I was delighted to conduct another interview recently, this time with ukulele player, teacher, band member and club organiser Lorraine Bow!
Lorraine started her career as an events manager, but all that changed when she fell in love with the ukulele. She was bitten by the bug, set up a uke jam night, and before long set up a teaching business giving ukulele lessons and actually qualified in teaching to help her along in that regard. She has since become a well known name in the UK uke world, and has been interviewed by the Guardian, and appeared on TV.
Hi Lorraine, so tell me how you started out.
I used to work at festivals (I still do at Glastonbury), and a friend recommended I see The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. I loved them so much I signed up to their website. I received an email from them to say that they were running uke workshops and I signed up. I enjoyed the classes so much that I asked the others in the group if they would be keen to jam with me on a regular basis. That's how the jam night UKULELE WEDNESDAYS started. I knew I wouldn't practice on my own and jamming with others would help spur me on. I had also recently given up smoking. You might say that I have replaced one addiction with another!
Tell me more about Ukulele Wednesdays. How does it work?
Ukulele Wednesdays is a free, open jam night held at the Royal George, Goslett Yard in London. There is a songbook we produced that you need to print and bring down with you. It's all very democratic, and people shout out the next song that will be sung and we go with that.
What have been the highlights for you?
There have been so many. I never imagined that so many people would come from all over the world to Ukulele Wednesdays. It is entertaining every single week. We have had everything from celebrity guests to a recent flaming tuba visit. We've had people come along from the other side of the world. I also didn't imagine that I would get on with the ukulele so well that I would be able to form a band, Karauke , or that we would play on Radio 1 (sound clip HERE ), among other great gigs all over the place. I'm really happy that a lot of my friends would want to learn the uke and that they prompted me to become a teacher, a job which I truly love and feel thankful I'm able to do - I love seeing people get the spark for playing in the same way I felt when I first started. I teach via LEARN TO UKE
I read that Learn To Uke has been a success, it seems like a great idea.
Learn To Uke is going really well. I re-trained as a teacher, so I teach in schools, I also teach teachers via INSET sessions how to teach their children whole class instrumental lessons with ukulele, and I teach adult groups in London. Each type of group is very different, but I enjoy it all.
So, as a seasoned uke player, what are your top tips for beginners?
On a technical level, concentrate on the chords you find tricky, and repeat those until your fingers make them naturally.
On a general level, don't hesitate. Get playing! Get your friends playing! You'll feel an enormous sense of well being playing songs that you like on the ukulele. It's such a social instrument, it deserves to be played, enjoyed and loved.
I couldnt agree more! Thanks Lorraine.
Check out my other Got A Ukulele Interviews HERE