Las Cruces UkeFest
2019 Workshop Descriptions
Ukestra – Differentiated Ukulele Orchestra: All levels
This has been a passion of mine for several years. This workshop will introduce your group to the great joy that comes from playing instrumental music in a “Ukestra.” I will provide the arrangements in standard notation and tablature and lead you through a level-appropriate piece of music for up to 4 ukulele parts and U-bass. I’ll even bring my baton and conduct the group.
The Art of the Ensemble: Maximizing the Sound of Your Ukulele Group: All levels
It’s not all about you, or your friend, or the bass player. It is about all of you. How the parts of the collective whole come together defines the sound of an ensemble. We will explore the concepts of differentiation, space, listening, dynamics, simplicity, and rhythmic unity as we bring music to life in three different approaches. We will play a song the group already knows, learn a song by ear, and work on a differentiated arrangement that I will provide. This workshop has been hailed as a plateau-buster and a paradigm-shifter.
Intro to Hawaiian Ukulele: All levels (Sunday morning, everyone can attend)
Hawaiian turn-arounds in multiple keys, authentic Hawaiian “anticipated” chords, and some sweet songs will be the focus of this first-time offering.
Celtic Ukulele: Intermediate-advanced (Prior note-reading and/or tablature reading experience highly recommended)
This ensemble-style class will explore the Celtic music of Ireland, Scotland, and the British Isles. Bagpipe drones, fiddly-bits, hammer-ons, and pull-offs are just the beginning for this new offering. I have several tunes arranged in a “Ukestra” style with a combination of single-note parts as well as chords. We will also try our hand at a couple of traditional “session” tunes where the ukulele will play Celtic fiddle melodies. Material will include Irish harpist Turlough O’Carolan and a curated set of traditional music that has been tailored to fit the ukulele like a fine kilt. Low-G tuning recommended, though not mandatory.
Chords up the neck: Intermediate/advanced
You have all those frets, but you seem to be trapped on the first three! We don’t have to be crazy virtuosos, but it’s pretty easy to learn some new chord shapes higher up the neck. These new positions will make your songs more interesting and challenge you for a lifetime. We will also take some of this knowledge and harmonize some simple melodies. We will learn about how music theory supports this idea, but don’t worry, it won’t be scary!
American work songs: All levels
Explore American history through work songs, songs about work, and labor protest anthems. This repertoire class will not only provide with some catchy new songs but will also help you understand the important history and culture behind each one. Expect some harmony singing, a little picking, and lots of fun!
Strumming workout: All levels
Unlock the secrets of unlimited strumming patterns with Aaron’s simple strumming exercises. We will address how to pick a strum for a song, how to subdivide rhythms, and right-hand techniques.
Set Your Voice Free: All levels
Students in this class will explore different aspects of singing using a variety of folk songs. We’ll briefly discuss proper vocal production, vocal health, breath support and technique, but mostly we’ll just sing! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us.
Intro to Tablature: All levels
Tablature is a way of notating ukulele music that gets you picking melodies very quickly. In this workshop, Nicole will guide newbies through the process, opening up your musical world by playing simple melodies on the uke.
American Folk Songs: All levels
Learn to sing and strum some traditional American folk songs. A great chance to expand your repertoire, improve your singing and connect to American folk culture.
Abe Lagrimas Jr.
Instant Jazz Ukulele: Beginner-intermediate
Using the popular jazz standard “Fly Me to The Moon,” learn how to take a song and “jazzify” it using seventh chords, alternate voicings, and voice leading. Your sound will become richer and fuller making you sound like a true jazz musician.
Sophisticated Harmony: Intermediate
Are you tired of playing the same chords over and over? Learn about other chord options to add some spice to your playing. Abe will discuss chords such as Maj7, min7, sus4, add9, and will explain how they’re built, what those chord names mean, and how you can apply them.
Chord Melodies “And I Love Her”: Advanced
Using The Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” Abe will teach you his approach on how to play chord and melody simultaneously and finally incorporate that high G-string into playing melodies. Learn how to take a song with a simple melody and transform it into a beautiful and lush ukulele arrangement. Participants must be able to play barre chords, use all four fingers comfortably, and have a high-G uke.
Beginner Ukulele: Beginner
If you’re new to the ukulele, or a bit of a dabbler, this Level 1 workshop will get you set up to strum very quickly! Bring a smile and your singing voices, as the two go hand in hand. We’ll get into basic strumming and finger-picking patterns, as well as all of the open-chord forms and some simple melodies. It’s fun and easy, and you’ll be sure to see big progress! Hula skirts optional 🙂
Get in the Groove: All Levels
In this very hands-on class, we’ll play around with different rhythms and grooves. Over a simple chord progression, we’ll work on loosening up the right hand for fun strums! The groove even starts before you play a note! We’ll play a simple tune in many different styles: Pop / Jazz / Ska / Swing / Blues / Reggae / Opera / Bluegrass, etc. This class is groovy, 100% fun, and a bit of a right hand strumming crash course!
Intro to Mouth Trumpet: Advanced beginner singers
If your hands are full with a guitar or ukulele and you find yourself wishing you had a horn player, this class is for you. The Mouth Trumpet, also called a Mouth Horn or Lips-aphone, is an old jazz-era vocal technique first heard by the Mills Brothers. Today, it is used by beat-boxers and vocalists. Very similar to playing a real trumpet, you’ll learn some techniques to give your “horn” some edge!
Gospel According to Uke – All levels
Sunday morning kicks off with a fun sing-along featuring traditional gospel music, led by Las Cruces Ukes’ own Gorton Smith, a retired pastor. He has led this session for two several years at both the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival and the Las Cruces UkeFest.