Ukulele Lessons in BC

    Lower Mainland / Vancouver Area

    "Ruby's Ukes" is Vancouver's Ukulele school which offers classes, workshops & the Vancouver's Ukulele festival. It has been called "A Ukulele haven for all those interested in learning, playing, & buying all things Ukulele!"
    Daphne Roubini (a.k.a. Ruby) offers several "10 week Ukulele Courses extraordinaire" which run three times per year in January, April, and September.

    There are 4 levels of instruction: Absolute beginners, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. From no musical experience at all, to learning to play jazz solos on the Ukulele!

    "With Guido Heistek and Ruby at the helm. Private Ukulele lessons and intimate learning pods available. Also available is a two hour "Uke Can Play" Ukulele Workshop to book for your office, event or group of friends!Other classes include "Uke Can" Saturday Workshop Series, Gospel Uke, noon-hour Ukulele Express, and Beginner [Gasp!] guitar." (Vancouver Ukulele Circle)

    For complete information, visit Ruby's Ukes website for more descriptions, dates, prices and registration. 

    Vancouver - Fairview

    Harmonious Joan - Beginner and Advanced Beginner ukulele classes for adults at a private home near VGH.

    These classes are small (max 6 students), comfortably paced, and the atmosphere is supportive and fun. You bring your own ukulele (soprano, concert or tenor) and a clip-on tuner – all other materials are provided. In the Beginners class you learn approximately 12 chords (C, D, F, G, A and variants thereof) and about 16 songs. Also how to properly hold a ukulele, how to fret properly, simple strumming patterns, tips for changing chords, some basic music theory including transposing songs, reading TAB (tablature), how pick out the C major scale and pick out a simple tune, tips for practicing at home, and more. The Advanced Beginner level is for those who have completed the Beginners course and feel ready to move onward and upwards.

    Private lessons for adults or children 7+ are also available.

    For more information visit Joan’s Facebook page or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Vancouver - Kitsalano Area

    Ronin Wong Beginner, Intermediate, and Upper Intermediate ukulele classes at St. James Community Square.
    These classes will make you a well-rounded ukulele player. We will cover a broad range of strums, songs, picking techniques, and instrumental solos. Everything from traditional songs to today’s most popular songs including pop, blues, rock, country, folk, latin, jazz, and other styles.

    For details on times, dates, prices, and registration, visit his website or email or phone 604-737-2634.

    Ronin has been performing and teaching music for over 25 years. His approach combines solid Classical training with the instincts of a pop/rock performer.  His specialities include piano, guitar, singing, and ukulele.  His students have ranged from dedicated fun-loving amateurs to award-winning recording artists. For more information, please visit his website where extensive information, pictures, and videos await you.

    Private lessons at Ronin’s home studio are also available. Just ask. Complete instruction from absolute beginner to getting ready for your first gigs!

    Vancouver Island / Victoria Area

    Bach-a-lele Note Reading Classes -Victoria, B.C.
    For all adults in the Victoria area, helping to bridge to gap from tablature to notated music.
    Classes are held from 6:00 - 7:00 pm at the Collaboration Hub at 1038 Hillside Ave.  
    Instructor:  Anna Lyman, B.Mus. 
    Private, individual lessons are also available through Anna.


    Friends of Music Society Ukulele Lessons - Victoria, B.C.
    Friends of Music provides musical opportunities for those recovering from mental illness or addictions as well as those supporting this effort. If Ukulele Lessons are part of your recovery plan then join us, on Tuesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. A limited number of instruments are available to borrow, making the experience accessible to all.
    As your comfort with playing and singing increases, you can join the Ukulelian performance group, which meets immediately afterwards from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
    Both groups meet at the Eric Martin Theatre, 2328 Trent St. in Victoria and are instructed by Avram McCagherty. 


    Steve Sutton - Victoria, B.C.
    Private or Semi-Private ukulele lessons or group classes at Tom Lee Music in Langford. 105-2401D Millstream Road, Victoria, B.C.
    Instructor:  Steve Sutton, B.A., Assoc. Music.
    Contact: Website or Ph. (250) 383-5222.

    Resources for the Ukulele Teacher

     JHUI-Logo    James Hill Ukulele Initiative
     u4uke1   U for Ukulele
    LittleUkersBk1sm   Little Ukers Program






     Chord Genome


    Other Music Related Links:

    Bar (barre) Chord "Batch Method"
    For all guitar and ukulele enthusiasts, here's an article focusing on bar (barre) chord issues and how to conquer your bar chord fears - from the creators ot the Chord Genome Project. (see above link)  A step-by-step guide to improving your success at playing Bar Chords focusing on playing the F Chord on the guitar. The techniques can be 
    adapted to learning to play bar chords on the ukulele as well. 


