Step 2: Choose a Topic
Below is a list of James' current workshop topics, arranged from most accessible to most advanced.
Based on James' book of the same name, BOOSTER UKE takes you from "ho-hum" to "big fun" in a relaxed, stress-free way! The secret: Chord Twins, a simple technique that will change the way you play. Even if you bought the book and have taken the BOOSTER UKE online lessons you don't want to miss this workshop as James will teach great songs that aren't included in the book!
Living in Perfect Harmony
If you love to SING in three-part harmony, this is the class for you! Find out why your ukulele is the perfect tool for writing beautiful vocal arrangements in just minutes. We'll sing arrangements of folk, gospel and jazz favourites. Best of all, you'll learn how to create your own multi-part harmonies faster than you can say "My Mom Made Me Mow My Lawn!"
Beyond C, F and G7
Have you heard C, F and G7 one too many times? Like an old, reliable pickup truck these three chords will get the job done... but like an old, reliable pickup truck they could do with a little TLC. A paint job, maybe? Or a new set of tires? In this all-levels workshop James shows you how to breathe fresh life into these beloved workhorse chords. Fall in love with C, F and G7 all over again!
Swing, Ukulele Swing!
It's swing time in Ukulele Land! East coast, west coast, all around the town, swing is happening. Sweet-sounding swing chords are easy to play and they sound oh-so fabulous. Your ukulele will thank you and your strumming will never be the same again. Regardless of prior experience, James will have you swinging your first Jazz tune in five minutes and you'll fly to the moon from there!
Lyricism and Line: How to Make the Ukulele Sing
Explore the lyrical side of the ukulele. In this workshop students learn to play chord-melody arrangements of beautiful melodies such as Spring Song (Mendelsohnn), Slumber Song (Schubert) and Streets of Laredo (Trad.). Discover subtleties of left-hand fingering and right-hand fingerpicking and how these can make (or break) the lyrical qualities of the music. A workshop full of musical delights and ukulele insights.
Note: This is an intermediate-level workshop; please download this the Lyricism and Line Prep Sheet and study it before attending the session:
- Lyricism and Line Prep Sheet - C6 Tuning (g, c, e, a)
- Lyricism and Line Prep Sheet - D6 Tuning (a, d, f#, b)
In this creative, hands-on ukulele workshop James guides you as you write your own tune! Working individually and/or in groups, you'll learn about tune structure, phrasing, chord progressions, what makes a great melody and much more. Whether you fancy writing a waltz, a jig, a reel or something altogether different, this workshop will help to spark new ideas and find fresh inspiration!
Choice Cuts of Chord
(Intermediate / Advanced)
What is the single most useful ukulele skill? It's not triple strumming or double thumbing or sight reading or claw hammering. No. In my view, it's knowing your chords from the inside out: knowing each note in your chords on a 'first-name basis.' This workshop (taught by a vegetarian, no less) teaches you to see chords the way a butcher sees a cow: you gotta know the choice cuts. Sound weird and esoteric? It is! But once you get the hang of it you'll use it every single day of your life.
Ukulele Big Band!
(Intermediate / Advanced)
That's right, ukulele big band. It's time to take a full-blown hip-shakin' big-band swing arrangement and give it a ukulele makeover! All sizes of ukulele are welcome (baritone ukes will have to use a capo). If you've always wanted to experience the thrill of playing in a swing orchestra this your chance. A-one, a-two, a-one, two, three, four...
Note: This is an intermediate/advanced level workshop; please download this the Ukulele Big Band Prep Sheet and study it before attending the session:
- Ukulele Big Band Prep Sheet - C6 Tuning (g, c, e, a)
- Ukulele Big Band Prep Sheet - D6 Tuning (a, d, f#, b)
Duets for One
Based on the upcoming book of the same name, Duets for One explores the art of ukulele counterpoint. "Counterpoint" simply means "a conversation between two musical voices." In this workshop you'll learn arrangements that go beyond basic chord-melody, instead creating the illusion of two independent voices. James' arrangement of After You've Gone is a good example of this style. Big challenge, big fun!
The Power of Polychords
Four strings = four-note chords… until now! Dive into a new world of luxurious harmony with polychords. Discover how simple chords can be combined to create beautiful, complex voicings just as simple shapes can be layered to created new and surprising ones. Create harmonies that were once thought impossible on the ukulele and open your ears to a bold new world of sound!
If you don't come to this workshop with an open mind, you might at least leave with one! This is an experimental, hands-on music lab in which we'll explore "chance" music and play some weird musical games. Refresh and challenge your ears with this slightly "out there" class!
Ukulele Symphony Orchestra
What do Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn have in common? Their music sounds beautiful on ukulele, of course! This is your chance to experience the music of the masters on the instrument of the angels. To make the most of this workshop you should be comfortable reading music notation or TAB (both will be provided). Get ready for Ukulele Symphony Orchestra: the beauty, the drama and the fun of classical music brought to life!
Note: Participants must study the following prep sheet before attending this workshop:
- Ukulele Symphony Prep Sheet - C6 Tuning (g, c, e, a)
Ukulele Symphony Prep Sheet - D6 Tuning (a, d, f#, b)