Photo by James Millar


Here are the ukulele workshops I am offering for 2017

Please contact me by email if you would like me to teach any of these classes at your festival, club or event.


In this Advanced workshop we will examine different ways of playing bluegrass on the ukulele. These will include fingerstyle, strumming and flatpicking (without a pick). Many of the main techniques used in playing bluegrass, like hammer-ons, pull-offs, bends and slides, will be carefully demonstrated and you will quickly be using them confidently. We will endeavour to come to an understanding of just what are the characteristics of bluegrass music by performing actual examples. By the end of the session we will aim to perform a piece that I have specially arranged for this class.

For this class will need to have some understanding of how to read either tab or conventional notation. Please bring along a ukulele (soprano, concert, or tenor) with standard gCEA re-entrant (high G) tuning. It will be challenging, but a lot of fun. NEW FOR 2016

Level 4 (Advanced)

PLEASE NOTE This class can also be taught as an Intermediate (level 3) workshop.


In this workshop, I aim to cover how to bring out a melody whilst finger-picking the accompaniment. You will be learning new techniques and trying them out on a number of well-known, popular songs, focusing in detail on just one tune. In order to really benefit from this class, you will need to have some experience at basic finger-picking, at reading simple tablature and an understanding of which chords might be used in the common keys (C, F and G) . Come with a soprano, concert or tenor, tuned to high G re-entrant tuning if possible.

Level 2-3 (Intermediate)


In this workshop we will be taking a very popular simple 4 chord song and finding new, exciting ways to play it. We will discover how to inject variety and contrast into what we play. We will learn several new techniques, both for the left and for the right hand. Hopefully, we will learn how to escape from the rut of playing strumming patterns.

Level 2 or 3 (Beginner or Intermediate)


This workshop begins by looking at the basic skills of good finger-picking. We will cover timing, fingering, and good playing technique. We will explore, in practical way, the techniques found in this style of music: hammer-ons, pull-odds, acciaccaturas, mordents and other ornaments. We will briefly explore some of the dance forms that are so common in Celtic music e.g. reels, hornpipes, etc. We will learn to play a specially arranged piece and perform it convincingly in parts.

To benefit fully from this workshops you will need some understanding of how to read tab. Please bring along a ukulele (soprano, concert, or tenor), preferably with standard gCEA re-entrant (high G) tuning. Completely revamped for 2016.

Level 3-4 (Intermediate to Advanced)

PLEASE NOTE This class can also be taught as an Intermediate (level 3) workshop.


Most ukulele players want to be able to do the triplet strum, but everyone seems to teach it differently. That’s because there are lots of different ways of doing triplets. In this class we will be exploring several different ways of doing three-note strumming effects. We will be finding out that the finger we use in our right hand has a major effect on the strum. We will also delve into the mysteries of syncopation.

Level 2 or 3 (Advanced Beginner or Intermediate)


A lot of players believe that all the left hand has to do is hold down a chord and change to the next chord at the correct place. In this workshop you will look at how to add lots of interest to your playing just by adding a few extra techniques and effects with your left hand. Amongst other things we will look at hammer-ons, runs, accents, muting and ornaments to our basic chords. In other words, you will learn to decorate your music.

Level 2-3 (Intermediate)


This aim of this workshop is to learn the techniques of playing in a claw-hammer style. It can be taught at several levels, from the absolute basics to the use of much more complex skills including slides, pull-offs, hammer-ons, chromatic runs and blues notes. We will be using a number of typical tunes that work well with this way of playing. At the more advanced levels we will be learning how to turn more or less any tune into an authentic-sounding claw-hammer piece. A high G, re-entrant instrument will work best with this class.

Level 1, 2 or 3 (Beginner or Intermediate)


Have you ever wondered why you are playing a song just the same way everyone else is? Have you ever thought about playing a song a radically different way? Have you ever considered why you aren’t making as much progress as you would like? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then this may be the workshops for you. We will explore ways of making your music more interesting, exciting and different. It won’t always be by making things more complicated either. We will look at unusual fingerpicking techniques, the value of silence and simplicity in music, how many fingers to use when strumming, how to get a better tone, when to turn down the volume and many more things.

