#TeachingTuesday No.10 ~ Women’s History Month!

Happy Women’s History Month! We had a great jam last Saturday, playing some of our favorite women songwriters (Missed it? Join us next month!)

YouTube Channel Theme: Women Songwriters

This week – and all month – I’ll be sharing ukulele tutorials on my YouTube Channel that feature women songwriters and moments in women’s history. In this week’s #TeachingTuesday – No. 10! – learn to play Stevie Nicks’ song Dreams, recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1977. It’s just two chords! (Ok, three if you want…)

After watching through the tutorial above, keep learning with me!

International Womens Day Songwriter Showcase

In the intro to the tutorial, I mention my International Women’s Day Songwriter Showcase. That takes place this Friday, March 10, 7:00pm at Artichoke Music in Portland, OR. Please join us in person or via livestream, using the following links:

Who are YOUR favorite women songwriters?

As I continue to post tutorials and perhaps a few song studies this Women’s History Month, let me know who *your* favorite women songwriters / songs written by women are. Drop me a line here, I’d love to hear from you.

Avery Hill Songwriter Show ~ January 20

As an artist, there are ebbs and flows, phases and chapters, refrains and bridges … in other words, it’s rarely a straight path, but the good news is the path is always leading somewhere. Thus far in the pandemic, I’ve taken a step back from my work as Avery Hill the Songwriter, for a variety of reasons. Now, also for a variety of reasons, it’s time for Avery Hill the Songwriter to get back to work. 🙂

I would love to invite you to a different kind of a show… This Friday, January 20, 2023, I’ll be playing my first solo, two-set show in let’s just say a really long time. And A LOT has happened since the release of my last album in 2015. So, I’m going to be trying something a little different at this show…

Set 1 will feature a group of songs and stories that I will likely never perform together again. They are a tender group of songs that represent an important pivot point in my work as a songwriter. I’ll be honoring some important folks in my life, and also letting some of them go…

Set 2 will feature songs that point to new themes and questions in my writing. As I prepare to record my next album, I’ll be inviting YOU to be a part of the process of choosing which songs to include, which ones need a bit more work, and what additional themes and questions these songs seem to invite. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts and reflections!

You can attend in person, catch the livestream, or watch the livestream later. Thanks in advance for taking this risk with me – let’s have fun! 🙂

In-Person Tickets: https://artichokemusic.org/class.aspx?cls=875052

Livestream / Recording Link: https://www.youtube.com/@ArtichokeMusic/streams

It’s that time of year …

Happy New Year! As we turn the page into 2023, I have a new song to share! It’s quite a recent song, too; I wrote over the past several weeks of the holiday season. The working title for now is “It’s That Time of Year”.

As a performing artist who first started as a storyteller, I love a good story. I don’t care if it’s factual – as we say in our circles, every story has a truth. So, when the holiday season rolled around and my four-year-old started talking about Santa Claus and nothing else … I knew it was time for more stories.

Out they came: the Baby Jesus, the Maccabees, the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, the Winter Solstice, and – one of my own childhood favorites – Amahl and the Night Visitors (those visitors would be the Three Kings). Every day, we read, sang, and talked about these different stories. We still talked about Santa, of course. We live in an apartment without a fireplace, so we had to figure out how to let him in! However, it was just one of many stories to tell on these dark nights in the Northern Hemisphere.

It was really fun to see how he made sense of these stories. He kept them close in his thoughts throughout the season. After Christmas Day, he asked regularly, “Where are the Wise Kings now? Are they talking to Herod yet? Or have they reached Amahl’s house already?”

According to the story, the kings will arrive in Bethlehem on January 6, also called Epiphany. I recently asked him if he thought the kings would have a gift for him, as well?

“No,” he replied plainly.

“Why not?” I asked, a bit surprised, I must admit. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy the idea of more gifts?

He looked at me confusedly and said, “Because I am not in Bethlehem, Mama.”

