Category: News

RIT Ukulele Club News

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Uke After Dark

Green Day, R. Kelly, and The Foundations are just some of the artists whose songs were magically transformed on the ukulele the night of our show, Uke After Dark. In a matter of minutes we turned a coffee shop into our own stage to play some of our personal favorite songs. Our members, who spent practically a whole semester practicing day and night, gave it their all at Midnight Oil in a crowd that filled the room. With our enthusiastic members and energetic crowd, Uke After Dark was a night we’ll never forget.

If you couldn’t make the show, fear not! We have posted some of the performances on our personal YouTube channel for your viewing pleasure.

A huge thank you to Midnight Oil, the crowd that stood with us all night, and our members who worked hard to make the night spectacular.

Have any songs you want to hear at our next show? Did you like a particular performance from Uke After Dark? Leave your comments below. We would love to hear from you!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

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Behind the Uke: Alex Beahan

It is rumored that you’ll never meet the same uker twice. The uniqueness of each uker inspires this next addition of Behind the Uke.

Meet Alex Beahan. A first year Industrial Design major with minors in Creative Writing and German, Alex has been playing the ukulele for two years. With a busy schedule that often accompanies an RIT student, he has managed to consistently bring energy and enthusiasm to each meeting for two years (that’s right, he started playing when he joined the club!). Outside of Uke Club, Alex holds the title of 3rd generation sailor (reportedly sailing since birth), fencing enthusiast, guitar and mandolin prodigy, artist, and avid reader. While his hobbies extend far beyond playing the ukulele, he manages to put time into practicing songs such as The Banjolin Song by Mumford & Sons. Here, Alex starts off our meeting with just that. Give it a listen!

When asked what he would like the world to know about the ukulele, he said this, “The ukulele is easy to learn and super fun!” We couldn’t agree with you more, Alex.

Catch Alex and more of our members perform on Thursday, November 20th at 9pm in RIT’s Midnight Oil for our one of a kind show, Uke After Dark!

Think Alex did an awesome job, have a request for the next addition of Behind the Uke, or questions about any of our performances? Leave a comment below!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

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5 of the Most Powerful Ukulele Performances on Film

Every uker knows how exciting it is to see a ukulele make it’s way on the big screen. Seeing ukuleles in films means that more and more people are realizing just how great the ukulele is at changing the mood and setting a great vibe to any moment in life. After scouring the internet, I’ve collected some moments where the ukulele rocked the scene.

1. Forgetful Lucy (50 First Dates)

WARNING: Contains spoilers!

Adam Sandler takes on serenading Drew Barrymore in the classic comedy, 50 first dates.

2. Tonight You Belong To Me (The Jerk)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxpAyPj-nJo]

A beautiful duet between Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters by the shore. (My personal favorite!)

3. You Always Hurt The Ones You Love (Blue Valentine)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNZgUM542VI]

Ryan Gosling sings and plays for Michelle Williams as she dances alongside him.

4. The Moon Song (Her)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFl6CGdaOuU]

Joaquin Phoenix beautifully strums while Scarlett Johansson sings this song.

5. Devil In Disguise (Lilo & Stitch)

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A big fan of Elvis, Stitch rocks this number in the popular cartoon movie.

Beyond these five, ukuleles can be seen all throughout film history. Check out Amazon’s Flicks with Ukes list and Ukulele Underground’s forum for more movies to watch with your friends and family!

Are there any movies I’m missing that needs to be on this lists? Which one was your favorite? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

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Ukulele 101: Basics

Getting your own ukulele for the first time is unforgettable. I remember carrying the tiny package with me on a hot crowded subway in New York City with growing anticipation as I reached closer to home and closer to getting my hands on my new toy. When I finally got home and unwrapped my uke, I sat on my bed, eyes glued to my computer screen, absorbing everything there was to know about caring for and playing my uke.

As for many, the internet was my teacher. I unfortunately knew no one skilled in ukulele playing (in fact, I didn’t even know anyone who owned a uke!) but thanks to YouTubers like The Ukulele Teacher, Endless Summer Ukulele and websites such as Ukutabs.com and UkuleleHunt.com, I was able to grasp the basic concepts of playing the uke. It wasn’t until joining Uke Club where I mastered strumming and finger placement (my biggest problems!). I encourage you to go out and find a group of cool people to play with. You may be able to learn tips not found on the internet!

Many in the club share this experience. In fact our very own Vice President and first guest blogger, Fafa Khamsidi put together a video to help out anyone who is just getting into playing the uke. There may be many videos introducing the basics of playing the ukulele, but none as great as this one!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1fm8jfg33U]

Here’s more from our guest blogger:

Hey! I’m Fafa Khamsidi, Vice President of RIT Ukulele Club. I’ve been playing ukulele for about 6 years now, but I’m still learning more about it all the time! I’m self-taught and I learned how to play purely through a basic diet of sloppy handwritten chord charts, Julia Nunes videos, and songs off of UltimateGuitar.com. It was all very clumsy. I didn’t even know any decent ukulele websites. So to make sure any New-kuleles (Uke Club’s term for new ukulele players) out there don’t end up like 13-year-old me, I’m going to try and relay everything I’ve learned to you folks!

TUNING

  • G C E A– from top to bottom! for soprano (beginner), concert (mine), and tenor. Baritone (biggest) is tuned DGBE equivalent to bottom four guitar strings, producing deeper sound.
  • Use an electronic tuner! top two strings pushing it away makes it higher, pushing in makes it lower; opposite for bottom two strings. match it up with the center line.
  • RELATIVE TUNING– A will be reference point, as it is with all string instruments (all string instruments have an A string). Tune to fifth fret on E to sound the same. fourth fret on C tune to open E. second fret on G to sound same as open A.
  • FALLING OUT OF TUNE– often with new ukuleles they can fall out of tune pretty quickly. most people get over this by constant tuning until the strings stretch out a bit over time. stretching is done by playing loudly and playing a lot. it’s healthy exercise for your uke!

CHORDS

  • BABY’S FIRST CHORDS– C, G, Am, F. Most songs use these chords, and a lot of them use exclusively these chords.
  • the only way to make switching from chord to chord easier is through practice practice practice!!
  • STRUMMING– I strum with my thumb, but probably only because I learned absolutely nothing about strumming from anyone. strumming with your thumb is fine, but everything I’ve read online says you’re supposed to be strumming with your hand like a pretend gun. except with your thumb closer to your pointer finger.
  • D.DU.UDU– basic strum pattern! most songs use this strum pattern, most songs we play in ukulele club use this strum pattern, and it is one of the easiest strum patterns to master! don’t tense up, though. gently bouncing through this pattern should come smooth and natural. keep your wrist relaxed but controlled, skipping along with your up-down arm motions.

I’M YOURS- Jason Mraz

BABY’S FIRST SONG– not usually the first song we teach in ukulele club, because You and I uses a few more chords, but I’m Yours is a song everyone knows and uses the chord progression I showed you before. I personally like to use this song to first introduce people to ukulele. Here are the chords!

Alright cool, thanks for listening! Hope anyone super-new to ukulele learned a few things from this video because I know I already have. Next time I’ll teach you guys some more advanced things!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

P.S We have a very exciting show coming up soon. Save the date for Uke After Dark!

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Behind the Uke: Jackie Wiley

The advantage of playing the ukulele with the greatest group of people on campus is discovering just how talented each of our members are. When we’re not practicing for shows, we encourage our members to show us what they’ve been working on beyond our usual repertoire. It is a truly inspiring moment watching individual performances that clearly illustrate hard work and passion. For our new blog segment called Behind the Uke, we will feature these performances so that everyone can witness the awesome talents of our members.

For our very first addition of Behind The Uke, we are featuring our current president, Jackie Wiley! Voted in last year, Jackie has done a phenomenal job at keeping our club going strong. From sorting out the technical aspects of running our club to personifying enthusiasm at every meeting, we wouldn’t know where we would be without her. With a very active YouTube channel, she can be seen playing songs from every genre on both the ukulele and guitar. Before checking out her channel, listen to her play Talking Bird by Death Cab for Cutie. To follow along with Jackie, click here!

Do you have a song you would like to hear covered by one of our members? Interested in jamming with our members for the next edition of Behind The Uke? Comment below or join us at any of our meetings held Mondays from 8pm to 10pm in Eastman 2000.

