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View Full Version : Thinking of trying to start a local ukulele club



Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 12:51 PM
I'm thinking of trying to see if there is ANY interest in my area by ANYONE to have some sort of a local club. The problem is that I am the only ukulele player I know. I am sure there are at least a FEW people in my town of 15,000 that either play or would like to.
So does anyone have any advice for how to go about this?
I've thought of putting flyers up saying something to the effect of "Do you play ukulele? Would you LIKE to play ukulele?", and then giving a brief description of my idea/vision. I'd be willing to teach a little bit, but I don't know how qualified I am for that. I have enough ukuleles to loan them out at the gathering (not to take home, but to play there). I have a couple of ideas of where to meet, but that would depend on how much interest there was, as well as a couple of other factors. If it was just a few adults or kids with parents, I'd be willing to do it at my house, at least for starters. Afterwards, I was thinking that one of the local coffee shops might be willing to let us meet weekly or monthly. Or the meeting room at our public library (where my wife works), but that's often booked in advance.
Any thoughts or advice as to what works or doesn't work would be most appreciated. I've never done anything like this, but I would just really love to have some other people to play with.

ukuloko
01-09-2012, 12:59 PM
I thought the same thing when I got to uni, "I'd love to have a little band but I doubt anyone there would play." To my surprise, in my course of 45 students alone there were three of us and two keen laerners, and then moving around campus during O week there were so many performing out and about.. I'm sure that if you put up flyers you'd get a lot of interest!

Local schools would be a great place to find people, teachers and students alike if you don't mind hanging around a younger crowd.

kaizersoza
01-09-2012, 01:10 PM
well do it guys, i was in the same position as you Chris, i did'nt know anyone who played the uke, i posted on here a few months ago about starting one in my city, never had a post for ages and was about to give up the ghost, then one or two came on board then i got talking to a guy roblat, we met up for a beer and we have between us organised our uke club it is starting up in the next few weeks, we have around 12 members so far our venue is more or less sorted, i opened a facebook page and that has drawn a couple in also advertised on gumtree, i am going to advertise in the local newspaper and on local radio once we have a solid start date, time and venue, ours is open to everyone from beginner to uke pluckin pro's

SailingUke
01-09-2012, 01:20 PM
Take your uke to a local coffee shop a few nights and sit and play.
You will have a club going before you know it.
Flyers work too, but you playing will draw more attention.
Take a few loaner ukes and some easy chord sheets.

garyg
01-09-2012, 01:39 PM
What I've seen from our club which theoretically I started <g> is that it's difficult to maintain continuity over a long period, new people keep dropping in and out, people show up for three months and then drop out, etc. You need a small core of regulars who will keep you going. We've been up to 13 and down to 2 and seem to be on the downward end after 10 months. But what the he!! you never know what will happen unless you try. Oh we used Sailors strategy and just played in a public place. You might also check around public schools (keep your trenchcoat closed please) because lots of schools are using ukes for music programs and there must be some teachers who would be interested. Good luck, g2

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 02:04 PM
Take your uke to a local coffee shop a few nights and sit and play.
You will have a club going before you know it.
Flyers work too, but you playing will draw more attention.
Take a few loaner ukes and some easy chord sheets.

Great idea!

mds725
01-09-2012, 02:09 PM
The people who started the San Francisco Ukulele Rebellion used meetup.com (http://www.meetup.com/). I was already registered at meetup.com for another interest I have, and a search for "ukulele" pulled up the SF Ukulele Rebellion. The club meets every other Sunday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at a cafe that seems to be happy to have us play there. A club-record 24 people showed up yesterday, and the club has more than 150 members. We may eventually have to find a bigger space. One possible resource is music stores. Some have performance rooms in the back or the attic or basement, and they benefit from ukulele players who buy stuff before or after meetings. (For example, Music Works in El Cerrito CA has hosted the Berkeley Ukulele Club, which recently moved its web presence from Mike DaSilva's website to meetup.com). Good luck!