Of course, how could I be so silly …

I grew up in the Christian tradition of celebrating Christmas. However, I often wish we could integrate the stories told from all traditions this time of year. There is such richness to them! This year, in particular, I noticed how so many of these stories are about believing and trusting in something. Maybe it’s the magic oil keeping the temple lit longer than expected. Perhaps it’s a new king and symbol of divine love born in a barn. We all find ourselves needing that promise that warmth and life will return on the other side of winter …

Why do we believe these stories? Why do we tell them? Maybe it’s all the time I’ve spent with my son on this holiday break … I can’t help but wonder this year if believing in stories isn’t a crucial step toward believing in ourselves? How can we imagine what we want for our lives, without first learning to imagine in the first place?

Somewhere between these questions, wrapping gifts, watching snow fall, and doing way too many dishes, this song grew …

It’s That Time of Year

It’s that time of year, time for telling stories / Time for lighting candles, time for friends and family / Time to remember what we learned long ago / About the light, about the love, stories we’ve made our own

Some celebrate a baby, some look in darkness for the light / Some remember magic oil, some look for reindeer in the sky / May we remember, whatever stories we believe / We are the light, we are the love, we are the miracle we seek

I know times get hard, I know there is suffering / I know we need justice, and I know we can do something / I know stories may sound simple, but they’re not just tales we tell / We need the light, we need the love they show us in ourselves

May we remember the gift we all can give / The most important story is the one we choose to live / We are the love of a baby, we are the burning of the light / We are the ones who shine in darkness, we are the stars in the sky / We are the love, we are the light

It’s that time of year, time for telling stories …

Holiday Music for Ukulele

Happy Hanukkah! Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas! As I cozy up here between various holidays, watching an ice storm set in outside my window here, I’ve been playing a lot of holiday music for ukulele around here. We had the holiday version of our Ukulele Zoom Jam so early this year, I’ve missed making music with you all since then! So, I’ve included below a few tutorials and song charts to see you through the rest of the holiday season …

All of the songs below are from my YouTube Playlist of holiday music for ukulele, so feel free to hop on over there for more tutorials. Do you have a favorite holiday tune you can’t find? I love learning new music! Let me know here, and I’ll see if I can add it this holiday season, or next.

Ocho Kandelikas (Flory Jagoda)

Since learning this song last year, it’s quickly become one of my favorite Hanukkah songs. It’s got a great groove and is fairly easy to play with just three chords (though you could get away with two!), making it nice for beginners. Take a listen to Flory Jagoda’s original recording here, as well as Alisa Fineman’s arrangement here, which I used to create the song chart. Finally, just for fun, take a listen to Pink Martini’s fun performance, too.

Download the song chart here:

Light One Candle (Peter Yarrow)

Ok, THIS is my actual favorite Hanukkah song. I grew up around plenty of Jewish folks (thank you, Long Island, NY) but not in a Jewish family. As a result, I always knew about Hanukkah, but never really understood it. Until I heard this song. I still can’t get through the third verse without tearing up when I play it on my own. Listen to the original Peter, Paul and Mary recording here.

Download the song chart here:

Silent Night (Traditional)

As you’ll hear in the tutorial below, I speak German and have family and friends in Germany from when I lived there after attending college. So, I was especially excited this year to include Silent Night (originally written in German as “Stille Nacht”) in my #UkuleleHolidays YouTube Playlist. There are sooooo many recordings of this song, and it’s one of the most well-known Christmas songs, but my favorite recording has always been by John Denver and the Muppets, which also includes the story of its original writing and composition.

Download the song chart here:

If you’d like to learn the instrumental solo I included in the tutorial above, download the full instrumental notation and follow the tutorial below:

The Christians and the Pagans (Dar Williams)

Let us not forget the celebration of the Solstice! Whether you are celebrating the Winter or the Summer Solstice this month, I hope you’ll enjoy this tune about “finding faith and common ground the best that [we are] able…” Dar Williams is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and this is one of her best-loved songs, for good reason. Listen to her original recording here.

Download the song chart here:

More on the #UkuleleHolidays Playlist

As I mentioned above, you can find more holiday music for ukulele tutorials on my #UkuleleHolidays YouTube Playlist.

