We are really looking forward to teaching our improv courses again in 2021 using Zoom as our teaching platform. For each course we offer the following:
- Levels 1 and 2 are four week courses while Level 3 is a five week course.
- Each session is 1.5 hours, and is offered to no more than 16 people to keep the group small and increase your learning.
- We use break out rooms to help give you more access to personal teaching.
- Jamming. We’ll play a bunch of songs across different genres to create our own improvisation jam sessions.
- We’ll practice and review feel, riffs and melody.
- You get a chance to improvise in the privacy of your own home! And we’ll provide you with backing tracks to do so.
- This is a practical course and so we ask you to record yourself each week and post it to facebook (optional).
- We’ll give you one-on-one feedback on your improvisations, in a gentle but encouraging way to help you grow as a player.
This course is for players that have not done any improv before or do not have any music theory. You need to know your string names and notes in the first few frets. Perhaps you might know about 15 chords? However a willingness to try new things out is essential.
- We learn and review four important scales – the major, the pentatonics (major and minor), and the blues. The fun part is that we learn these through playing songs.
- We learn how to apply these scales – the lowdown on when and why we use them.
- We take you slowly each week through the theory but then we do lots of fun focus on how to play rhythmically, smoothly and with expression. That is we start working on that all important feel.
- Melody rules! and we start learning how to bend, twist and change the melody to create your improvisation!
This course follows on from the Improv Course Level 2. We assume you know your blues and pentatonic scales and we will take you further in improvisation. This course is very focused on expression, rhythm and feel.
- We review important scales learned in Level 1- the major, the pentatonics, and the blues scales.
- We will review different genres of songs including pop, jazz, contemporary, Latin and minor chord songs and how to suit those different styles of songs.
- Melody rules! but we keep learning more techniques of expression….. how to bend, twist and change the melody to create your improvisation!
- We learn chord inversions which are important for improvising on jazz songs in particular.
- There will be lots of jamming, with emphasis on expression, rhythm and feel!
This advanced course is for those who have completed the Level 1 & 2 courses (essential prerequisite), or have experience in improvisation and have a good knowledge of musical theory. We bring in a professional studio musician from Melbourne, Sam Lemann, to lead this course as he has decades of experience in musical improvisation. This course is for those who are already improvising but seek to finesse their skills and get a greater understanding of music theory and playing! You might have completed this course before but chose to repeat it to get greater insight.
- Over five weeks we explore general musicianship, including playing to the ukulele’s strengths.
- We’ll closely explore rhythm and phrasing, including different picking patterns to embellish a solo.
- We will further explore variation on the melody, including taking the melody up the neck using chord inversions.
- We learn a few more scales (eg, the diminished scale) and when to use them.
- We will explore chord and melody phrasing using different chord shapes (including chord extensions and substitutions).
Who are the teachers?
Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart, from The Sum of the Parts (music), are well known at ukulele and folk clubs and festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA. We have also published two books on our teaching method and business model. John Wallace (trainee and excellent musician) will also be part of the teaching team for any of the above courses.
For the Level 3 course we bring in the Master – one of the best uke players in Australia. Sam Lemann is a Melbourne based musician, who has been a guitar ace for hire since the mid 1980s. He unfortunately reached the pinnacle of his career in 1985, winning the Tamworth Country Music Festival flatpicker of the year. His downhill run since then has involved an intimate embrace of the ukulele, including (since 2009) annual pilgrimages to Hawai’i to play and study with ukulele greats including Byron Yasui, Benny Chong, Kimo Hussey, and Herb Ohta Jnr.
What do you need?
- An ukulele. Baritone ukes are ok (if you know what you are doing) but you must have a capo available.
- Knowing the names of your strings and some notes on the fretboard is required. This is not for beginners.
- Minimal knowledge + tenacious and curious attitude + fingers that can = acceptable. Please be ready to give things a go.
- A printer or a separate ipad or device for viewing your music.
- Headphones are preferable, or good speakers.
- Standard microphone on your device or computer is ok.
- A separate device (like a phone) to record your solos and to repost them.
- We use ZOOM as our teaching platform and Facebook to post your home work and keep the class connected. If you’re not on Facebook we can come up with other strategies.
AUD$120 for Levels 1 & 2. AUD $160 for Level 3.
When? That’s up to you……
Send us an email and we’ll let you know the details (including the times).
This is what people said about our courses run in Australia 2020
You all did a great job, so well organised and everyone enjoyed it and is appreciative of the fun and learning ……. Jonathan
The thing that worked well for me was the relatively small size of the class and the use of break out rooms with only four people – that makes it personal and a lot easier to ask questions or focus on one thing…….Alastair
If you do anything like it again please remember me. I have improved so much and might even be getting the groove! ……….Tanya
As you know I really love the Improv sessions and am learning heaps and even practicing. So, obviously am VERY sad it’s coming to an end. Is there any possibility you might continue a bit longer please! …… Di (a primary school uke teacher)
I feel so blessed we have such teachers. You are all great, and because you come at each topic from a different perspective, we are getting a plethora of input and it’s truly amazing. I don’t think you realise how clever you are. ……. Cathy (actually a uke teacher herself)
Access to the resources, classes and other material is just fabulous so again thank you….. Helen