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 02:19 PM
The people who started the San Francisco Ukulele Rebellion used meetup.com (http://www.meetup.com/). I was already registered at meetup.com for another interest I have, and a search for "ukulele" pulled up the SF Ukulele Rebellion. The club meets every other Sunday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at a cafe that seems to be happy to have us play there. A club-record 24 people showed up yesterday, and the club has more than 150 members. We may eventually have to find a bigger space. One possible resource is music stores. Some have performance rooms in the back or the attic or basement, and they benefit from ukulele players who buy stuff before or after meetings. (For example, Music Works in El Cerrito CA has hosted the Berkeley Ukulele Club, which recently moved its web presence from Mike DaSilva's website to meetup.com). Good luck!

Meetup is a good idea, possibly. I joined for something else, so I'll see what's involved. I really want to cover all avenues. We have one music store in town, but it pretty much sucks, and doesn't even carry ukulele STRINGS! So that won't be much help, other than hanging a flyer in there (if the guy will even let me do that...).

janeray1940
01-09-2012, 02:24 PM
One possible resource is music stores. Some have performance rooms in the back or the attic or basement, and they benefit from ukulele players who buy stuff before or after meetings.

That's an interesting idea; it didn't work for my group since the music store in question already uses all of their rooms for instruction. Finding a location for the ukulele group I'm trying to get going has been the biggest challenge. Some of the options we've explored include:

cafes and restaurants
churches/temples
empty community college classrooms
parks and rec community rooms
library community rooms

Most of these places have offered rooms for anywhere from $50 to $200 and up for two hours! Needless to say that has ruled out most of the spaces available to us; additionally, a lot of places require groups to provide insurance.

As for getting the group together in the first place, it kind of formed itself via UU and word of mouth. But now that we seem to have secured a location, maybe I'll look into meetup.com - I would love to see 24 people show up one night :)

kaizersoza
01-09-2012, 03:23 PM
we have 3 venues but all of them charge to use them, wouldn't it be nice to charge people to hear your group play, our group will be doing a lot of charity work for the local community

ricdoug
01-09-2012, 04:26 PM
We've found restaurants and pizza joints love to have a crowd show up on their slow nights. Two of the local groups have over 500 members. You'll need someone to conduct the jam sessions and keep it interesting. Here's two articles on that:

http://www.ukuke.co.uk/magazine.htm#Starting a uke club

http://www.ukuleleyes.com/issues/vol10/no4/feature.htm

ricdoug
01-09-2012, 04:28 PM
You can also e-mail some local ukulele players:

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/directory/state.asp?ID=6

mm stan
01-09-2012, 04:50 PM
Wow some great ideas...I heard of a uker who had the uke club over the house and someone fell and hurt themself.....went to take Cat scan and was expensive...I guess home insurance
covered that.. still...

haolejohn
01-09-2012, 05:02 PM
advertise on CL and the local music stores as well as coffee shops. Then just take two or three ukes with you and go hang out somewhere. I have gained more interest in the uke by playing quietly in public than anything else. Also, don't know what your schedule is like but I recommend volunteering your time at a local school with a club.

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 05:05 PM
You can also e-mail some local ukulele players:

http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/directory/state.asp?ID=6

Yeah, that's kind of a problem... there are only ukulele players on that list (besides me) who live anywhere near me. Both are over 60 miles away. One is an E.R. doctor. I've emailed him, but never met him in person (although I know people who do know him professionally). As an E.R. doctor, you can imagine that he doesn't have much spare time! Everyone else listed for Colorado is on the other side of the mountains, at least 5 hours away.