If you find my teaching style is a good fit for you, I encourage you to do three things:

  • Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. As you might guess, I don’t just post holiday music tutorials 🙂 … I’m actually launching a membership program in the New Year, and have lots of material to help you learn to play the ukulele.
  • Join our next Online Ukulele Jam. We meet 1st Saturdays, 1 – 2:30pm Pacific time, live on Zoom. Subscribe to my newsletter for the link and songbook, and we’ll hope to see you there soon!
  • Consider joining a class! I’ve got new weekly classes and monthly workshops beginning again in January 2023, both in person (Portland, OR) and online (self-paced and live). Check out this blog post for complete class details, or peruse my website shop for online classes.

Enjoy these tutorials and, once again, Happy Holidays! See you all in 2023 …

New Ukulele Classes & Workshops Begin January 2023

It’s hard to believe we are at another year’s end! I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season, whatever you may celebrate (or not celebrate, as the case may be). As for me, I’ve enjoyed baking cookies and singing carols with my son, getting out for walks in our brisk winter air, and – of course – planning for new ukulele classes in Portland and online!

As we prepare for a new year, I am reminded of the many new beginnings music offers us every day. I often tell my students music is a journey of “Choose Your Own Adventure”. There are so many elements of music to explore, you never really lose the feeling of being a beginner. And yet, no matter how long we go between practice sessions, the music is always there, ready and waiting whenever we return. Learning music is a relentless process, but I also like to think of it as relentlessly forgiving …

You may recall I took a break these past several months to work on my YouTube channel and prepare some self-paced online courses. I’m excited to return to weekly ukulele classes in Portland next month, both in person and online! Here are some short descriptions and links to get you started:

101: Ukulele For Beginners

Did you splurge on an ukulele over the holidays, or receive one as a gift? Or have you had one in the closet you are ready to dust off? This 8-week class will cover / review all the basics you need to know for early success in your ukulele playing.

IN PERSON: Thursday evenings, January 26 – March 23 at Artichoke Music in Portland, Oregon. Click here to register through their website.

ONLINE: I don’t currently have an online offering for this class – are you interested? Please fill out this 2-question survey to help me form an online cohort! 🙂

Theme Study: Ukulele Motown!

Stop! In the name of love! What’s goin’ on? I heard it through the grapevine…

I often teach a themed class each term that allows us to explore a certain genre / era / artist through the lens of our ukulele playing. This term, it’s all about the music of Motor City (Detroit) in the 1960s! We’ll learn popular favorites (referenced above…) and expand our musical skills and technique in the process.

IN PERSON: Thursday evenings, January 26 – March 23 at Artichoke Music in Portland, Oregon. Click here to register through their website.

ONLINE: Wednesday mornings or evenings (Pacific time), January 25 – March 22 live on Zoom. Also available as an email course. Click here to register through my website.

Instrumental: Ukestra / Ukulele Melodies

I’ve recently begun teaching more instrumental music for ukulele, both in person and online, as well. Because the pieces we play translate so differently when playing all together versus online, I offer two different workshops. However, the material often overlaps. In both cases, we focus on learning notes on the fretboard, how to read music notation and/or tablature, and maintaining good tone as our ukuleles sing!

IN PERSON UKESTRA: January 10 Intro to Ukestra Workshop, then 1st Tuesdays of the month at Artichoke Music in Portland, Oregon. Click here to register for Intro to Ukestra Workshop. Registration for regular monthly sessions open soon, so save the dates: February 7, March 7, April 4, May 2 and June 6.

ONLINE MELODIES WORKSHOPS: Saturday mornings (Pacific time), January 14, February 11 and March 11, live on Zoom and recorded for later review. Click here to register through my website.

Public Health Precautions

We here in Portland continue to live with not just one but various respiratory illnesses during our winter months. I’ve been to a variety of music events with different policies regarding masks. It’s been tough to decide on policies and precautions for myself and my own in person events, but I’ve decided that, in weekly classes and Ukestra workshops, masks will be very welcome, but not required. I’m still working with Artichoke Music to determine dates for our in person Ukulele Jam, which I’m hopeful to restart, as well. If and when we jam in person again, masks *will* be required, since we will be singing and projecting in a larger group of folks, less able to socially distance.

