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Ukuleleblues
10-15-2008, 10:46 AM
I am starting a local Uke Club and wanted some advice from you all at UU.

freedive135
10-15-2008, 11:10 AM
I don't belong to a club, my local club I would like to join meets on a day that I have to work.
It's a free club, from what I understand the way its set up is everyone brings a couple of songs they are working on learning and choose a couple to play/work on then the next time they meet play the songs that were choosen and start over again. Normaly it's an easy song and a somewhat harder song.

A couple of the guys I am in lessons with are members.

Good luck and don't giveup.

Jimmy
10-15-2008, 12:13 PM
At our ukulele club here in Ireland we just pay the costs for the premises between us. We meet every second Saturday in the month. What we do is play some songs together for an hour and a half, have lunch, then come back for another hour and a half. During that second section we play a few songs, let people play some solo stuff and then we tie it up. Sometimes we get some guests in (Steven Sproat is coming in November, and Dan Scanlan came in August) to do workshops and stuff.

I'd suggest getting together a mailing list of regulars before having a meeting. Good luck!

JKoval
10-15-2008, 04:11 PM
Don't currently belong or have one but I'd recommend using mediums like facebook, myspace, youtube, etc. etc. to make a local community. Once you've established that, ask around to see what kind of public events / meetings they'd be interested in. Never make it strict though... it's supposed to be fun. :)

-Jeff

Ukuleleblues
10-15-2008, 11:39 PM
I tried using Yahoo Groups for the club site, We had a place for tabs, links, lessons, pics., etc. it was weird. When I shut it down all of the tabs, links, photos, save 1 was mine. I would write up a posting about each meeting, what we played who showed up, etc tried to make it funny, I would post pics, etc. and I don't think I ever got one comment. I am going to try facebook I think this time. Good idea.

I used to send out a song for all to learn or bring with them to play prior to the meeting. Then I would also bring a set of songs for all to share. The place we met had a nice little place to eat in front, I don't think anyone else other than me and my wife ever ate there. We met evenings 6 - 9, met Tues for 1 year and Wed for another . No dues, no structure, no president, or oficial titles. Sometime I woul bring something to drink and cookies. We would get in a circle and playing songs, going around the circle seeing if each person had something they wanted to play. One year, for four meetings, we would meet at the beach (a member had a house 1 block from the beach) and played. I thought it was great.

It seemed like the only time folks were interested is when they had to pay for it. Maybe there is just not enough uke interest around here.

I used to kid around and say that I needed to have free beer and naked dancers at the meetings.

redsedge
10-15-2008, 11:51 PM
My club meets twice a month in a pub. There are usually between 10-12 of us. We've met five times so far. We play a few two or three chord songs to get going, then play more advanced stuff, often one or two songs that members have brought in. Then a beer break, then a performance slot which is getting more popular. Then we finish with a general strum-a-long and round things off with our club song, Delilah. (The Tom Jones version, as we are in Wales).

Lately we've started getting together with other clubs and also our more advanced players are giving mini-workshops for the first half of the meeting. The local press are showing an interest now and we've booked Steven Sproat for a workshop. Check out the blog to see what we get up to: http://www.ukenights.blogspot.com

I've just compiled our first songbook and there's a link to the pdf on the blog. See if you can spot the (not so) deliberate mistake.

It started by me asking the landlady if I could start a uke club in her pub. I put flyers out and contacted a guy who used to run a uke club nearby. With his help and advice from Ray Shakeshaft on starting a club (ukuke), I advertised the first one. Ten people turned up and they wanted to meet again. That's it really. We have a couple of spare ukuleles for people who just want to have a go before deciding to buy.

It's free, but if you've found people only value something when they pay for it - then charge. Offer beginner lessons, say for five weeks or so, then form your club from those players. Just an idea.

benmealer
10-16-2008, 12:43 AM
Try meetup.com i just went to an ukulele meetup in NYC and it was alright. There were only about 6 people there and it cost 5 bucks.

Ukuleleblues
10-16-2008, 07:35 AM
My club meets twice a month in a pub....... Then a beer break, then a performance slot which is getting more popular....... Offer beginner lessons, say for five weeks or so, then form your club from those players. Just an idea.

Great ideas, Maybe a beer or two will loosen some of the folks up so they would get up and perform. I like all of your the suggestsions....Thanks so much!!!

You all want a sister club in the states?

Ukuleleblues
10-16-2008, 07:37 AM
Try meetup.com i just went to an ukulele meetup in NYC and it was alright. There were only about 6 people there and it cost 5 bucks.


I'll look into it. We are going to have a "Uke Gathering" at a local county park this Sunday to feel out the currents. It's going to be great weather. I'll pass on all of the great suggestions. Please keep them coming.

berean_315
10-16-2008, 08:14 AM
Ukuleleblues, I can sympathize with you. I'm the organizer for the Houston Ukulele Meetup (http://ukulele.meetup.com/41/)

I've been doing it for about 4 years and have similar problems. There are 96 people registered, but only about 2-5 people show up for the monthly meetings. We meet at a County Park Community building on Thursday evenings from 7-9pm. We have a set group of songs that we give out to people, and also ask them to bring copies of songs they are working on for the group to play.

