Classes

Las Cruces UkeFest
2022 Workshop Descriptions

Casey MacGill

My Three Strums
The three strums I use regularly are THE SWING STRUM, THE SHUFFLE STRUM, and THE RUMBA STRUM. We will spend the most time learning the swing strum technique to create a danceable rhythm feel with the ukulele.  We will learn the damping technique that is essential to creating the swing rhythm.

Damping the strings is also important in the shuffle strum, which comes from the rhythm feel of the classic rhythm n’ blues records of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, up to and including Elvis Presley.

Last, but not least, the rumba strum is a bit more complex, but we break it down to three bite-sized morsels, and learn to count and play it together. It comes in handy with 1950s anthems like Save the Last Dance for Me, Three Cool Cats, Lonely Teardrops, and Under the Boardwalk.

Slim’s Jam/Fun with the Music of Slim Galliard
Slim was a talented entertainer and musician who wrote lots of easy, fun songs: Flat Foot Floogie (with the Floy Floy), Potato Chips, Atomic Cocktail, Dunkin’ Bagel, Laguna O’Reenie, Vol Vistu Gaily Star, and Yep Rock. We will play and sing some of these classics. Great for parties and jams!

Polishing the Details: Vamps, Turnarounds, Outros

OK; you’ve just learned a new tune. The first question that pops up is “How do I start it?”  soon after, the next question arrives, “How do I end it?”

This class is all about answering those important questions. We will discuss the reasons for vamps, turnarounds, and intros/outros.

Vamp: a chord progression that happens at the beginning of the performance. You can use it to get in the groove, establish the tempo, etc.

Turnarounds: a short chord progression that happens at the end of a section of music.  What’s offered in printed sheet music often/usually leaves a lot to be desired. We will explore some well-used ways of getting from one part of the music to the next.

Intros/Outros: An arranged intro and outro can elevate your performance from ‘Punter’ to Professional’.  It doesn’t have to be fancy to be good and make everything work better.

Playing level can be beginner. You may end up doing a lot of listening, but the information will be good for your approach to learning and playing songs. The class can also benefit intermediate and advanced students with new ideas and increased musical satisfaction by enhanced organization and flavorful details.

We’ll take the best examples from my music, play them, and I’ll tell you why I made them the way they are. You can see how they work and apply those ideas to your music.

Daniel Ho

Tone
Join Daniel in an insightful session on all the factors that contribute to producing a pristine ‘ukulele tone. He’ll go over concepts like right hand technique (rest stroke, free stroke, where to pluck the string), left hand technique, different woods, body designs, strings. And if there’s time, it will also be open to Q&A that can lead to inspiring and fascinating ah-hah moments!

Aloha Pumehana

Add depth and dimension to your musical style. With his original Hawaiian love song Aloha Pumehana as a reference, Daniel will cover how to create interesting layers of arrangement using color tones, counterpoint, fingerstyle, and strumming. He’ll discuss:

• How to make simple chords even simpler
• How to sound BETTER by adding open string color tones
• How to play and sing simultaneously (it’s not an easy thing to do)
• How to produce a beautiful fingerstyle tone
• The application of enharmonics and countermelodies to add depth to a song

Pineapple Mango
All the fun things you can do with three simple chords: G, C, D. In this something-for-everyone class, be prepared to dig into Daniel’s tasty ʻukulele composition, Pineapple Mango, AKA The Breakfast Song. Explored will be different things you can do with three chords (strum patterns, emulating muted bass notes and marimba rolls, Steve Gadd-inspired percussion, hammer-ons, harmonics), and a little bit of singing in the Hawaiian language.

Dani Joy

Blues: Changes by Charles Bradley

Blues is one of the most commonly loved and understood forms of music for a reason: it helps us express some of the deepest feelings in our hearts. Join Dani Joy for this simple workshop where we’ll break down Charles Bradley’s version of Black Sabbath’s song “Changes.” You’ll learn some simple chords up the neck, a little fundamental choral walk down, and leave with a deeper understanding of how to express yourself through one of America’s oldest musical languages: the blues baby!

