Jazz & Fingerstyle Ukulele

Develop your jazz and fingerstyle ukulele skills and strumming, and enjoy the musical challenge of playing in an ensemble.

This is a developmental course with each day building on the skills of the previous days. There are multiple pathways for intermediate players with material provided with at least two levels of challenge.

The morning sessions will be firmly based on the focus of the day, including both picking and more advanced strumming. A short post-lunch session will focus on small ensemble work with groups of 2 to 4 players working on special projects.

The day’s final session will reinforce the daily focus and how this relates to our performance pieces in a larger ensemble.


Course Info

Day One

Working on jazz and fingerstyle skills and techniques. Participants will work on playing a variety of fingerstyle arpeggio accompaniment styles in 3/4 and 4/4 time and finger picking patterns. We will learn how to interweave these to accompany a song or instrumental piece. We will learn one specific arpeggio pattern and one picking pattern that will form part of the performance for the Camp Creative Finale. We will develop skills in comping (jazz accompaniment), and in playing common jazz chord shapes, applying these to pieces to be played in the Camp Creative Finale.

Day Two

Playing Melodies. Students will learn/review using TAB or notation to read and play a range of familiar jazz melodies. We will start with easier melodies and progress from there. We will look at techniques to develop beautiful tone when playing melodies such as vibrato, left and righthand timing and coordination, and legato playing (smooth changes). We will learn and polish the melodies that will form part of the performance for the Camp Creative Finale.

Day Three

Learning common jazz chord progressions and playing them in a variety of jazz standards. Applying this knowledge to the pieces to be played in concerts and the finale.

Day Four

Developing a Chord library. We will play some great songs and jazz standards with lush and gorgeous chords in home position and up the neck. We will look at the major, minor, diminished and augmented chords, as well as suspended chords, Major 7ths and when to use them.

Day Five

Bringing it all together. We will incorporate fingerstyle, picking patterns, chords up the neck and chord knowledge to polish the repertoire we have used throughout the week. The small ensemble groups will polish their pieces and present to the class. We will include a joint rehearsal with the other intermediate ukulele class for the Finale.

This is a course for intermediate and advanced-intermediate ukulele players as well as those wishing to develop their fingerstyle skills and techniques by playing melodies and jazz standards.

  • Know how to play many common chords (15+)
  • Can change between those chords fluently
  • Can confidently sing and play simultaneously
  • Ability (or developing ability) to read TAB or notation
  • Willing to play, or attempt to play, barre chords and 4 finger chords (closed chords)
  • Willingness to explore new skills
To be supplied by participant

Please bring your ukulele, a music stand, ukulele tuner, pencil, rubber, water and a great sense of humour.

Camper Feedback

Cathy Welsford
Course Tutor

Cathy Welsford

Cathy has performed, played, and taught music all her life. Her teaching materials are widely used for community ukulele groups, ensembles, and workshops at ukulele festivals, and she currently runs online ukulele courses.

As well as playing ukuleles of all sizes, Cathy also plays harp ukulele, banjo uke, five-string banjo, and stick dulcimer. Cathy was also a member of the Outlaws Ukulele Ensemble and the Australian Ukulele Orchestra.

Cathy writes and performs original songs with her partner, Angie Smith, in their duo, Wild Women of Anywhere Beach. They perform at folk and ukulele events along the east coast of Australia.

Cathy and Angie founded the Valla Beach Ukulele Camp, which provides high-quality ukulele workshops by internationally acclaimed tutors and teachers.

Founder and first president of the Australian Ukulele Teachers and Leaders Association (AUTLA), Cathy has a Level 3 James Hill Ukulele Teacher’s accreditation and a Mistress of Education degree. She has created two ukulele-based music programs for primary schools and pre-schools.