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I've been working on canons with my intermediate students. Most players are no doubt familiar with songs like Row, Row, Row Your Boat, or Frère Jacques. Canons are simply instrumental forms of these kinds of tunes that can be played in staggered turns and repeated as you desire.

A good introductory canon, I've found, is Russian Lullaby, a copy of which you'll find here. It's part a of a larger article Canons As Reading Weaponry by Lorna MacPhee from Ukulele Yes!

I like Russian Lullaby because it's in the key of C (easy, no sharps or flats!), and most of the phrases are just ascending or descending snippets of the C major scale. (Here's a handy cheat sheet, showing left hand fingering positions for the C scale. It's from The Ukulele Way, which you really should check out, btw.)

Grab a friend (or two, or three) and give Russian Lullaby a spin. Here are a couple of ways to play the canon. I'm sure you'll come up with more!

  1. Play the entire piece in unison (all together)
  2. Assign parts (Player 1, Player 2, etc.) Player 1 starts, then Player 2 starts at the beginning when Player 1 gets to roman numeral II, Player 3 when Player 1 gets to numeral III, and so on. 
  3. Start together, with Player 1 at roman numeral I, Player 2 at II, etc. Play through several times.
You'll be amazed at the lovely harmonies that emerge when the phrases begin to overlap each other. And don't be surprised if what looks like a simple tune turns out to be more of a challenge than you thought. Learning to play your own part while listening to others are playing entirely different notes will take some getting used to. But it's totally worth it, especially if you want to learn to play ensemble arrangements. Uke on and have fun!


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Kala recording artist Ali'i Keanaaina is conducting a workshop and concert, tomorrow, Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at Lamorinda Music in Lafayette, California.
Workshop - Intermediate level focused on the traditional Hawaiian strumming.  The workshop will leverage Alii's original hit songs from his current CD Music and Me, "EO" Ke Kahea O Ke Kahakai, and "A He Aha", and a new composition "Makalawena" (due to release in March 2018)
Time: 7:00PM - 8:00PM

Concert - Ali'i will perform songs from Music and Me and other Hawaiian favorites. 
Time: 8:15PM - 9:30PM
Date: Tuesday, January 23rd
Cost: $20 for Workshop, $20 for Concert, or $30 for both, payable at the event
  More info at this link.
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Jim Boggia - Ukulele - Thunder Road - YouTube

Readers of Ukulelia know the ukulele is boss. But now the ukulele is The Boss. Check out this Bruce Springsteen tribute in NYC, Saturday, January 27 at Arlene's Grocery.
 Jim Boggia has been winning over fans, critics, contemporaries and luminaries for over 20 years with his uncompromising devotion to emotionally direct songcraft. He has released three acclaimed studio albums, collaborated with a startling array of artists — including Joan Osborne, Aimee Mann, Juliana Hatfield, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Bernadette Peters, and NRBQ’s Big Al Anderson — and frequent performances with preeminent Beatles tribute band, the Fab Faux, and 18-piece collective Mad Dogs & Dominos, bringing to stage the music of Delaney And Bonnie, Derek And The Dominos, Joe Cocker, solo George Harrison, Leon Russell and their creative roots
Along the way, he got an ukulele and he learned how to make it talk. And once he got it talking, he got to finding ingenious ways of using those four little strings to play some of the most complex rock arrangements with all the grace and power of the originals.
Inspired by the response Boggia has received from his ukulele version of "Thunder Road," he has crafted uke arrangements of other Springsteen classics to present in this unique night of music on Saturday, January 27, 8pm at Arlene's Grocery.

 Link
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