Workshop Descriptions

Details for 2019 to come!



Here are the workshop descriptions! click here for what level am I?

Abe Lagrimas Jr
“Anyone can improvise” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
We all have something to say, whether we use a lot of words (notes) or very little (rests/space) to get our message across. In this workshop you will learn how to construct and organize your musical ideas as well as learn how to play the right notes. This is not specifically a jazz improvisation workshop, but a workshop on how to improvise in any musical situation.


“Sophisticated Harmony” (adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
To elevate your playing through understanding Harmony. Are you tired of playing the same chords over and over? If so, then come to this workshop to 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. And if you ask nicely, he may even explain the difference between a diminished 7th chord and a minor 7(b5) chord.


“Intro to Jazz Improvisation” (Int/adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
Learn how to begin improvising over “It’s Autumn Again” (based on Autumn Leaves) from Abe’s book, Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies. You will learn Abe’s simple yet effective approach on how to find the right notes to play your own solo over this classic jazz standard.


“Chord Melody and ‘I love her’(adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
This workshop is designed for high-G tuned ukuleles. 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 and use all four fingers comfortably.


Casey MacGill
“Swing, Rhumba, & Shuffle Strum” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn: Casey’s 3 favourite strums:
Swing strum:  Creating a swing beat with this strum to match the bass and drive the band/ensemble; get people to dance, or make an inspiring rhythm for a soloist or vocalist. You will explore getting the feel, damping the strings, and talk about musical examples.

Rumba Strum: Casey will demonstrate the strum and we break it down into 3 bite-size morsels. We play the strum in easy song examples.

Shuffle strum: After demonstrating you will learn the strum; the backbeat, where it comes from, musical examples, Louis Jordan, Elvis, Louis Prima. We look at the backstroke and bits of finesse to get the easily get the feel!

“Vocal Harmony “Moonglow” (Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
To explore vocal harmony in this exciting workshop sonically embellishing the song ‘Moonglow’. You will learn the chords to the song on the ukulele and 4 part harmony.
Casey will sing lead along with the class.  You will learn to scat a part for the intro and outro like a horn section, simple but very effective!!

“Connective Tissue – Chord progressions of the 20s,30’s & 40’s (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
Well known tunes from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s and find chord progressions they have in common with each other.You will learn the “I Got Rhythm Bridge”, the “Honeysuckle Rose Bridge”, and other recurring patterns of chords.It’s an adventure in cumulative learning; when you learn one song you are actually learning parts of several songs.


Craig Chee
“Boot Camp”(all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
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. He 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. High G tuning recommended.

“Group Play” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
To spice up those songs and get your group sounding better than ever. And how to enhance your chord vocabulary and learn how to interact and play with others in a group. 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… This is perfect for small or large groups, and you are guaranteed to learn a lot and have fun!

“Shaping your sound” (Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
That every Musician has their own voice, and this workshop 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.


Daniel Ward
“Right hand left hand” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to “align” your hands so they fit the instrument and don’t have to fight it.  Some people call them bad habits, but Daniel refers to them as “unfortunate angles” that make fingering and strumming difficult.   This workshop concentrates on the magic of discovering how easy it is to play when you get a simple group of skills that lines up both hands, and frees you from some old demons.   Handouts include simple warm ups and drills, finger picking, and strumming help, and a big overview of how it all fits.

“Arpeggio meditations for ukulele” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
A number of easy-to-learn, fun-to-play, short songs and warm-ups that you can “loop” over and over. It’s a great way to build even rhythm, tone, and chord changing chops while you float in a warm tub of beautiful, repeating patterns that make you a better player as you soak them in. You’ll come away with productive tools to practice with whenever you pick up your uke and become a much more expressive player in the process. If you’re a beginner, these are great tools to start out with.  If you’re more advanced, it’s a great way to break out of whatever rut you may have fallen in to.

“Ethno-ukeology” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to take one tune and put it through several different style changes with your right hand and what have you got?  Ethno-ukeolgy.  From the friendly Travis pick to the more complex strums of  Latin America and the Caribbean, Daniel Ward will teach you how to  “cook” on the strings with some tasty spices, including (but not limited to) calypso, salsa, reggae, and country! Slow practice in class will make sure that you get it all under your skin before trying this at home, and handouts will make sure you get it right. Sounds like a hoot and necessary information to have under your belt. Plus you can have a little fun with it.   How about “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” with a calypso beat?

