Ukulele Workshops & Jam Sessions in Historic Lower Mills

To introduce the joy of ukulele to this area of Dorchester, Milton, and Quincy around Boston, Massachusetts, I’m giving workshops followed by thematic jam sessions. A workshop is a group learning experience, where I teach specific skills needed to play the instrument. A jam session is group playing and singalong, where I provide song sheets and lead everyone in playing together. Workshop participants are encouraged to stay for the jam sessions, especially for the warm-up. If you don’t have your own instrument, I have extras I can lend you for a small fee.

All jam sessions are free. Doors open 15 minutes before the workshop and session. To get on the mailing list, please fill out the Google Form so that I can contact you for your reservation. If there is sufficient interest, I will organize a separate workshop to cater to different age groups. At the moment, the workshops are geared towards preparing participants for jam sessions.

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Valentine’s Day at Heartbreak Hotel ukulele jam

The approach of Valentine’s Day isn’t always welcoming for the heart broken. While lovers dine in restaurants or stroll hand in hand, the jilted and the scorned sit alone, at home, hiding from the rest of the world, mourning love’s labour’s lost, and drowning themselves in love songs that make them cry even more.

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Dido’s Lament for ukulele

Dido’s Lament is one of the saddest but most beautiful arias, sung by a woman grieving over a broken heart before she dies. Such is the famous lament of Dido, Queen of Carthage, when her beloved Aeneas leaves her for a greater calling in Henry Purcell’s opera “Dido and Aeneas.”

The four-minute piece begins with a recitative of Dido saying farewell to her sister Belinda. It’s followed by the famous descending chromatic bass, paving the ominous path to her end. Originally written for a baroque ensemble, the piece has been transcribed for many kinds of ensembles and instruments, but not yet the ukulele. Why not?

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Auld Lang Syne for ukulele

This afternoon I heard an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) with the Scottish folk singer Jim Malcolm, whose first instrument was the ukulele. He sang songs with words by Robert Burns in anticipation of Burns’ Night. As my ukulele club in London will be celebrating this annual tradition without me, I decided to look into ukulele arrangements for the “Auld Lang Syne,” hence “Auld Lang Syne for ukulele.”

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Applying standards and modus operandi of musicians to others

We are so governed by our standards and modus operandi in our chosen professions that we subconsciously apply them to others when we probably shouldn’t. As a musician, I expect builders to be on time and finish what they started. I didn’t expect that they’d leave things undone or that they’d have to redo anything. I certainly can’t, as a performer.

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How to live in a house without central heating, hot water, kitchen, and washing machine

I returned to my home in London, expecting to enjoy the finished projects. Instead, I am struggling to stay warm and comfortable in an unheated house without hot water, cooker, and washing machine.

Top on my list is to move the kitchen extension project forward, get the necessary building regulation permit, and resolve the bathroom/toilet project which stopped three weeks after it was supposed to end and remains unfinished, with work still to be done, undone and redone.

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Where to for Christmas

This time last year, I was a guest at Christmas. I was driven to a warm house whose owner cooked for several days for a family gathering.

Blind trust has changed my well-laid plans from being a host to a guest at the very last minute. Where do I begin?

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The new normal: traffic disruptions and other “attacks”

What are the chances of being prevented from going somewhere because of an active shooter or bomb alert? We read about it in the papers, watch the aftermath on Facebook live video, or just miss it by an hour or a week.

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Annie’s Song in C for ukulele

When I was growing up on the island of Okinawa, I listened to John Denver whose songs of love, nature, and beauty described my childhood. I took a personal interest in “Annie’s Song” identifying myself with the name.

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Letting go and hanging on: the dilemma of wanting the wanted

Early in January, my pianist friend asked if I had the space to receive her restored Steinway Model B. It would be a win-win situation as she knew I was looking for a grand piano. Otherwise she would have to pay for the 6 foot 11 inch instrument to sit on its side in storage, unused, indefinitely until she was able to accommodate it.

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