Ukulele Workshop: Songs of 1920s and 30s Sunday, Nov. 2 2014

  Join Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret for a a free ukulele lesson and workshop Sunday, Nov 2 at the Bozeman Public Library from 1-3:00 pm

1pm-1:30pm: Beginner Crash Course

A 30-minute crash course for first-time beginners. (NOTE: This will be the EXACT SAME crash course as last time, so if you came last time, you may not want to attend again. It is for first-time-ever players to learn basic strumming and fingering for a few easy chords.)

1:30-2:00: WORKSHOP: Songs of the 1920s and 30s with Geoff Gamble

Guest presenter Geoff Gamble will lead a workshop for more experienced players featuring songs from the 1920s and 30s. He will demonstrate some barre chords and focus on the ukulele sound that was wildly popular throughout the jazz age. If you have mastered C, G, F etc., want to learn a few new chords, and are ready for something new, this is for you!
For those who like to get a jump on the chords, attached are PDFs of two songs that Geoff plans to teach.
And here are some videos to help you learn the tune!
–Lillian Roth sings “Ain’t She Sweet” circa 1933:
–The classic Mama Cass rendition of the 1935 song “Dream a Little Dream of Me”
2:00-3:00 Play-Along Time
As time allows, after the workshop, players of all levels can join in a casual ukulele play-along.
We will focus mostly on oldies. Most will feature pretty easy chords!

A few last notes:
Song sheets with chord charts will be provided! All are welcome!
Those who don’t have a ukulele can reserve a loaner for a suggested donation of $5. (Submit the contact form below to reserve)
Future First Sunday Ukulele session times and locations will be announced soon! We’re working on a holiday caroling event in early December. Details to come!


Top Five Ukulele Song Sites

The most fun way to learn ukulele is to play songs that you like! Here are a few of my favorite  resources.

Sites with ukulele chords to songs:

Lots more songs with chords:

  • ULTIMATE GUITAR  has a zillion songs with lyrics and chords (They’re user-submitted so sometimes they’re not quite right, so pick the ones with top reviews. Usually they’re pretty good!) If ukulele charts aren’t available for a song, you can always look them up, and you can also transpose to a different key, for ease of singing or playing.

Uke chords:

Transposing tools:

Of course there are lots of other resources available on the web. These just happen to be a few that I’ve found especially enjoyable.

Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret Songbooks: I haven’t been very organized about how I post songs from our own events — they’re kind of sprinkled here and there throughout the blog. But here are links to some of our most popular songbooks from past events:

  1. Hawaiian Songs with Mark  (PDF)
  2. Power Ballads (PDF)
  3. Beginner Blues (PDF)
  4. Valentine Songs 2014 (PDF)
  5. Love & Tragedy Songbook 2013 (PDF)
  6. Holiday Songs (PDF)
  7. Halloween Songs
  8. “Cowboys and Aliens” songbook (PDF)
  9. Songs to Chill By (various) (horizontal PDF)
  10. Beginner Ukulele Class #1 (PDF)




First Sunday Ukulele group starts in October

Ukulele-artFirst Sunday ukulele group to meet at library starting Oct. 5 2014

This year, the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret will host a free “First Sunday” ukulele lesson and play-along series.

Each month, we’ll offer a 30 minute crash course, introduce a few new intermediate level songs, and have a fun play-along with familiar songs all can join in on.

The series starts Sunday, Oct. 5 from 1-3pm at the Bozeman Public Library.

Here’s how we envision it going:

1pm-1:30pm: Quickie 30-minute crash course for beginners.

1:30pm-2ish: All levels will work on a few new songs together as a group.

2ish-3pm: We’ll all play some familiar and fun songs together!

As always, Ukulele players of all experience levels are invited to bring a ukulele and join the fun. Song sheets with chord charts will be provided.

If you don’t have a ukulele, you can reserve a loaner. (Our suggested donation of $5 to borrow a ukulele is optional!)

Subsequent First Sunday Ukulele times and locations will be announced on Facebook, via the Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret email list, and on our online calendar.

For more information, to get on the email list, or to reserve a loaner ukulele, please submit the contact form below.

