From BUMS on seats to BUMS online … our busy BUMS community leaders show amazing resilience, creativity and community spirit. As a result, the Internet’s alive with ukulele activities from our local leaders and overseas friends.

BUMS Inc Members

Just for BUMS members we have created a private Facebook group called, you guessed it, BUMS Online! The group is to support and help our members, with all things ukulele including sharing songs, performances from home, discussions, reviews, tutorials, and even live-streaming jams (fingers crossed).

All members should have received their invitation by email Saturday 28 March, 4:40 PM. If you didn’t check your spam!

For those not financial members, there is still lots of free resources and content being shared on the BUMS Facebook Page @brisbaneukulele.

Open Mics and Play-alongs

Leading the move online are The CAGE band leaders, Bec Lochel and Ian Phillips.

Fortunate Facebook friends are treated to almost daily posts from this energetic pair. This week, they’ve composed parodies, and posted simple songs to play along with.

Recently returned President Dave Pedler and Lyn Lucas, also entertained us with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.

Online Jams

Behind the scenes, jam leaders Andrew Hunt (Albany Creek & Northside) and Linda Gough (Ferny Grove ) were very busy. Last week they worked with President David Pedler, IT Manager John Henderson and Media Manager, Jo Kunde, to navigate licensing issues and investigate online jam options.

online trial

Andrew Hunt trials a Facebook jam format.

So far, our team has trialled Zoom and Facebook. In addition, they’ve assisted interstate colleagues in their online trials. And the committee surveyed member about their online preferences.

Band Practice

Band leader, John Low is trialling Zoom to keep NUMB BUMS members collaborating. If you missed the memo, Zoom band practices begin Monday 30 March 2020.

Online Tutorials

In addition, enterprising BUMS member and ukulele teacher, Erin Harrington, offers free YouTube tutorials.

Experience entertainer and ukulele teacher, Vic Kena, offers you an ‘Easy Way to Play Along with Bohemian Rhapsody‘ via YouTube.

Gotta uke? Get involved!

I hear those ukes a-comin’ … they’re strummin’ round the bend
I ain’t done no jamming … since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Covid lock-down … and time keeps draggin’ on
But my uke just keeps a-hummin’ … as I strum along.

While you’re missing the usual ukulele vibe, try something new.  Take advantage of the BUMS online activities as they emerge.

Meanwhile Overseas

Manitoba Hal Brolund: LIVE STREAM
2:00 pm Saturday 28 March Halifax NS time (Atlantic).
Into the blues? Join Hal if you can! Hal will play songs, loop, talk, and hang out with you. If you miss this one, there’s sure to be more. Watch Hal’s Facebook for notices.

Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel: Not-so-Little Online Ukulele Festival LIVE!
10:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday 11 April 2020 Hawaiian time
Join Craig and Sarah for free lessons, performances, demonstrations, play-alongs, Q&As and prizes.

 

 

The flood and the drought!

Over 20 people registered for the February Mini Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp, and 8 people were on the waiting list. Making sure no absolute beginner missed out was our priority. We asked people who felt that they’d mastered C, F & G7 to relinquish their places to absolute beginners on the waiting list.

The result? Fortunately, there were several generous ‘beginners’ gave up their places to ‘absolute beginners’. Sadly, one person decided not to learn ukulele, a couple sent unavoidable last-minute apologies, and several were unexplained no-shows. Unfortunately, that’s common with free events.

A grand total of eight people (including two very brave and well-organised baritone beginners) attended the February Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp. The unprecedent last-minute dropout rate at first seemed a little alarming … but upon reflection it was good news.

Many early Bootcamp registerers jumped in very early. Knowing they had hit their straps, jamming before February, was very heartening. Thanks to the wonderful January and February beginners’ sessions run by Donna, Linda and Erin those new to ukulele in 2020 were off to a flying start.

Bootcamp’s a Bargain

But our February Mini Bootcamp group was amazing. They whizzed through four hours work in two, and had a great time doing it.

As with most Bootcamps, we surveyed participants after the session to find out what they thought.

Kim summed up the feedback we received from most participants.

“I absolutely loved the session. The leaders were warm, welcoming and well-prepared.  The lesson flowed and allowed time to practise skills as well as play songs. It was a wonderfully uplifting and joy- filled experience, and I’ve been raving about it ever since.”

Gary pointed out the advantage of learning in a smaller group.

