We offer Ukulele lessons for Hamilton, Dundas, Burlington, Ancaster!

Our students are a great group of people. Here’s one of our groups were members are very friendly and welcoming to all new students. We just couldn’t help serenading this rabbit at the 2009 International Ukulele Ceilidh ("Kay-Lee") in Nova Scotia. The Ceilidh is held every two years and is a great place to pick up some new learning ideas from the ukulele professionals.
Over the years, we have perfected our own unique, style of teaching. This group of String Along students we’re misbehaving at the 2009 Nova Scotia Ceilidh and we had to put them out to sea, however, they found their way back.  They didn’t hold it against us.  They’re all still in our club!

Lessons:
String Along Ukulele is run by Elayne and Norm Ruplen. We have been teaching adults to play the ukulele since the early 1970s in the Hamilton, Dundas, Ancaster and Burlington areas of Ontario, Canada. Our goal is to teach the ukulele as a fun instrument to be played for the sheer delight of singing and jamming with a group of people. However, our structured levels of lessons allow our students to progress at their desired pace. Here is a general outline that gives an overview of what we teach in the three levels.  These skills in the various levels have been taught to us by the best ukulele teachers in the world through our attendance at numerous ukulele festivals and workshops held in Portland Oregon, as well as Halifax and Liverpool Nova Scotia.  We have taken many ukulele workshops from the  best in the world including: 

Chalmers Doane, James Hill, Lyle Ritz, Ralph Shaw, John King, Lil’ Rev, The Canote Brothers, Joel Echhaus, Del Ray, Gerald Ross, Peter Luongo, Ken Middleton, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Dan Scanlan, Manitoba Hal, Victoria Vox, Brooke Adams, Aaron Keim, Byron Yasui, Mark Spanky (Guerrira), Gordon Mayer (of Mya-Moe Ukuleles), James Clem, Jim D’Ville, Piper Heisig, Casey MacGill and Kimo Hussey.

This is a general outline of our structured courses:

Level One Beginner:   This class is taught by Beth Callowhill.  It is for people brand new to the instrument and will cover the basics.  Emphasis is on how to hold, 2 basic strums, 6 or 7 introductory chords, drill on chord progressions, the C scale and some beginning songs.  Whenever you feel that these skills are mastered, you can choose to move mid-course  into the intermediate group.

Level Two Intermediate:  This class is taught by Elayne and Norm.  It is for people who are comfortable with the basics and are ready to begin learning new chords, songs, techniques and strums, folk and soft picking and an introduction to reading TAB.   It is taught at a relaxed pace and the emphasis is on learning new material from our new songbook which include favourites from all the decades, as well as reviewing songs and skills of the music from past years.  There is lots of drill and levels of skills ie. “If you can do this…then try doing this.”  In this way, you will move forward at a comfortable and stress-free pace.  This class is for people who love to play, but like to learn new material slowly.  Also, this year we are teaching some very simple parts to some songs to perform as arrangements whenever we are together with the advanced players.

Level Three Advanced:  This class is taught by Elayne and Norm.  It is for people who want to continue on a learning curve to acquire more advanced technique.   There is lots of review in order to learn to APPLY skills that have already been learned, ie. harder chords and chord sequences and drill on hard spots in various old and new songs, damping, rolls, slides, advanced strums, chord substitutions, bar chords, beginnings, endings, licks, rocking chords, folk-picking, soft-picking etc.  We are using our new book of songs to continue applying old and new skills, but also use old songs.  As in the intermediate group, there are levels of skills…”If you can do this, then try doing this.”

A part of the lessons this year, is to take an old or new song, review and consolidate, add or review some simple picking parts, an intro and ending, perhaps some harmony singing and then go over it until it is thoroughly learned and can be performed.  In other words…polish up songs that we have been playing for a few years.

As well, for the “Eager Beavers”, we hold additional advanced uke workshops throughout the year, such as:

Advanced note-reading / picking using TAB:  In this class, we will teach how to pick intermediate tunes using TABLATURE, which will open up so many new playing possibilities for you on your uke.  We’ll also play some simple part arrangements. This course would be for those interested in doing more picking and learning musical arrangements to play together as a small combo, each taking various parts. 

Beginning solo playing, melody / harmony together:  This summer, some members of our group learned how to do this and they were all very successful!  Once again, it opens up wonderful new possibilities for you and your uke.

Songs and bluegrass picking patterns for the banjolele:  This is for those people who have purchased a banjolele, or plan to, and want to learn “banjolele – specific” songs and techniques.

 

We do have "Open Mic" at our regional Golden Horseshoe Jug and Jams to express stage skills, but the main focus of the String Along Ukulele Club is to play along with a group of ukulele players for fun and to share the comradery as well as learn skills at your own level.

You will find that learning the ukulele requires no background musical knowledge. We read songs with the chords written over top of the words, so all you have to do is gradually learn the chords. Many songs follow the same chord patterns, so learning is easy. Any necessary theory is taught incidentally.

There’s NO PRESSURE to “keep up with the Jones-es”. It’s all for fun and you can advance at your own comfort level.

This is what the uke should be all about – an easy, fun instrument for the masses. But, having said that, check out our “Media” page to see some outstanding ukulele performances by people who have taken the ukulele to the highest limit, such as James Hill and Jake Shimabukuro. Amazing!!

If you are interested in uke lessons, please use our "Contact Us" page. Let the adventure begin!
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