Level 3 (Intermediate)


This is a brand new 2 part workshop for Advanced players. What are the characteristic of an Irish jig? We shall explore this question by playing two contrasting, specially arranged jigs. We shall, of course, learn about the techniques needed to play them. We will study in some detail how to play in campanella voicing to give that beautiful harp-like (bell-like) sound to the performance. Over the two sessions we will try to bring at least one of the jigs up to performance standard.

To really get the most out of this class you will need to at least some understanding of conventional music and be able to play from tab (even if you do it slowly). Come to the class with a wooden ukulele in gCEA re-entrant (high G) tuning. NEW FOR 2016.

Level 4 (Advanced)

PLEASE NOTE This class can also be taught as a one session workshop.


The aim of this workshop is to teach the skills that will allow you to play songs without having to constantly look at chord sheets.  A lot of new players don’t feel comfortable unless they have the chords in front of them. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just play along with others and work out what to play without having to ask for “tabs”? In this workshop that is exactly what you will start to learn. You will learn to “feel” where the chords change and, when they do, what chord you should play next. And you actually will be playing with your eyes shut for some of the time. To get the most out of this class you will need to be able to play confidently the main chords in the keys of C, F and G. You will also need to be able to strum simply, but with confidence.

Level 1-2 (Advanced Beginner)


In this workshop you will find out why it is often better to play fewer notes and simpler strums on the ukulele. You will discover how to play songs more simply, but much more musically. You will learn how to put contrasts into your playing by changing volume, tone, and complexity within the song. You will practise simple techniques that you may not have tried yet. We will explore ways of performing with others where everyone plays something different. During this workshop we will be playing a number of well-known songs, all in the key of F. To benefit fully from this class you will need to already be able to strum at least the chords of F, Gm, Am, Bb, C and Dm. Come to the class with any wooden ukulele in C tuning.

Level 1-2 (Advanced Beginner)


The aim of this Intermediate workshop is to learn ways of effectively starting and ending songs when performing them. We will find that it so important to be able to make a song sound like it has actually started. Also to learn different ways of ending the song so that listeners are left with a good impression of your performance. We will also examine ways of adding one or more instrumental sections within the song. Those attending this class will be expected to be able to play confidently all the main chords in the most common keys (C, F and G) and to be able to strum confidently. Come to the class with any wooden ukulele.

Level 2-3 (Intermediate)


This class will focus on learning how to listen to what is going on in a song. We will find ways of working out which chords we might be hearing in a particular key and how and when those chords change. This class will be practical and we will doing a lot more playing than learning musical theory. However, at the end of the workshop you should have a much better understanding of how to work out a song for yourself and play it without the chord sheet. Come to the class with any wooden uke.

Level 2 (Advanced Beginner)


Do you want to perform a song exactly the way everybody else does it? Do you think it is a good idea to try to copy the original artist and attempt to sound just like the record?  Do you really want to be the same as everybody else? If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, then dare to be different. That’s what professional performers do when they do a cover of someone else’s song. They need to be different or what’s the point? In this class we will look at ways of making the song your own. Those attending are expected to know the main chords in the most often use keys and have some understanding of the different ways of playing them. Come to the class with any wooden uke.

Level 2-3 (Intermediate)


In this workshop we look at the chords, melody and structure of a well-known tune and examine ways of playing it in different styles. These styles will include claw-hammer, fingerpicked, campanella, chord/melody, strummed and flatpicked. We will also attempt to determine just how it should be played by considering such things as tempo, mood, dynamics, texture and complexity. Those attending this class are expected to have a good understanding of chords and melody and have some experience playing instrumentally from TAB. Come to the class with a wooden soprano, concert or tenor uke, preferably in re-entrant (high G) tuning.

Level 3-4 (Intermediate to Advanced)


Details of this workshop to follow.

Level 2 (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate)


You are attending a festival and you have been asked to lead, or take part in, a jam session. There is no song book and those attending are from far and wide. What do you do? How do you include everyone? Do you have the confidence to take part in this sort of jam session? These are questions we will attempt to answer in this very practical class.

Level 3 (Intermediate)


Details of this workshop to follow. NEW FOR 2017

Level 4 (Advanced)


Details of this workshop to follow. NEW FOR 2017

Level 3 (Intermediate)