Here is our list of workshops to be offered at the 2018 Las Cruces UkeFest. We’re sure you’ll find plenty to keep you busy!

Mark Baker

Adding Color to your Songs – Intermediate
Adding color is all about introducing new chord shapes and using multiple strum or fingerpicking techniques. The ability to use a mute strum to accent a chord or throw in two-note harmonies will make huge difference in your performances. These techniques can be used in conjunction with your standard chord shapes and any song will come alive when these techniques are used properly and sparingly.

Van Morrison’s mega-hit “Brown Eyed Girl” will be the song for this workshop, using all the color techniques described above to knock this song out of the ballpark. Bring your tuned ukulele, music stand, and pencil.

Performance Ensemble – Intermediate / Advanced
Ever wanted to play different parts on your ukulele or be in a band? In this workshop, we are going to do just that. We will take turns playing lead (individual notes) and rhythm (chords). By using the most common pattern/scale, we will learn the 1964 number one Motown Hit “My Girl,” recorded by the Temptations and written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White.

This workshop will focus on listening to each other, playing in tempo, and the importance of keeping it simple and uncluttered.

Bring your tuned ukulele, music stand, and pencil.

Note: Mark’s classes are designed for a standard GCEA tuning. He prefers low G tuning on his ukulele, but high G standard re-entrant (my dog has fleas) will work just fine.

Vocals Only – All levels
In this workshop, you will learn the Do-Re-Mis of how to get the most out of your voice. You will learn where the power comes from, correct posture, and when to breathe. Learn about vocal dynamics, what key to sing solo and with a group, and how to find your most comfortable range, as well as how to use your ukulele as a training tool to help you with vocal training. Mark will share his secret for interval training using your morning shower time. (Hey, it’s fun and it works!)

Please bring your tuned ukulele, note pad and pencil.

Special Kids’ Workshop: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Mark will teach a class just for kids Saturday at 10:15 a.m. The class will help young ukulele players explore working with chords, melody, percussion, and vocals to make the children’s standard “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” a fun and exciting tune with multiple parts. Kids can get a head start by knowing how to play the C scale and the chords C, F, and G7 before the workshop. The class is $10 per child.

Craig Chee

Ukulele Boot Camp 101 –  All Levels
High G tuning recommended
Craig’s most popular workshop! Craig’s ever-adapting Boot Camp will dive into a ton of exercises that will help strengthen and quicken your fingers as well as focus on your tone.

We will then show how these exercises are applied to intermediate and even advanced techniques to take you to the next level! ‘Ukulele beginners to intermediates will have lots to chew on as there are many variations for all levels.

*There will be a follow up video that will be created to go over the important elements as well as expand on some of the ideas brought up during the workshop.

 Ukulele Boot Camp 2 – All Levels (Boot Camp 101 REQUIRED)
High G Tuning recommended

Now that you’ve gone through Boot Camp 101, you are ready to move on to level two! This class expands on the exercises from the previous class and how to utilize them in your playing. You’ll work on fills, rhythm, chord voicings, and more. Be prepared to have your fingers worked pretty hard in this class.

*There will be a follow-up video that will be created to go over the important elements as well as expand on some of the ideas brought up during the workshop.

Shaping Your Sound: Advanced Beginner/Intermediate
Every musician has his or her own voice, and this class will help you create yours. Craig will take you through expanding the basics of hammer ons/pulls offs, percussive elements, as well as some right-hand techniques to get you on your way. You’ll be surprised at how simple elements can completely change the feel and sound of a song. All the techniques taught in this class can be used on any form of music, whether it be Island Pop, Jazz, or Rock and Roll. This is the perfect class for the strummer who is looking to do more than strum. You must be comfortable with your basic chord shapes and be prepared to play a few barre chords.

Sarah Maisel

Life After the Third Fret – Beginner to Intermediate
We all play in ukulele groups, and we all learn to play and strum the same thing. In this class, we will focus on different ways to change chords, so you can enhance the sound of the group. This is a great class for all skill levels. Let’s work together using substitution chords and possibly even chords up the neck to make your group sound even better!

