Read below for information on workshops and Workshop presenters.

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Workshops 2019


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

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


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

  1. Harmony Singing - John  Buchanan
  2. Drumming - Sam Girling
  3. Playing the Blues Harmonica - Pete 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. Drumming  - Sam Girling
  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 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 Sessions A & B: "Percussion for Groups" and Session C : “Drumming”


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.  


The percussion and rhythm workshops will incorporate songs, ideas and styles from two contrasting musical cultures that I am familiar with – West African djembe drumming and the folk music of the Orkney Islands in north-east Scotland.  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 the workshops will allow participants to learn how to play a variety of rhythms on several instruments together in order to create a piece of music.  

 Sessions A and B  : Introduction

Session C :  More advanced Concepts.   You may wish to take Session A or B on the Saturday and move on to the more advanced concepts on Sunday In Session C. 

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

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 Majorand 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

1) A short introduction on types of harmonica
2) Understanding, refreshing musical notes in the ‘C Major and  A Minor scales 
3) Learning to play notes and chords and a training strategy, so that blow and suck notes 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 songs to get us started and playing.
5) Some Do’s and Don’ts
6) Techniques for breathing, lipsmouth, hands,practice at home. References.
7) Keeping the instrument clean. You should never share harmonicas with other people.
8) Introduction to the ‘Blues Harmonica - discussion.

(Handout will be supplied, some harmonicas will be available for sale.)



Session B:  Playing the Blues Harmonica.

Participants should bring a C major diatonic harmonica such as Lee Oscar, Hohner Marine Band, or other good quality instrument (10 holes)

1) Introduction
2) Some general musical theory.
3) Note arrangement on the instrument   Major and Minor keys’
4) Chords used in blues songs
5) Understanding cross harp method (1st and 2nd position) How to select the right key
6) Playing the blues, and non-blues songs.
7) Practice bending notes. 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
10) Discussions, questions, and sharing ideas.  


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.

Anu Grace. Session A : Sing the Strings Session C: Sing the Intervals

SING THE STRINGS explores the natural 4 part harmony the ukulele provides by virtue 
of having 4 strings. Weblearn a simple repetitive song till its easily under our fingers.
 We then learn to sing the notes that make up the chord as a 4 part harmony, each assigned 
to sing the chord changes on one string only. This instructive practice is useful when a uke
 group wants to sing harmony parts in performance, providing a clear guide to practice the 
parts at home. We can then then put the ukes aside and break into perfect 4 part harmony - it’s a revelation!
SING THE INTERVALS  is a workshop to help open up the voice and familiarise
 ourselves with the basic intervals of harmony, independent of the strings. We will learn 
to recognise the 7 scale intervals through vocalising them by number. Its a useful tool
 in developing your harmony singing without a ukulele. We finish the session belting  out some rollicking good a cappella songs!


Session C: Sing the Intervals

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

Paul Jonson - Session A:Muscle Memory Magic for Ukulele Session B: Nothing But the Blues Session C: Making a Cigar Box Uke

Paul Jonson



Session A: Muscle Memory Magic for Ukulele


A training, learning and playing technique for ukulele armchair athletes.

You'll have fun realising how easy it is to go from simple to sophisticated in just 5 seconds.


Session B: Nothing But the Blues


This workshop will feature nothing but the blues, boogie, ragtime, which are roots music of traditional folk. You'll acquire the finger picking, alternative strumming, chording and tuning techniques for blues, riffs & licks and bottleneck slide that express the feeling of the blues.


Session C:  Making a Cigar Box Uke


Transition everything you know on a Uke to a simple cigar box Uke that you can make at home from a Kit in just 2 hours and play in in 2 minutes.

Paul will show you the Kit and the finished instrument and then show you how simple they are to play - no chords required!

Bruce Macdonald: Session B - Simple Picking Patterns

Barry "Baz" Bemrose: Session C : Twelve Bar Blues and Rock'n'Roll with a side dish of Transposition.

Come along and join us in learning the chord sequence known as the "Twelve Bar Blues".  This  sequence has its roots in the blues. We will look at the effect it had on Rock'n'Roll, play a few songs to show how it is used ( you will take away a booklet of songs that will help you in your jams with your friends ).  You will also receive a "Ukulele Helpmate", my iteration of a transposing wheel to use in helping to transpose songs from key to key.  We also will look at the Nashville Numbering system for chords.

Finally - if I have a willing group, we will undertake a "Flash Mob" in between acts in the Sunday afternoon concert. Sounds like fun to me!