I realize this may affect your choice regarding participation at in person classes and workshops. If you’re at all hesitant, I encourage you to try one of the online offerings mentioned above.

Let’s make some music!

Thanks so much for your patience as I got all the logistics squared away here. Can’t wait to make music with you again in 2023 – I look forward to seeing you at an ukulele class in Portland and/or online soon!

Upcoming Ukulele Workshops


No matter what hemisphere you’re in, the seasons are changing. Here in Portland, Oregon, the sun is still shining but the mornings are chilly and the leaves are starting to crunch beneath my feet…

My usual format of classes is changing, too! I have an opportunity these next couple months to dig deep into my online presence as an ukulele teacher. This includes giving some much needed attention to my YouTube Channel, and launching a membership option for those interested in song charts and other extra resources; uploading material from 2-3 years worth of live classes into an online format for self-paced learners; and setting up a pattern for myself on engagement on social media. One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is: I need BOOKS. CLEARED. to get started on a new project, so I can really immerse myself in the process and get some momentum going.

Weekly Classes: No. Ukulele Workshops: Yes!

As a result, I won’t be offering weekly ukulele classes this season. However, I’ll be offering a couple workshop series, both in person here in Portland and on Zoom (live / recorded). You know I can’t let you all go THAT easily 😉 Here’s a quick survey of what’s going on 1st and 3rd Saturdays, October – December 2022:

Ukestra & Ukulele Arrangements

I’ve long wanted to adapt materials I’ve taught in weekly classes for a regular workshop series of instrumental music for ukulele. This season offers us all the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

UKESTRA workshops are for those who want to play instrumental music IN PARTS with other players, like an Ukulele Orchestra (get it? Ukestra?!). We’ll meet IN PERSON here in Portland at Artichoke Music, 9:30-11:30am on 1st Saturdays. Each workshop will introduce a simple round to warm up with and learn / review musical notation. Then we’ll focus in on a traditional folk tune well suited for orchestration into different parts. There will be a part for everybody, including beginners and those just learning musical notation.

October 1: Frere Jacques / Shenandoah (Key of C)

November 5: Round TBA / Nine Hundred Miles (Key of Am)

December 3: Round TBA / Greensleeves (Key of D, Dorian mode – oooh!)

Register here through Artichoke Music and see you there!

UKULELE ARRANGEMENTS workshops are for those who want to play instrumental music SOLO at home in their practice, or in preparation for sharing in performance. We’ll meet LIVE ON ZOOM 3rd Saturdays, 10:00am-Noon PT, and also RECORD the workshop so anyone, anywhere, can join us. Each workshop will provide some warm up material and then focus on a solo arrangement of what the Ukestra workshop covered earlier in the month:

October 15: Shenandoah

November 12: Nine Hundred Miles

December 10: Greensleeves

I do recommend that participants are somewhat familiar with musical notation (tablature will also be provided), including the C scale on the ukulele. (If you’re not sure, send me a quick note and we can squeeze in a private lesson to get you caught up and squared away!)

Register here on my website for individual workshops or all three!

Beyond Beginner Ukulele Workshops

As ukulele players, at some point, we all get stuck on certain plateaus. This series of two workshops brings some variations to your STRUMMING and CHORDING to help you get past the feeling of being a constant beginner. We’ll use familiar songs as templates for working on new strumming and picking patterns, as well as different keys and inverted chords. We’ll also review how to choose the appropriate strum / picking pattern, key of chords, and chord shape variations for any song in your repertoire.

Both workshops are IN PERSON here in Portland, Oregon, at Lincoln St Methodist Church, 1:30-4:30pm.

October 15: Beyond Basic Strumming (click to register)

November 12: Beyond Basic Chord Shapes (click to register)

Have you subscribed to the newsletter?

