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!
2018 Artistic Director: Marianne Brogan, Portland Ukulele Association
2017 Additional Faculty: Nova Karina Devonie and Matt Weiner
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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 | Kevin Carroll | Del Rey | Aaron Keim | Nova Karina Devonie | Matt Weiner
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.