2020 Workshop Programme: UNDER DEVELOPMENT - watch this space!



Workshops 2019


Session A   Saturday 2 February  9:00am - 10:30am

  1. Everyone Can Sing - Vocal Training for Groups  -John Buchanan 
  2. Sam Girling - Percussion for Beginners
  3. Singing the Strings - Anu Grace
  4. Muscle Memory Magic for Ukulele     Paul Jonson 
  5. Harmonica for  Beginners +  Peter Royle
  6. Reading and Working with TAB - Judy McDowall
  7. The Absolute Beginners Guide to Playing the Spoons -Keith Lightfooot
  8. Introduction to playing the Violin - Louise Ayling


Session B    Saturday 2 February 11:00am - 12:30am

  1. Harmony Singing - John  Buchanan
  2. Sam Girling - African Drumming Class
  3. Playing blues harmonica - Intermediate - Peter Royle 
  4. Simple Picking Patterns - Bruce Macdonald 
  5. Music of The Eagles  - Keith Lightfoot 
  6. The A to U of Singing in TeReo Maori - Mary-Ann Westhead
  7. Nothing But the Blues  - Paul Jonson


Session C    Sunday 3 February  9:30am - 11:00am

  1. Sam Girling - Drumming for Drummers!
  2. Singing the Intervals - Anu Grace 
  3. Making and Using a Cigar Box Uke - Paul Jonson
  4. Playing Chord/Melody - Judy McDowall 
  5. Preparing a Song for Performance - Paul Lee and Secret Lives of Ukulele. 
  6. Twelve Bar Blues and Rock 'n' Roll with a side dish of Transposition  - Barry "Baz" Bemrose


John Buchanan Session A: Everyone can Sing - Vocal Training Session B: I want to Sing in Harmony


John Buchanan has been involved  in choral music most of his life both as a performer and a conductor.

He has been at Dunstan High School for the past 12 years where he has been involved in the classroom teaching of music as well as conducting the school choir Dunstanza.

The choir has grown from 15 singers in 2006 to about 80 students over the past two years.  The choir has established a reputation around the area for the high quality of its performances.


In 2014 a Senior Girls choir was formed and this choir has achieved success at a very high level. This year they were successful in being selected as one of the top 24 choirs in New Zealand and competed in the Finale of the Big Sing in Auckland where they gained a Silver Award and the coveted trophy for the outstanding performance of work in Te Reo Maori beating choirs from much larger schools in the competition.

In 2018 the Girls have been invited to compete at the Australian International Music Festival in Sydney.

Out of school, John also conducts the Central Otago Regional Choir and the Roxburgh Pioneer Brass band.  This year the Brass Band became the D Grade National Champions at the competitions held in Wellington 

John is also active as the treasurer of the Otago Branch of the New Zealand Choral Federation.

Workshops for Ukulele Festival


Session A: – Saturday 9.30 – 11.00


Everyone can sing (but sometimes they don’t know it!)


Will look at basic vocal technique – 

How we make sounds. 

How we can improve the sounds we make. 

How to figure out where my voice sits.

How to move songs around so that I can sing them.

A practical workshop with a lot of participation from those that attend.



Session B: – Saturday 1.00 – 2.30


I want to sing in harmony – how do I do that?


A practical look at what is harmony – how to figure out how to make harmony and sing a part in a song.  Explore some songs and work out parts to sing.  A practical session with lots of noise (hopefully tuneful!)



Keith Lightfoot Session A: “The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Playing the Spoons” Session B: “ Attention: Eagles Fans Only”



Q: What should I bring to the workshop?
A: Yourself, your ukulele, something to write on, an open mind and a sense of humour.

Q: Can I video the workshop?
A: The workshop will be professionally videoed ... It is more important for you to "be 100% present" to gain maximum benefit from the session, rather than looking through a camera.

Q: Who is Keith Lightfoot?
A: Keith Lightfoot has played music and studied positive psychology for more than thirty years and has changed thousands of lives via his seminars, youtube videos and his motivational book/articles ... His extensive background in computer technology, combined with his passion for the ukulele, make him an ideal leader for the workshops ... Refer publicspeaking.co.nz for more information

Q: What do other people think of the workshops?
A: “I really enjoyed the session, it was informative, inspiring and full of fun, thank you” ... “Thank you for such and inspiring, relaxed and entertaining presentation” ... “I really enjoyed your workshop this afternoon, good laughs and great tips and secrets! Thanks again” ... "Always a pleasure to watch your videos Keith. You have a real comfortable way of teaching that makes people feel like 'even they' can do it :-)"

Keith's teaching methods are extremely effective and loaded with humour... Be prepared to hear new ideas, to laugh and to have some fun :-)
Note: These workshops have limited numbers, so book early to ensure your seat.


Session A : The Absolute Beginners Guide to Playing the Spoons
If you are looking to have fun, laugh, make lots of noise and go-home with dented cutlery ... then this is the workshop for you.
"I am definitely not an expert spoon player, but I do know how to get people started quickly!" says Keith Lightfoot.
1. 2 x metal tablespoons
2. Willingness to have a go
3. A smile and a couple of old spoons!
Session B: Attention: Eagles Fans Only!
Learn a couple of The Eagles songs and find out how to "easily enhance" your playing technique to make the songs sound more interesting.
"You may already know how to play some of the songs, but you may not know how to tweak your playing style to take them to a new level!" 
1. A ukulele 
2. Know how to play basic chords
3. Open to learning new things 







Sam Girling Session A: Percussion for Beginners Session B: African Drumming Class Session C : Drumming for Drummers


Sam studied percussion and timpani at Trinity College of Music in London under the inspirational guidance of Kevin Nutty (BBC Symphony) and Matthew Perry (Royal Philharmonic), graduating in 2008.  Following three years of teaching music at a boarding school in Norfolk, Sam returned to London to complete his Masters studies at Royal Holloway, where he developed an interest in West African djembe drumming and the Irish bodhrán, which culminated in a performance at the Orkney Folk Festival 2012 in northern Scotland.  In early 2014 Sam moved to New Zealand, where he currently teaches music history and theory at the University of Auckland.  As a percussionist Sam has performed with several of Auckland’s leading music ensembles, including the Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Chamber orchestras, and has given recitals in both England and Italy

In these workshops you will learn about the different techniques used to produce different sounds on a wide range of percussion instruments in a fun and relaxed environment, involving the whole group.  I will include different methods of ear training, including fun rhythm games and exercises that are aimed to increase co-ordination and build unity and co-operation within the group. It is hoped that a lot of the ideas you learn from these workshops you will be able to take back to your uke groups and include them in performances.


 Session A: Everyone has rhythm – percussion for beginners

In this class we will learn the basics of percussion-playing by using simple instruments that are (reasonably) easy to play! You will become familiar with a small selection of rhythms that you should be able to incorporate into the vast majority of tunes that you might play in your uke groups.

Session B: African drumming class

This workshop will give you an introduction to the diversity of West African djembe drumming. As well as learning some traditional African drumming patterns you will gain an understanding of how the djembe can be used as a replacement for the drum kit, which you can then include in your uke group performances. Open to beginners; participants in workshop 1 are welcome to attend this class (it will be different) as well as those who did African drumming with me last year.

Session C: Drumming for drummers!

Here we will learn some more advanced drum / percussion patterns and learn how to combine singing with drumming. This workshop is recommended to those who have attended one of workshop 1 or 2 as well as anyone who came to one of my classes last year. 




Pete Royle Session A: Harmonica for Beginners Session B: Playing the Blues Harmonica - Intermediate

Harmonica Workshops 

Peter Royle was originally from Melbourne, Australia, started playing harmonica at the age of ten and the blues harp at the age of sixteen. Performing with a number of bands singing and playing blues harp during teens and early twenties. 

He travelled to Auckland, New Zealand in the mid 70’s playing rhythm guitar, bass and blues harmonica, incountry and bluegrass bands.

Influenced by Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Rolling stones, Cream, John Mayall, The Allman Brothers, Hank Williams, Fleetwood Mac, The Band, Pink Floyd and many others.

Peter has always been interested in the musical structure of songs and how each instrument plays a significant part in the overall sound. The placement of notes and spaces, dynamics, rhythm, speed, voicing,phrasing, words and melody all contribute to the big picture. Bass guitar can dramatically change the feel and mood of a song while providing fundamental timing and runs to cue chord changes for the band.Harmonicas allow him to provide creative solos at the higher end, with melody and special effect sounds.

The first workshop is for musicians who are starting outor have no experience with this instrument. The Workshop intends to have you playing simple melodies, by ear, immediately and the ability to pick out any melody, with just 10-15 minutes home practice each day for one to two weeks after the workshop. The workshop will provide the essential basics, before moving on to the Blues Harmonica. 

Participants should bring a Tremolo harmonica 24 Hole 48 Tone Mouth Organ Tremolo Key C Major, and bring your ears!! The ability to reasonably pitch a note is an advantage.

Examples of harmonicas: Hohner Big Valley (quality instruments); The WINNER, harmonica by Suzuki. 24 holes partitioned (48 tones); (The Suzuki was under NZ $25 and more than adequate for our workshop)

Session A: Harmonica for Beginners +

Participants need a 10-24 hole tremolo harmonica.

1) Musical notes in the ‘C major scale

2) Practicing the scale notes ascending, descending 

3) Learning to play notes and chords and a training strategy, so that blow and sucknotes become second nature, after just one to two weeks of practice for 10-15 minutes per day - Like riding a bike you will never forget how to play.