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 05:11 PM
Ok, I just noticed that there are THREE listings (apart from me) in Western Colorado, and one of them is in a town about 25 miles from me. But that is ALSO the E.R. doctor. He's listed twice. His main residence is about an hour away. But I would assume that in a town of 15,000 (more or less) such as the one I live in, there must be SOMEONE else who plays or wants to.

haolejohn
01-09-2012, 05:12 PM
I just read the whole thread. Lots of good ideas. Lots. one thing to take into consideration is the costs. We (SEUkers) meet all over ATL. It can be hard to find a local location. You live in a small town, is there a larger town/city close by? Also we were meeting every week then every other week but in two different locations. Travel became difficult for me with a new baby but when I can I go. We've never payed (unless uncle Wally did) on this side of town. Key is just meet up with locations that don't mind music. and keep it respectful no one likes loud music in public places. We had a guy that was very loud. After he came, we were asked to find a new location.

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 05:15 PM
I just read the whole thread. Lots of good ideas. Lots. one thing to take into consideration is the costs. We (SEUkers) meet all over ATL. It can be hard to find a local location. You live in a small town, is there a larger town/city close by? Also we were meeting every week then every other week but in two different locations. Travel became difficult for me with a new baby but when I can I go. We've never payed (unless uncle Wally did) on this side of town. Key is just meet up with locations that don't mind music. and keep it respectful no one likes loud music in public places. We had a guy that was very loud. After he came, we were asked to find a new location.

The closest "large" city (about 40,000, I think) is about an hour from me. In the 60 miles between my town and the "big city", there are exactly 2 other towns. This ain't the heavily-populated side of Colorado! Another reason to move to the Front Range when I retire!

haolejohn
01-09-2012, 05:25 PM
The closest "large" city (about 40,000, I think) is about an hour from me. In the 60 miles between my town and the "big city", there are exactly 2 other towns. This ain't the heavily-populated side of Colorado! Another reason to move to the Front Range when I retire!
so you are east of continental divide?

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 05:32 PM
so you are east of continental divide?

No, West. I'm about 250 driving miles from Denver. Specifically, Montrose. Grand Junction is the nearby "big city". The east side of the divide is "The Front Range", or as people from over here on the Western Slope refer to it: "The Eastern Slope". No one from that side of the state calls it that.. they call it the Front Range. At any rate... I'm on the Western Slope!

Nickie
01-09-2012, 05:36 PM
Feel free to check out the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society on meetup.com. We're pretty active, and there's some good ideas there. Good luck!

Chris Tarman
01-09-2012, 05:39 PM
Thanks Nickie!

csibona
01-10-2012, 11:32 AM
Plenty of ukulele players in Denver, Colorado and Denver has a relatively large "ukefest." Swallow Hill Music (http://swallowhillmusic.org/) offers a number of classes on the ukulele. The Denver Ukulele Community meets on the third Saturday every month. Of course, that isn't so close to Montrose/Grand Junction, Colorado.

garywj
01-10-2012, 12:00 PM
There is a uke club meeting at every senior center in my area. The only day one is not meeting (that I am aware of) is Sunday. Not everyone attending is a senior. We have a downtown market night and there are other outdoor community markets that uke players are a part of as well. It must not be too hard to start.

arpie
01-10-2012, 01:08 PM
Hi ya

I started out local Uke Group here after contacting our local paper with the suggestion of a story ..... Join the Uke Craze - with a pic of me & my banjo uke!! I didn't know that the Editor of the paper was a closet Ukulele player - she is now in our group! :D
32094
Did you spot the spelling mistake? The editor has now called her uke 'Jon'! LOL

I got lots of calls from people wanting to play banjo ...... and about 15 calls from keen uke players. I now have 10 regulars that attend weekly. Most are retirees & every Wednesday, I have a 1hr session from 1-2pm for Beginners & another 1hr session on Wed afternoon from 4.30pm to 5.30pm for 'OK' players.

Being a relative 'newbie' myself, we have one bloke who is VERY good & everyone else between 'beginner' & OK stage - and we mix & match! It is all fun. It has definitely helped me become more familiar with the chords, tho arthritis prevents me from doing bar chords.

