March 26-30, 2018
2018 Registration will open in the fall.
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Do you love the ukulele? Want to play and learn with the best? Then the Menucha Ukulele Band Camp is for you. Four nights and three days of intense fun, ukulele instruction, and merry music-making within the structure of a band, led by some of the ukulele world’s finest band masters.
Each morning begins with a short singing session to warm up our voices and a third session is offered each day in extra-curricular musical skills – acoustic bass, singing, accordion, improvising, claw-hammer technique, etc. There will also be time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Menucha, and get to know your fellow students in evening entertainment, jam sessions and open mic.
Band Camp is truly a unique and wonderful experience, and registrations are limited to help provide an intimate and in depth educational experience. It’s also a lot of fun. Our goal is to provide you with exciting challenges by learning to be in a band, playing together and taking risks. This can happen more easily if you have a solid foundation. Click the “FAQ” tab below for more information about Ukulele Band Camp.
2018 Faculty will be announced soon!
2017 Additional Faculty: Nova Karina Devonie and Matt Weiner
2017 Artistic Director: Marianne Brogan, Portland Ukulele Association
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Ukulele Band Camp Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What skill levels are required for camp?
If you are wondering if this camp is for you, please read on. Band Camp is offered for the advanced-beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. The word “Beginner” covers a lot of ground, and the faculty recognize that there will be a range of skills in class and usually provide different parts to accommodate the students. Most teachers expect that the students know more than a few chords, and are capable of changing chords smoothly and in rhythm. We have devised an exercise to help you evaluate what you might want to work on before camp so you get the most our of your musical experience. Try the following exercise in three different keys. Use a metronome!
At 60 beats per minute, play each chord four times (four beats per chord). Play the chords without diagrams, that is, by heart.
C – Am – F – G7 – C
It should take 20 seconds. Try it in this key as well:
G – Em – C – D7 – G
Extra Credit: F – Dm – Bb – C7 – F
If you can do this, then you will get the most out of your classroom experience! You might have difficulty making the chord sound beautiful, even though you know how to play it (B-flat anyone?). Not to worry – the teachers can help you with that.
If you need to look up any of the chords, then you know what you may want to work on before the camp starts.
For more help deciding what level you’ve reached, please click here for our Uke Class Levels page.
Q: I understand that private lodging gets booked fast.
You’re right – register early and snag one of these highly sought-after accommodations. There are 9 available.
Q: Tell me about semi-private: can I specify the person I share with?
Some members of my Uke group may be coming, so perhaps we could room with them if we can’t get private.
Menucha has several semi-private rooms, which means 2-3 people per room (twin or queen beds) and usually (but not always) your own bathroom. If you and your spouse/partner both want to attend, you can be placed in a semi-private room together with the other beds blocked out.
There are also community lodging rooms, our most affordable. They can house 3-5 people per room; a few of these have private bathrooms while most others have a bathroom next door or down the hall. Menucha’s community lodgings are bunk rooms. (You would not be required to sleep in a top bunk if you don’t want to; each guest gets one “set” so you’d be able to sleep on the bottom bed and store your stuff on the bunk above or vice-versa).
If you have a group you regularly jam with and want to room near each other, in most cases this can be arranged. Please contact our office. 503-695-2243.
Q: I have other instruments that I would like to bring – what is the policy?
A: Any acoustic instrument is acceptable. Volume may be an issue and please note: band camp is an acoustic environment. Professional musicians have been hired to provide band accompaniment. Instruments that must be plugged into an amplifier, such as the “ukulele bass,” are not allowed in the band classes, and may only be used outside of class in groups that allow it.
Costs for 2018 will be posted soon!Join the email list
These were our instructors for 2017. Check back for 2018 instructors!
James Hill of Nova Scotia, Canada, is a singer, songwriter, educator and virtuoso instrumentalist. His mission reaches beyond the concert stage and into communities, homes and classrooms around the world.
How does a kid from Canada become what the Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls a “rare peer” of Hawaii’s premier ukulele players? James grew up nearly three thousand miles east of Honolulu in the town of Langley, British Columbia, where ukulele instruction has been mandatory in many schools since the late 1970s. To his fourth grade classmates, the ukulele was a means to an end, a way for them to dip their toes into the vast ocean of music. For James, the uke was a sea of possibilities unto itself and inside its tiny wooden shell he saw his life in music. He was hooked.
