Premiering a new work is always a nerve-wracking experience, especially in front of the composer and an unknown public. I’m not sure who has the greater pressure, the composer or the performer, or in this case, the conductor.
On Sunday 18th March 2018, the Boston Festival Guitar Orchestra, made up of several regional guitar ensembles, including Boston Guitar Orchestra, gave the world premiere of Robert Beaser‘s Chaconne, a piece commissioned by the Boston Classical Guitar Society for the New England Guitar Ensemble Festival (NEGEF).
Continue reading “Premiering new work for guitar orchestra: Beaser’s Chaconne”
If you’re a complete beginner to playing the ukulele, you’re probably wondering how many chords you need to know before you can accompany yourself to a song. Did you know, there are songs with one chord in it? You can play the one-fingered C major chord for “Frère Jacques” (same tune as “Are You Sleeping, Brother John”) and “Row, row, row your boat.”
Of course, knowing a second chord will expand your horizons.
Continue reading “Two Chord Songs”
After learning how to hold and tune your ukulele, the next step is what to do with your right hand (if you are right-handed) on the ukulele. This is the hand that controls the rhythm, the beat, the accents, and the tempo (speed). Strumming is all about time-keeping and rhythm.
Continue reading “Different strokes for different folks: strumming patterns”
Eight years ago, I gave a paper on “house concerts for art music” to economists in love with music in Copenhagen. Today, Groupmuse is one of the grassroot initiatives that intermediates between artists and venue owners to realise such a concept. On Maui, I know of a clarinettist who produces these concerts from his home — always sold out. In and around Utrecht, I know of at least two. What are the issues that confront turning your private space into a concert venue for the public?
Continue reading “Making private space public”
After playing the guitar, picking up the ukulele is dead easy. However, the other way around is not so easy. My first and last guitar ensemble experience in the summer of 1998 brought back sweet memories of playing Gaspar Sanz at an annual guitar festival in West Dean, England. If I could do it then, surely I can do it now.
Continue reading “From ukulele to guitar, joining a guitar orchestra”
Ukulele is much easier to learn than other musical instruments. If you already play the guitar, it’s even easier. Is ukulele really much easier?
Continue reading “From guitar to ukulele: chord shape thinking”
After you get your first ukulele (whether you borrowed, rented, or bought), the next thing you need to do is to learn how to strum. This is the rhythm section.
However, it’s nearly impossible to write about strumming without showing it, so you’ll have to come to one of my ukulele workshops, especially the one called “Different Strokes for Different Folks.” For now, I am going to answer your question about what to do with the other hand: which chords should you learn first.
Continue reading “Which ukulele chords to learn first?”
The first question anybody asks to join the ukulele community is how to get hold of a ukulele. They come in all sizes and shapes: soprano, concert, tenor, and baritone. For adults, I’d recommend a concert size. For children, I’d say soprano size.
Continue reading “Your first ukulele: borrow, rent, or buy?”