Memorize Stand by Me
Level: Beginner & Beyond
Learn how to memorize the chord structure and lyrics (in the right order!) through repetitious movement and gentle guidance from Dani Joy. Accompaniment to this class will be the bass/baritone parts Perry will be teaching interested students. Bring your bass ukulele, take Bass 101 with Perry Saturday, and put it all together in this workshop. Together we will combine our parts to make a unified collective and a full song!

Intro to Music Theory
Level: Beginner & Beyond
Numbers and letters in music, oh my! In this one-hour workshop, Dani Joy will take your hand and lead you through the mysteries of the Nashville Number System (you know, Do Re Mi…. 1 2 3…). Understanding how notes are grouped into scales with adjoining “scale degrees” or “numbers” will open up the world of music to you for a greater depth of study. Finally, you can join the jam of “one four five” chord songs your friends are always talking about. You’ll also understand how chords are formed and learn how to memorize song progressions, transpose, and play with confidence!

Monkey Chords
Level: Intermediate
Let me show you a simple, fun trick to learn your major chord shapes up the neck. No longer will you be stuck making the same chords in first position. Travel up to higher pitches whenever you feel like it to add spontaneity and color to your songs.

Del Rey

Ukulele Blues Party 1 & 2 (Different song each session)
Basic level
Jugband and blues songs orchestrated for the ukulele, with playing and singing parts for several levels of player. We’ll work on getting that old-timey sound on your uke, with the right rhythm, chord positions and where to find the melody. Plus we’ll try and listen to each other and play together. We’ll add parts for basic chords, strumming, picking, and singing. Basic level: be comfortable and confident with first position chords and able to keep time while changing between them. By ear, no TAB. Re-entrant tuning preferred

Blue Uke
Intermediate
Fingerpick melodies and accompaniment on blues repertoire suitable for the ukulele.

Songs from 20th-century guitar greats like Memphis Minnie and Mance Lipscomb suit the ukulele, but there are also little-known ukesters Lemon Nash of Louisiana and Rabbit Muse of Virginia who were African American ukulele players and showmen with distinctive styles on traditional and standard jazz material.

We’ll listen to some sources then learn a song (by ear-no tab. Reentrant tuning preferred. Level: Right hand can pick out a melody and arpeggiate chords.  We will work on maintaining a quarter note rhythm with the thumb while playing a syncopated melody.

Gorton Smith

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 years at both the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival and the Las Cruces UkeFest. Songs for the GAU will be chosen from the handout (see Workshop Materials page), so please print them all. There will be a time in the gathering for folks to either sing a solo, duet… or lead a favorite song. The Gospel According to Uke will last no longer than 45 minutes to give you plenty of time to get to the next workshop! Come, strum, sing, and have fun.

Perry Stauffer

Rhythm in a Pinch
Same old strums getting you down? It’s time for the Three-Finger Pinch! Celebrate the sweet, gentle soul of the ukulele with this right-handed comping technique. Not quite a strum, not quite finger-picking, but always just right.

 
Ukulele Bass 101
So you’ve got a bass ukulele, now what? In this introductory class learn about “ones and fives”,  and how to link them together with chromatic approach notes (it’s easier than it sounds). Soon you’ll be jamming in your club with confidence!
 
Time permitting, we’ll take your playing a step further, with a quick look at walking bass lines.
 
BARITONE UKE Integration 
Learn tips, tricks, and licks for playing alone and also how to more easily integrate playing a baritone with GCEA ukes.

Chris Sanders – Vocalist

Let’s get together to demystify singing and breathe our way into vibrant sound. There are so many things to discover about how good it is to sing, and we’ll find at least a few in this session (including perhaps harmonies and blend and fun.) All levels of experience are welcome and please bring your ukuleles!

Ricky Malichi – Percussion

Demonstrating various rhythm patterns and how percussion and strumming fit together. Showing the correct way to get sound out of your hand percussion instruments — and land on the beat! Please bring your own instruments if you want personal instruction. Shakers will be available to borrow.

Joe Seltzer – Great Rhythm

“Great Rhythm” workshop will cover fundamentals of beat, tempo, and timing (and why those are distinct aspects of rhythm). Develop a practice habit for a lifetime of joy-filled music making!