Introduction to Jazz Ukulele

Developing skills to play jazz on your ukulele through exploring the basics while playing some great jazz standards.

This course will work through some of the basic principles that will move your playing from the blues into the realm of playing jazz.

While exploring wonderful jazz standards, we will look at:

  • jazz strumming and comping;
  • common jazz chord progressions;
  • substituting jazz chords for common chords and using different chord voicings (which includes playing up the neck);
  • adding jazzy effects,
  • and an introduction to jazz improvisation.

The repertoire for this course will present new material from previous years and an opportunity for a revision of concepts.

  • Half day afternoons - Monday to Friday - 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
  • Suitable for ages 16 to adult
  • Intermediate
  • Places available

Course Info

Day One Focus: The basics

We will explore the main jazz basics that make jazz different from ‘the blues.’

This will include looking at (and playing),

  • the function of chords,
  • the importance of diminished chords,
  • connecting chords and
  • learning and using inversions of chords.

We will also learn about strumming in jazz which generally uses the ‘comping’ technique to compliment/accompany the soloist/s.

We will do all this through playing and exploring some great, well-known jazz classics.

Day Two Focus: Common jazz chord progressions

Revisiting barre chords

Learning to play common jazz chord progressions: Learning chordal sentences

Exploring chord progressions in well-known jazz standards

Day Three Focus: Jazz Substitutions

The difference between common ‘home position’ chords and jazz chords

What to substitute?

It’s all about the 9s, 11s and 13s!

Adding jazz effects: dips and lifts, passing notes, chromatic chords

Day Four

Improvising in jazz: start from ‘less is more’ concept

Moving between chords: It’s all about connections

Day Five

Revisiting our daily focuses: revision


Playing our favourites!

Intermediate and advanced-intermediate ukulele players who have probably been playing for 5 years or more on ukulele or guitar; those wishing to develop their skills in playing jazz standards, comping (jazz strumming) and beginning improvisation.


* Know how to play many common chords (20+)

* Able to change between those chords fluently

* Confidently sing and play simultaneously

* Ability to read TAB or notation

* Willing to play barre chords and/or 4 finger chords up the neck (closed chords)

* Willingness to explore new skills

Please bring the following on your first day of class:

  • Ukulele
  • Music stand
  • Ukulele tuner
  • Pencil
  • Rubber
  • Water bottle
  • Your sense of humour!

Happy Camper Reviews

Cathy Welsford
Course Tutor

Cathy Welsford

Cathy plays in the fabulous Wild Women of Anywhere Beach duo performing at folk and ukulele events all over the east coast of Australia, writing and playing original songs with her partner, Angie Smith. She has been playing, performing and teaching music all her life. She is a sought-after tutor creating high-quality teaching materials for community ukulele groups, ukulele ensembles and workshops at many ukulele festivals.

Cathy plays all sizes of ukulele, harp ukulele and banjo uke, 5 string banjo and stick dulcimer. She was a founding member and inaugural president of the Australian Ukulele Teachers and Leaders Association (AUTLA). She holds a Level 3 James Hill Ukulele Teacher’s accreditation, a Mistress of Education degree and was a Project Officer for the New England Conservatorium of Music. Cathy was also a member of the Outlaws Ukulele Ensemble and the Australian Ukulele Orchestra.

As a choral director, Cathy established the New England Singers youth choir that toured England and France representing Australia at D-Day commemorations. She was the choral director for Cantilena Choir at the New England Conservatoriun of Music and has conducted massed choirs at Sydney Town Hall and The Sydney Opera House. As a music educator, she has created two ukulele-based music programs for primary schools and preschools.

Cathy runs online ukulele courses and is currently directing, arranging and playing in a Ukulele Jazz ensemble, Blue Gum Blossom.

Cathy and Angie are the organisers and creative directors of the Valla Beach Ukulele Camp: a ukulele camp focused on providing high quality workshops presented by highly regarded international and local tutors.