Sevillanas this Saturday!

The Weekend Ukulele Warriors series at McCabes continues this Saturday with a workshop teaching how to transfer a traditional spanish guitar form from guitar to ukulele.  It sounds sexy and difficult, but you’ll be surprised to discover how simple it is!Image

Daniel Ward, our resident flamenco, breaks down the melody and the strum into simple bite sized pieces.  And here’s a shocker- only 2 chords!  Come this Saturday at noon and pick up your own showstopper.

Next week we bring it back to basics with our Play the Ukulele in A Day workshop, designed for the absolute beginner.  If you are new to uke or new to music, this class is for you!  All ages welcome, kids under 8 require participating adult.

AND_ our lovely sponsor, Kala Ukulele has donated another Travel Tenor Uke for us to raffle off!  Your name goes in the hat every class you attend!  Come on down and be a winner in every way!


Kid’s Shows Ahead

concert series v2

This weekend the Sukey Jump Band is excited to be playing a new family music concert series in Venice CA.  There just is not enough of these events in LA!  The Ecole Fontaine at 1047 Abbott Kinney has a cool thing going- they are hosting family concerts with a drum circle afterwards lead by the Sandra Sandia, a performer known for sharing latin influenced music with LA Kids and adults for 20 years.

We are also excited to be partying with the Big Bunny over Easter Weekend at the LA Zoo.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday we will be doing shows in “The Treetops” at the zoo from 11 am to 3 pm.  There will be crafts, a Big Bunny and… ANIMALS, natch!

Hope to see you there!

Also this weekend- the Weekend Ukulele Warriors continues, with Daniel Ward teaching Sevillanas, traditional Spanish Guitar for the ukulele!


Surprise Guest Teacher: Douglas Reynolds

What a treat- Douglas is swinging through town next weekend and he’s going to teach the Weekend Ukulele Warrior’s March 22 class!  Noon, every Saturday at world-famous (in Los Angeles) McCabes Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, CA


If you are not familiar with him already, Douglas is the raconteur behind all things, which includes the Reno Ukulele Festival (Daniel and I are excited to be heading there for the first time next month), the California Ukulele Academy and the Old West Uke Train!  He’s also a great teacher and performer. So, If you can tune a uke and can “hear” your favorite songs in your head well enough to hum them to your dog, here’s what he has in store for you next Saturday:


Description:  First, I demonstrate a few exercises and techniques to build new brain-to-hand connections that will enable you to simultaneously play the chords and melody of any typical 1-4-5 pattern song, (the most common pattern found in ukulele music). Then we attack 2-3 well known tunes with the techniques. Finally I explain how to apply similar techniques to songs in other keys. You will leave with an understanding of how to add new musicality to your playing! …and with a handout to keep you on track.


Ukes strung with a low G will have extra melody notes available.  Come a little early if you want to switch over.


The quote, “Ain’t no money above the 5th fret,” has been attributed to Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash, Grandpa Jones, and many others. I don’t know who actually said it first, but we will adhere to its wisdom for this class.


THIS WEEK I am teaching a workshop on my favorite closed chord family, and will introduce you to the cheater’s IV chord and the do-wacka-do strum that can make you into a modulating rhythm machine!

The Lovely Lilly!

You never know who you are going to meet when you take (or teach) a class at McCabes.  Lilly came to Daniel’s Bossa Nova workshop last month, and may have passed out of our lives had she not WON THE KALA UKULELE!  I asked her a little about herself- and what a great musical story she had to share.  I wanted to pass it on to you.  We have serious designs on drafting her for the band now.

Ladies and gentlemen, LILLY (in her own words) AYCUD!

with her sleek new Kala Travel Tenor!

with her sleek new Kala Travel Tenor!

“I’ve been playing trumpet since the age of 12.  I moved to LA in 2003 from Virginia and have had the great opportunity to play trumpet with various artists and groups, most notably Ben E. King, Julian Casablancas (from the Strokes), and Matt Nathanson.  Currently, I sing and play trumpet, percussion, and ukulele with Mexican Alternative singer, Ceci Bastida. 

I got a degree in music education so I also teach general music and orchestra at a private elementary school here in Los Angeles. I enjoy learning how to play instruments.  At home, I have a piano, electric piano, trombone, flugelhorn, several trumpets, flute, theremin, guitars, bass, and drums, and a marching glockenspiel.  I’m obsessed with instruments! My students get my passion, so I have students, who, by the time they graduate in sixth grade, will know how to play 3 or 4 instruments.  I just had a 10th grader come back to play some double bass for my music classes today.  She sings and plays piano, clarinet, double bass, and bassoon.  I love that!

