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
All The factors that contribute to it like right hand technique (rest stroke, free stroke, where you pluck the string), left hand technique, different woods, body designs, strings.

Aloha Pumehana
Learn a little Hawaiian language and how to play and sing.

Pineapple Mango
All kinds of things you can do with three simple chords: G, C, D. Bass lines, muted picking, harmonics, marimba, Mozambique percussion, and bass.

Dani Joy

Playing with Partial Chord fragments
Level: Intermediate & Beyond

Are barre chords getting you down? While they certainly are useful, no-one ever said you had to play all 4 strings! Learning to play partial chords up the neck on only 3 strings is super easy and a whole lot of fun. And it opens up whole worlds on soloing tactics like double stops and chromatic approaches and pattern recognition.

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. 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!

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.

Perry Stauffer

Baritone Uke Integration
Learn tips, tricks, and licks for playing alone and also how to more easily integrate playing a bari with GCEA ukes.