“We were a small group of “newbies”, therefore, it wasn’t as intimidating as a room full of people would have been. We were all made welcome and were relaxed. Although we were a small group, we had three people helping us, which meant that we all received assistance when it was needed. We were also encouraged along the way. I was amazed that after such a short period of teaching, we were all actually playing and singing songs together! I was elated that I could do this and wanted more.”

Bootcamp Take-Away

February’s Bootcampers shared some things they valued from the session.

  • It’s about having fun, and not to worry.
  • Learnt so many new chords and played songs in such a short time.
  • The ‘teacher-student’ ratio.
  • The benefits of using a neck strap.
  • Learnt the basics of how to read music.
  • Social learning was more fun than anticipated.
  • Made friends with people with similar interests to practice with and attend jams.
  • Learnt how to strum.
  • Using the Z chord.
  • Practice is the key.

What Beginners Want!

We asked what Bootcampers felt they needed moving forward. Bootcampers want. Like many Bootcampers, they found that once home alone, it wasn’t quite the same. So they said they want:

  • A beginners’ jam!
  • Chord diagrams placed on songsheets, so they don’t scroll off the page by the time you need them.
  • Tips on how to remember chord changes and progressions.
  • Learn to fingerpick.
  • Followup Beginners’ Bootcamp sessions.
  • More options for baritone players.
Mini Absolute Beginners Bootcamp

February 2020 Mini Absolute Beginners group at Bulimba BCC Library.

Performing BUM, John Low, 2020

Practice Rulz? Experienced performing BUM, and NUMB BUMS band leader, John Low gives us rules for effective ukulele practice!

Effective practising

Know what you need to practise and why.

Firstly, what NOT to do with your valuable practise time. Don’t just sit down for 30 minutes with your uke and play pieces of music you may enjoy playing. While there will be some benefits to doing that it may be a long time before such practising results in an improvement to your general playing.

Repetition

Note that repetition is the path to improvement. But only if a correctly played passage or executed technique is repeated more often that an incorrect one. Therefore start off practising at a speed that allows you to play correctly and only then increase the speed. Don’t waste time practising your mistakes.

Practising could be divided into three main categories:

  • Working on techniques
    • chord changes
    • strumming/rhythm patterns
  • Learning new material
  • Consolidating and preparing

Working on Techniques

Chord Changes

If you are working on improving a technique associated with chord changing, say a chord change from Bb to Eb, start by playing 4 or 8 beats on the chord of Bb, repeat on the chord of Eb then repeat the whole process. Use simple down-strums and practise at a tempo that you can play without error or pauses no matter how slow that tempo may be. Only when you can regularly and consistently accomplish the chord change should you consider increasing the tempo or reducing the number of beats between chord changes. Then you can consider the chord changes within the context of a piece of music you may be attempting together with the rhythm patterns that the piece may impose.

Strumming & Rhythm Patterns

If you are attempting to master a particular rhythm or strumming pattern, in the beginning concentrate on the rhythm and don’t complicate things by introducing chord changes. Stay on one chord until you’ve ‘got’ the rhythm. Only then try to keep the rhythm while you change chords using a simple progression (I use C Am F G7 as my first port of call). Then move onto more complicated chord patterns in the context of the piece you may be attempting.

Learning New Material

If learning new material, identify problems in the first play-through and solve them one at a time. Trying to solve more that one problem at a time is not an effective way to utilise your practice time. Solve one problem then move onto the next one. Where possible practise difficult passages or techniques in context. In other words incorporate the chords coming before and after the problem area as you become more proficient.

Consolidating and Preparing

If you are preparing for a performance (at a jam, concert, ‘open mic’), and you play through a new piece without error once, don’t imagine you’ve ‘got it’. If you can do that a number of times in succession without error, not only in the solitude of your own practice area but in environments where other things might be going on, you are probably getting there. Performing brings its own pressures, and if you are in that space, the aim is to get it right every time. Finally — don’t ignore the ‘easy bits’ when you practise. They have a habit of causing grief, especially when you start to relax towards the end of a piece.

Good luck, and happy strumming, picking, tapping and/or singing.
John Low

 

UPDATE 16 March- The survey has now closed THANK YOU to all who took the time to share their thoughts.

The BUMS committee want your feedback on how BUMS is being run, and how we can make the society more relevant to you. An email  linking to the survey was sent to current financial members on Friday, February 21 at 3:30 PM.

SUBJECT: BUMS Members Survey Feb 2020

SENDER:  info@brisbaneukulele.com.

The survey takes less than 4 minutes to complete and your answers are anonymous, unless you request further information from us. Your input will help us plan events like workshops, concerts , and social get togethers. It will also help us decide where to focus our attention and energies.

