Ukulele repertoire: song selection for ukulele groups and clubs

How do ukulele groups approach the task of song selection to serve the dual purpose
of attracting and retaining members and audiences? This question addresses both repertoire development and concert programming.

  1. Members are those who attend the meet-ups to play ukuleles and/or sing along
  2. Audiences are those who attend the performances, and may sing along from where they sit or stand but don’t play with the group

Does the responsibility for choosing songs, finding, creating, or altering existing song sheets, making them available online or in print, as links, individual song sheets, compiled songbook, etc rest on one individual such as the leader?  Does an official “gig book” or “song book” exist for the group, from which participants call out their choice of song? Or does a new songbook or song list get compiled for each gathering? Alternatively, do participants bring copies of the song sheet of their own choosing to distribute to others?

Watch City Ukulele Meet-up in Lizzy’s Ice Cream in Waltham, Massachusetts

The choice of repertoire is but one of many factors that influence participation, from a one-off or ad hoc appearance to a sustained commitment to regular attendance. While repertoire may be important, it is not the only or the most important factor in the drive to attract and retain membership and audiences.

Other factors, such as financial support (through donations, subscriptions, raffles, gig income), group expectation management (social obligation and peer pressure), and competing events (opportunity cost of participating in other activities) may be more influential in determining the survival and growth of a ukulele group.

Why am I interested in doing research on ukulele repertoire?

I spend a lot of time exploring music, trying it out, sharing it, storing and filing it for later use (such as a gig or a medley or mash-up arrangement). While I enjoy exploring and discovering sheet music, song sheets, and songs I’ve never heard before, it is laborious. I wonder if there are more efficient ways of finding interesting songs to try in my ukulele groups and include in a future performance.


Author: BLOGmaiden

As one of the earliest bloggers (since 1999), I enjoy meeting people who embrace "out-of-the-box" thinking and fear not the unknown. I believe in collaboration for sustainability because it increases stakeholder value.

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