View Full Version : Help Please!!

11-15-2009, 07:41 AM
Hey peeps, i need your vast experiance to help me out with a wee problem. The thing is that i live in Northern Ireland and i'm studing for an A level in music. For this i need to play a piece to show what a competent musician i am. Now here the clincher, i have no idea what song i could play on my uke that would be of a high enough level. The only stiputation that they told us is that it need sto show the required level of music skill, without saying what the level is!

any help at all is appreciated, thanks in advance

Ahnko Honu
11-15-2009, 07:46 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k :D

11-15-2009, 07:50 AM
Hi RF,

My guess would be that they are looking for something a little more than a simple strum and sing effort, but I could wrong. They will be more impressed if you can play a decent instrumental piece. Picking a tune on the uke is less impressive to my ears than a good rich chord solo - although I can't do either.

Jim Beloff has published some very nice chord solos, and there are others available.

Best of luck. It sounds like a fun thing to be doing for your 'A' levels!


Ukulele JJ
11-15-2009, 07:56 AM
I'd go with something from John King's The Classical Ukulele.

Those academic types love that classical stuff. :D


11-15-2009, 09:28 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k :D

yeah, thanks:p

11-15-2009, 10:57 AM
You could knock their Northern Irish socks off if you'd learn the Belfast Hornpipe. It's one of my alltime favorite Irish tunes on the whistle or mandolin and I'll bet it would be killer on the uke too. Don't even tell me you don't know it ;)

For those who don't:


11-15-2009, 11:26 AM
I'm a secondary music teacher in England, so can maybe help with the thinking of the examiners. What they want is to see technique which is idiomatic to the instrument. Playing a great tune isn't enough. They need to see a range of techniques. I'd look for something with some serious fingerpicking, as well as a range of strumming techniques. If you use re-entrant tuning, I would go for something which shows off the ukulele's ability to work scales horizontally rather than vertically. As for strumming, you need some percussive bits, chucking, some rasqueados.

If you're up for any of it, Jake Shimabukuro almost always uses a wide range of techniques, and you don't necessarily have to play at 634mph in your exam to adequately convey the piece. His pieces, slowed down, aren't too bad, I think. (I say this as a musician/guitarist, and as a yet inexperienced ukulele player)

I'm sure there are also some older trad pieces which are good. Older styles of ukulele playing use a great variety of chords, and if you could work the tune in (a la jazz comping), then you could be on to something as well.

The main thing I would restate is that it's about technique and idiom. It should sound like ukulele music, not something imported to the instrument which doesn't suit it very well. That often gets students into trouble who play "fringe" instruments (i.e. outside the normal range of "vanilla" instruments).

Hope that helps more than panics.

Harold O.
11-15-2009, 12:24 PM
I suggest something from the files of Ken Middleton.

Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/user/KenMiddletonUkulele#p/u/85/L5GsvlytI08

He has a load of tabs available on his website http://kenmiddleton.co.uk/freedownloads.aspx

Ken has posted many videos that you can use to decide which song you want to try. He does an excellent job of showing the versatility and range of the ukulele. Since you are a music student already, it shouldn't be overly difficult for you to adapt one of Ken's compositions for your recital.

And if you show up virtually unannounced with a ukulele, you'll catch the audience off guard and really blow them away.

11-15-2009, 12:45 PM
I agree with Ukulele JJ. A John King arrangement would knock their socks off.