There are more ukuleles bought in December than in any other month of the year. A uke is the ideal Christmas gift easily linked to new year resolutions. Maybe your plan is to try something different, stimulate your grey matter or just have more fun.

You might be buying for yourself or for a friend or relative. If you, or the person you are buying for, is just starting out with music, or wanting to get back into it after a break, ukuleles are a great starting point. They are fun, not outrageously expensive and you will soon be making music.

Erin Harrington is a BUMS member, ukulele teacher and performer and has worked in music stores. If you are buying for someone else, her tips are:

Size matters
Ukuleles come in different sizes – soprano (the smallest), concert, or tenor. Think about who will be playing the uke. For a child, a soprano may be right where they can reach around the instrument and smaller frets will suit small hands. For an adult with larger hands, a tenor may be best.

How much to spend
You’ve probably seen ukuleles on sale for $30-40. These are really toys and you will probably find they are hard to keep in tune and difficult to play properly. A cheap uke can be frustrating for a beginner and might turn them off making music.

Ukuleles can cost over $1000 but there are many good beginner ukes for less than $200. Budget for the extras that can make learning easier – such as a strap to hold the instrument steady and a music stand. Keeping your instrument in tune is easy nowadays using a clip-on tuner, an app on your phone or a tuner built into the uke.

Fit with lifestyle
You should ask do they have a quiet space where they can practice uninterrupted? A ukulele is not loud and can be played in an apartment without annoying family or neighbours.

Do they have time to learn? Are they the self-motivated type who will follow up online tutorials, an e-book or work from a music book?

Finding music buddies
The ukulele is a very social instrument. It’s great fun to play with others and of course having a buddy can be very motivating as you progress and learn from each other. Think about music teachers and community groups to help them hit the road running. Music teachers can get a new player off on the right track and regular lessons can help stimulate progress.

http://Ukulele Teachers – BUMS – Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc

Matching their style
If they have musical experience, think about how they like to play. There are two sorts of musicians – a ‘strum and sing’ musician and an instrumentalist. A singer might prefer a uke with an electronic pick-up so they play and sing at an open mic down the track. If they are an instrumentalist, consider the quality of the tone and timber of the ukulele. This will mean a lot more to someone who is technique focused and using an instrument to resonate and ‘sing’ for them.

Make it fun
You could set a regular time to catch up with them and play some simple songs. Choose some songs to play together – make your own repertoire that you can practice and see how you are improving. Making it fun will create beautiful memories you will never forget.

BUMS runs many jams around town, and some provide short beginner classes before the jam.

https://www.brisbaneukulele.com/news-events/jams-about-town/

https://www.brisbaneukulele.com/beginners-classes-2023/

The BUMS website has many tips and resources to help people start their ukulele journey. Arrange for them to subscribe to the BUMS newsletter for updates on jams, beginner classes, workshops and more. It’s free.
https://www.brisbaneukulele.com/news-events/subscribe-bums-newsletter/

 

Fee for visitors to BUMS jams

At the Annual General Meeting in September, we had a vigorous debate about increasing the fee for visitors to attend our jams. Financial members of BUMS don’t pay to go to jams, but non-members have been paying $5 per jam since BUMS was established in 2010. The members present at the AGM supported increasing the fee but left it to the Management Committee to determine the new amount.

We have taken a decision to increase the fee to $10 per jam from 1 July 2023. We will review this decision in late 2023 once we can see the impact the new fee has had.

Discussion

This is a summary of the issues the Committee considered in making its decision.

Running a jam costs money. The most obvious costs are hall hire and use of BUMS equipment, but there are also other expenses like public liability insurance and administration costs. At each jam, BUMS members donate their time and expertise for free to plan the jam, prepare songs to present, set up the jam and manage the event for the benefit of all who attend. Creating a jam is fun and the members who pitch in are doing it for their own enjoyment as well as for the whole BUMS community.

The direct costs of a jam are paid for by membership fees. Of course, we want to encourage other people to join the ukulele family. Our goal is to attract newcomers to enjoy the fun of playing ukulele and singing in a group. There is no other comparable musical experience and the best way to find that out is to be at a jam, ukulele in hand.

We also want to encourage newcomers to join BUMS, be part of our community, enjoy ALL that BUMS has to offer and contribute to the success of our society.

One way to do this is to increase the financial incentive to join BUMS. From 1 July 2023, it will cost $60 a year (just $5 a month) to be a member of BUMS. For that small cost, you join our ukulele community and can attend as many jams as you like (currently six or more a month). You can also join one of our community bands, get a discount on workshops, and access the resources of BUMS Online.

