Welcome to Ukulelear

Back in 2005 I brought a Roy Smeck ukulele to school. Kids were intrigued and wanted to try to play it themselves. The sound was pretty cool with just a few simple chords. Within a few weeks kids had bought their own Mahalo ukes and started to really enjoy playing.

Since that first ukulele group the Cal-Mum Uke club has had about forty students join-up every year. It has been a joy to teach in a school that is filled with the plinkety-plunk of the uke music.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neil Armstrong the Ukulele Player

Without the amazing photographs by journalist Don Blair, the world may never have known that a ukulele was present at the moment these brave men, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin returned to Earth. As a kid growing up in the mid-70s I was part of the generation that had the beauty and fun of the ukulele stolen from us. Had I known of these pictures, I would have had a much different feeling about the little instrument. I am happy to be able to play and enjoy my ukulele today, but I'm a bit saddened to think of the fun I could have had as a kid pretending to be an astronaut with a uke.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Well the new year has come and I find that I'm still in a bit of a panic trying to get New York State curriculum covered while also having time to work with students on their ukulele skills. My skills have fallen by the wayside as the year has progressed and that is a shame.
So, anyway, the song de jure is Hey Soul Sister. It's the kind of song you either love or hate - thank goodness I love this tune or i would be in a bad way. Here are a couple of my students having a go at recording this during their lunch break: