Palm Springs Workshop Instructors & Descriptions



Daniel Ho is a most accomplished professional, having been honored with six consecutive GRAMMY Awards. His simple philosophy of presenting music with sincerity and artistry has resulted in number-one albums on national airplay charts and top-ten albums on Billboard. In 2010, his solo ‘ukulele CD, Polani (Pure), was the first ‘ukulele album in music history to receive a GRAMMY nomination. In addition to ukulele, Daniel also plays Guitar, Slack Key Guitar, and Piano.

LEVEL: 3 and up
Tone Masterclass

I wanted to take advantage of Daniel’s sterling background as both a musician and producer by having him present a Masterclass that I’d never encountered at ukulele festivals: a workshop concentrating on tone. Although exquisite tone is a characteristic of world class guitarists, a fine acoustic guitar can by itself enable even an amateur to achieve a wonderfully resonant sound because of it’s body size and long scale. However, with the ukulele being a small bodied, short scale, nylon/polymer stringed instrument, technique is far more important in achieving a rich tone.

Many ukulele performers play fast and speed is an entertaining display of one kind of technique. But playing clean, in tune, and with a rich tone from every finger is entirely different. You don’t have to be a professional musician to strive for the best sound you can make. In this workshop, Daniel will explain various the techniques that result in exceptional tone, both acoustically and amplified, while teaching his latest song, Between The Sky and Prairie. He’ll also touch on intonation, action, avoiding buzz, and more.

Open to all – First come first served for instrument handout
Ohana presents Percussion Jam

Daniel will be supervising a workshop/jam featuring the ukulele family of percussion instruments developed with Ohana: The Shakerlele, the Bongolele, and possibly a new gizmo that will have just premiered at the NAMM show. These items will enable uke and non-uke friends and family to make music together!


Abe Lagrimas, Jr. is a superb musician, composer, educator, and author who plays the ukulele, drums, vibraphone, and studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Abe is also an educator, authoring the first ever ukulele curriculum for instrumental music programs in schools titled Ukulele Ensemble, Beginning Ukulele – Level 1 published by Consonus Music Institute. His latest book Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies (Berklee Press & Hal Leonard) is available in stores worldwide and on Amazon.

LEVEL: 3 and up
1) Improvisation Skills

We all have something to say, whether we use a lot of words (notes) or very little (rests/space) to get our message across. In this workshop, you will learn how to construct and organize your musical ideas as well as learn how to play the right notes. This is not a jazz improvisation workshop, but a workshop on how to improvise over one or 4 chords. NO HANDOUTS.

2) Advanced Chord Melodies for High-G: And I Love Her

This workshop is designed for high-G tuned ukuleles. With most melody classes leaning toward low-G tuning, Abe will teach you how to play chord and melody simultaneously and finally incorporate that high G-string into playing one of the Beatles most lovely melodies. Learn how to take any song with a simple melody and transform it into a beautiful and lush ukulele arrangement. Participants must be able to play barre chords and use all four fingers comfortably. Observers of all levels are welcome to sit in quietly.


Peter Luongo has probably taught more ukulele students than any other non-Hawaiian based instructor. As leader of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble for over 30 years, he taught dozens of students each year and his story was the central feature in the film, “The Mighty Uke.” His most famous student, James Hill, is considered one of the greatest uke performers on the planet. And his current adult projects, the Luongo Ukulele Experience Ensemble and Maximum Ukulele™ are catching fire in the western US with an eye on expanding back to his native Canada. He is the ukulele community’s most motivational teacher, as he was a dynamic, inspirational school principal. Peter could easily be characterized as the “Tony Robbins” of the ukulele.

LEVEL: 2 and up

1) MaxUke Choral Style
Learn one musical part playing and singing within a multi-part ensemble setting, with an eye on performing the song at the end of the workshop. Experience the same type of instruction used in Peter’s Maximum Ukulele™ Super Worshops and, on a more intense level, in his Luongo Ukulele Experience Ensemble. Some instrumental licks may also be included.

LEVEL: 2 and up
2) MaxUke Instrumental Style
Experience the same type of instruction used in Peter’s Maximum Ukulele™ Super Worshops and, on a more intense level, in his Luongo Ukulele Experience Ensemble by taking part in a multi-part instrumental piece in an ensemble setting. Some singing may be included.

NOTE: Both of these classes offer additional value to those with a low-G strung ukulele but either is acceptable.



Taught by various staff members
LEVEL 1 and Up
1) Newbies 101

We’ll begin at the beginning, but then we’ll jump as quickly as possible to exploring things that beginners can handle but aren’t typically taught in “beginner lessons.” Why? Because you can do more than you think, even on your very first day! Bring a ukulele and tuner, a notepad, and an erasable pencil. A music stand could come in handy but is not required.

After the above class, you’ll have the opportunity to study with Heidi Swedberg. Her Right Hand workshop will be next, followed by Freight Train. For any of you singers in attendance by Thursday afternoon, you may also take Jessica Agg’s “Singing With Your Uke” class for tips and exercises in getting the most out of your voice while holding a ukulele in front of you.

So you bought one of those cool bass ukuleles and don’t know what to do with it. Or, you’ve learned the basics and want more. Bring your bass uke and your questions. Instructor TBA.

All About Workshops

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.) Please wear your badge while inside any workshop. Our staff and instructors periodically scan each class for proper credentials.

Note: Only All-Access Passes may attend February 22 workshops with the exception of the all-level voice class which may be attended by Newbie pass holders.

Levels: There are 4 levels of workshops. These are suggestions to help you choose appropriate classes. Again, except for Newbie passes, any 1,2,3 day or All-Access pass allows you to attend any class you wish, from level 1-4.

Level 1: Newbies.
Level 2: Been around the block a time or two. You have a good feel for lots of chords, maybe even in more than one position and certainly basic bar chords like Bb and D7. You also have a decent sense of timing with your strumming hand.
Level 3: Solid Intermediate. You have Level 2 skills plus the ability to strum and finger pick a little in syncopated rhythms. You know a little basic music theory.
Level 4: Advanced. You are all of the above plus… You are a quick learner and understand music instruction. You have a confident handle on techniques for both hands. You can play chords in multiple positions. You know some scales. You can pick individual strings at will.

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?

Class Etiquette
Any non-Newbie badge permits you to attend any 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, 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.

In Summation:
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!