Financial Members please check your inbox for the BUMS Member Satisfaction Survey 2020. Check your spam folder! IF you did not receive the email and you are a current financial member please let Jo know via mediamanager@brisbaneukulele.com

Time is running out to let us know what you think- You have until this Sunday 8 March to complete!

Thank you for taking the time, we really appreciate your input, and look forward to an exciting 2020.

Happy BUMS at our Bluegrass Workshop in 2019

 

 

Applications to perform at the 9th Annual Central Coast Ukulele & Folk Festival (August 28th-30th 2020) are now open!

Download your application form here.

Applications close on 30 June 2020.

Central Coast’s 9th Ukulele and folk festival will be held entirely at The Diggers at the Entrance, Central Coast Hwy, Long Jetty.

There will be several stages running performances. Workshops are available all weekend.

The Dinner show on Friday 28 August is a ticketed event. We have some brilliant acts both international and local ready to perform for you.

Tickets are purchased at The Diggers by calling (02) 4332 3399 to book a table. Two course meal, plus tea coffee and chocolates. This has been a popular evening and fantastic way to start our festival.

The Central Coast -a beautiful coastal region snuggled between two big cities. It has rainforests, lakes (Tuggerah Lakes, Budgewoi, Lake Macquarie and Lake Munmorah) and beautiful beaches. Long Jetty is 97.2 km from Sydney (1hr 24 min) on the M1 motorway. The nearest rail station is Tuggerah and the bus service runs regularly to and from The Entrance to Tuggerah station on the northern line. Long Jetty is one hour south of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley. Accommodation is available at the Ibis Hotel connected to the club or at the many accommodation hotels, resorts and motels around the Entrance. There are also many brilliant camping and van parks grounds within close proximity.

Come and enjoy the live music and the beautiful Central Coast.

For more information, email Liz on info@centralcoastukuleleclub.com

Once a year in early February, Morris Brothers offer a free beginner ukulele workshop to anyone who purchased a uke from us over the Christmas period. Many other beginners also come along and the workshop has become a popular way for newcomers to the uke to get started.

December 2019 was a massive month for uke sales with hundreds changing hands. The popularity of ukuleles continues to grow and grow. We have over 100 ukuleles in store in what is the biggest and best range of ukes in Brisbane. Morris Brothers is proud to be actively involved in the ukulele community and a major sponsor of BUMS.

Our beginner night at Ferny Grove Bowls Club on 5 February was a huge success with over 100 people there with many of our regular Ferny Grove jam members providing assistance. The night was run by Linda Gough and Paul Morris in a similar way to other BUMS jams (albeit a bit slower).

Thanks to the superb teaching skills of Linda, we had the whole room playing and singing before the night was out. Most of the group had never played a ukulele (or any other instrument for that matter) before – and by the time they left they could play almost 20 songs.

We used the night to show beginners what BUMS jams are like and encouraged them to come along to the monthly jams at Ferny Grove, Northside, Albany Creek and all the other fabulous BUMS events.

The night was a huge success. Our thanks go to everyone who participated and volunteered to help out.

Thanks to Paul Morris for providing the information for this article.

www.morrisbrothersmusicstore.com

 

What’s it like to play in a ukulele orchestra?

The Willoughby Ukulele Orchestra in an initiative of Ian Porter – a ukulele teacher from Sydney.  Last year, it attracted 55 uke players. This year a similar number attended, including four BUMS members. Together, under Ian’s expert guidance, they learnt, played and recorded three songs.  The workshop was held in Crow’s Nest, just north of the Sydney CBD.

Ian Porter with Outlaws, Willoughby, 2020. Photo courtesy of Lesley Allan.

The aims of the program were to experience being in a structured orchestra, to understand the conductor’s instructions, to learn to fit into a large musical group, and to be exposed to three different musical genres.  Oh, and of course, have fun.

Lesley Allan, Geoff Dancer, Leeanne Horne and Salli Chmura at a pre-Willoughby Orchestra practice. Photo courtesy: Lesley Allan.

The music this year was Mozart’s ‘Symphony #40’, Beach Boys ‘I Get Around’ and a James Hill jazz arrangement of ‘Ja Da’. Six parts were developed for each musical piece including bass and strumming.  There were four picking parts of various levels of difficulty.  Participants selected their ‘skill level’ and appropriate musical parts were sent out two months in advance along with audio files and YouTube videos.

