View Full Version : Juggling and Ukulele

10-13-2009, 03:38 AM
I am a professional juggler/unicyclist that plays the ukulele as a hobby.

I bought 4 cheap ukes a year or so back to have a go at, both juggling 3 ukuleles tuned so as to play a simple tune and also to practice balancing one on my chin/nose whilst singing and playing another, intending to add these skills to my show. I soon decided that actually just playing the ukulele was more rewarding and it would also be nice to have a hobby which is not my job as well.

I have noticed recently at juggling conventions in the UK that ukuleles are becoming very popular (not for juggling with) and wonder if there is something perhaps in the learning process that appeals jugglers.
At a juggling convention in Bristol. UK a couple of weeks ago and I counted at least 30 different ukuleles (of varying quality) during the week, with an attendance of around the 400 people mark. There were even a couple of impromtu ukulele workshops happening.

I am interested to know of any other ukulele players who also juggle or even jugglers who play the ukulele. I know there are several people who post on here regularly that do both. I look forward to seeing the results.


10-13-2009, 04:06 AM
There's David Cain.

And a hoola-hooper.

10-13-2009, 04:21 AM
I've come across David on both Youtube and rec.juggling (juggling equivalent to UU forum).

I like the hulahooping and uke video. She does both well and at the same time!

Hulahoop certainly counts as it has also become very popular with the juggling fraternity especially over the last few years. In fact I heard a comment at the aforementioned juggling convention, that ukulele was the new hulahoop.

I must admit it took me a while to see the attraction in hulahoop and it wasn't until I went to a workshop and spent an hour or so chatting to ladies whilst they girated their hips that I realised what all the fuss was about!

10-13-2009, 05:25 AM
This girl actually tours around teaching hula-hoop.


Harold O.
10-13-2009, 05:51 AM
I can't do them both at the same time, but I do know how to juggle. Three balls only, multiple patterns, but never tried anything more complicated than that. Light stuff is hard (like tennis balls) and I find that squishy rubber balls work best (they also go far when hurled from my trebuchet).

Thinking out loud here, there are similarities between juggling and playing ukulele. Both look like fun from the outside, are relatively simple in terms of basic technique, and the rewards from getting it down reach both doer and watcher.

hmmm...juggling ukuleles tuned to a certain chord and strumming each as they pass by to form a tune while riding a unicycle over an obstacle course of break-dancing midgets on horseback...

10-13-2009, 05:57 AM
I can juggle. 3 balls with 2 hands or 2 balls with 1. Nothing fancy but I can keep them going as long as I want. I am pretty pleases whit what I can do since I just kind of taught myself. Most people that see me do it think it is pretty cool and then try but can't get it going.

I like watching peole that know what they are doing juggle. I saw some competition on TV a few years back and those guys blew my mind.

10-13-2009, 06:04 AM
I had a bit of a juggling hiatus for a few years, but I'm gradually getting back into it. I can do balls or clubs, but I'm pretty rusty.

10-13-2009, 06:32 AM
I was quite a keen juggler a few years back. A bit rusty now. I should play with my balls more.


Ukulele Jim
10-13-2009, 06:34 AM
I can juggle. I always have juggling balls at my desk and I tend to juggle when I'm bored, on the phone, waiting for something to download, etc.

I used to be able to juggle pins, but it's been a while and I need to practice that again.

Ahnko Honu
10-13-2009, 07:37 AM
I juggle in my mind.

10-13-2009, 09:19 AM
I play the ukulele and I juggle. I mostly do balls and I'm quite solid at juggling 5 balls. I can also flash 7 balls and did about 20 catches. But I also like doing stuff with 3 balls. Unfortunately, I'm not juggling that much anymore these days... except when grabbing some fruits and other stuff lying around in the kitchen, which I do pretty much every day. ;-)

It's nice to see other juggling ukers (jukers?) on this forum.

10-13-2009, 09:21 AM
I juggle in my mind.

Your could become a politician. I'd vote for you. :)

King FarUke
10-13-2009, 10:09 AM
I learned to juggle about 30 years ago in high school while on the baseball team. I could do three all different ways and got real good at actually just juggling behind my back and over my shoulders non-stop. Could do four balls, but never got beyond about ten catches with five balls. I don't think I have the patience or coordination at my age now to ever learn five well.

10-13-2009, 10:16 AM
It's really interesting to see how many people juggle and play uke. I have taught myself to do both, although I'm only an amateur at both of them, and find them quite enjoyable.

My guess is just the fun loving aspects of both juggling and ukulele work well as a skill set.

10-13-2009, 11:39 AM
I can do good solid 3 ball with quite a few patterns. Little 4 ball. 5 balls elude me, alas. I can do a simple 3 club cascade but nothing more complicated. Also a bit of Devil Stick, Cigar Box.

10-13-2009, 12:57 PM
I am an avid juggler, and have been for 30 years. I belong to a local club, and juggle there with my friends every week. I can do 3 or 4 balls, and have been trying (literally for years) to do 5 balls. So far I can't seem to get past 8 - 10 catches.

The most fun for me, though, is passing clubs (or flaming torches) with a partner(s). We do 6, 7 and 8 club patterns, involving from two to 6 or 7 people. I attend several regional festivals each year, and the International Juggler's Association annual festival every other year.

Now if only I were that far along with my uke playing.... Oh, well. I only started playing in January. I'll have to wait and see how good I am at uke after 30 years of practice.... :D

10-13-2009, 01:07 PM
Almost forgot the bit about the appeal of ukulele and juggling to the same set of folks....

I've often described juggling as "visual music". It has rhythm, tempo, patterned structure....there are many similarities.

Like music, juggling has a mathematical component. There is an element of precision, yet with room for improvisation. Both benefit from regular practice. Each can be done as a solo endeavor, or with others. Both juggling and uke require a certain amount of manual dexterity.

Either *can* be an inexpensive hobby (UAS notwithstanding). Either pasttime is easily portable. Neither requires great physical strength, and so affords a level playing field for men and women.

I'm sure there must be more....but I guess I'm done for now.... ;)

10-19-2009, 02:29 PM
Small world, John!

I went to my local juggling club as usual yesterday, and one of my juggling friends couldn't wait to tell me about a post he'd seen on recjuggling.com.... You guessed it. The one you posted in addition to this thread!

Don't know why I've never gotten into recjuggling.com, as I have into UU....

10-19-2009, 03:34 PM

I juggle too.

I prefer handball balls for juggling. Yes, the blue ones!