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about this year's placer uke festival workshops somehting for every skill level

About this year’s festival workshops:

Workshop information will be updated as it continues to be created. This year, we tentatively have scheduled Rhythm and Strum patterns, Blues, Bluegrass, playing in multiple positions and open strum classes offered.

Festivals are great experiences where you can learn from your instructor as well as the friends you make during the day. Review the class levels and determine where you will be fit.

Course material will be available for download. There will be no printed copies provided by the festival. Each course will have a description as well as a link to the downloadable class agenda and music. Participants are responsible for having their own copies of music for each class they take.

Workshop Information

students in play together workshop
students in strumming class
What’s your level?
These ukulele workshop levels have been taken from a magazine article by Heidi Swedberg. Thanks Heidi!!

Level 1: Beginner

Welcome! You are a new uke player and have already played with others or taken a few lessons. The beginning player is new to the uke (1-3 months), knows some basic, first position chords. You are fluent with (at least) your C, F, and G7, can make chord changes easily as well as keep a beat.

Level 3: Experienced Intermediate

You know a bunch of chords and are ready to use them. Challenge yourself with some exciting techniques, and maybe venture further up the neck. Be proud of yourself, this is a fine plateau to reach. 

Level 2: Intermediate

Now you’re a player, but chord diagrams over the words are still a must. Your job here is to master B-flat, get some strums under your belt and grow into your instrument—this is when you truly learn how to practice


Our ukulele workshop classes provide a fun and relaxed environment for students of all levels, from complete beginners to advanced players. We offer Beginner classes that cover the basics of the instrument, such as tuning, strumming patterns, and basic chords. Intermediate classes focus on more complex chords and progressions, as well as the fundamentals of improvisation.  All classes are taught by experienced instructors with a passion for the ukulele.

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steve kritzer class 1 (Level 2-3)​

Workshop (1) "Kick up da riddim" - Level 2/3

Make your right hand more of a part of the song.  Strumming mechanics, Island strum, mutes, chucking, and some fun fingerpicking options. Should already know a basic strum, and most of the popular open chords. 


Workshop (2) "Move it on up da neck". Level 2/3

Moveable chord substitutions and progressions up the neck for adding some "frosting" to the jams. with just enough theory to be dangerous! Should already know most of the popular open chords. 

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Workshop I - Elevated Jazz Chord Progressions

Intermediate uke players can expand their 2-5-1 jazz chord progression skills while learning how to use a fun and easy songwriting tool.  Good strumming skills and chord knowledge (m7 and dim7 chords, for instance) would be helpful.


Workshop II - The Art of Jamming 

Beginning and intermediate uke players can jam with ukulele and non-ukulele musicians by getting "inside" a song to recognize its parts, and knowing how to hold down the beat while applying complementary rhythms and fills.  

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Introduction to Bluegrass Ukulele

In this workshop, we will teach you how to retune your uke from a 1st string A down to a G in “slack key tuning.” From there we will teach you a simple picking pattern (forward reverse roll) which will help you learn your first bluegrass song, “Banjo in the Hollow.” We will also examine “Cripple Creek - Melodic Style.” Lots of fun!

Introduction to Chord Melody Ukulele

Chord melody is a style of playing ukulele where you strum the chords and pick the melody at the same time. Both Jake Shimabukuro and James Hill come to mind as masters who have brought so much attention to this way of playing the uke.

How will we approach learning this style of playing? The short answer is “baby steps.”


budd snell (Open Strum) (level 1-2)

This year, we are excited to have Budd Snell, director of Ukes for Schools, lead in our Open Strum session. With his expertise, you’ll be sure to learn something new and make some great music! We invite everyone to join us and celebrate the joy of the ukulele.

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JOHN SANDOVAL CLASS 1 (level 1-2)​

Workshop 1 – Chord Changing Exercises

(Level: Experienced Beginner)

In this workshop, you’ll learn how to effectively practice changing chords.  More specifically, what chord changes to practice and how to make the most of your precious practice time.  Remember, “practice does NOT make perfect, practice makes PERMANENT”.  Make sure you’re practicing the right way!

Workshop 2 – Musical Chord Families (And How They Relate To You

(Level: Beginner/Intermediate)

In this workshop, you’ll learn the harmonic relationship of different chords.  Specifically, what chords belong together in a certain key.  It’s surprisingly easy!  Knowing this relationship will allow you to learn songs more quickly, transpose the key of a song, or even write your own song.

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rhan wislon 

(level 1-2)

Intro to Basic Theory

What's the difference between a note and a chord, major and minor, and for goodness' sake - what are those l, IV, V numbers all about?

Like any language, one often first learns the most very basic vocabulary, then proceeds to a more nuanced understanding of phrases and context.

How to Play Together - The Art of Leading and Following.

Playing together is most likely what attracted you to the ukulele in the first place. Getting together with other players is a joy, but have you ever wondered why some songs are a breeze to start and end, while others struggle from the get-go? Do all the songs seem to sound the same? Who is leading the song, anyway?

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