Seasons Greetings from Bayside Ukes

DSCN3617

Bayside Ukes has had a great year. We finished the last term with Performance Night playing some great group songs that we had been working on for a while. Well done everyone.

Thanks to everyone who did solos for our entertainment. It was wonderful to hear the contributions of songwriters and some new covers.

The performances were followed by drinks, snacks and lively conversation.

We look forward to more fun times in 2018, whether you are an old hand or fairly new to the ukulele.

Wishing our members and readers a very Happy Festive Season and New Year.

Kat, Bayside Ukes Member

Here’s the wonderful Taimane Gardner and Jazzy Jazz with a festive tune to get you in the mood

Advertisements

Bayside Ukes Sessions 2017

BaysideUkesLogo

Bayside Ukes returns to the Hampton Community Centre on Tuesday, January 31 at 7 pm.

We hope everyone had a great holiday break and that you are all raring to play at our group sessions.  Looking forward to seeing you all there.  New members are always welcome.

Kat  and Zilla,  Bayside Ukes Members

Getting the most out of Ukulele Festivals

Going to ukulele festivals is great.  You get to see many different performers and improve your playing technique by doing workshops over several days and in convenient close proximity to one another.  It can be a very inspiring experience but also overwhelming when you have so much choice and new information to absorb.  So how can you get the most out of a ukulele festival?

These days many towns and cities all over the world have their own Ukulele festivals that reflect the culture of that particular region and are great to include on an interstate or overseas trip.  If you cannot for whatever reason travel far to attend a festival, make the most of those in your hometown or nearby locations.  Those easily accessible by car or train can be visited on a day trip if you are unable to stay for the whole festival.

Many festivals offer a discount if you buy advance tickets to several performances.  This is good value if you are able to attend most events over the whole of the festival, but not so good if you can only visit on one day.  In the latter case you would be better to buy individual tickets for the events that you are able to attend.  Many festivals also have plenty of free performances or inexpensive ones that you can go to straight off the street and these are great value.

When faced with a smorgasbord of ukulele workshops it can be difficult to decide which ones would be most beneficial.  I use a process of elimination in deciding which workshops to pick.  If I have done a workshop before then that is automatically rejected.  Secondly I give priority to workshops by overseas performers, as they might not be back to Australia for several years.  Thirdly, I choose a workshop with a subject that I have not done before, that will improve my skill and sounds like fun.  If you are a beginner it would probably be best to start with the types of workshops that cover new chords and various strumming techniques before moving on to more complex subjects, otherwise you may feel lost and frustrated.  You want the experience to be enjoyable.

I find that it is better not to do one workshop straight after another, as it is difficult to assimilate a great amount of new material over a short period of time.  Better to learn a few new things well than to struggle with a large amount of new techniques and possibly get things wrong or forget them altogether.  So choose workshops that are not held consecutively.  A break makes a lot of difference in the prevention of mental fatigue that can hinder your ability to concentrate and retain information.

Take a note pad and write quick notes when you are able during the workshop.  This may sound basic but if there is a lot to learn you may not remember everything correctly.  When given the chance, ask questions to clarify anything that you find confusing.  As soon as possible after you have completed a workshop, sit down and go over what you have learnt to commit the new techniques to your long-term memory.  I found after a blues workshop, the sketchy notes that I had taken allowed me to work out the blues chords, progressions and turnarounds.  It also helps if you attend a workshop with a friend so that you can compare notes and fill in any gaps that you each may have.

Having the opportunity to meet ukulele players from interstate and overseas is another great benefit of festivals.  Often these performers sell their CDs directly to their audience or in the festival market hall.  If you can, have a chat with some of them and buy a CD or a teaching DVD, as these are less expensive at festivals, often hard to find locally and are a great way of hearing more of the performers music and learning something new.  In 2014 a friend and I had the pleasure of having a chat with Jim D’Ville in the market hall of the Melbourne Ukulele festival.  We had been unable to attend his workshop and he generously gave us, and those nearby, a mini talk about his technique of playing by ear.  We wanted to find out more and bought his DVD lessons.  So talk and listen to other players.  It will make your experience that much more interesting and entertaining.

Even if you can attend only one day of a festival you should be able to enjoy many performances, add to your ukulele playing techniques and have a great time.  They are a fantastic community resource.

Kat

Bayside Ukes member

melbourne-ukulele-festival-2016-1.jpg

Bayside Ukes Resumes 12 July

BaysideUkesLogo

Hi Everyone,

Bayside Ukes will return to the Hampton Community Centre next week on Tuesday 12 July at 7pm.

