There’s something about the very word ‘ukelele’ which puts a smile on my face. These dinky little guitar like instruments have been around since the 19th century and are in fact a member of the lute family of instruments (you’re welcome, fact fans).
They originate in Hawaii and most of us will be familiar with them from either a) watching holiday programmes where tourists are serenaded by women in grass skirts playing ukulele or b) black and white footage of George Formby singing ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’. The mere mention of the latter means you are almost guaranteed to have it playing on loop in your head for the remainder of today.
We at Small City often claim that Perthshire is full of little pockets of interesting people with passions, hobbies, skills and knowledge far broader than one might expect for our relatively small corner of the world. What’s even better is when you find a group of adults willing and able to pass on their skills to the next generation, and that’s where the After School Club for ukulele and guitar players comes in!
Edis, Susan and Nigel opened the ‘Acoustic Music Workshop’, run from their modern comfortable studio on Friarton Road in Perth, in 2014. As a group of professional teachers they’ve been running after school clubs for over three years and get lots of positive feedback from parents who feel it’s been the most cost effective and successful way to get their kids into not just learning to play music, but actually enjoying it! As well as their groups in Perth they also run classes in Kinross and Aberfeldy.
They have a huge variety of instruments available including piano, Mandolin and viola but consistently find ukelele and guitar to be the most popular. The teachers all deliver a practical approach to learning acoustic instruments but with the emphasis of having fun being central to everything they do. Weekly groups, including ukelele, easy guitar, singing, blues etc. all sit alongside after school groups and individual lessons for those with specific needs or personal goals.
One of the great successes of the advantages is kids now being able to teach themselves the basics of playing a musical instrument through YouTube videos. Group sessions like the ones run by Edis and the team are then the perfect way for them to build on their knowledge, discuss any problems and meet other kids who share their interest.
It runs every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon from 4pm and is designed specifically to fit in with the academic calendar so that kids can have a well-earned break during the holidays.
One of the advantages of being in a group setting is getting to play with other people of your own age and ability. When kids learn at home it can be frustrating, and difficult to move forward if they get stuck at a certain point in a song without anyone to turn to for advice.
The club also keep up to date with modern songs, and often learn tracks that the students already know. Modern music also provides an opportunity to develop special techniques, playing styles or individual character.
21-23rd April 2017 at the Weem hotel near Aberfeldy
Coaching will be provided at a variety of levels to suit all abilities from beginner to advanced. There will be four coaches on hand including the very wonderful Samantha Muir . For more information visit the Facebook page>
More details about what Accoustic Music Workshop offer can be found on their website>
Alternatively you can email your enquiries to email@example.com