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Introducing Ukulele

A Group Course for Beginners

Next classes start 1 & 4 May 2019.

‘If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.’
– Jake Shimabukuro

‘Fantastic course and great teacher. Learned far more than I expected to in 10 weeks!’
– R. O’Sullivan

Click on the tabs for information.

Course Description

Introducing UkuleleThe 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!

Course participants will need to have soprano or concert ukuleles to bring to class and to practice with at home. Ukuleles can be purchased from Waltons Music at discounted prices for currently-enrolled students.

This course covers Stage 1 of the New School’s ten-stage system of student progress and assessment, which culminates in a teaching or performing qualification (Stage 10) should the student progress that far. Participants who successfully complete the course can be issued with a certificate of completion of Stage 1. If you are taking the course, please let the school office know if you would like this certificate. See About Our Stage System for more information.

Have you enrolled in this course?
Download our Introductory Handout
for tips on how to get the most from it.

Introducing Ukulele is one of the New School’s group courses. We also offer private ukulele lessons in a range of genres for students of all ages and skill levels. See Guitar • Bass • Ukulele Tuition for more information.

Gary Norman

Gary NormanGary 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 guitar and ukulele classes for our Outreach Programme and Music at Work Programme.

2018-2019 Third Term Class Schedules & Fee

CLASS 1 Fully Booked
9 weeks, 1 May – 26 June 2019
Wednesdays 7 – 8 pm

9 weeks, 4 May – 29 June 2019
Saturdays 4 – 5 pm

Tuition Fee: €180


Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee. Places are limited to eight, and are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. A number of our group courses fill in advance of their start dates, and early enrolment is recommended.


Purchasing this course as a gift?

Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.


Questions about the course?


What happens after the course?

Two weeks before the end of each Introducing course, participating students will be given options for continuing their tuition at the school if they would like to do so. 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 the teacher has timetable availability. Students can also continue their tuition with private (one-to-one) lessons or ‘partner’ lessons with another class member (see Tuition Options – Private • Partner • Small Group Lessons). We are happy to discuss these options with you.

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Introducing Ukulele
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