New members are welcome to join our friendly group of ukulele players.  Please be on time to register for the evening.  The session will begin at 7:15 sharp and remember to bring your copy of The Ukulele Club Songbook and a music stand.

We hope everyone had a fabulous holiday break.  If you have not picked up your ukulele because of too much holiday cheer, now is the time to start practising.

We would also like to thank those members of the group who gave up two days of their holiday to perform for two local groups of senior citizens.  We all had a great time.

This term we plan to be doing more performances so get ready to learn some new songs.

The two ten week term dates for the second half of the year are:

TERM 3:  12th July – 13th September

TERM 4 : 4th October – 13th December

My Second Ukulele

Someone once told me “you can never have too many ukuleles”. I heartily agree.

For a long time I have been considering the purchase of a second ukulele.  The first ukulele I bought was a concert, and I still find it enjoyable to play, however sometimes I have thought it would be nice to buy a second ukulele with a different sound.

The trouble with buying another ukulele is there are so many styles and makes available that it became difficult to make a decision.  It is not just about the size of ukulele to buy, whether soprano, concert, tenor, baritone or bass.  Or whether it is an acoustic or acoustic/electric.  You must also consider whether you want a commercially manufactured ukulele from Australia or overseas, or do you want your ukulele custom made by a luthier to your own specifications.  Maybe you would like to build your own ukulele just for fun?  In any case you must choose how your ukulele is constructed.  This is where buying a ukulele has became more complicated and I referred to several buying guides.

http://coustii.com/types-of-ukuleles/

http://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/folk-instrument-buying-guides/ukuleles-how-to-choose

http://www.get-tuned.com/types-of-ukuleles.php#baritone

http://liveukulele.com/gear/buying-tips/

I found this information very helpful but it not make my decision any easier.

My next line of enquiry was to look at ukulele players to see how they have built their collections.  For a start, does the collection show the progression in quality from a cheap ukulele to an expensive ukulele as the collector’s playing ability improved?  Or does the collection seem a random mix of ukuleles with different body shapes, woods, finishes and construction methods?  Ultimately does the collector continue to play each ukulele?  On the Internet you can find many ukulele collections, but I find the most interesting sites are of collectors talking or writing about their ukuleles.

http://www.nutthouse.com.au/ukulele/mystory.html

Both of these collectors seem very passionate about their ukuleles, and I think it is inevitable for players to develop an emotional attachment to their instruments.

As I already owned a concert size ukulele I did not really want to buy another one.  I could have looked at a resonator, but another member of our group has one and I thought that two could be too loud at the one time.  I ruled out buying a soprano ukulele, as my two arthritic fingers would have trouble negotiating the shorter fret-board and I ruled out a baritone ukulele because it uses guitar tuning.  So this narrowed it down to buying a tenor ukulele.

After my research I finally decided it was the moment to buy my second ukulele.  I knew I did not have the patience or skill with tools to make my own and I did not want a custom made ukulele from a luthier as my skill as a player is not good enough justify the cost.  Also I did not want to buy an instrument online because I wanted try a variety of ukuleles to find the one that was comfortable to play, had a good tone, was visually appealing and was an acoustic/electric.  Sometimes it is nice to be loud.

After checking out several music sites online to see what was in stock, I went to a local music store to look for a ukulele.  The selection was between three good quality tenor acoustic/electric ukuleles.  I did not want to be indecisive and go from store to store so I knew it was between these three ukuleles.  There was an eight-string ukulele that sounded rather impressive.  In the past I had considered an eight-string ukulele for the different sound it would bring to the group.  It was not for me.  Unfortunately I found it difficult to play, as I could not always evenly press both strings with my arthritic fingers.  Also there was the annoying thought of restringing the eight strings.  The other two ukuleles had the usual four strings.  Both were beautifully made with a good tone, with fingerboards of the same dimensions and they were the same price.  The difference came down to one having slightly deeper sides on the body than the other.  This was the one I chose.  It has a good tone, is easy to play, it produces a good volume of sound and is pleasant to hold and to look at.

I will not reveal the manufacturer’s name because that is not the point of this article.  When you choose a ukulele it is a totally subjective decision that should not be based on advertising and brand recognition.  When choosing a ukulele you need to use both your head and your heart and buy the instrument of the best quality you can afford.  After all, you will be spending a lot of time together.  Happy hunting!

Zilla

Bayside Ukes Member