Summer 2019


Ukulele Summer Institute 2019

Download a one-page PDF Schedule of Summer Institute. Give it to a friend and tell them they have to come with you or you’ll lock them in a trunk and drive down a gravel road. (Don’t really do that … it’s a felony.)

303-984-0777 or

Class materials and details about each class will be updated on this page as the summer progresses. You’ll be glad you visited this page from time to time. Locations are listed at the bottom of this page.


Open to ANYBODY who owns an ukulele and wants to get better at playing it! We’ll be teaching plenty of skills all summer and we’ll rawk music (mostly) from outer space. Main topics are supplemented with real songs, raucous laughter, and plenty of mistakes. No registration necessary for most classes. Every year we update courses and offer new ideas even for experienced players. Monday night classes are $10. Need another way to do ukulele? Private lessons, new and used instruments, or repairs. Call 303-984-0777.

Here’s a mostly-complete list of resources we’ve used this summer:

  • Download this: Complete Book in PDF format
    • If your printer is a pain, we will have copies of this book available for purchase.
    • You’ll only really need to print the pages associated with “Key of C” and “Key of F.”
    • We will have individual sheets of these songs available for free.
  • You’ll want to download this: All the sound files in a zip file
    • On all of the songs in this book, you are strongly advised to listen to the associated sound file a LOT prior to trying to play them.
  • You’ll want to download this: Ensemble Certification Program
    • This is our on-going worksheet to help you track and develop your playing skills.
  • You’ll want to download this: Personal Goal Sheet
  • You’ll also need this: Practice Log
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Sheet Music
  • When You Wish Upon a Star Sheet Music
  • The Galaxy Song Strumming Sheet
  • Ukulele Circle of Fifths PDF
  • Baritone Circle of Fifths PDF
  • Join the 50/90 Songwriters Challenge Website
  • Bar Chord Worksheet PDF
  • Fly Me to the Moon PDF ~ MP3
  • It’s Only a Paper Moon PDF ~ MP3
  • Finger-Strength & Agility Training Drills PDF
  • MuseScore Software Download
  • Jerome’s MuseScore Blank Download
  • Gary’s Demonstration MuseScore Blank Download


Schedule by Dates:


June 3rd Arpeggio Kick Off Party Learn the secret to sounding great even as a beginner. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC.

June 4th to July 9th Introduction to Ukulele The ultimate 6-week program to get you to the top level of playing. Separate registration and fees required through the City of Lakewood (303) 987-7845. Tues 6:30 to 8:30 pm LCC

Online Registration is HERE.

June 10th String Changing Workshop Learn how to make your ukulele sound way better. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC

What to know about strings:

  • Change your strings every year — at least. Modern materials decay more quickly than the old stuff we used in the past, but modern strings sound way better. If you play daily, you may need to change them two or three times a year.
  • If you have a solid top ukulele, there’s no need to change the strings for the first six months. It needs to “open up” by playing it. After it’s open, using better strings will create an extraordinary depth of sound you’ll love on your ukulele.
  • If you have a laminate top ukulele, you should upgrade your strings from those the manufacturer put on as soon as possible. It’ll sound better right away.
  • If you are playing with white strings, you are only hurting yourself. Get those off. Nylagut was super popular for five minutes in the early 2000s and now it’s on everything like chicken pox on anti-vaxxers. These days, my main job is to cut those white strings off and make ukuleles sound and play better. Fill in the blank: Manufacturers don’t put on the best strings, they put on the _____________. *
  • If you are playing with black strings, you’re from the 50s. Stop it. Change those out yesterday. They’re nylon and they’re from an ancient bygone era.
  • My tirade: I have tried every single brand (I think) and you don’t need to believe the hype. Fluorocarbon is fluorocarbon and it’s good. Yes, there are other choices. Yes, they all have advocates. Yes, you’ll pay more for fancy packages. Yes, it’s fishing line. (It costs $5,000 to go tarpon fishing … your ukulele costs a couple Benjamins … who do you think has more at stake when it comes to quality strings?) And for those who are brand conscious, ask yourself: What is the likelihood the guy selling these strings has a manufacturing facility in his back yard? He’s probably buying bulk strings and cutting them up and putting them in a nice package.

* Correct answer: “Cheapest!”


June 17th Performance Skills 1 Marnie Ward turns you into a better singer and performer. YOGALELE! Warm Ups for You and Your Uke. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC

June 24th Performance Skills 2 Marnie continues her series to help you be awesome. COORDINATION STATION: Finding the Aliens in Your Voice. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


June 24th to 28th Teen Ukulele at Arapahoe Community College Register at (303) 797-5722. 12:30 to 4pm ACC


July 1st Song Writers & Music Theory Challenge Develop your own musical chops. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


July 8th The Legendary Bar Chord Workshop Yep, you need this every year. You do! 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


July 15th Finger-Strength & Agility Training Drills to help you be faster and smoother. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


July 22nd Standard Notation & Counting Skills Conquer the dots most musicians know. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


July 23rd to August 13th Intermediate Ukulele Conquer TuffUke and wow the judges in your life with magical skills. Separate registration and fees required through the City of Lakewood (303) 987-7845. Tues 6:30 to 8:30 pm LCC

Here are the sound files from Week 1!

Here are the sound files from Week 2!

Here are the sound files from Week 3!

And finally Week 4!


July 29th Arranging with MuseScore Learn the basics with this free notation software. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC

August 5th to 10th Ukulele BLITZ! Our entire Introduction to Ukulele class in six straight mornings. Hardcore! You must pre-register by calling (303) 984-0777 ~ $60 for the week 9:30 to 11:30 am World Headquarters


August 5th Ukulele Leadership Roundtable Survive and thrive in (or start?) a group. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


August 12th Practice & Memorization Skills Stop wasting time and conquer the ukulele. 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


August 19th Summer Luau Performances by members of Summer Institute like YOU! 6:30 to 8:30 pm GMUMC


Denver Guitar Orchestra 2019 ~ 303-984-0777

Levels 1 & 2: Pre-registration and fees required (303) 987-7845. Levels 3 & 4 are $10 per week and require instructor permission.

  • Level 1 Wednesdays June 5-26 or July 24-Aug 14 6:30 to 7:20 pm LCC
  • Level 2 Wednesdays June 5-26 or July 24-Aug 14 7:30 to 8:20 pm LCC
  • Level 3 Sundays June 2-Aug 11 11 am to noon World Headquarters
  • Orchestra Sundays June 2-Aug 11 4 to 6 pm World Headquarters


  • GMUMC: Green Mountain United Methodist Church 12755 W Cedar Dr, Lakewood, CO 80228 (Northeast basement.)
  • LCC: Lakewood Cultural Center 470 S Allison Pkwy, Lakewood, CO 80226 (Park anywhere. Use any door. Amazing.)
  • World Headquarters: Historic Grant Avenue Community Center 216 S Grant St, Denver, CO 80209 (Southside door.)