We want the visitor fee to be a simple process by tendering a $10 note or making an EFTPOS swipe. An amount between $5 and $10 in cash involves the need to carry change (something that many people do not do since COVID).

We believe charging visitors $10 to participate in a jam is still exceptional value as it provides two hours of fun with physical, vocal, and emotional exercise. Financially, if you pay $60 a year to be a member, you are better off once you’ve been to six jams than if you pay $10 a jam.

One of the unheralded benefits of BUMS is being part of a growing ukulele community. If you pay to come to just one jam a month, you are just dipping your toe in the water. If you come to more events and get involved in other BUMS activities, you can plunge right in making new friends and finding ukulele buddies. There is nothing better than playing with other uke players.

Typically, as we get older our friendship group gets smaller. However, for active and involved ukulele players, this is often not the case. Read John Low’s journey with the ukulele as proof – see the last paragraph The Real Benefits.

When must a visitor pay the fee?

All non-financial members of BUMS will pay the fee to come to a jam, except for the following:

  • First timers. A visitor can ‘try a jam’ for free.
  • Non-players. A visitor without a ukulele need not pay.
  • Carers or supporters. Someone caring for a person with a disability or supporting a ukulele player (such as driving them to an event), need not pay.
  • Associate members (aged under 18). A young adult gets in for free, but an accompanying adult player who is not a member of BUMS will pay the fee.

If you have any comments or observations on this decision, please contact Peter Grace at

 

 

Management Committee having fun

From left to right

Max Borchardt – Vice President

Steve Sandilands – Events and Gigmeister

Simon Carter – Treasurer

Sylvia Hunt – President

Peter Grace – Secretary

 

Increase in BUMS Inc membership fees

A motion was passed at the Annual General Meeting on 17 September 2020 to increase the annual membership fee from $50 to $60 for the 2023-24 financial year. The motion was passed unanimously by the members present at the AGM. Four proxy votes were received – three were in favour of the motion and one was against.

The new fee will apply for the financial year from 1 July 2023 and will cover membership up to 30 June 2024. Remember you will be paying for the 12 months from 1 July 2023 so even if you pay in June 2023, the fee is still $60.

The membership fee for new members joining or lapsed members re-joining after 31 December 2023 will be $30.

More information about the increase was published on the website prior to the AGM. You can find it here.

The impact of inflation

The $50 annual membership fee has been unchanged since BUMS was incorporated in 2010. You may be interested to know that because of inflation (*), $50 in 2010 is worth $64.60 in 2022.

(*) using the “All Groups Consumer Price Index” published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Increase in the fee for non-members at jams

A motion was passed at the AGM, to give the Management Committee authority to increase the fee for non-members to attend a jam from $5 to a figure not exceeding $10.

In setting the new fee we are juggling two competing priorities – we want to provide an incentive for non-members to join BUMS but at the same time we don’t want to discourage non-members from coming to our jams.

The Management Committee will announce its decision in the November newsletter. Note however, that the increase will only apply from jams held after 1 July 2023.

f you would like to see a copy of the minutes of the AGM, please ask the secretary at .

Outcome of the AGM – new committee

We are bound by our Rules of Incorporation to

  • Have our financial records reviewed by an auditor.
  • Hold an Annual General Meeting open to all financial members within six months of the end of our financial year.
  • Have the financial records approved at the AGM.
  • Appoint an auditor for the next financial year, and
  • Elect a new Management Committee.

All these things were done at the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 17 September 2022.

Management Committee

The outgoing Management Committee had decided to adopt a different business model with a smaller Management Committee and using BUMS Inc members to take on volunteer tasks and projects. For more detail see here.

The five members of the Management Committee for 2022-23 are

President – Sylvia Hunt

Vice President – Max Borchardt                           Secretary – Peter Grace

 

Events and Gigmeister – Steve Sandilands                                         Treasurer – Simon Carter

We welcomed Simon Carter to the committee. He replaces Lesley Allan who has been Treasurer for the last two years. We will still see her at jams though conducting raffles and selling BUMS merchandise.

Thanks

Sylvia Hunt thanked past committee members for their work for BUMS Inc. David Pedler (IT support) and Andrew Hunt (Property) will continue their roles but will not be on the committee.

Special mention was made at the AGM of Jo Kunde. She retired in July as Media Manager after nine years in the role. Her energy, capability and initiative meant the job kept getting bigger and bigger. She has been amazing for BUMS, and we have truly valued her work.

Many BUMS members have accepted roles to support our smaller Management Committee – and we thank them. We are sure there are many more skilled, capable and reliable people in the BUMS community. We will be looking for more help with special projects and small routine tasks. It will be good to spread the work around, so we all feel ownership of BUMS Inc.

