Workshops and Lessons

I teach ukulele in person (from my home in Derbyshire) and via Skype.

I regularly post free lessons and tips on my blog.

Phil teaching a ukulele groupI regularly run ukulele workshops at festivals and for uke clubs. The workshops I offer are listed below. They can be modified to suit various abilities, but to get the most from any of them (except the complete beginners one) you should at least be familiar with major and minor chords in the first few frets, not be scared of the odd barre chord (if you can play Bb you’ll be fine!) and be able to strum some simple rhythms. You’ll also need a ukulele in standard C tuning (gCEA).

Solid Strumming- a right hand workout: Developing a solid right hand, making it swing, the triple stroke, syncopation. We’ll start from first principles, giving you a good foundation on which we can then build more interesting and complex rhythms, and more ukulele-specific patterns like the triple and the split stroke. Newer players can get a lot from this one, as it will set you off armed with the good practice to develop your rhythm playing further.

Unlocking The Fingerboard: Using the whole fingerboard with just 4 shapes. Taking 4 familiar chord shapes and developing a system that can give you hundreds of chord options in all keys, and open the door to chord/melody playing. This workshop can be extended to ‘part 2’ for those who have either done the first part already, or who would like two sessions (ideally with a break in between!)

Jazzing It Up: Simple ways to take familiar chords and add more tonal ‘colour’. We’ll take a simple ‘uke songbook’ version of ‘I Got Rhythm’ and develop it into something that really sounds like jazz!

Arranging for Ukulele Groups: 
Bored with your group or club all strumming the same thing at the same time? Want to add more interest, colour, rhythm and polish to your playing? This is the workshop for you!

 Everyone likes to strum their uke, but if you’re not fingerpicking it then you’re missing out! This workshop with give your right hand a workout, and covers ‘Travis picking’, banjo rolls, blues turnarounds, swing rhythms, ragtime runs, syncopation, chord/melody playing and campanella technique.

Beginning Chord/ Melody ukulele: First steps into the world of solo ukulele playing. You’ll learn how to work with tablature, play ‘find the melody note’, choose chord inversions to support the melody, make interesting harmonies,  and add professional sounding intros and endings as we turn a simple chord chart into a full-blown solo piece.

The Circle of 5ths: A Musical Rosetta Stone!: Discover why this simple diagram holds the secrets of transposing, working out chord progressions, playing by ear, songwriting, understanding key signatures, and how it can help you know what the next chord is going to be!  You’ll learn how to listen to songs and second guess what’s coming next,  work out songs from recordings in no time, and jam along like a pro.

Blues and Beyond: In this workshop we’ll look at the evolution of the blues from from early riff-based forms to the 3 chord 12 bar pattern familiar to so many, but then we’ll go beyond into the beginnings of jazz. We’ll learn some classic blues songs, fat jazz chords, riffs and runs that really sound the business, whining string bends and double stops, and some killer endings and turnarounds (all without the tedious business of going down to the crossroads and selling your soul).

The Ukulele Player’s Bag of Tricks: Learn the tricks that the pros use to make their performances slick, original, exciting and interesting. We’ll cover passing chords, clever voicings, chord substitutions, rhythmic tricks, and ways of making people think you’re doing a lot more than you are! Shhh, don’t tell!”

Jamming Essentials: Discover the secrets of jamming and ditch the song sheets! Learn common progressions, what to do if everyone is playing in a different key, and loads of tips, tricks, and shortcuts that’ll have you playing loads of great songs without having to go searching for the chords on the internet!

Making the Most of Three Chords: Many thousands of songs have just three chords. The SAME three chords! In this workshop, you’ll look at how you can make those three chords sound more interesting and exciting by using chord inversions, new voicings, extensions, riffs, runs and a few other tricks.

Complete Beginners: What it says on the tin! No experience necessary, and we’ll have you strumming a simple song or two by then end with no scary music theory.

If you would like a workshop for your uke club, get in touch at
Some testimonials…

“Thank you Phil for a great workshop, so enlightening, so inspiring”

“Great strumming workshop… thanks! Lots of homework now!”

“Terrific uke workshop… Helped a great deal with techniques I’m practising.”

“Phil’s workshop was brilliant. He has that rare ability as a teacher to explain complex things in such a way as to make things that had long been a mystery to me just ‘click’. He also provided a very thoughtfully put together handout so you can practice what you learnt in the workshop. Thoroughly recommended.”

“Phil’s workshops are some of the best in the business. He engages participants, inspired them and always manages to surprise them and helps them learn new and novel things during workshops. He is able to provide workshops across a wide range of levels and settings. His preparation is clear and of an exceptionally high standard and the materials he provides are top notch.”

“Our group hired Phil for two workshops and both exceeded our expectations. His relaxed and entertaining style had everyone at ease right from the start. Furthermore his experienced teaching methods catered well for our mixed ability group and as a result everyone gained immensely from both sessions. A great day was had by all. The scope of workshops offered covers nearly all aspects of ukulele playing and we would have liked to have participated in more than the two we chose. We therefore have no hesitation in recommending Phil to any other ukulele groups.”
Tony Lucas (tutor of Dam Ukes, South Shields)


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Phil Doleman: Blues and jazz ukulele & vocal