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

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9 Reasons Why You Need A Ukulele

The ukulele (pronounced yoo-kuh-ley-lee or if you want to say it the Hawaiian way oo-koo-ley-ley) is a small four stringed instrument that has it’s roots in Hawaiian culture and a special place in the hearts of our members and ukers alike. Here are just some of the many reasons why you should pick one up today:

1.It’s fun and easy to play.

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2.You can play the cliche happy songs…

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3.deep songs…

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4.hardcore songs (but be careful not to break the strings!)…

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5.or…um…

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6. It’s affordable!

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7. You can play with your pet…

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8. but it would be better playing with your human friends.

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9. Most importantly, the instrument can make anyone happy.

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Visit your local music shop or simply shop online to find the ukulele that’s right for you. Have questions on certain types of ukuleles, need help finding one, or simply want opinions on certain brands? Leave your questions in the comment box below!

We would like to say a very huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our club on ROAR day here at RIT. The donations made to the club gives us the opportunity to continue spreading awareness and cheer throughout campus and beyond. We cannot express how grateful we are!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

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Ukuleles Take Over Fringe Fest

September 27th 2014 was a good time to be in Downtown Rochester with a fun filled day of musical performances which included our very own show! This performance marks our second appearance at Rochester’s Fringe Festival with hopes of many more in the future.

To begin our exciting Fringe Fest week, we had the opportunity to star on Fox Rochester’s morning show where we gave a sneak peak at what was to come at Fringe Fest. We cannot thank Fox enough for thinking of us! It was impressive what we could accomplish at 6 in the morning. Props to everyone involved in making this happen and our club members for their upbeat spirit on and off the camera.

The sun couldn’t have been shining any brighter when it came time to show day. After raiding Bernunzio’s Uptown Music and getting a slice at Stromboli’s (both of which you need to check out!), the club headed to the Little Theater to see one of the shows we most anticipated, The Destler and Johnson Show. We could listen to Destler play for hours (really Destler, please have your own concert) but before we knew it, it was our time to perform. We all gathered on stage ready to sing our hearts out to the best crowd that filled the Little Theater. Our set included:

Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy
Colors by April Smith
Riptide by Vance Joy
Pillow Talks by Wild Child
Little Talks by Monsters and Men (Performed by Brennan and Delanie)
Falling Slowly by (Performed by Sarah and Fafa)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles (Performed by Changbai)
House of Gold by Twenty One Pilots
You and I by Ingrid Michaelson
If you missed our show, fear not! Click the links to view our entire set. Thank you to Kelsie Redburn for filming us!

After the show, some of us headed back to Bernunzio’s to see The Rochester Ukulele Orchestra play a set that had everyone in the room blown away. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm over the ukulele that day. I am proud to have the opportunity to be part of this ever growing community that cherishes the instrument for it’s beautiful sound and mysterious ways of making anyone who hears it happy.

Did you see us perform at Fringe Fest? What did you think? If you have any suggestions on songs you would love for us to play or feedback on the performance, just let us know in the comment section below.

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!

RIT has a ukulele club?!

There’s nothing more exciting than experiencing the stunned confusion of a friend who questions the existence of the club. Being relatively new (our 2nd birthday is coming up soon!), we are always delighted to introduce our club to anyone who will listen. In response to our need to spread the word, we decided to create a place where you can find everything you need to know about the club and more. Without further ado, welcome to the official blog of The RIT Ukulele Club!

Following this blog means you will gain insight to our performances, objectives, members and of course, the ukulele. I will take you backstage to our major performances such as our upcoming show at Rochester’s Fringe Festival, give some tips on how to successfully nail that pesky tab you’ve been trying to learn and much more. Along with the blog, you can follow our journey on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We have a ton of events planned for the year that you do not want to miss!

This club is as unique as RIT itself. If you’re interested in learning how to play the ukulele, seeking a group to jam with, or just want to hang out make sure to join us at our meetings held every Monday from 8 to 10pm in Eastman 2000. We are always seeking new members!

The first time I heard about the club was at the big club fair during my freshman year. With a table adorned with ukuleles and the most upbeat people on campus, I knew I had to join. I have to admit, with little skill and a cheap ukulele I was nervous when it came time for the first meeting. Now as I play alongside some of the coolest people I know, I can say joining the club was the best decision I have ever made. When did you first hear about our club? We’d love to here your thoughts! Comment below!

Until next time, keep calm and uke on!