As far as the ukulele, I bought one two years ago because I wanted to make a recording of “Tonight You Belong to Me” for my future step-mother-in-law.  She loves that movie, The Jerk. I love how Bernadette Peters plays the trumpet at the end and Steve Martin, of course, plays the ukulele.  So, I went to McCabe’s and bought my first ukulele.  I taught myself how to play ukulele from watching Ukulele Underground videos and printing out songs from
I’ve started teaching ukulele at my school, too.  I have an after school ukulele club.  We just bought 6 Ohana sopranos so I can also teach some ukulele during school.  Everyone here thinks I’m the nutty uke lady, but the kids love it!
Last year, I went to Menucha Ukulele Camp in Oregon for a week-long workshop.  I was so impressed by the teachers there.  James Hill and Paul Hemmings really showed me the possibilities of using the ukulele as a solo instrument.  Last summer, I began taking private lessons with Abe Lagrimas.  He’s been showing me how to create chord melodies for jazz standards, improvise, and other cool things.  He’s so great!
Now, I am devoting way more time to the ukulele.  It is so different than the trumpet.  I really enjoy being able to sing and accompany myself.  I can entertain myself for hours and I can do it almost anywhere.  And now that I have a new travel ukulele, I really can take it anywhere and play!”
Thanks, Lilly!  And thanks Kala, for providing the instrument that helped bring us all together.  Learn more about Lilly at her website,
And please, come join the fun.  This Saturday I am teaching a tidy closed chord family which travels up the neck and gives players superpowers.  Lots of fun and singing, and you never know who you might sit next to!

KALA Winner!

Everyone's a winner!

Everyone’s a winner! Especially after taking Craig and Sarah’s class.

LILLY AYCUD- come on down (to McCabes to pick up your new instrument!)  Our very special guest Sarah Maisel drew your name from the month’s entries and you get to take home the prize.

Here is the schedule for the next four Saturdays- hope to see you there!

3/15  Modulating  the Bb family with Heidi Swedberg.  Learn a simple closed chord progression that can carry you up the fretboard.

3/22  Hawaiian Reggae with Daniel Ward  Learn a right hand strum from Jamacia to play with Hawaiian classics

3/29  The Butcher of Seville with Daniel Ward  Classic Spanish guitar Sevillanas for the 4 strings

4/5  Learn to play the Ukulele in a Day with Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward 

I am teaching next week, and will introduce players to a very tidy chord family which gives you superpowers- the ability to modulate, to chunk a great rhythm part and much much more!

Special thanks to KALA for providing the swell ukulele!


Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel this Saturday!

Great goings on at McCAbes this weekend- Fabulous guests for the Warriors and a new session of the all-ages ukulele series known as the UKUlear FAmily…

One of the best things about attending a ukulele festival is the friends you make.  Daniel and I are so glad to have met Sarah and Craig at the Wine Country Ukulele festival and at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat.  They are like our ukulele double date!  They are individually  great teachers and amazing players, and together they set the world on fire!


How lucky are we to have them BOTH teaching TOGETHER this week at McCabes’  Weekend Ukulele Warriors?!!  It will be a one-two punch.  Here’s what they have in store-

Craig Chee’s workshop:
Foundations 101
We will dive into many fun exercises to strengthen your fingers. These
will focus on coordination, speed, tone control and show how they are
implemented into more advanced techniques. This will push help push
you to that next level!

Sarah Maisel’s Workshop:
Life After the Third Fret
We all play in ukulele groups, and we all learn to play and strum the
same thing. In this class, we will focus on different ways to change
chords, so you can enhance the sound of the group. This is a great
class for all skill levels. Let’s
work together using substitution chords and possibly even chords up
the neck to make your group sound even better!


Sarah Maisel:
Sarah Maisel, hailed as the “Queen of Jazz Ukulele” by international
music critics, has taken the world by storm and strum. 2013 was quite
a milestone for Sarah as she found herself performing for the first
time overseas at the largest ukulele festivals in England and
Originally from Birmingham Alabama, Sarah studied classical violin for
10 years. After moving to San Diego, CA, she soon discovered the
ukulele (in 2006) and her new musical adventure began. Her first album
was recorded in 2010, and she has three albums to her credit. For
Sarah, the joy of the ukulele isn’t in just performing- she is an avid
teacher and loves to share her knowledge of the instrument with
everyone she meets. If you can’t make it to one of her many “hometown”
shows in San Diego, be sure to look for her at various ukulele
festivals around the US and globe!

Craig Chee:
Wanting to bring something to share on the mainland, Craig chose to
focus on the ukulele before leaving Hawai’i for college. Although
Craig had grown up playing the cello and piano, he wanted something
that gave a little more distinction of coming from the islands. Craig
has had the pleasure of studying under Jake Shimabukuro and Troy
Fernandez. Ever since then Craig has been trying to further experiment
with the ukulele in settings that aren’t typically associated with the
Craig collaborated with other great local musicians for his first
album and is continuing that tradition with the new album by including
friends familiar to the ukulele world including Aldrine Guerrero,
Aaron Nakamura (both from fame!), Sarah Maisel,
Ryan Imamura, Kahiwa Sebire, Ryo Montgomery and even more local
musicians from Eugene. From workshops to individual lessons, Craig has
been teaching throughout the past 4 years and couldn’t be happier.
Craig often remarks “if I’m not playing at any given moment, I hope to
be teaching!” Playing at local venues, to the Oregon Country Fair, to
ukulele festivals around the world, Craig hopes to continue to travel
and share his passion for the ukulele and expand on how people view
the instrument!

Come hang with the two cutest kids on the block!

Come hang with the two cutest kids on the block!

As usual, Saturday NOON at McCabes, 3101 W Pico Blvd, Santa Monica CA

We are also starting a new session of UKUlear Family at McCabes  this Saturday, March 8th.  4 Saturdays at 10:30 am.  This beginning class is fun for all ages (Kids under 8 require a participating adult) Adults without kids are welcome, too!