The workshop itself was run by Ian (and three other uke teachers) on 1 February 2020.  There were three rehearsal sessions in the morning focusing on individual parts.  In the afternoon participants played together, and the day culminated with a recording of the whole orchestra.

BUMS members Lesley Allen, Salli Chmura, Leanne Horne and Geoff Dancer chose different musical parts and were thrilled by the musical result – and with what they learnt along the way.  To hear the orchestra,  go to https://youtu.be/b7PrB9K_gcs

Ian expects to run a similar program again later in the year or 2021.

Thanks to Lesley for providing the information for this article.

How to look after your uke in Queensland

Looking after your uke is a mix of common sense combined with cheap and simple care. Here are some tips on coping with hot and humid Queensland, changing strings and keeping your uke looking good.

Kyser Dehumidifier for the sound hole of your uke.

Keeping your use cool and dry

It’s been a hot and humid summer.  Just as we humans are mostly water, your ukulele is mostly timber.  They can suffer terribly if they’re left to the elements.  Store your uke away from direct sunlight and in a temperature regulated environment to avoid cracking, warping and glue dissipation.  You wouldn’t leave your kids or pets in a hot car – same applies to your uke.

The best way to inexpensively prevent moisture in the air getting to your beautiful uke is to keep some silica gel in your case.  Or you can purchase de humidifiers – a great investment particularly in muggy Queensland.

Check out the uke specific Kyser humidifier made for the sound hole.

New strings

To keep your uke sounding good, it needs new strings at least every now and again. They’re cheap, easy to fit and will almost always improve the tone/tuning/playability of your instrument. If your ukes intonation is off, the tuning is going out frequently or the sound is becoming dull, that’s the first place to start.

We recommend trying a few different sets to see what you like the best. Brands like Aquila offer a wide variety of uke strings and are great to test out without breaking the bank. If the thought of doing your own tie on strings at the bridge is daunting, Ernie Ball make a string with ball ends which simply slot in and pull through – no ties needed.

Keep your uke looking good with Dunlop 65 cleaner.Keeping your uke clean

STOP! PUT THE PINE-O-CLEEN DOWN!  Only instrument specific cleaning products should be used on your uke. The best way to clean the wood is to gently rub it down with a soft microfiber cloth and a small amount of Dunlop 65 polish and cleaner.  Use lemon oil to clean and condition your finger board.

Thanks to Sean from Morris Brothers for these tips.  Morris Brothers is a major sponsor of BUMS and stocks a ‘great wall’ of ukuleles as well as all the products mentioned.

East of West Performance and Ukulele Masterclass with Philip Griffin held on Sunday February 16th 2020.

Folk Redlands put on an excellent afternoon which included a Ukulele Masterclass Workshop with Philip Griffin. Prior to the workshop we were treated to some fantastic world folk, Balkan and Middle Eastern music played on oud and double bass with various hand percussion. Philip, Malindi and Goran were all virtuoso musicians and told us a bit of history about the instruments and the tunes. You could hear a pin drop as everyone was enthralled by the performance which was totally acoustic and unplugged.

There was a very good turn out of interested spectators and uke players who stayed for the workshop after the performance. There were quite a few BUMs on seats (pardon the pun) to learn a Venezuelan tune called La Perica (The Parrot) arranged by Philip. There were 3 ukulele parts – strumming, picking and the melody line, also a part for baritones and a part for the U bass. It was surprising how quickly all the parts came together within an hour as an ensemble and how good it sounded.

All in all it was an enjoyable and very educational afternoon.

For more of Philips music check out his website http://www.philipgriffin.com/

Reviewed by Julie (aka Mama Juju

 

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FOLK REDLANDS
Folk Redlands Inc. is a not for profit organisation run by a dedicated committee of volunteers. Established in 2005, Folk Redlands aims to build a music community, supporting local and visiting artists and lovers of Folk, Acoustic, Original, Traditional or Contemporary music in a friendly relaxed environment.

They hold events every 3rd Sunday at Redlands Modern Country Music Club, 226 Cleveland Redland Bay Rd, Thornlands (Pinklands Reserve). Check their website http://folkredlands.org/ for more details and a calendar of events.

 

 

To welcome the new year, and new Brisbane ukulele players, there are BUMS Inc members are offering beginner workshops and lessons in February 2020.
Please note that these are not official BUMS Inc events, so please contact the event organisers directly.