I recently asked people to send in their zip codes so we could map out where people are located in the city. Thought a different location may be better. It was kind of surprising in that quite a few of the members live or work not too far from the Meetup location. I think it just may be meeting after work for a lot of people during the week is not going to work. Saturday morning may be better for some people, but it's not good for me.

Anyway, I feel your frustration. I'm going to step down as the organizer at the end of the year due to other interests and conflicts.

Gerald

Ukuleleblues
10-17-2008, 12:04 AM
Ukuleleblues, I can sympathize with you. I'm the organizer for the Houston Ukulele Meetup (http://ukulele.meetup.com/41/)

I've been doing it for about 4 years and have similar problems. There are 96 people registered, but only about 2-5 people show up for the monthly meetings. Anyway, I feel your frustration. I'm going to step down as the organizer at the end of the year due to other interests and conflicts.

Gerald

I've heard similar. One guy was telling me their uke club had a really attractive organizer and they had great turnout. She stepped down, he took over and attendence dwindled. He was frustrated.

It is a lot of work with very little help thats for sure. I am going to try again though. Some of the suggestions from the UU uksters sound great.

Gaby
10-17-2008, 11:42 PM
Hi all,

Interesting to see all of these posts! I run a uke club in a (rural) town of 100.000 (very spread out though!) in Australia and can sympathise with all of you.

We meet in the private bar at the back of a pub. This works well for us as the location is central, there is parking, food and drinks and a pub vibe which is great. I hear that most clubs in Australia meet in pubs. If you do it on a quiet night, most publicans would be happy to give you some space if you bring in some business!

With the club I have had highs (about 60 attendees) and lows (about 10).

Without going too much into detail, I think that the hardest thing is to keep everyone on track, to keep the slow ones that don't practise coming, and the advanced players interested as well. For example, you could invited a local artist / singer to spice up your meeting and turn it into a small gig where the uke players back up the artist.

Basically, I found that you need to advertise! This doesn't need to cost much - but it will take some effort. Some ideas:

- write an article for the local paper(s) about your uke club, send a couple of photos of you and some mates with ukes. Write it so it is ready for print
- contact your local radio station(s). Many are keen to talk about something 'unusual' like a uke club and play some ukulele music.
- submit your meeting as a 'gig' to the local gig guide
- find a local music store that is willing to sponsor you and pay for small expenses (it should boost uke sales after all!), or supply some loan ukes so you can invite people who are considering to start playing to the meetings

We are still trying to find the perfect format, but combining teaching with practising songs in small groups and then perform them for each other is quite entertaining.

I would be interested in hearing what people consider to be the characteristics of a succesful uke club (especially in a smaller town).

ricdoug
10-18-2008, 10:17 PM
I forwarded your info and a link to this thread to captain Mike, one of the officers of our club. We started this year with two members and are now over 200. At least 50 show up to each meeting.The Ukulele Society of America is set up as a model to form new chapters abroad.

Formula for success?

1. Leadership - Somebody's gotta' be in charge. That somebody needs some charisma, to get the group going. The Ukulele Society of America currently has about a dozen conductors, who can all lead the group when our regular leadership have other commitments.

2. Venue - A public place where people can play, drink and eat. We started in a pizza parlor and now play in a LARGE nightclub.

3. Music - Most songs need to be arranged, so most people can play them. Our songbook has been arranged by over a dozen members. There are Hawaiian, Jazz, Rock, Country, Bluegrass, Tin Pan Alley, Showtunes... The music is representative of our membership, whose ages range from 7 to 100. Get suggestions from your membership and get all involved.

4. Itinerary - START ON TIME and stay on schedule. Keep the meeting fun, engaging, interesting and organized, so there is not a lot of idle time.

5. BASS PLAYER - Having the backbeat makes a huge difference in the sound. Ask your local music stores to network with local bass players.

6. Extra Ukes - Always bring extra ukes and encourage other patrons of your meeting place to join in.

7. Participation - Encourage others to lead in songs. It gives them a better sense of belonging.

8. Hula Dancers - Search for hula dance troups in your area and get them involved with your club. Dancing wahines draw attention.

This is just a short list and there are other things to do to make it work. Ric

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/UkeBusCard1.jpg

deach
10-19-2008, 01:02 AM
.......
8. Hula Dancers - Search for hula dance troups in your area and get them involved with your club. Dancing wahines draw attention.
....

You sir, are a wise wise man.

redsedge
10-19-2008, 12:46 PM
[QUOTEYou all want a sister club in the states?[/QUOTE]

Sounds great to me! We're hoping to have a mini-festival featuring different clubs. A sister club would be a wonderful addition!

Ukuleleblues
10-29-2008, 12:26 AM
[QUOTEYou all want a sister club in the states?

Sounds great to me! We're hoping to have a mini-festival featuring different clubs. A sister club would be a wonderful addition![/QUOTE]

Here is our site. We would love having a sister club on the oher side of the pond.

http://groups.google.com/group/thelowcountrystrummers