Port Townsend Ukulele Festival- Schedule and Class Descriptions


Thursday, April 13
Check in starts at 4pm at the Centrum office.
6pm – dinner
7:30pm – orientation in the Wheeler Theater

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
9:00 – 10:15am – First Class Session, choice of classes
10:45 – 12:00pm – Second Class Session, choice of classes
1:30 – 2:45pm – Third Class Session, choice of classes
3:15 – 4:15pm – Serendipity Hour
4:30 – 5:30pm – open mic
Evenings – public performances on Friday and Saturday; final party on Sunday!

Monday, April 17
8am – breakfast and goodbyes
9am – airport shuttle departs
11am – everyone out of housing



Notes: Baritone ukulele players – there will be some baritone (DGBE-tuning) classes; and some classes will combine standard ukulele tuning (high or low G) and baritone tuning DGBE. Read the offerings below:

Mississippi John Hurt for Ukulele – Del Rey
Intermediate-advanced fingerpickers, three-day class.

Learn to play ukulele versions of Richland Woman, Make Me A Pallet, and Monday Morning Blues in their original keys. Learn how to hear what chord positions John Hurt is playing from, and where those positions are found on the ukulele.

Papa Charlie Jackson for C tuned Ukulele – Del Rey

Charlie Jackson was born in 1887 and recorded on starting in 1924 on a banjo guitar. His music is full of influential motifs and his instrumental style works well for strummers or fingerpickers.
We’ll learn to play several of his songs, with each class being complete in itself – you can drop in or come to all three. Be completely comfortable with first position chords in both closed and open positions. By ear, no tab.

Introduction to 12-bar Blues – Daniel Ward
All levels, three day class builds on each day, but higher level players can drop in on day 2 or 3

Dig into the blues with an immersive approach to rhythm, easy lyrics and simple soloing. Players of all levels will benefit, as we break down how it all works. We will slowly move through easy chords and build groovy patterns that are used to “speak” the language of the blues. Lots of repetition and fun group interaction in this workshop.

The Art and Ritual of Practice – Daniel Ward
Level 2 and up. three day class – drop-ins OK but the material builds with each class

Using several methods and materials, we’ll focus on how to create and manage a great inner and outer space as you work on your music. By running through a daily ritual, we’ll build a way to practice that keeps working long after you’ve left the festival.

Big Little Songs: Rounds and Lullabies – Heidi Swedberg
Confident beginner and up, Drop in.

Soothe your soul and build your skills using short melodic pieces. This class explores tab reading, chord melody and ensemble playing techniques while building your song repertoire with beautiful pieces from around the world, including a lovely Ukrainian song.

Sing Your Strings: Using your uke to find vocal harmonies – Heidi Swedberg
All levels, Drop in.

Play and sing fun songs, including sea chanties, as you learn to use the strings of your instrument to guide your voice. Singing harmony is simpler than you may think. If you are a duo, in an ensemble or play with a group, this class will give you skills to explore and expand your musical experience.

Introduction to Playing Smeck Chord Melodies – Rachel Manke
Level 2-4, three-day class.

Roy Smeck, a master vaudevillian, arranged some fantastic chord melodies (using both chords and solo notes for a full song).  We’ll learn to play some!  We will start with a simple one and work our way up to play a couple of more complicated ones. Some right hand and other technique will be learned/applied along the way.  You should have knowledge of basic chords (and be able to change easily) and a confident strumming hand in order to get the most out of this class.

These Two P’s: – Rachel Manke
Level 1-3, drop-in.

This drop-in course has two topics:
1. Parody writing: learn how to write a comic parody of a song from the ground up. Amuse your friends!
2. Patter: learn how to write and deliver entertaining stage patter (stories) between your songs when you perform for an audience.

If the class group on any given day has a preference for one of the two topics, we’ll spend more time on that one.

Songwriting with Victoria Vox
All levels, three-day class, drop-ins welcome.

In this workshop, Victoria Vox (BM, Songwriting, Berklee ’00) will guide the melodies, chords, and ideas in your head into something tangible and unleash the creative songwriter within you. We’ll use popular song examples to analyze harmonic and melodic structure. Bring In Your WIPs (works in progress) to the workshop / class, even if it’s just a small bud of an idea! Through song analysis and crafted strategies, you’ll learn how to rewrite/edit, get out of a rut, make your current song stronger, find and fix any problem spots, play with rhythm, rhyming, and harmony, and learn which song structure is best suited for your title. It’s sometimes hard to self-critique your own song and find the thing that isn’t “working for you”. Victoria will offer constructive criticism and some real solutions!

I’ll Be at the Barre – Victoria Vox
Level 2-3, single class.

This will be a comprehensible “ice-breaker” into the world of Barre Chords. Guaranteed to be an enjoyable experience as we play with chords and chord qualities. Barre intimidation no more! We will end the class by playing Three Little Birds (Bob Marley) while using some barre chords, and even adding a melodic riff!

Introduction to Left Hand Movement – Victoria Vox
Level 2-4, single class.

Learn an instrumental Celtic-style song, “Ship Goes Down”, with chords and melody! Based off a C major scale, we’ll be using chord and non-chord tones – applied with the technique of strumming and plucking – which will outline the melody. We’ll also be using hammer-ons AND pull-offs as a left-hand technique. Music and tab will be provided. Techniques and concepts from this class can be applied to any song. It will change the way you play… forever!

Get in the Groove – Victoria Vox
Level 2-4, single class.

In this very hands-on class, we’ll play around with different rhythms and grooves. Over a very simple chord progression, we’ll work on loosening up the right hand for fun strums! The groove even starts before you play a note! We’ll play a simple tune in many different styles: Pop / Jazz / Ska / Swing / Blues / Reggae / Opera / Bluegrass, etc. This class is groovy,100% fun, and a bit of a strumming crash course!

