With a few small corrections, the 2018 edition of COLOR-ALONG UKULELE is in stock on my website and at Ukulele Magazine’s store! This is a fun method book designed to be used by ALL-AGES. If you are an adult, you will enjoy the step-by-step lessons and familiar songs. If you are working with kids, this is a handy guide to get them going and keep them strumming, complete with a page of helpful classroom hints. Great for kid’s groups, classrooms, families and individuals!
Tunes start simple, with one chord songs that even the most newbie players can successfully strum. Every new song teaches a lesson and draws on a world of traditions, from Scottish, Mexican, German and American folk traditions. There’s even a song in Hawaiian at the very end!
LEARN BY EAR
A companion soundtrack accompanies this book, and it’s FREE! These recordings were created so that you can listen, learn and play along, and are extended with fun additional verses so that players can get their groove on. If you are a teacher, the long playing tunes allow you lead a class in a musical game, or let students listen while they tune up. Or, to the point, COLOR-ALONG to the songs as you learn them!
Kids too young to play can learn the songs by ear, and basic music concepts by listening. Families can learn together. It’s fun for all ages.
The ink is drying and it looks like I will be picking up our newly-minted copies of COLOR-ALONG UKULELE this Saturday. How prescient that we have a show booked for the NEXT DAY at McCabes. Although I hadn’t really planned it that way, it looks like we will be having an impromptu release party!
The hills are alive! Cover image by El Rey
We will be singing songs featured in the book, as well as playing on the world’s largest twister mat and dancing up a storm in California’s coolest under-age mosh pit.
Books will be available and I’d love to sign a copy for you or someone on your holiday shopping list after the show.
As if “musician” and “actor” weren’t enough improvident career choices I can now add “writer”. What’s next? Perhaps I will take up landscape painting! Epic poetry! Middle-aged ballet! Or maybe I’ll go back to school and finish a degree … in art history.
me and my big mouth
Ukulele Magazine is the first prosecution witness to the newsstand with two pieces of evidence: a short article I wrote for them and an ad for our forthcoming book, COLOR-ALONG UKULELE. Sometime soon Stories of Music will corroborate the evidence, so I admit my guilt and accept the consequences.
I am a little behind on my website update, but very soon there will be a page, a widget, a button a link… all that. For now, if you want to order you can send me a message here and I will see it through.
April 1, 8 PM we will raise a glass and toast all the people who have kicked in to make sure COLOR-ALONG Ukulele comes into being!
Do I wish I could do this without crowd funding? Yes! But… I am not saying it is a bad thing. I learn so much about the art of asking, and every time I ask, I clarify what it is I really want to do.
I want to share music, and see the positive effects it has on people’s lives. All ages of people- in as many possible places and situations as I can reach. I want to see people connect. I am powerless to do more than any other voter in the grand scheme of the world. I am trapped in the consuming cycle of the society I was fortunate enough to be born into.
I don’t see myself going Ted Kozynsky or Mother Theresa, but I do feel like I am doing what I can to make a difference: teach, laugh, play, share. That’s what I got, and I am grateful to be recieving the validation and support I need to move forward with my work.
If you have been waiting for the final hours… they have come!
After I empty that glass in your honor I will probably be even more maudlin than usual, so I will stay away from the computer.
49: The first perfect square where the digits are perfect squares. The nickname for plutonium. The year associated with the California Gold Rush. San Francisco’s football team. The number of days Siddhartha spent meditating. The number appearing in the title of my favorite (and perhaps the only accessible) Thomas Pynchon novel, The Crying of Lot 49.
And, as of 10:10 am March 4th, 2015– my age.
When I turned 40 I suddenly realized how young I was. Now, I realize I am not so young. I rejoice to be coming into a perfect number at the same time that our cultural zeitgeist begins to reject its distaste for maturity. At the crest of “the hill” there is a heckofa view. You can see the horizon at either end: the vantage point of middle age. It is clarifying.
I know who I am, I know where I am going and where I want to go. I know what I want to do and I know how to do it, but I am still ready and able to learn (witness: I am dutifully removing all my double-spaces-after-periods). I understand how much more time I may have (if I am lucky), and I hold each of those days dear.
I am proud to pass this milestone with my sleeves rolled up. On this day I will sing with 7 classes of preschoolers at two different schools, and be rewarded by wet-nosed hugs more precious than gold and more virulent than an ICU. I will spend at least 4 hours driving my car back and forth across LA in the service of my children, and I will enjoy their company and hear their stories on the drive and be glad for every hour-per-mile we creep. My morning will start with making breakfast and packing lunches and my day will end with doing dishes– a testament to our wealth and good fortune.
…And I will excitedly check on our Kickstarter project as it rapidly nears it’s funding goal, and know that maybe the crazy idea I have of connecting through music isn’t quite so crazy after all. In fact, it is the best birthday present there is!
As you may know I am a BIG fan of music’s magical power to bring people together. The songs we know connect us to people and places far and near. Starting with the bond of lullaby and ending with the bagpipe’s requiem, music is with us all our lives. I could go on and on… in fact, I do!
Family style! Photo by Jill Richards
I did just the other day to October Crifasi, who is writing an article for Ukulele Magazine about ukulele for kids (that’s the same magazine which had me on their cover last spring!). We talked, among other things, about family music- how great it is to teach parents and kids together. The bond it creates within the family, the service it does for both parent and child. You can read about it in Ukulele Magazine’s next issue (unless they decide to not print it- you never know).
Or you can come and live the experience! I have two series classes for families starting up: A four-Saturday session starting February 28th at 10:30 am at Uspace– the new downtown LA ukulele shop-school-venue-cafe located in the Japanese American Cultural Center. (I am also working on a week long kid’s ukulele summer camp there. More on that soon)
And a 3-Saturday 10:30 am series at McCabes in Santa Monica starting March 28th.
I am also hard at work on a book! If you have taken a class with me before you have probably taken home at least one of my handouts. I have been illustrating my lessons, and when I teach an all-ages class I always have Art Stix or crayons on hand to give the kids who get antsy mid lesson. They can do some coloring while the adults keep playing. They make their own songbooks, and by the end of a semester or session they have.. a bunch of sheets of paper that all get lost.
So- I decided it’s time to get it together! Our current project is a ukulele method book with illustrations and companion recordings. Copies will be available to pre-order through Kickstarter soon. You will be hearing all about that once the campaign is launched! The art by El Rey is FANTASTIC! here is a sneak peek at the cover-
So much going on! So many festivals coming up, concerts for families… I have not had a chance to post photos from all the great things that have just happened- like the trip to Mexico…. AMAZING! If I can get the time together to make it back to the computer I will be popping some pictures up here as well as updating our schedule for the spring. So many great opportunities to share music! How lucky are we?