Jazz Blues – Intermediate
Already know your 12-bar Blues and want to kick your learning up a notch? Well, this class is meant for you. Get your fingers (and mind) ready for a work out. We will over Jazz Blues progressions and why they are used, as well as Pentatonic Scale. If we have time, we will also cover some Blues licks and discuss soloing techniques over Jazz Blues. It should be a lot of fun and a great way to expand your repertoire. The focus will be on the Key of Bb.

Who needs a Chord book? – Intermediate-Advanced
We have all gotten stumped at some point because there was a chord in a song that we did not know, and we had no way to figure it out. With this class, we will discuss how chords are made and how to create them on the ukulele, all without using a book. It will be a fun way to learn your fret board and discover more about the joy of music and chords.

Craig & Sarah – Sunday morning

Group Play – Confident Beginner – Intermediate
You’ve been playing the ‘ukulele for a while now. You go to your uke jam every week or so and all of you play the same some every week… It’s time to spice up those songs and get your group sounding better than ever! This class is perfect for those who are looking to enhance their chord vocabulary and learn how to interact and play with others in a group. This is perfect for small or large groups, and you are guaranteed to learn a lot and have fun. HIGH G UKE RECOMMENDED!

Lil’ Rev

The Blues & Boogie of Lead Belly for ukulele – All levels.
This exciting blues class presents a broad overview of Lead Belly’s life, music, and style all arranged for ukulele. Together we’ll explore 12 bar, 8 bar and 16 bar blues forms, fantastic repertoire including: work-songs, field hollers, chants, barn-dance, and more. We’ll also learn how to play a basic lead belly boogie-woogie on the ukulele, rhythmic muted effects and the blues-rock pattern strum in 3 keys. All in all, this is a super-fun, highly informative class open to all levels.

12 Essential Strums
Most of us get stuck in the same old strumming rut, often applying the same pattern even whence the song style calls for something more nuanced. (i.e. reggae, calypso, etc).

In this class you’ll learn the right strum to fit the style of music you want to play including: Blues, Rock, Punk, Country, Calypso, Motown, Irish, Do-Wop and more. Each strum will be demonstrated with either an in-class example from Rev or with a complimentary song giving you the tools to survey your own repertoire and learn how to get yourself out of the down-up, down-up, down-up doldrums. Lil’ Rev has dedicated much of his ukulele career to the study of both strum hand techniques as well as genre specific strums and is looking forward to showing y’all how to cure strummers elbow!

A Treasury of Two Chord Songs – All Levels
Everybody loves a good two-chord song. It’s easy, fun, and offers a wealth of ornamental possibilities. This class will present two-chord songs in the style of honky-tonk, blues, swing, lumberjack, sea shanty, folk, bluegrass, country, holiday and more while also showing you some fun new strums to apply to these soon to be uke-club classics. Songs taught in a variety of keys.

Rachel Manke

Strumming Techniques to Jazz up the Ole Song
So much of what can be done on uke has to do with right-hand or strum-hand technique.  In this workshop you will learn three new tricks to add to your bag which you could incorporate in songs that you’ve already learned!  Much inspiration from techniques of famed vaudevillian Roy Smeck.

Finger picking for the confident beginner
You have mastered three to five chords and are confident moving back and forth between them.  Here you will learn how to get started with finger picking.  Excellent for slower songs and adding an instrumental break in your songs.  If you’ve felt intimidated by the idea of picking, this is for you. We’ll start slow and incorporate parts.

Writing Song Parodies
Entertain and amaze your friends!  Take that favorite song that you can play perfectly and make it your own.  Create a unique gift for any occasion.  We’ll go through a simple method of how to write song parodies.  Barrel of laughs, the whole time.

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 two years at the Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival and last year at the Las Cruces UkeFest.