changes without getting lost! And, since the tune itself travels through several different keys, you’ll start to get a feel for how the dominant chord can take you places you didn’t know you wanted to go! And you’ll be learning some basic jazz strumming techniques at the same time. By the end of the session, you’ll not only have a new tune under your belt, you’ll also have a pocketful of tricks to apply to other songs of the genre. Can’t you see? You’re no good without this.
What if you could learn songs without making mistakes? It sounds crazy, but learning a song backwards is one of the smartest things you can do. In this workshop, we will learn a short piece of music starting with the last phrase and backing up one at a time. By the time the song is learned, you will already know the path to the end. Once you feel just a couple of phrases come together, the magic of this method will reveal its deep power.
INTERMEDIATE AND UP
In this workshop, we’ll learn two short traditional songs in the flamenco style named after the town they came from…Sevilla. There are hundreds of these songs that all share the same form. They are easy to learn and combine a tasty right-hand strum with Spanish melodies. They can be played solo or as a duet or group as well and will lead to hours of fun long after we class is over.
Ukulele From Scratch
NEWBIES (and people who would like to teach them)
This recipe uses only two ingredients: you and your new uke! We will start making music together right away, adding one skill at a time until you can play literally hundreds of songs. It seems too good to be true, but that is the magic of the ukulele. Heidi Swedberg loves working with absolute beginners, making the complicated simple and fun, and sharing their joy of musical discovery. Gestalts and laughs a plenty. Let’s get cooking!
Pentatonic Pleasures: Haikus and blues
CONFIDENT BEGINNER AND UP
Mastering the 5-tone pentatonic scale is an important piece of music theory to have under your belt — it is a tool for soloing and is especially helpful in playing the blues. This class includes composed songs with haiku lyrics that will get the scale under your fingers, and apply it to playing the blues in A.
I Get A Round
Cannons, commonly called “rounds,” are magic! Short and simple enough to learn quickly, they are a fantastic challenge to sing, for they force one to hold pitch against other voices, creating counterpoint harmony. The simplicity of the melodies is a perfect challenge for players wishing to play single-note lines. The songs may be small, but the challenges and rewards are huge! Participants can sing, play, or do both!
Fun With Strums
CONFIDENT BEGINNER AND UP
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-Wack-A-Do are for YOU!
Four-on-the-floor, Bo-Diddley, Backbeat, Shuffle…You may never tune your strings again once you learn to play these rhythms ON YOUR UKE. John Bartlit distills his 30 years of experience as a sought-after drummer into essential rhythm parts you can play using only your body and your ukulele. Explore a new way to enjoy your instrument and become the backbone of your ensemble by taking over the drum throne!
Rock the Glock: Expand your musicality with mallets
Optional materials fee of $40 allows you to reserve a glockenspiel TO KEEP!
Learn how to add the magical sound of the glockenspiel to your songs and gain some knowledge of music theory, too. This class introduces you to an instrument that has a lot in common with the ukulele: it’s portable, accessible, fun and addictive.
You will gain a greater understanding of how keyboards, stringed instruments, and percussion instruments work. Plus, you will be able to play a melodic line, find harmonies, and create accompaniments, adding a cheery chime to your uke group!
There will be a limited number of instruments available to share in class, also available for purchase.
FULL BAND WORKSHOPS
Saturday – Sea Shanties: Classic songs of the sea in four-part harmony
The Smoking Jackets invite you to raise your voice in a rousing chorus with us! The shanty craze during the pandemic revealed the power of these simple ditties. The joys include singing songs as old as the ocean which don’t require memorization, learning to find vocal harmonies using your ukulele as a guide, and the pleasure of group singing. These are songs you will love to lead from the helm of your own uke yacht!
Sunday – You Sound Amazing (especially with a band!)
Ever wonder what it would feel like/sound like to have a crack band backing you up? Bring a chart of your song and your confidence and find out. OPEN MIC ADJACENT?! We gotcha covered!
CRAIG MCCLELLAND Bass Uke: Intro to Latin PatternsBEGINNER +Add some Latin spice to your next jam with interesting and easy to learn bass patterns that are useful in all styles of music. Helpful for more advanced ukulele bassists as well as those with limited (or no) bass experience. Practice Made PerfectALL LEVELSOne cannot improve on … Continue reading Classes
This is the weekend overview for the full festival. Friday, May 19, 203: Location TBD 6 p.m.: Registration begins 7 p.m.: Concert Saturday, May 20, 2023: Doña Ana Community College East Mesa Campus 8:30 a.m.: Registration begins; Vendors 9 a.m.: Welcome & orientation 9:30 a.m.: Workshops begin 12 p.m.: Lunch (buffet included in festival registration) … Continue reading Schedule
Coming soon! We’ll post materials for participants to download and bring to the festival. Stay tuned.