If this is all a lot to take in, or you’re just not ready to make a decision yet, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter! It goes out no more than 2x/month with reminders of upcoming events. I keep it short and simple and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Hope to see you at an upcoming workshop! As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns.

In Person Ukulele Jams Are Back!

Folks, it’s been a loooooooong 2+ years and I HAVE MISSED YOU. Because I’ve been podded up with my elderly parents and my too-young-to-be-vaxxed child, I was slow to return to our in person ukulele jams. But I am telling you … I AM READY.

Remember when?

A large group of ukulele players gather at an ukulele jam hosted by Avery Hill.

In the “beforetimes”, I led monthly in person ukulele jams at local non-profit Artichoke Music here in Portland, Oregon. It was always a great chance to connect with others and choose the kind of challenges that felt right for each of us, wherever we were in our musical journeys.

I’m excited to say: IN PERSON JAMS ARE BACK !!

Ukulele Bike Jam – New Date: Saturday, August 20

Join us for a tour of Portland’s parks, making stops along the way to sing and play songs on our ukes that have (perhaps barely) something to do with our different stop locations. A great chance to meet other biking ukulele enthusiasts, explore our fair city, and put those learning-by-ear skills to the test (don’t bother trying to fit a music stand on your bike, ’cause I’m not bringing music!).

  • New Date: Saturday, August 20 – 5:30pm meet up at Colonel Summers Park, 6:00pm ride!
  • Register here to get all the important event details, including a sneak peek at our route and song choices.
  • Don’t forget to bring your bicycle and your ukulele!
  • Optional: Bring a friend!

Traditional Jams – July & August

These in person ukulele jams will feel really familiar to the jams we enjoyed in the beforetimes, with one exception: we will meet OUTDOORS.

  • Saturday, July 23 – 1:00-3:00pm – Lincoln St United Methodist Church in SE Portland
  • Friday, August 12 – 6:00-8:00pm – W Hills UU Fellowship in SW Portland
  • Register here to get the songbook, location address, and other important event details
  • What to Bring:
    • your ukulele (of course)
    • a camp chair and portable music stand if you have them
    • a printed copy of our 2022 Jam Songbook if you can.
    • Note: we’ll have extras of everything, except – perhaps – ukuleles. 🙂
  • Optional: Bring a simple finger snack or beverage to share (no alcohol, please)

Tons of in person musical fun ahead – I hope you can join me at one, several, or all of these events! Questions? Suggestions? Comments? Feel free to drop me a line here.

Ukulele Campfire Classes – July / August 2022

It’s that time of year, folks! When summer rolls around here in the Pacific Northwest, I want nothing more than to be at the campground, preferable with my feet in the river or with my people around a campfire. I want to sing, I want to laugh, I want to feel the gratitude for the natural world around me and the people with whom I live in it.

For you all, my students, that means one thing:

Ukulele Campfire Classes

The original inspiration for my Ukulele by Ear class series, Ukulele Campfire classes feature songs you would likely hear sung, as you might expect, around the campfire! Each year, I feature a different topic or themed collection of songs, but they’re always fairly simple in organization, repeat their chord and lyric patterns a lot, and have no more than 4 chords. We focus in on no more than eight songs to study for six weeks, learning a variety of techniques for playing by ear. You know, so you don’t have to shlep your music stands all that way. 😉

Here’s what’s in store for this year’s edition of Ukulele Campfire …

Ukulele Campfire: Spirituals of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

I’m guessing you’ve sung songs like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and Wade in the Water with folks before? (As in, at one of our ukulele jams?) Maybe O Mary Don’t You Weep or Down By the Riverside? But I bet you don’t know the group of singers from Tennessee who are largely responsible for the fact that you know these songs.

Fisk Free Colored School, which quickly became Fisk University, was founded in Nashville, Tennessee in 1866 in an effort to offer organized education to black folks, especially former slaves. To raise money for the expansion of the school’s programs, treasurer and music director George White lead a student choir on a concert tour. They sang a variety of pieces from the classical choral repertoire, but found audiences were most moved by the songs they sang that were originally sung by slaves: we know them today as “spirituals”. These days, the Fisk Jubilee Singers recently celebrated their 150th anniversary and continue to keep spirituals at the center of their repertoire.

