MUS 25
Traditional Hawaiian Ukulele and Culture Winter 2022

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Class Details

The purpose of this travel course will be to study ukulele as well as traditional Hawaiian culture, music, dance, and language. Though the ukulele originated from Portugal, it came into it’s own in the Hawaiian Islands. It’s there that instrument construction became an art form, and the local population embraced it musically. In recent years, the ukulele has been having a renaissance. There was a time when it was impossible to purchase one in a music store. Now, folks everywhere are purchasing this incredibly accessible instrument for themselves and for their children. It is uniquely suited to smaller bodies and a much easier introduction to music making than piano or guitar. That being said, most users are not learning traditional technique. In Hawaii, there are schools completely devoted to teaching this technique. We will go beyond the simple chord structures and dig into mastery and plan to learn several Hawaiian songs. We’ll also take time to study local culture and visit some of the oldest family owned ukulele factories in the world.
The Class: Format: travel
Limit: 8
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: create a performance that includes at least one traditional as well as one original song on the ukulele; help promote and stage the community performance event
Prerequisites: some experience with a musical instrument, as well as the willingness to sing
Enrollment Preferences: prospective students will come to an information session, after which, individual interviews will be set up
Unit Notes: Bernice Lewis has been teaching songwriting and performing as Artist Associate in Songwriting for over 3 decades. She is a national touring artist and has released seven recordings of original music. In 2008, she was awarded an Artist in Residence position by the National Park Service. Twenty-five years ago, she was invited to join The Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra. She continues to teach and perform with her group. She has curated and produced nine ukulele festivals in Berkshire County.
Materials/Lab Fee: $3,700
Attributes: TRVL Winter Study Travel Course

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