During his teenage years James honed his skills as a key member of the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble and as a student at the Langley Community Music School. He continued his study of music at the University of British Columbia where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in 2003. In a full-circle plot twist, James – also a passionate teacher – went on to co-author the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the trail-blazing teacher who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools. In 2010, James and his father Barry, a retired school teacher, launched the JHUI Teacher Certification Program, the first of its kind in the world. His most ambitious educational offering to date is The Ukulele Way, a ground-breaking learning method that combines print, video, audio and its own social media platform. Read more: http://jameshillmusic.com/home.
Kevin Carroll of Austin, TX, is a State of Texas Elementary Educator, instructs at ukulele workshops internationally, is a performing and recording artist, and teaches both private and group music lessons to all ages and levels. He has launched a ukulele-based music education charity called edUKEcation.org which brings lessons and instruments to schools and students with limited resources.
Equally passionate about music, education and ukulele, Kevin seeks to inspire and empower students to exercise their birthright of making music. Kevin has recently completed his third and final year of course study in the James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification Program. This training has served to make Ukulele in the Classroom a popular and successful learning approach in Austin.
Kevin’s scope of teaching includes Texas-based music, blues, soul, funk, slide ukulele, family music facilitation, ukulele ensembles, and beginners of all ages. He has been a resident of Austin, TX, for over 20 years where he has played guitar and toured across the globe with Americana artists such as the Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore), Jimmy LaFave, Alejandro Escovedo, Robyn Ludwick , Charlie and Bruce Robison and many others. http://www.kevincarroll.net/
Del Rey was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music at the tender age of 13 when she and a friend stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.
Today, Del Rey is “virtuosic” on both ukulele and guitar in just the right way-in order to realize her musical ideas. From her first gig at the San Diego Folk festival in 1974 to her world travels today, she has played music that is slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. Her distinctive arrangements of songs for the ukulele (like 1904 ragtime piece “Creole Belles”) to tributes to Memphis Minnie bring vintage sounds to contemporary ears. http://delreyplays.com/.
Aaron Keim of Hood River, OR, is a well-known multi-instrumentalist, luthier and educator specializing in American roots music. While in graduate school for music history, Aaron started the band Boulder Acoustic Society. With 8 years on the road, the band had a reputation for roots music weirdness and a tireless work ethic. In 2007, he jumped feet first into luthiery, building the popular Beansprout banjo ukulele. After building over 100 “Beansprouts,” Aaron joined the Mya-Moe ukulele staff and moved to Hood River, OR in 2012. Along the way, Aaron cultivated a solo career that has morphed into a duo with his wife Nicole, The Quiet American. They have released 5 cd’s and 6 books focused on a modern interpretation of old timey American folk music. Aaron’s YouTube ukulele instructional videos have gained an international following and led to teaching and performing opportunities in N. America, Europe and Australia. www.quietamericanmusic.com
Nova Karina Devonie, who once caused Garrison Keillor to blush and become tongue-tied as he attempted to pronounce her name, hails originally from Vancouver, BC. This vile temptress of the accordion has been delighting audiences with her sensitive (and sometimes humorous) playing, sonorous singing style, and sideways fashion sense since the early 1980’s.
Nova moved to Seattle to join swingabilly cowgirl band Ranch Romance, and stayed to make it her home after that band ended their touring days. She now performs with several bands including Miles and Karina, The Buckaroosters, The Rolling Blackouts, and Fasten with Pins. Nova teaches private piano accordion lessons, and has been on staff as instrumentalist and instigator for several years at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. She looks forward to hanging out in the fabulous ukulele milieu. www.milesandkarina.com
Matt Weiner can be spotted in Seattle almost nightly playing bass and singing with drummer Mike Daugherty in Casey MacGill’s Blue 4 Trio, as well as with Del Rey, Barton Carroll, Miles & Karina, and many others. He has performed and/or recorded with The Hot Club of Cowtown, The Asylum Street Spankers, Holotradband, Danny Barnes, Willy Mason, Matt Munisteri, Butch Thompson, Hal Smith, Jon-Erik Kellso and Rani Arbo. Recently, he made his musical theatre debut playing the role of Joe B. Mauldin in the 5th Avenue Theatre’s production of “Buddy”, the Buddy Holly Story. “At The Ukeshack” is Matt and Del Rey’s first record of Ukulele and Bass duets.
2018 will be posted when available.
As an example of the types of classes, these were the 2017 offerings:
Ukulele Band Camp Class Descriptions
“Requiem For a Bluesman: Lavender Coffin”
A ukulele band version of Lional Hampton’s rollicking, gospel-esque blues march to the graveyard, with melody picking, call and response and chord parts. By ear, no paper.
