Waltons New School of Music - Introducing Ukulele Course, Dublin

Introducing Ukulele

Group Course for Beginners

Next course starts 17 January 2018. FULLY BOOKED

'If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.'
Jake Shimabukuro


Course Description

The ukulele was first developed in Hawaii in the 1880s, when Portuguese immigrant cabinet makers crafted instruments similar to the machete, a small guitar-like instrument popular in their homeland. Hawaiians called the instrument ukulele, Hawaiian for ‘jumping flea’, possibly describing the rapid movements of its players’ fingers, and it became popular in the islands thanks to the enthusiastic support of King Kalākaua, whose court often featured ukulele performances. The ukulele’s popularity spread to the United States when American songwriters began composing music with Hawaiian themes and sounds during the 1920s. Ukulele players proved popular on vaudeville stages, and the little instrument became strongly associated with the Jazz Age.

Although the presence of ukuleles in popular music continued through the 1960s, in part thanks to the production of millions of inexpensive plastic ukes and Tiny Tim’s unlikely 1968 hit, ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’, the instrument's popularity declined. The uke’s fortunes improved in the 1990s, spurred in part by the immense popularity of ‘Over the Rainbow’ and ‘What a Wonderful World’ performed by the Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Since then, its comeback has been reinforced by numerous rock, pop and folk performers who have taken up the instrument. Today the ukulele is one of the most popular instruments in the world – and with good reason. It is accessible, rewarding and beautifully versatile.

Designed for absolute beginners, Waltons New School of Music’s Introducing Ukulele course is the ideal way to kick start your uke playing. Students will learn fundamental techniques, chords, strumming patterns and fingerstyle in a fun and supportive group setting. Everything is taught through popular music (pop, rock and folk), and by the end of the course you will not only have the necessary skills to play the songs you love, you will have already started doing so!

Participating students will need to have a soprano ukulele to bring to class and to practice at home. Ukuleles are available from Waltons music shops and can also be purchased together with the course (see Course + Instrument Package below).

What happens after the course has finished?

Two weeks before the end of each Introducing course, you will be given options for continuing your tuition at the school. Although a continuation ‘Improvers’ course cannot generally be scheduled on the same day/time as the Introducing course, one can be arranged if enough students would like to continue and your teacher has timetable availability. Students can also continue their tuition with either private (one-to-one) or small group lessons with other class members (see Private, Partner & Small Group Lessons). We are happy to discuss these options with you.

Introducing Ukulele is one of our group courses for beginners. Private (one-to-one), partner, small group and one-off 'intensive' ukulele lessons are also available for students at all levels, from beginner to advanced.
Go to Departments & Faculty – Guitar, Bass & Ukulele for more information.

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 Course + Instrument Package

In association with Waltons music shops, the New School also offers a discounted Course + Instrument Package that provides students entering this course who don’t already have instruments with everything they’ll need. The package includes the course plus a Maholo MH2 Concert Ukulele (regular price €59.95), available to pick up from the school office on the day of your first class, for a reduced 'package' price (see below).

You should purchase your Course + Instrument Package at least one week before the first class in order to ensure availability of your instrument, etc. before the course begins. All instruments are subject to availability.

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Gary Norman, Teacher

Gary started to learn the guitar as a young child and soon began to explore bass guitar and ukulele as well. He began playing live with bands and vocalists in his early teenage years, enjoying everything from pub residencies to Aviva Stadium events, and playing a wide range of genres and guitar styles, including rock, pop, folk, metal, reggae, blues and jazz. Alongside cover gigs, Gary began writing his own music, and he was a finalist in RTÉ 2FM’s New Irish Music competition while still in secondary school; since then he has worked on a number of national and international projects. Writing and recording music developed Gary’s early interest in production, and he pursued this by studying at Ballyfermot College of Further Education, where he earned a diploma in music technology while working as a live sound engineer and recording EPs for local acts. He went on to study Music and English at University College Dublin, where he received a first class honours degree. As well taking numerous advanced modules in tonality and musicianship during his time in college, he also studied Non-Western music and joined the National Concert Hall Gamelan Ensemble, with which he has performed at Electric Picnic, the National Concert Hall and Leeds University. Gary is an experienced teacher of guitar, bass and ukulele, both privately and in groups; he has also taught Leaving Cert. Music and run workshops with a number of music schools. In addition to this course, he teaches our Introducing Guitar for Adults and Introducing Guitar for Children courses, as well as outreach guitar and ukulele classes for our In-School Music Programme.

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 2017-2018 Second Term Course Schedule

10 weeks, 17 January – 21 March 2018 FULLY BOOKED
Wednesdays 6.30 – 7.30 pm


Course Alone: €170
Course + Instrument: €219 (package savings: €10.95)

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Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee or course + instrument fee. Places are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. Most of our group courses are fully booked well in advance of their start dates, so early enrolment is recommended.

Purchasing this course or course + instrument as a gift? Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.

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 Ukulele on YouTube

Located in Dublin city centre, Waltons New School of Music is a comprehensive music centre, combining music tuition of the highest standard with innovative approaches to music education. The New School offers tuition in the broadest range of instruments and subjects of any music school in Ireland, for students of all ages, levels and abilities.

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© 2018 Waltons New School of Music
  • 69 South Great George's Street Dublin 2 Ireland 
  • Phone: +353 1 478 1884
  • Fax: +353 1 475 1346
  • Email: info@newschool.ie
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