How to Become a Smooth Operator – Bach: Cello Suite No. 1 in G major – Daniel Ho
Level 2-3 (confident beginner to intermediate), three-day class, drop-in also okay. A different section of the piece will be taught each day.

Central to Daniel’s fingerstyle sound is the delivery of smooth, connected melodies. Learn to play this beautiful piece in a legato style by applying the campanella technique, which is the use of bell-like tones. This is achieved by playing linear passages across adjacent strings. We will learn how campanella is put in motion to create this flowing ‘ukulele arrangement, and how it can make any melody sound more lyrical and full. Low G tuning is recommended.

Go For Baroque! Ensemble Class – Pachelbel’s Canon – Daniel Ho
Level 2-3 (confident beginner to intermediate), three-day class.

Ensemble playing which will utilize the full range of the ‘ukulele. As we learn to play Pachelbel’s Canon, Daniel will show how the sections of this chaconne – a piece based on a repeating chord progression – can be combined to create a spectacular ‘ukulele symphony! The result of this arrangement can possibly be a performance piece in the PT Uke Fest final party/open-mic if attendees feel ready to “go for broke.” : )
Low G string recommended.

The Artful Accompanist – Nikki Dee
Level 3-4, drop-in class.

An in-depth look at how singers and soloists approach their “role” in a duo, trio, or full band. By learning to carefully listen to and anticipate the musician(s) you are accompanying, you can spontaneously adapt your playing style to best complement their choices and shine right alongside them!

Using real-life examples and arrangements from her own bands, professional vocalist and ukuleleist Nikki Dee will show you how to add variety and interest to your accompaniments using different strumming techniques, rhythms/grooves, simple picking patterns, and musical dynamics. Each class will culminate in a fun-filled, group performance challenge incorporating all of the accompaniment skills learned that day.

Vocal F.I.T.-ness Workshop – Nikki Dee
All levels, 3-day class.

Join award-winning vocalist and 20-year veteran vocal coach Nikki Dee for an exclusive mini-masterclass based on her signature vocal coaching program, The Deeva Academy. This specially-tailored workshop will introduce key elements from her program’s F.I.T. Framework (Foundation, Integration, Technique) and will cover many basic principles of healthy singing, confident performance, and overall musicianship.

Though intended for ukulele players who love to sing and play, instruments will NOT be required during this class – just your amazing voice, a big bottle of water, and an open mind! (Smile optional.)

Folk Baritone Fingerpicking – Aaron Keim
Level 2-3, three-day class.

Join Aaron for three-finger style tunes for the baritone ukulele. Two traditional and one original, all three in different tunings! The tunes will be taught in tablature format, with lots of demonstration for “by ear” and visual learners.

Western Swing and Cowboy Jazz – Aaron Keim
All levels, drop-in class.

Join Aaron as we strum, sing and pick some of his favorite songs.  Western Swing has it all: great melodies, interesting chords, a danceable beat, cool string band instruments and cowboy hats.  This was the topic of Aaron’s master’s degree thesis, so you can expect some historical nerd talk too. Baritone ukes welcome.

Swing That Thing! – Adam Franklin
Level 2-4, three-day class.

This class will spend time on swing tunes in the hot style of the proto R&B vocal groups such as Cats And The Fiddle and The Spirits Of Swing. Both of these groups made use of a ‘tiple’ which is similar in size and pitch to a ukulele, making these arrangements great for uke! The class will look at the following; What makes a tune ‘swing’?, different strumming techniques, playing alternate chord voicings and easy ways to add melodic improvisation. Charts will be provided.

Bo’s Bananas! The Blues Style Of Bo Carter – Adam Franklin
Intermediate-advanced (maybe an intrepid beginner), drop-in.

Bo Carter was a terrific musician and had many risqué hits in the 1930’s. Although well known for these, Bo also recorded many blues, dance tunes and even romantic songs! The class will start by looking at the basic chord structure before picking the rhythm and melody, making these tunes great for solo or group playing. This class will take a tune a day, songs covered will be chosen from;  I Get The Blues, Beans, Banana In Your Fruit Basket, Sorry Feeling Blues, Twist It Babe and Dinner Blues.

California Dreamin’ – Brook Adams
Intermediate-advanced, drop in.

Pop music of the 60s on ukulele. Some simple instrumentals, some duets, and of course we’re gonna sing. We’ll play Herb Alpert, Mamas and the Papas, Tom Jones. Country Soul and Rock n’ Roll. Baritone ukes welcome.

Slow Chord Melody: – Brook Adams
Intermediate-advanced, drop-in.

Solo instrumentals! So satisfying to play, but often challenging. In this class we’ll learn classic tunes whose slow tempos make them easier to play. We’ll learn how to keep the rhythm going as we play single notes, how to play double stops, and a few chord variations to create an audio-illusion of fullness. You may ask, “Can I bring my baritone and pet iguana?” The answer is “Yes!”

Clawhammer Uke Workshop – Jere Canote
A complete overview of the clawhammer technique on the ukulele. Requires a uke with a high g fourth string. Drop in class, pick your skill level!

Friday – Beginning (the bum-diddy rhythm, basic skills.)

Saturday – Intermediate (melodic skills, hammer-ons, pull-offs, simple arrangements.)

Sunday – Advanced (harder arrangements, up the neck chords and melodies, alternate tunings.)

Canote  Brother’s Band – Jere and Greg Canote
All levels, drop-in class.

Come sing and play your heart out on some of our favorite songs! From Tin Pan Alley, and the early days of recorded music. Songs of love, humor, and rural living!  Song sheets and playing tips provided.