A GUIDE TO WORKSHOPS (click here to open and read)
To get the most out of our festival workshops, strive to select workshops that match your abilities and interests and follow the classroom etiquette described below. This benefits you, your fellow workshop attendees, and our hard working instructors.
At registration, you will be given a badge and lanyard whose combination is color-coded to permit admission to all* workshops during the days you purchased. (*Newbie passes are only good for Level 1 workshops and "All Level" or "Public" stage presentations.) Please wear your badge while inside any workshop. Our staff and instructors periodically scan each class for proper credentials.
You should consider the following when choosing a class:
- What is your current playing level in relation to the class levels described below?
- Will the topic be understandable to you?
- What styles of playing and music are you most interested in?
Any non-Newbie badge permits you to attend any level workshop, however that doesn't mean you should attend say, a level 4 class if you fit a level 2 description. The material presented may be confusing or beyond your current playing level. That said, if you paid for an unlimited pass you are certainly entitled to attend whatever classes you wish. So if you choose to attend a higher level class rated beyond your level, please do the following:
1) Have an alternative class and location in mind, in case you decide the high level class is not for you.
2) Choose a seat that will enable you to leave without disturbing other should you decide to do so.
3) If you leave, enter your alternate class quietly. You may have missed the beginning but understanding the balance is preferable than being lost for the duration of the first class.
4) If you stay, adopt the role of a passive observer. With class time being limited, please allow attendees who are at proper level to ask the questions.
For all classes
Understand that our instructors have a tough job. They must prepare for a class of unknown size and unknown abilities. Please do not challenge the instructor, argue, or make suggestions that may throw them off their game. This rarely happens but it has, and when it does it can make everyone in attendance feel uncomfortable.
We may not feature as many handouts as other festivals as we encourage technique-based workshops vs. "let's play a song" classes. The thought process is that anyone can look at notes on a page, but how often do you get to have a pro show you how to do something? That said, sometimes a songsheet is used to demonstrate the technique. If a class will use a handout, there will be a link in the description and schedule. You must download, print, and bring the handout. We have no way of knowing how many will attend a given workshop and after throwing out hundreds of copies several years in a row, we discontinued the practice.
About Music Stands
It's a useful accessory to have, but in a crowded classroom it may be hard to fit. If you want to bring one to a classroom, try to sit near an aisle. A swivel top clothes hanger with clothespins can be a good substitute. Just hook it onto the chair in front of you and clip any handouts to it.
How much data can you bombard your brain with and still remember what you've learned?
If you have a one day pass, by all means, take as many classes as possible. However, if you will be with us for multiple days, consider taking a break to relax, decompress, or practice what you've learned. Many classes repeat from one day to the next so you may do this.
I try to offer a “Create your own festival,” experience, with as much variety as possible, but there are only so many hours in a day. That means there will always be scheduling conflicts and choices to make. Sometimes you will want to take two classes scheduled at the same time. To remedy this, many classes repeat the next day, opposite the same other classes. If you take note of that, you can take both on alternating days.
I’ve always viewed the “unlimited workshop pass” like a ticket to Disneyland: There are too many options for you to be able to do them all–you can’t ride all the rides and see all the shows in one day. But over 2-3 days, you can do most everything you want. I hope you have a great time!
Class Level Definitions
LEVEL 1: NEWBIES
Newbies have their own track of comfortable, non-threatening classes indicated as Level 1 & Up. Newbies “101” begins with tuning, proper physical techniques and chord patterns, then progresses rapidly. Class 102 builds upon the material taught in Class 101. “Strumming hand” techniques are included. The asking of questions is highly encouraged!
Newbie passholders may only attend “Level 1 & Up” classes.
LEVEL 2: INTERMEDIATE
This level is for the player who has a few months to a year under his or her belt and who knows a good assortment of basic chords, including partial and full bar chords (like Bb & D7). You should also be comfortable strumming in more than one pattern. (Once you know two or more, learning more comes quickly.)
Some classes may include picking, finger-picking and/or singing. So much is ahead of you in your ukulele journey!
LEVEL 3: ACCOMPLISHED INTERMEDIATE
If you’ve played regularly for a year or more, you should fall under this level. You should have the ability to strum in time using a variety of patterns. You might do a little bit of finger picking. You can change chords quickly and smoothly, including bar chords. And you can use your pinky finger if necessary.
Level 3 classes are moderately challenging for the ukulele player who is comfortable with his or her skills.
LEVEL 4: ADVANCED
These workshops are for the serious player seeking to derive maximum music education from the festival. You should be comfortable with syncopated rhythms, alternate chord positions, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and have a basic understanding of music theory. You should understand musical terms like sharps and flats, have a knowledge of where several notes can be found within the first five frets, and understand the concept of scales. You should also be capable of following complex instruction.
All unlimited passholders may attend, but lower level players should attend as observers rather than participants so that class progress is not slowed for the level 4 attendees.