Vision

The new committee wants to simplify the way BUMS operates by eliminating non-productive tasks, using new technology or software, and integrating the many systems we use. We want to run BUMS like a small business focussing on how we provide services to our members and meet the aims set out in our Rules of Incorporation.

In case you’ve forgotten, these are:
1. To have fun (or better still in the words of our President fun, fun, fun and more fun).
2. To develop our member’s ukulele playing skills.
3. To promote the ukulele, live music, music appreciation and ukulele-based entertainment in the Greater Brisbane community.

All members of BUMS Inc will surely subscribe to those aims.

If you would like to see a copy of the minutes of the AGM, please ask the secretary at .

The September raffle has been drawn.

First prize

And the winner is

Laura Jellicoe, a regular visitor at our Ferny Grove jam.

Here she is with President Sylvia Hunt and her prize (not the umbrella).

This is what she won.

Hercules triple Ukulele (Guitar) Stand. Supports three instruments safely and with ease of access.  Perfect for the ukulele player who has more than one ukulele

Peak Collapsible Professional Music Stand. Tough construction and comes with a carry bag.

And – an Eno finger exerciser

Value over $200.

Second prize

Won by Dennis Brown (a member of our community band Out on Bail).

Sam Muir Fingerstyle Work book

 

 

Review of membership fees

BUMS Management committee is proposing to increase the Membership Fee and the casual jam attendance fees from $50 to $60, and from $5 to $7, respectively. These changes would apply from 1 July 2023.

Background

The fee for BUMS Inc membership has been $50 a year, since BUMS was incorporated in 2010. Membership gives you many benefits including entry to jams for free, discounted prices on workshops, access to BUMS Online, the ability to join any community band for free and more.

If you join after 31 December, a fee of $25 is payable for a half year to 30 June. A two- month period of grace applies to renew membership. Your membership will expire on 31 August but can be reinstated at any time by paying the appropriate fee.

The annual fee can be varied at a General Meeting of members. We have usually confirmed the fee at the AGM. For example, in October 2021, we agreed the fee would remain unchanged at $50 for the 2022-23 financial year.

BUMS Inc is a not-for-profit organisation and all monies are used to further the objects of the association:
(1) To have fun
(2) To develop our members’ ukulele playing skills
(3) Amongst the greater Brisbane community to:

  • promote ukulele and music playing
  • increase ukulele and musical appreciation
  • provide ukulele-based entertainment.

What does it cost to run BUMS?

The following figures come from the 2021-22 accounts presented in a simplified form.

In 2021-22 total adjusted expenses were $12,130. The most significant expenses were

  • venue hire (for jams and community band practice) at 22%
  • insurance (public liability and equipment) at 18%
  • software (accounting, webhosting) at 15% and
  • catering at 11%.

This means we need to have 243 members to collect enough in fees to run BUMS. In the current financial year, 195 members so far have paid $50 (18 August 2022).

Where does our income from?

In 2021-22 total adjusted income was $16,025.

Most of our income – $12,575 – comes (78%) from member fees. Last year 2021-22, we had 257 members at 30 June. (some who paid $25 as they joined after 31 December).

The remaining income comes from for the fees guests pay to come to jams, as well as profits from workshops and raffles.

What assets does BUMS have?

At the end of June 2022, BUMS Inc had assets of $80,748. This comprised $35,869 in equipment, laptops, PA equipment and merchandise/raffle stock. We held $44,879 in cash.

The cash provides:

  • a buffer if we have a fall in membership,
  • funds to replace or upgrade equipment,
  • money to fund projects (like festivals) and
  • a protection against rising prices.

The cash buffer has been falling.  In 2018-19 it was $55,447.

Proposals

We increase the annual fee to $60 from 1 July 2023. The half yearly fee would be $30.

We increase the fee for guests at jams to $7 from 1 July 2023.

We investigate whether we can run SPRUKE on the Square again in June 2023. We will seek out grants available to NFP community groups again. We spent a $30,000 grant to run the 2022 SPRUKE and can probably trim that figure in 2023. If we are not successful in achieving as large a grant in 2023, we will need to access our cash reserves to run the festival.

 

Restructure of the BUMS Inc Management Committee

Overview

The BUMS Inc Management Committee will comprise five positions – President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Events Manager & Gigmeister.

Tasks and projects required to run BUMS Inc will be ‘contracted’ out to BUMS members with the skills, training and resources so that we ‘spread the workload’ through the BUMS community. The Management Committee will remain responsible for the operation of BUMS Inc in line with our Rules of Incorporation.