Spirituals are a specific genre of Christian music associated not just with the black church but specifically with the black experience of slavery and oppression. The singing of spirituals was an essential form and mode of communication and education for the black community. At first listen, we may hear simple retellings of common stories from the Bible. However, in the process of learning these songs, myself, I’ve found them to be remarkable expressions of love, strength, and faith.

Spirituals Song List

This term, I’ll be teaching eight songs performed and recorded by the Fisk Jubilee Singers as the topic of my Ukulele Campfire class series:

  • O Mary Don’t You Weep
  • Down By the Riverside (Study War No More)
  • There is a Balm in Gilead
  • Gospel Train
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • Wade in the Water
  • Hold On (Gospel Plow)
  • Go Down, Moses

As time allows, we will also listen to and learn songs derived from these Spirituals, most commonly during the Civil Rights Era, including Get on Board Children (from Gospel Train) and Eyes on the Prize (from Hold On).

Ukulele Campfire: Songs from Summer of Soul

The Summer of 1969 is known for a lot of things in American history, including the moon landing and the Woodstock Music Festival. However, before either of those events took place, thousands of residents and visitors to Harlem neighborhood of New York City for the Harlem Cultural Festival. For six weeks, each Sunday at 3:00pm in Mt. Morris Park, host Tony Lawrence welcomed the likes of B.B. King, Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson, The Staple Singers, Stevie Wonder, and on and on the list goes. At the end of a decade of intense struggle for civil rights, it was a celebration of black music, black culture, and black excellence in arts and activism.

The festival was filmed, but the tapes soon ended up in a basement for the better part of the last 50 years. However, in recent years, a group of editors and producers began working with the footage. Musician, producer, and writer Questlove was brought on to direct what would become the 2021 Oscar-winning and widely acclaimed documentary Summer of Soul.

It will not surprise you, perhaps, that this folky white girl had never heard of this festival, which took place long before I was born. So, I was particularly grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the event and the artists featured. But I found myself most appreciative of and moved by the historical context the film offers around this event. Interspersed between tapes of live performances, festival artists and attendees are shown watching the footage and reflecting on their experience and what it meant to them. As Gladys Knight reflects, “It wasn’t just about the music.”

What was it about? I encourage you to watch the film so you can determine your own take. For me, it was about the diversity of black culture and music – from the gospel music of Mahalia Jackson to the blues of B.B. King, from the protest music of Nina Simone to the fusion of Latin and African rhythms by Mongo Santamaria. These diverse artists spoke and sang and played powerful messages from the stage to a diverse audience, and certainly reminded me of the complexity, the beauty, and – I’m sorry, I just have to say it – the SOUL found in all genres of traditionally black music.

Spirituals Song List

This term, I’ll be teaching seven songs performed by the artists featured in Summer of Soul. While technically listed as part of my Ukulele Campfire class series, there will be some elements of my more traditional Theme Study class series, as well. Here are the songs we’ll learn:

  • Everyday People – Sly and the Family Stone
  • It’s Been a Change – The Staple Singers
  • My Girl – David Ruffin (of The Temptations)
  • I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Gladys Knight and the Pips
  • I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free – Nina Simone
  • Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension
  • Why I Sing the Blues – B.B. King

Sign me up!

Ukulele Campfire classes will be taught live on Zoom (6 weeks) *and* in person (4 weeks) in Portland, Oregon, beginning the week of July 4. Those who can’t make class times or prefer to work on their own may sign up for a Self-Paced email version of the class (6 weeks). If you’d like to do some combo of the above options, please let me know.

Learn more and register for Ukulele Campfire: Spirituals of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Learn more and register for Ukulele Campfire: Summer of Soul.