FREE CLASSES FOR BEGINNERS

Julie Sharpe, John & Keryn Henderson

Mini Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp – Absolutely FREE!
Players who already know C, F & G7, please don’t apply. We start with the very basics. Read more here.
DATE: Wednesday 19 February
TIME: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Arrive at 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm sharp start.
VENUE: Bulimba Brisbane City Council Library, Meeting Room 1, Cnr Riding Road & Oxford Street, Bulimba Q 4171.
COST: FREE, but you must register via Trybooking. If you miss out on a place, please add your name to the waiting list. We sometimes get last minute cancellations, or extend the class to accommodate a few extra registrations.
Email Keryn at bneukebootcamp@gmail.com. Follow Brisbane Ukulele Bootcamp on Facebook to find out about future Bootcamps.

Linda Gough & Paul Morris

FREE Beginners Night – Just bring a uke.
This night is sponsored by Morris Brothers Music Store at Stafford and will be taught by Linda Gough who is one of the leaders of our Ferny Grove Jam.
DATE: Wednesday 5 February
TIME: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street,  Ferny Grove. (07) 3851 1889
COST: FREE
Contact Linda on 0431 391 888 or Paul at Morris Brothers on 3356 3299.

Donna Farrell Beginners Class before the BUMS Ferny Grove Jam
Our first event of the year was he ‘Gotta uke for Christmas! Now what?’ workshop. It was run by Donna Farrell for two hours at Zillmere Community Hall on Saturday 8 January. Twenty-five players of all ages attended and by the end were playing three chord songs. Donna, ably assisted by Dianne Davis, hold a beginners lesson before the BUMS Ferny Grove jam starting at 6:00 pm. The next one is on Wednesday 19 February (and then every third Wednesday of the month). Learn how to hold your uke, how to strum, how to read chord charts and how to play some basic chords. This introduction will give absolutely new players a grasp of the basics that helps them to participate in and enjoy the jam. Included in the price of the jam.
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street, Ferny Grove QLD 4055.
COST: BUMS members FREE and visitors $5. This includes the Beginners Class.
TIMES: Beginners class at 6:00 pm followed by Jam at 7:00 pm

MORE OPTIONS TO LEARN

Linda Gough

Linda also offers a range of options for new and continuing ukulele players.
2020 Beginners Course – Please ring Linda to book.
DATE: Starts Tuesday 11th February
TIME: 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street,  Ferny Grove.
Phone Linda on 0431 391 888.
Find out more about what Linda has to offer for continuing players: https://www.brisbaneukulele.com/portfolio-item/linda-gough/
Follow Ivory Frets Music on Facebook to find out about Linda’s  classes.
Uke ’n’ Sing
DATE: Tuesday 4 February
TIME: Morning 10:00 am – 12:00 noon (Easy Sing and Play class with a little tuition along the way)
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street,  Ferny Grove.
Nightriders
DATE: Tuesday 4 February
TIME:Night 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Performance Group for all levels)
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street,  Ferny Grove.
Daytrippers
DATE: Wednesday 5 February
TIME:Morning 10:00 am – 12:00 noon (Performance Group for all levels)
VENUE: Ferny Grove Bowls Sport & Community Club, 20 Tramway Street,  Ferny Grove.

Erin Harrington

Ukulele Rockers Group Class (RSVP essential)
Learn to play uke in group as an ensemble with fun rocking music!
Including movie themes, classics, rock from the ages and more!
DATE: Monday 3 February
TIME: 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
VENUE: Grange
Book via https://www.elmukulele.com/hire-us
Contact Erin via 0423 378 392 or misselmmusic@gmail.com
Find out more about learning opportunities that Erin has to offer: https://www.brisbaneukulele.com/portfolio-item/erin-harrington/

Dukes of Uke

The Dukes of Uke Club rehearse on the second and fourth Saturday of each month (the first 2020 meeting is on 25th Jan). They also have group classes for both beginners and players who are looking to advance their skills.
VENUE: Binary Music Studio, Shop 11 Cleveland Plaza, 48 Bloomfield Street, Cleveland
COST: $12 per session (1 Hour)
TIME : 9:00 am Beginners. 10:00 am Advancing
All song charts displayed on projector and available by subscription to www.dukesofuke.com. Contact Len Henderson via len@binarymusic.com.au or (07) 3488 2230

Please check out the Ukulele Teachers page under the Learning Uke tab, if you are looking for a teacher to help you achieve your playing goals. There is a list of BUMS members who are ukulele teachers.

Please also look at the News & Events page where the latest details of all workshops and BUMS jams are updated monthly. There is a list of other groups and jams in the Brisbane area on the Jams About Town page. Please check with individual jams and groups contacts before going along to check the details of the session.

Happy Ukeing!