Ukulele Picnic Pics – 2014

Well, we up and did it. Bozeman Ukulele Picnic 2014 is a wrap.

Thanks everybody for coming out, and special thanks to David (photos+infrastructure) Shawna (lemonade+flowers), Mark G, Mark. S. and Joe (play-along help).
Thanks also to all who came, brought goodies and entertained us with open mic songs — especially our visitors who drove all the way from Big Timber, Ennis, Lewistown and Butte! It was great to meet you and hear you play.

I hope everybody had a good time!

Bozeman Ukulele Picnic Sunday, Aug. 17 2014


The date is set! Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret will host its 2014 Summer Ukulele Picnic at Lindley Park Pavilion (in Lindley Park) from 3:30-10 pm on Sunday, August 17. A beginning ukulele lesson is offered from 3:30-5pm. All are welcome to join us for a no-host picnic, ukulele jam and play-along at 6:00 pm.


Lindley Park occupies the 900 block of E. Main in Bozeman. It’s not far past the library as you are heading East out of town. There is a parking area in the park, at the top of the hill as you enter the park from Main. The pavilion is located to the left (East) side of the parking area, north of the playground equipment. It’s pretty easy to find. Watch for signs!

3:30 pm UKULELE CRASH COURSE: If you don’t play the ukulele but want to learn, we’ll offer a free BEGINNER crash course to get you up and running. Registration for the lesson is closed (as of 1pm Aug. 17) but walk-ins are welcome–Just understand that we have a limited number of lesson materials and loaner ukuleles. The lesson is for BEGINNERS who have never played before. It is geared for a mixed age group, but is likely too fast-paced for children under 8 years old.

6:00 pm PICNIC, JAM and PLAY-ALONG: Bring your ukulele, your picnic dinner and “play-along-able” song(s) to share or perform (if you like). Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret will provide ice cream, lemonade and song sheets for some ukulele tunes that we can all play along on. We’re prepared to serve about 30, so if more show up, we’ll improvise and share!

8:00 pm Sunset Flash Mob? Depending on how things go, it might be fun to walk over to Peet’s Hill and salute the sunset with a ukulele tune. We’ll see!

Other details: Beer/wine are allowed, but moderation is strongly encouraged. Dogs on leash are allowed in the park, but they can be pretty distracting, so you’re encouraged to leave them home. Since we’re not sure how much seating we’ll have or need, it might be a good idea to throw a lawn chair and a music stand in your rig if you have them handy!

GET IN THE KNOW: Join the Ukulele Picnic Facebook Event or ask to be added to our mailing list for updates about this and other events!

Playin the Montana 4-H Congress blues

On July 9 and 10 Bozeman Ukulele Cabaret gave a ukulele crash course to 35 teens and a few chaperones during Montana 4-H congress. It was amazing how fast they learned! Most of these kids went from never having touched a ukulele to playing 4-chord songs like “Johnny Be Goode” and “Dynamite” all within within a couple of hours.

We started out with rhythm and rhyming games and before the workshop was over, all could play C, Am7, C7, G7, F, G and Am. We even had time to break into groups to write and perform original versions of “The 4-H Congress Blues.”

Volunteers Susan Johnston and Debra Waggener helped keep ukuleles tuned and keep fingers untangled (Also, Debra took these great pictures during Wednesday afternoon’s workshop!) With 17 students per session (a few brought their own ukes) we leaned on our ukulele community to lend ukuleles.

Thanks Mark G., Susan J., Geoff G., Debra W., Shawna L., Catey L, Wren G. and Mike G. for letting these kids use your ukulele! (And thanks to all who have paid for lessons or given tips/donations, the funds from which helped me buy six ukuleles to use as loaners and rentals.) And thanks, Montana 4-H for inviting us. We had a great time!

Here is the curriculum I used, in case you took the workshop and want to review it, or teach someone else. Yes Uke Can 4-H Lesson

Oldies Singalong at the Rest Home

I will be leading a ukulele-accompanied oldies sing-along for residents of the Gallatin Rest Home in their activities room.

This on an ongoing/adhoc basis. Basically, alternating Mondays at 3 at Gallatin Rest Home (1221 Durston, Bozeman) but check the B.U.C. event calendar to make sure we’re confirmed. Anyone who wants to play along (or even just sing) is welcome to participate.

We sit at tables with the residents so that everyone feels like part of the singalong and it’s not like a performance. It’s very low-key and casual.

Just bring your ukulele and show up a few minutes before 3pm. I have a couple extra song binders, but if you want to  e prepared, you can print you own from the PDFs below. (There are no practices. It’s fine just to sing along on any songs that are beyond your playing level, but most of them are pretty easy!)

Here is a PDF of 20 songs (most gleaned from other sites): Rest Home Singalong and some additional songs we’ve added: Rest Home binder 3

If you have songs to add to the list, feel free to suggest them.

So you want to chuck, chunk, and chicka…

At our recent Hawaiian lesson, several people asked, “How exactly do you do that “chucka” thing? Can you slow it down?”

That percussive chucky strumming sound that you hear in a lot of ukulele songs can be done either with your chording hand or your strumming hand. To “chuck” with your left hand, you just lift the chord partially, so the strings don’t ring and instead produce a deadened or muted sound. (You may be familiar with this effect, because it’s easy to do it unintentionally!) However, this only works if there are no open strings in the chord.

That’s why most players do the “chuck” thing by deadening the strings with the palm of their strumming hand. That may sound difficult, but it’s fun and not too hard to learn!

Stuart Fuchs does a great job of showing how to do it in this clear, step-by-step video. If you get out your uke and play along with him, you’ll be chucking within 10 minutes.

After you get the hang of it, you can chuck along with any song and mix up strums and chucks to create rhythms.

In this Hawaiian song, Mark Sinclair modifies a simple down-up down-up shuffle to something more like up-up-chuck-rest,” but you could do down-up-chuck-up” and get a similar sound.

In this cover of “I’m on Fire,” Mark is doing something along the lines of “down, chuck-up, down-up, chuck-up.”

If you can’t keep up at first, pause the video and do the strumming slowly until you feel confident. (Here’s a sheet with chord diagrams for I’m On Fire)


Sing along in Hawaiian with Mark!

At our Hawaiian ukulele class, Mark Sinclair taught us several authentic songs.
He was kind enough to record videos of the songs for us to practice along with so we’ll be (kind of) ready to join him on a few Hawaiian songs at our next Ukulele Jam (Sunday, May 18).

So far we have added subtitles with lyrics and chords to Ka Pua U’i:

The other songs are at our new Bozeman Ukes YouTube Channel.

Chord sheets for the Hawaiian Songs that Mark taught us are here in PDF form: Hawaiian Songs May 2014 .


Hawaiian Ukulele with Mark Sinclair – May 2014

May-Ukulele-Jam-2014-V Our friend Mark Sinclair (AKA Baker Mark) will host May’s ukulele jam! Yay!

When Mark was a school teacher in Hawaii, he taught his students traditional Hawaiian songs and techniques. Now, we’re in for the good fortune of learning some Hawaiian songs straight from the Hawaiian’s mouth. — A perfect way to greet the month of May!

May is our last Ukulele Pizza Jam before summer hiatus, so don’t miss out!

PREVIEW the Hawaiian songs on video HERE.

DOWNLOAD a practice PDF of the Hawaiian Songs May 2014

WHERE: Colombo’s Pizza & Pasta (back room)
This is low key and fun, so don’t be shy! Bring a fun song to perform or lead, or just bring your uke and strum along. Mark will lead us on a few Hawaiian songs, then it’s open mic and jam. Let’s play some songs to say goodbye to winter and hello spring! Bring any song you like for the jam/open mic. (It doesn’t have to be Hawaiian.) Come as early as you like to order pizza and beverages.

Don’t have a ukulele?

You can now rent one from B.U.C. during the session for a suggested donation of $5. (The money goes to buy more ukuleles for future use in classrooms and community enrichment efforts.) If you would like to attend, but don’t have a ukulele, please send a note via the contact form below to reserve one. (If you don’t have $ for a donation, that’s OK, it’s just a suggestion.)



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