I can’t wait to learn and play these songs with you! See you in class …

The Songs of Billie Holiday for Ukulele

I have some numbers for you:

This April 7th is Billie Holiday‘s 107th birthday. Fifteen years before her birth, in 1900, a bill was introduced to the U.S. Congress to criminalize lynching. This month, over 100 years later, and 63 years after Holiday’s death, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act has been signed into law.

Holiday was and is still known, of course, as a superb jazz singer, considered by some to be the best singer of all time, period. During the height of her fame, she was also known for a particular song, Strange Fruit, which spoke to the graphic horror of lynching. Though she was pursued and framed more than once by the FBI in their efforts to prevent her from singing the song, she persisted. While other artists recorded it, in my opinion, Holiday’s arrangement is perfect.

Watch Party – Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song

To learn more about how the song Strange Fruit came to be, please join me for a Zoom Watch Party of the 2002 documentary Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song. I learned so much from this film about the several individuals responsible for the writing and success of this song, as well as the inevitable twists and turns of the song’s journey.

I hope you’ll join me:

  • Watch Party: Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song
  • Saturday, April 9
  • Two showings: 10:00am & 5:00pm PDT
  • Join our newsletter to receive the Zoom link – no need to register
Strange Fruit Watch Party Billie Holiday for Ukulele

April Class – The Songs of Billie Holiday

In honor of Billie Holiday’s birthday, her musical legacy, and the much-too-delayed passing of this legislation, I’m teaching a short, but substantive three-week class on The Songs of Billie Holiday for Ukulele. We’ll learn to play Strange Fruit, as well as some other classics, including God Bless the Child and others. If you have specific suggestions and requests, I am always open: contact me here.

I do my best to accommodate players of all levels and experience. That said, I do recommend that those registering for this class be ready for a variety of new chords, and specifically ready to play songs with a LOT of chords in them. This is jazz, after all, an incredibly creative and playful genre of music. We’ll take it slow, and I’ll offer alternative chord shapes when I can, I just want you all to know what ride you’re buckling up for!

Class Details

  • The Songs of Billie Holiday for Ukulele
  • Wednesdays, April 6, 13, & 20
  • Two cohorts: 10:00-11:00am & 5:00-6:00pm PDT
  • Register here (Note: registration is still being hosted on my old website.)

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email. As we approach the first class, I’ll send out a reminder email with our class materials.

Those unable to attend class times but still interested in taking the class may also take the class by EMAIL. Registered participants receive a weekly email with materials, instructions, and practice video links. 

Upcoming Events & Classes

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m still in the process of building this website to full capacity and operation. In the meantime, here are some important dates to mark in your calendars:

The Songs of Billie Holiday for Ukulele

  • Live on Zoom, with two cohorts
  • Wednesdays: 10:00-11:00am or 5:00-6:00pm PDT
  • 3 weeks: April 6, 13, 20
  • Registration open here

Watch Party: Strange Fruit – The Biography of a Song

  • Billie Holiday is most closely associated with the protest song Strange Fruit, but her relationship with the song is only one part of a much more intricate story. Learn more here about this 2002 documentary
  • Live on Zoom
  • Saturday, April 9, 10:00am or 5:00pm PDT
  • No registration necessary, but you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter to receive the Zoom link.

April Ukulele Jams

I host regular online jams on Zoom, typically the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month. Join us for our next jams on April 2 and April 16. No registration necessary, but you’ll need to sign up for my newsletter to receive the Zoom link.

May / June Ukulele Class Term

  • Live on Zoom
  • Various topics and cohorts:
  • Wednesday mornings PDT and Wednesday / Thursday evenings PDT
  • 6 weeks: May 4/5, May 18/19 – June 15/16 (no classes the week of May 9)
  • Registration opening soon on this website

Each term, I offer a variety of class formats and topics. This upcoming term will include:

  • Ukulele Theme Study (formerly Sing & Strum): Pride! Queer Voices, Writers & Anthems
  • Ukulele by Ear: Love Gone Wrong
  • Beyond Beginner Ukulele: Strumming & Fingerpicking Patterns
  • Introduction to Ukulele Arrangements (learning to read and play instrumental music on your ukulele)

As always, please reach out to me directly with your inquires.