Background

Typically, volunteer organisations find it difficult to recruit members to serve on the committee that runs the organisation. Everyone wants to play bowls, eat at the tuckshop, play ukulele or whatever the organisation exists for – but fewer people want to get involved in organising it. The reasons for this include:

  • An aversion to being on a committee,
  • Fear of getting involved in politics,
  • Worrying about not having the necessary skills.
  • Unwillingness to commit for a long period of time,
  • Not having enough spare time.

BUMS Inc is no different. In recent years BUMS has relied on the amazing and sustained efforts of a few committee members to manage BUMS and deliver the services and activities that BUMS provides to you. The current committee does not believe this approach is sustainable and has been exploring alternative models.

A new model

The committee will be a small executive comprising the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Events Manager/Gigmeister. They will be responsibility for managing BUMS according to the Rules of Incorporation.

The committee will delegate tasks and projects to volunteers within BUMS. To work effectively these volunteers must have clear roles (tasks, deliverables, timeframes) and be provided with instructions, training, and reporting obligations.

The aim is to reduce the workload on the committee and involve the wider BUMS community in running BUMS. This model can be implemented progressively and capture the skills and experience of many BUMS members.

Ideally, we can create a pool of members who can acquire the skills and experience to complete the tasks and projects. In this way we can share the workload and knowledge, so we don’t become over reliant on a few people.

The committee will comprise five positions.  Their roles and responsibilities are described here. The management of our IT requirements and control of our equipment and other property will be contacted out to BUMS members.

Delegated tasks

Our aim is to delegate tasks and projects to BUMS members. Here are some examples of tasks, time commitments and skill requirements. Delegating needs careful preparation so we can ensure the tasks are done properly.

 

Task Time required Skill requirements
Collecting money and forms from new members and renewal payments at jams. Once or more a month at a jam. Explaining BUMS membership.

Collecting and accounting for cash and EFTPOS payments.

Processing new member applications and renewals. A weekly administrative task usually after jams.

The busiest period is June to August.

Commitment to respect member’s privacy.

Updating a spreadsheet.

Sending confirmation emails to members.

Applying for financial grants. A week or two periodically to complete online forms, liaise with committee and submit applications. Experience of grant administration.

Ability to ‘sell’ BUMS and its community involvement

Monitoring and posting on our social media accounts Daily monitoring of Facebook sites and Messenger.

Posting updates of news and worthy events.

Social media familiarity.

Responding to requests to develop and make posts.

Creating attractive posts.

Here are some more examples.

  • Running raffles – sourcing prizes, promoting the raffle, selling tickets and drawing winners.
  • Creating lists of financial members for jams.
  • Maintaining records of attendance at jams for insurance and statistical purposes.
  • Proof reading of planned communications and web pages.
  • Overseeing our community bands.
  • Maintaining our music library.

The committee will provide training and documentation and set out reporting requirements and deadlines.

Another tumultuous year for BUMS Inc with SPRUKE on the Square, COVID cancellations and some great performances to name but a few of the highs and lows.

BUMS is your society and you can be involved in ensuring it continues to grow, be successful and meet your needs.

We’d love to see you at the Annual General Meeting, and REMEMBER to bring your UKE.

  • Venue: Coorparoo Bowls Club, 32 Riddings St, Coorparoo QLD 4151
  • Time: 2:00 pm start
  • Format: Welcome jam, AGM, finger-food refreshments, closing jam
  • Date: 17 September 2022
  • No need to get a ticket, just come.

The afternoon will start with a 20 minute jam followed by the formal business we  must conduct as an incorporated body.  It won’t take long and there will then be a chance to socialise with the committee and other BUMS members over some finger food.  The afternoon will conclude with some more ukulele fun.

A formal notice of the AGM will be emailed out in the next couple of weeks.

 

It’s that time again when we ask you to renew your BUMS membership.  Fees remain at $50 a year and for that you get free entry to as many jams as you like, discounts on workshops, access to BUMS Online and the opportunity to join any of our community bands.

Membership Benefits – BUMS – Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc

Understandably, some people let their membership lapse whilst COVID restrictions applied.  Now’s the time to re-join and enjoy all the benefits of BUMS.

And if you been thinking about joining BUMS, pay your $50 now and get a whole year of benefits and fun from BUMS.

The easiest way to join is to come to a jam   The membership desk will have all the paperwork required, assistance in filling it out and will take cash or EFTPOS payments.

For more details of how to join BUMS, re-new your membership or re-join BUMS can be found on our website.  Your membership will lapse after 31 August 2022.   

Membership – BUMS – Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc