Workshop Descriptions


Daniel Ho
Hawaii | LA


Three chord treasure trove – Pineapple Mango : (intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
Daniel’s ear-catching composition, Pineapple Mango has become popular at ‘ukulele gatherings because it is fairly easy to play. It has only three chords: G, C, and D, which are among the basic chords anyone would learn when picking up the ‘ukulele. Even better, the chord progression (G, C, D, G) repeats throughout the song—and it never changes! Once you learn the first four chords of the introduction, you also know the chords to the verse and chorus because they are all the same. In classical music, a repeating chord progression is called a chaconne. It was often used as a foundation for improvisation.

In our intermediate+ workshop, we’ll use Pineapple Mango to learn about all kinds of things you can do with just three chords: emulating bass, marimba, percussion, hammer-ons, harmonics, latin styles, muted picking, strumming with melodic lines built into the chord progressions. If we have time, we’ll even touch upon improvising with the pentatonic scale.


Melody and improvisation (in the Key of C):  (intermediate-advanced)

in this workshop you will learn: to improvise.
Ever wonder how to go about transferring that favorite song of yours from simply listening to actually playing note per note on your ʻukulele? Connecting your ear to your instrument is a basic music concept broken down into tones of a scale known as solfeggio. As soon as you begin to put these pieces together, improvisation is within accessible range. This class will utilize the pentatonic scale and allow you to go from tasteful one note improvisation all the way to five note mini-compositions!

From there, Daniel will explain “compositional improvisation,” which is not stringing familiar licks (or phrases) together, but spontaneous composition. Using classic melodies as examples (Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Beethoven’s 5th) Daniel explains how a simple motif can be developed into a thematic piece of music.


Q & A session with Daniel Ho : (all levels)

In this session you will have the opportunity to ask the world renowned Daniel Ho your questions, A unique event at the Vancouver Ukulele Festival and you may want to think of them in advance or bring your questions from his workshops for further investigation!



Victoria Vox
USA | California

Making sense of the fretboard:  (intermediate-advanced)
In this workshop you will learn:
about making sense of chords and how they are made. We’ll look into suspended, augmented, diminished, M7, m7, and 7 (dominant)… etc. Learn about movable chord shapes, and how to simplify “complicated” chords… It’s basic music theory made easy! Counting on your fingers is totally acceptable (we’ll only go to 7!). You’ll also learn how to move from major to minor, and add color. Don’t fret the fretboard! ;


Songwriting / Songwriting Workshop: (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
Writing a song takes as much craft as it does creativity. What do you do with an idea? Which chords will work? What notes will work? How do you put melodies, rhythms, chords, and lyrics all together?  In this interactive workshop we can analyze a popular tune, or delve into a tune you have written, or are working on. You’ll learn songwriting techniques to get you out of a rut, or to perhaps inspire new ideas. There is no right or wrong answer.


Understanding and Mastering the Chunk: (beginner-intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
The “chunk” is a great rhythmic strumming technique to create a beat for yourself while you’re playing. We’ll look at the chunk as a back beat (on beats 2 and 4), and focus on both pop/rock and swing-jazz rhythms, and feel the difference between the two. You’ll then be able to apply these techniques to any song.


Introduction to Line Clichés: (intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
A line cliché is a descending or ascending line that moves against a single stationary chord. Famous line cliché tunes include the James Bond theme song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Blue Skies”, “One”, and “Kiss Me”. You will learn the basics of the 4 line clichés: 1) descending minor 2) ascending minor 3) descending major and 4) ascending major. (Intermediate, open to learning some music theory)


Stuart Fuchs
USA | NYC/Vermont

Ukulele Zen: (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
To strum & pick melodies to easy to play songs in a supportive atmosphere.  Stu shares easy techniques from yoga, meditation & qigong that will make your ukulele playing easier and nourish your body, mind & spirit – You’ll become “One with the Strum”!


Reggae and Calypso for the Ukulele – Grooves of the heart: (intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
To play & experience the joyful Caribbean grooves of Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady and Calypso.  You’ll learn fun and uplifting songs, new syncopated rhythms & strums, melodic riffs more perfect to take your right hand technique to the next level- be prepared to have a blast getting into the groove!


‘Uke-a-billy’ – rock n roll for your uke:  (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
To  play rock n’ roll on your Uke!  We’ll play lots of fun and easy songs from Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Beatles and apply Stu’s “Uke-a-billy” method to give your ukulele playing that classic Rock n’ roll style & edge.  You’ll learn new rhythms, hot licks and learn tricks to improve your ability to strum and sing at the same time.

The Pentatonic Scale Demystified: (advanced beginner-intermediate)
In this workshop you will learn:
To Improvise! Stu will teach you new ways of approaching one of the oldest scales on Earth.  You’ll learn how to practice & make music with the C minor & C Major pentatonic scales.  You’ll also be led through a series unique and holistic exercises in improvisation that will build your playing technique and musicality at the same time!
Del Rey
USA | Seattle

Ukulele Blues Party: (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
Jugband blues ensemble, with parts for strummers, pickers and singers.
We’ll work on rhythm, playing the melody and playing together as a group.
you will learn riffs associated with specific songs, then show how they can be used elsewhere. By ear, no TAB.


Blue Uke: (Intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
To fingerpick melodies and accompaniment on blues repertoire suitable for the ukulele. This a great introduction to right hand fingerpicking, what makes a melody “blue”.  With Songs from 1920s guitar greats like Charlie Jordan and Barbecue Bob, 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. You will listen and learn a song  (by ear-no tab) in class!


Listen Inn – Early blues & jazz Ukesters: (all levels)

In this music appreciation workshop:
You will discover and deeply listen to several early 20th century blues and jazz ukesters- Lemon Nash, Rabbit Muse, The Pebbles, Little Laura Dukes.   Del Rey, who loves this music, will spin the original scratchy, catchy tunes and talk about their history, with some tips on figuring out what they are doing!





Casey MacGill
USA | LA/Seattle

Hawaii of My Dreams Hapa Haole tunes of the 20’s and 30’s:  (Beginner-Intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn: 
Haha Haole tunes are old pop songs from that have a Hawaiian theme. This class will have a fun collection of these classic ditties with chord charts and lyric sheets. Knowledge of basic chords required. In this fun workshop you will come away with a whole new chapter in your Ukulele book of repertoire!

“Swing, Rhumba, & Shuffle Strum” 

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 “Mood Indigo”  (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
To explore vocal harmony in this exciting workshop sonicaly embellishing the song
‘Mood Indigo’. 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:   (Beginner-Intermediate)

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.


Daniel Ward
USA | New Mexico/LA

Melodic Meditations for Ukulele (Intermediate-Advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
The first few studies from Daniel’s new book. Just like the arpeggios from the first book, this music is easy to learn and meant to loop over and over as you improve. Each short melody piece concentrates on helping with a new skill like the C major scale, or playing a melody in 3rds and 6ths.


Montuno Rumba: (Intermediate-Advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
Arpeggios and strums – Cuban Salsa meets Flamenco

The Cuban Montuno is a special arpeggio pattern that drives much of the wonderful salsa dance music from Cuba. It just so happens that it fits beautifully with the Flamenco rumba strum. This hybrid rhythm is fun, danceable and very addictive!

In this workshop we will take these two easy patterns, and then swap parts while we play familiar songs and get the groove under our skin. It’s a great way to spice up any song you know, and put a few new items in your rhythm toolbox!


End Game:  (intermediate-Advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
What it would be like if you could learn songs without making mistakes? It sounds crazy, but learning a song backwards is one of the smartest things you can do. In this workshop, we will learn a short piece of music starting with the last phrase and backing up one at a time. By the time the song is learned, you will already know the path to the end. Once you feel just a couple of phrases come together, the magic of this method will reveal its deep power!


‘Beatrice’: (Intermediate-Advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
Beatrice, a slightly obscure jazz standard with a haunting beautiful melody written by Sam Rivers. This is a simple, old fashioned “learn the song” type of class. The chord structure is of particular interest in the way it supports the tune, with parallel motion, key changes and surprising cadences at phrase ends.

We will take a good look at the chords to begin with. Just adding these harmonies and shapes to the chords you already know will be a big take away from the lesson, but when we add the melody on top its quite a magical little piece of music!


Heidi Swedberg
USA | New Mexico/LA

The Hammer:  (beginner-intermediate

In this workshop you will learn:
To add melodic interest by hammering on and pulling off. Includes an easy song to practice the technique plus finger strengthening exercises to make you a better player.  Add a whole new level to your Ukulele playing!


Play and sing sea shanties:  (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
To find harmonies and free your voice in an exploration of sea songs. These lusty call and response songs are fun to play and require virtually no memorization. Learn to pick your vocal note from the chord you are strumming to create a choir. A great sing-song of a workshop!


Easy Pickings:  (beginner-intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
To now make some music! You have made it over the hump of learning your first few chords- congratulations.  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 strumming hand while playing familiar one- and two-chord songs. No matter your skill level, adding interest to your “speaking hand” gives you game!


Freight Train:  (beginner-intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
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 strumming hand (right hand for  most) while deepening chord hand (left hand for most) rhythm techniques. All players will learn to play and sing a darn fine song!


Neal Chin
Hawaii | Seattle


Rhythm Hand Techniques: ( all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
One of the defining elements of an ‘ukulele player is the use of the rhythm hand. Many different techniques have been developed over the years that have often elevated ‘ukulele artists to a unique sound of their own. Join us as we explore some of these techniques and some practical uses for them as well!


Connecting Chords at the Hip: (intermediate-advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
Chord progressions are an essential element to developing and expanding your chord vocabulary. Join us as we take a few progressions to the next level! We will learn a few tools to tie progressions together such as basic voice (melody on your uke) leading and pedal tones. Basic knowledge of chord inversions and/or positions will help you get the most out of this class. Great for players with an interest in learning to play jazz solos.


Single Note Chords: (advanced beginner-intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
Chords are not just great for rhythm, but for soloing as well. We will break chords down to single notes to give you another road map for soloing. Join us as we create small melodies and bolster up your arpeggios. Basic picking technique required. Great for players who have an interest in developing basic solos.


Accompaniment – How to be a +1 In a jam: (intermediate-advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
An essential element to progressing musically is jamming with other people. Being around different types of music and approaches widen our musical scope and expand its vocabulary. Knowing how to apply a few various musical concepts such as dynamics and timbre can help you not just add another instrument to the mix but also elevate the jam to a new level. Join us as we explore some useful tips and methods for accompanying other musicians. This class requires an open ear, much sensitivity, and caution thrown to the wind with the utmost caution to get the most out of it.


Eduardo Garcia
Mexico | Vancouver

Chord Melody:  (intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
The beauty and fun of playing a Chord Melody in the ukulele. The concept of what a Chord Melody is, with techniques of how to create a Ukulele Chord Melody from any song, plus arrangements to learn immediately and give this concept a go! Being comfortable reading TAB, some barre shapes might be required will set you up for perfectly for this workshop!


Son Jarocho (Fandango):  (intermediate)

In this workshop you will learn:
a traditional Mexican folk style from a native instructor, this is a unique opportunity. We will learn a selection of traditional ‘sones’ on the ukulele, using the specific strumming patterns played in the ‘Son Jarocho’ music, from the plain lands of Veracruz and Tamaulipas in Mexico.  Bring your confident strum to this workshop and add a whole new dimension to your playing!


Chord Inversions: (intermediate-advanced)

In this workshop you will learn:
To give new life to old songs, and you’d like to actually use the full fretboard of your instrument (that’s right… beyond the 4th fret), this class is for you. We will learn to navigate all of our instrument, by finding new areas to play those old familiar chords. We will also learn a system to quickly find any given Major, minor, seventh, Maj7 and m7 chords all over the fretboard! You’ll need to have your barre chord for this exciting workshop.


Practice tips (Cheat sheet): (all levels)

In this workshop you will learn:
How to practice! We will learn how to approach, study and learn a new song, and how to break it into as many steps as we need to master it in no time! By creating a clear cheat sheet, we can isolate and focus on that specific part of the song that is giving us a hard time, either the chords, rhythm, singing and playing at the same time, etc.

Andrew Smith
London, UK/Vancouver


Fingerstyle Ukulele Palette: (adv beg/int)
In this workshop you will learn:
Fingerstyle Bluegrass and Roots Ukulele!  Andrew will share his Rhythm (right) hand tips, tricks and fingerstyle patterns to easily teach you to play, and create your own unique fingerstyle accompaniment using traditional  patterns. This workshop will equip you with a fingerstyle palette to ‘musically paint’ with and make your own.  AND sound like you have been playing bluegrass and roots music for years!


Phil Addington

‘Bass Ukulele’: (all levels)
In this workshop you will learn:
How to add playing the Ukulele Bass to your repertoire of Uke skills! You will need to have a Bass Ukulele to take this class and be able to read ukulele tablature (numbers on the string to enable single note melody playing). Phil will be teaching rock-a-billy and country Bass.





These workshops may be subject to tweeking for the best flow in the VUF 2019 finalized workshop schedule, which will be up mid March! You will be choosing your workshops on the first morning of the festival after you have had a chance to hear all your favourite instructors at the VUF Gala concert the night before!