Cornbury Festival 8-11 July – Sarah Kelly

2016 Line-Up

If you are going, somewhere around the stages and performance tents you will find Sarah Kelly. She runs ukulele tuition session for free all weekend. Check her out on Facebook she runs  Uku-Can – ukulele tuition around Gloucester and Cheltenham.

I watched a couple of her sessions last year at Cornbury and this year at Cheltenham ukulele festival, she has a unique and fun style of teaching.

 

A suggestion for your Practise

his is not definitive just a suggestion. we all need to work on issues we have but don’t let these issues or problems rule your practice. try to find a structure that works for you.

As a suggestion if you have time:
  1. tune your uku with your reference –  IOS or andriod app, or dedicated tuner. strings number from the ground up. 1 is tuned to A, 2 – E, 3 – C, 4 – G
  2. Strum a simple chord sequence –  like Teenager in Love –  C, Am, F, G strum with index finger down strokes, then down up strokes, then use the thumb (You could also use 12 bar blues)
  3. Thumb pick or Finger pick– hold the uku in the crook of your elbow or use a strap.   anchor your fingers on the sound board and play thumb strokes on each string. then play thumb down strokes and walk your left hand (thats right hand for our left handed friends) fingers up the 4th string starting at the first fret, leave fingers on the string, when all 4 are down move to the next string. Then put all fingers on a string, thumb pick as you lift them off one by one then move to the next string. Do this slowly the idea is to get independent finger movement and accuracy with the right hand thumb.
  4. play a couple song you know with music
  5. Start a new song from music you don’t know play the first line of a song, then tomorrow play the next line etc.
  6. Play a song you know from memory, Happy Birthday, Clementine  da, da it is you can’t remember the words.
If you don’t have time: –  make sure you leave your uku out of the case and have it to hand all day long. Leave it in the car so you take 5 minutes before going into work/visiting friends. Leave it by the front door so every time you go to leave the house you pick it up . A few minutes a day will work wonders.
Try just one of these:

  • play a chord sequence you know, da,da the words to the tune,
  • do the RH thumb picking and walking fingers exercise
  • Practice that difficult chord change e.g F to Bb a couple of times

Embrace the Bb Chord

I had a couple of questions regards how to play the Bb chord.

Probably the most important thing is to drop the LH wrist which results in the thumb centering at the back of the neck. then use the 1st finger to barre the first two strings at the 1st Fret. make sure this sounds good. Drop the middle finger onto the 3rd string 2nd fret, again make sure all three sound good. Then place the 3rd finger on the 4th string 3rd fret. make sure it all sounds good.  Keep working at this to make sure all strings sound good.

you may also like to try creating the chord the other way round. ring finger on 4th string 3rd fret, does it sound good? middle finger on 3rd string 2nd fret, 1st finger on strings 1&2.

Either way check the sound, adjust the wrist position, if your 1st knuckle inverts try to find a position that works where you can control the knuckle.  I don’t know of a way round this its just keep trying.

There are many songs in the key of F , Bb is the IV so it will almost certainly appear in the song.  So practice changing from other chords.  As we know simplistically you can expect I, IV and the V to appear in songs. So use the key of F to give you the sequence –  F, C Bb F  or F, Bb, C, F . Don’t spend too long on this, for most people its better to do short session of 5 minutes a day.

Remember just try to get the Bb, if you don’t make it perfect its ok, I try to keep the ukulele police out of the session you will be safe.