“70’s Dance Party” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
Fabulous, fun songs from the 70s with an emphasis on right hand technique. We will learn the 70s “play that funky music” type of strum and take it around the block through 4 or 5 of your favorite 70s hits. The strum itself is a powerful tool for playing rhythm in a group or alone, and you will leave the workshop with a new command of your right hand, perked up ears, and a better sense of time.

Eduardo Garcia
“Mexican Strumming” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to explore Mexican strum feels and add it to your Ukulele Repertoire with an emphasis on your right hand technique and interpreting the strum. A great way to broaden your playing!

“Chord Melody” B2/Int
In this workshop you will learn:
How to take a basic song and turn it into a chord melody that expresses both chords and melody lines. Eduardo will be using some of his favourite tunes!


Heidi Swedberg
“Freight Train” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
To sing and play Elizabeth Cotten’s great American folk standard, even if you are a beginner. If you are ready, add second position chords, a classic “do-wack-a-do” strum and throw in some Travis pick-  plenty of work for more advanced players, stretching their skills by switching between first and second position chords on the right hand while deepening left hand rhythm techniques. All players will learn to play and sing a darn fine song!

“Easy Pickings” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
Rhythm is the magic spell, and the province of the right hand. Find an alternative to the numb strum in simple picking patterns: Accompany your voice and connect to your strings! In this class we will focus on the right hand while playing familiar one- and two-chord songs.  No matter your skill level, adding interest to your “speaking hand” gives you game. (And Lefties, if left is right…!) You have made it over the hump of learning your first few chords- congratulations. Now to make some music!

“Songwriters Toolbox” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to dive into the world of a songwriter! Sometimes you’ll hear a songwriter say, “that song just wrote itself.” Well, maybe it did- but a framework of structure and form were there to pull it all together. This class will give you tools to make inspiration into alchemy.
No uke neccessary

“F’ing around” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
The key of F has so much going for it; besides being a great vocal key, it sports great passing tones, variety in voicings, and opportunities for modulating and understanding chord shapes in a whole new way. (Did you realize that the F shape and the G shape are the same?) Plus you’ll add a bunch of great songs to your repertoire that you’ll want to sing and share…..and you will have conquered the dreaded Bb.


Kalei Gameo
‘Arranging Ukulele Solos/instrumentals’ (Adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to Choose the right key, Note limitations of the ukulele and how this can be navigated, How to Choose the right chord positions and chord substitutes and how to Combine chords with melody.  This is a workshop that will change your Ukulele playing forever!

‘Technique’ (All levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
Kalei’s strumming variations, how to add Picking Variations to your playing to add variety and spice, Control (focusing on the right hand), Kalei’s signature techniques and How to play cleaner. A transformative Workshop for sure!

“Improvisation” (Int/Adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
Kalei’s take on how to improvise, Making every note count, exploring different genre, and different feels, and Note bending to make you easily sound like a pro!

“Warm-up exercises (warm up like a pro!)” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:

Right and left hand stretches for better playing and avoiding injury, how to Loosen your strumming hand to make all your strumming easier, How to Strengthen your left hand, with Strumming and chord warm-ups!

Mystery Slot
tutor Q&A or Informal uke Jam
In this mystery session there will either be a tutor available for Q&A or session room available for informal jamming if you need some time to just hang out and Jam! To be announced on the day!


Sarah Maisel
“Doo wop till you drop” (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
This class focuses on popular progressions, including Doo-Wop, Blues, and Pop. With those we will also discuss holding the instrument, barre chords, and creating efficiency while playing. It’s a perfect class for the beginner ‘ukulele player, though experienced

“Intro to Jazz Ukulele” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
Ever been intimidated by Jazz? Don’t worry, this class will be a lot of fun as we go through some popular Standards and progressions. We’ll show you how easy (or hard) you can make these tunes. You must be able to play all of your basic chords in order to get the most out of this class.

“Who needs a chord book” (Int/Adv)
In this workshop you will learn:
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.


Timothy Tweedale  
‘Bluegrass Ukulele’ (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to add to add Bluegrass tunes with simple 1 4 5 chord progressions to your ukulele playing repertoire! With classic tunes and bluegrass strum!

“Contemporary Uke” (B2/Int)
In this workshop you will learn:
Songs from Cold Play to Wild Child and what makes todays tunes so fun to interpret on the Ukulele!

click here to read our the VUF 2018 instructors/performers and their specialties

click here to see the schedule of workshops