3-day Class. Level 3/4
Ukulele Blues Party
Blues, Novelty Tunes and Jug Band Classics for Ukulele Ensemble. This ukulele band class will incorporate blues licks, rhythmic effects, and characteristic chord changes. Working in variety of keys, we will do a song a day with parts of varying difficulty, giving the old jug band and blues songs a whole new twist on the ukulele. Listening to others and playing together are part of making this music sound good. By ear, no paper.
Drop-in any day. Minimum level: be familiar with basic chords and be able to keep time while changing them.
Ukulele Symphony Orchestra: What do Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn have in common? Their music sounds beautiful on ukulele, of course! This is your chance to experience the music of the masters on the instrument of the angels. To make the most of this workshop you should be comfortable reading music notation or TAB (both will be provided). Get ready for Ukulele Symphony Orchestra: the beauty, the drama and the fun of classical music brought to life!
Three day class. Level 3/4.
Post-Modern Ukulele: If you don’t come to this drop-in workshop with an open mind, you might at least leave with one! This is an experimental, hands-on music lab in which we’ll explore “chance” music and play some weird musical games. Refresh and challenge your ears with this slightly “out there” class!
Drop-in any day. All Levels.
Fingerstyle Etudes- Etudes are short instrumental pieces that are designed to teach you a technique or musical concept. These fun musical vignettes are intended to expand your finger style technique and melodic vocabulary. Knowledge of tablature is required, intermediate/advanced.
3-day Class. Level 3/4
Coal, Cotton and Dust- Songs of American Work. Explore American history through work songs, songs about work and labor protest anthems. This repertoire class will not only provide with some catchy new songs but will also help you understand the important history and culture behind each one. Expect some harmony singing, a little picking and lots of fun!
Drop in any day. All levels.
Jazz Band: Learn the many facets of music which come together in the incredible art form known as jazz. It is not as difficult as you might think! Syncopation, creative and complex harmonies, ensemble playing, music theory, improvisation, swing feel, triplets and so much more will be explored in this 3-day excursion. The format will include melodies in tab and standard notation, chords, baritone and bass parts. I have specially chosen 3 songs: Satin Doll, Moonlight in Vermont and a jazz blues entitled It Bears Repeating. High-g friendly, but, low-G recommended. Baritone also welcome.
Three-day class. Level 3/4.
Making Music: This is an intuitive, guided approach to exploring sounds in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space. Students will explore improvising, playing by feel and by ear, spontaneous composing and many ways to simply “make music.” Getting outside of the basic conventions and approaches to teaching music will allow for some possibilities that students often find to be inspiring. As a teacher, this is one of my favorite ways to help students become more comfortable in their own musical skin while having a chance to discover their own unique musical voices. Few, if any, materials will be used in class.
Drop in any day. All levels.
What about Class Levels?
Differing levels of ability are expected at Band Camp. Teachers will describe their classes on the first evening and you’ll have an opportunity to talk to them and, if needed, change your class selection. One strategy might be to select one class where you’ll be challenged, because that’s where the learning occurs, and one class where you already have an established level of comfort.
LEVEL 1 beginner: Ukulele Band Camp is not providing a jump start track this year. (these are students at level 1). Depending on your musical background and confidence you may still decide to attend. The LEVEL 1 beginner has been playing for 3-6 months and has learned 3-4 chords but hesitates in-between chord changes to move the fingers to the next location. This student will want to “bone up” and reach for level two skills to give you a better foundation for classes. Suggested chords to memorize: C, Am, F, G7 (key of C family). And G, Em, C, D7 (Key of G family).
LEVEL 2 advanced beginner: This player knows a handful of chords and can move from one chord to another without pausing. May have trouble with barre chords, and has developed a strum or two or a finger pattern for picking. Level 3 players in these bands can practice leads and chord inversions.
LEVEL 3 intermediate: This player can hold a steady rhythm, and is competent with a variety of basic chords (for example: A, Am, B7, C, C7, D, Dm, E7, Em, G, and G7). Understands simple chord progressions (such as I, IV, V chords), can sing and strum at the same time, and learns chords to simple tunes fairly quickly.
LEVEL 4 intermediate/advanced: This player can hear I, IV, and V chords, has mastered some chord inversions, knows there is life above the fifth fret, and has visited there with movable chords. Plays lead and backup easily with others (well, maybe not lead), and keeps a steady rhythm.
PACING: Classes usually pace themselves to match the participants’ abilities.