Half of my group now have Banjo Ukuleles from Mainland - I've organised the importation of 12 over the last few months!! This is the first batch
32095

I have now created 2 songbooks for our group, so we all have the same stuff - mainly more simple songs, tho many of us also have the Daily Ukulele as well.

The local Returned Services club has donated a room for us to play in (except for school holidays like now, where we meet at my place or a fellow uker's place.)

If playing in a house, ground floor is good - away from railings & steps - no-one wants to be sued for injuries sustained in your home - maybe get everyone to sign a 'no liability' statement? We haven't tho.

Good luck - it is a fun way of becoming a better player!

kaizersoza
01-10-2012, 01:39 PM
hi roberta, any chance of a copy of your second song book really enjoyed the first one and learned some new songs from it, our uke club is starting in a few weeks, thanx for encouraging me to take it on you are an inspiration, we've got about 12 players and i am hoping maybe eight of them will show for the first night jam, once we have the time and date firmly fixed i am going to get in touch with the local news paper and radio station to do a piece on us and hopefully generate some new members but thanx for all the advice you gave me when it was looking bleak

richard

Plainsong
01-10-2012, 01:59 PM
Marihen started her club (and shop!) from thinking she was the only player in Estonia, and she's been successful.

I've been thinking seriously about starting a club, but given that there is one already, and I don't like the idea of stepping on their toes.. the idea sort of stops dead in its tracks.

I know what you means about "the big city" though. It seems everything organized that one might actually want to do, is just going to be a 40 minute drive away with no parking when you get there, just by default. This is back home in SC though. Here in Helsinki we just have the no parking problem.

..unless it's ukes, because they often play at this shop like 2 minutes away from where I'd be living if I were there. It also seems more my speed than the local club here. Guess I just can't have everything.

arpie
01-10-2012, 04:33 PM
....any chance of a copy of your second song book really enjoyed the first one ......

No worries, Richard - bigger writing in this one! :) Lots of my old favourites from the 60s-80s back when I played a little folk guitar!

I'll email it in 3 sections, as they are about 5mb each.

cheers

Roberta

Chris Tarman
02-19-2012, 05:23 AM
Ok, to update this thread with a question: Which name sounds better: "Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society" or "Black Canyon Ukulele Society" (or "Club")? Both are local geographic features. The Black Canyon is right outside town, and is a National Park. A LOT of businesses and organizations around here use "Black Canyon" in the name. I kind of prefer the sound of "Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society", but that might just be because I thought of it first so it's been kicking around in my head longer.

kaizersoza
02-19-2012, 05:48 AM
hope everything goes well Chris we are having our second evening on tuesday, 20 players turned up on the last evening, all we did was advertise on facebook, a free online site called gumtree and we got intouch with the local paper and they did a piece on us, word and mouth has done the rest, good luck with your venture

cletus
02-19-2012, 05:53 AM
Community radio KAFM in Grand Junction might be a good connection to get the word out. And Main Street Bagels, to sit outside and play your uke in the sun.

:cheers:

Chris Tarman
02-19-2012, 06:16 AM
Yeah, but which name???

cletus
02-19-2012, 12:31 PM
Yeah, but which name???

The Slope Strum Society.

The Plateau Plucking People.

:old:

Chris Tarman
02-19-2012, 01:52 PM
D'oh! Those are good, but I already launched the FB page and group. It's the Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society. I ran the two names past the one guy I knew who that I could make a member (you have to have at least one member to start a group on FB), and he agreed that "Black Canyon-anything" is over-used in our area. He doesn't actually have a functioning ukulele at the moment, but he's a pretty talented guitarist and drummer. And he does HAVE a ukulele, it is just an old one that his grandfather gave him. I told him not to worry... I have enough to field a small army.
The FB page is "Uncompahgre Valley Ukulele Society", and you are all free to "like" it!