4) Some simple tunes to get us all started and playing.

5Attempt simple group tune.

6) Techniques for breathing, lips, mouth, hands and microphone. 


Note: Compact handouts supplied. A small number of new 24 holetremolo harmonicas will be available for sale $20 (bring handouts and harmonicasfrom last year if re-attending)  


Session B:  Playing the blues harmonica.- intermediate.

Participants should bring a C and D major diatonic harmonica such as Lee Oscar, Hohner Marine Band, or other good quality 10 hole blues harmonica.

1) Introduction.

2) Some general musical theory.

3) Note positions on the instruments C and D major.

4) Blues chords in Key G and A

5) Selecting the right key.

6) Playing the harmonica against some selected blues songs.

7) Practice bending notes and other techniques to achieve sounds.

8) Placement of notes in a song, to create the WOW factor. Vamping

9) Jamming playing with guitar and ukulele and having fun with members of Secret Lives Band.

Pre and post course preparation for participants,(all levels) recommended.       (smalldownload fee applies)                                                          https://www.harmonica academy.com


Judy McDowall Session A: Learn to Read TAB and add to your performance Session B: Chord Melody

Session A - LEARN TO READ TAB AND ADD TO YOUR PERFORMANCE This workshop will gently guide you through the mysteries of tabbing. Then we'll add a bit of easy TAB to some songs and see what happens. I'll have you tabbing in no time!

Session B:  - CHORD MELODY  Learn a few useful riffs to some popular songs. Ever wanted to learn the riffs in Sweet Home Alabama or the intro to Hotel California? (I've got an easy and a hard version!). Or maybe you'd like to have an instrumental break in a song. Let's see where this workshop takes us.

Paul Lee Session C "Secrets of the Secret Lives" or "Putting Your Songs Together"

Lauder Workshop: “On-stage With The Secret Lives of Ukulele Big Band”


This year The Secret Lives of Ukulele will lead an all-inclusive workshop

that takes you from learning a simple song together, into devising and arranging creative ideas and then culminates in performing as part of a super group collective - all in one short day! 


Join us in the creative process of bringing music to life.

Contribute at whatever level suits you – simple strumming or crafty picking.

Learn in small groups – combine in one big mass extravaganza!


Experience the thrill of performing alongside The Secret Lives of Ukulele

on the main stage at Lauder. Pick up handy performance skills from

seasoned practioners. Get invaluable wardrobe and style advice from those that know.


The Whole Package in only 90 minutes! 


Mary-Ann Westhead : Session B : The A to U of singing in Te Reo Maori

Kia ora. I am a fully registered teacher specialising in teaching Te Reo Māori - ( the Māori language) and (Tikanga) -Culture in 14 schools throughout Central Otago. 
I have been learning the ukelele for about 18 months and am a member of two Ukulele groups.
Music was and still is an inherent part of my upbringing and life.  My parents both played ukuleles but we never knew the names of the chords. If there was a song to sing, they would just find the ‘note’ and play it by ear.  Fun times, happy memories.

This workshop will be about inviting you in to 
* familiarise yourself with vowel pronunciation through singing 
* understand how to sing Te Reo Māori when reading
* learn a couple of basic waiata (songs) to play and sing
* compose your own short waiata 
It really is all about having fun, participation and getting out there and having a go.  Feel free to ask any questions anytime as there are no hard and fast rules in this workshop.
Kia kaha everyone, and lets get started on the A to U of singing in Te Reo Māori.

Mary -Anne Westhead

Bruce Macdonald: Session B - Simple Picking Patterns

“ I started playing ukulele 15 years ago and had a real sense of accomplishment with my success. However I soon started to get bored with my strumming and searched for new ideas. Whilst in Hawaii I had  eureka moment  and found out you could actually pick a ukulele and as a result I signed up for guitar lessons back in Alexandra based on finger picking patterns.

My workshop is designed for people who are comfortable with basic chords with their left hand and are ready to learn some simple picking patterns. Attendees  can apply these techniques to many of the songs they already play and take their music to a new level.

In the 90 minutes of the workshop I will teach you 4 techniques in 4/4 time and 1 in ¾ time.”

Louise Ayling Session A8: Introduction to the Violin

Introduction to the Violin. Come as learn how to gain basic understanding of how to play the violin. A basic theory of music will be taught in support of the experience of learning how to play the violin. The workshop will include a beginner's guide to all aspects of violin playing. The end aim of the workshop is to get participants to be able to play along with a few well  known tunes - so  be prepared to make a whole lot of noise and enjoy the process of getting a grasp on a new instrument.  Vioilins must be supplied by participants and be in a viable working order. So beg, steal, hire or borrow and instrument if you would like to take part in this workshop.