    An Education Guide to Musical Instruments
    A collection of links and webquests about musical instruments in general. A great resource for music teachers. This link was suggested by "Amy" a student in Ms. Ward's classroom from Delaware, U.S.A.


    Easy Ukulele Songs For Beginners
    This website has links to many YouTube songs for beginners. Videos for learning to play a variety of songs, and also a "chords library" and song tabs to get you started. For ukulele players tuned to C6 tuning (G C E A). 


    Hawaiian Names
    Look for your "Hawaiian" equivalent name on this website, and many other Hawaiian related information links. Lot of interesting cultural references as well.


    Know Your Composers
    A web page that covers a very brief summary and background of some of the most famous Classical Composers of the past. Thank you to Bella for suggesting this site for all to explore and enjoy. A great starting point for anyone doing research on classical composers!


    A complete resource for the music teacher! Whether you are a classroom music specialist, or an elementary general music teacher, you will find some wonderful music teaching materials on this site (Themes and Variations) Check out the new MusicPlayOnline, a subscription based access to interactive teaching resources so that you can teach right from your computer projection screen or whiteboard in the classroom. Resources for ukulele, recorder, guitar, vocal, and much more.  


    Musical Glossary for Kids  *NEW*
    A new website with a glossary of music terms and additional music resources targeted towards the young musician. Quote from website: "Do you want to be the next Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky? How about Leontyne Price? If you have a love or talent for music, nurture it by learning music terminology and theory! The symbols and diagrams may look hard, but with study and practice, you will come to learn how each fits into a composition. Music and theater are so powerful and it is time to unlock that power through learning. Begin your music education today!" Thanks to "Anna" and her father who brought the attention to this website to her teacher/librarian, Chloe Pedersen for inclusion on this website.!


    Music Theory Lessons: "A Musical Playground for Kids"
    A great resource for all ages, students and teachers. Thank you to Brittney Barnes (grade 6) and her father Nathan for recommending this site! This wonderful site presents links to all the basics of music theory in an easy to navigate format, divided into categories such as: Note Duration, Staff, Clefs and Ledger lines, etc., etc. It is an comprehensive site that offers a wealth of information at your fingertips! 


    The Open University - Music Education
    A link to the Open University, Music Education web page. Here you will find additional links to various music topics, musicians, composers, teaching strategies, etc. Thank you to "Kelly" who works with a youth music program in Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.A., for suggesting this link.


    Songs to Sing in the Car for Kids
    From silly songs to songs that teach, even if you can’t carry a tune, everyone is sure to smile when enjoying some of these favorites. This link was suggested by Allison and her daughter, "Jess" who aspires to be a music teacher.


    The CHORD GENOME Project(C6 tuning)
    **Updated** A great website that provides a collection of hundreds of songs that can be played on the ukulele! Please check it out to find 2, 3, 4 chord songss to suit your level of experience! Also Contains the 23 essential chords every beginner ukulele player should know.
    Many other links to Videos and Articles on topics such as holding the ukulele, reading chord charts etc.


    Ukeaoke **Updated**
    This website "Ukeaoke" has everything Karaoke has (Lyrics and Background Music) with the added feature of the chords embedded in the lyrics. Currently crowdsourcing for funds to create over 1000 popular songs for the ukulele.


    The Ultimate Collection of Ukulele Tutorials
    "We have collected the best tutorials, so you can spend more time on practising and less on looking around for new songs to try. Happy playing!"







    The Early Years: 1860's ~ 1920's


         In the year 1879, the first Portuguese arrived in Hawaii. Included among the many things they brought from their native land was a small stringed instrument called the Portuguese Braga, sometimes also referred to as a Braguiñha.

    nunes     In that same year, a ship named the "Ravenscrag" arrived in Hawaii from Portugal. The ship carried about 400 men, women and children from Madeira, an island off the coast of Portugal. In that first group of first arrivals were three musical instrument makers, Augusto Diaz, Manuel Nunes (pictured at left), and José do Espirito Santo.

         Each one of these men has been credited, at one time or another, with taking the braguiñha and modifying it into the instrument we know today as the 'ukulele. The instrument has now become as much of the Hawaiian culture as the pineapple.

         Also on board the "Ravenscrag" was a musician named Joaõ Fernandez. One popular belief is that when the ship arrived in Honolulu harbour, Fernandez jumped onto the wharf and began singing and strumming lively Portuguese folk songs. The Hawaiian people were noticeably moved by the performance and were immediately taken by the small stringed instrument he was playing.

    How did the 'ukulele get its name? According to a pamphlet at the Bishop Museum:

    "The instrument was heard one day by Edward Purvis, a British army officer who was Vice-Chamberlain of King Kalakaua's court. He was delighted with the size and the sound and asked to be taught, and soon he was playing for various court functions.

    Because of Mr. Purvis' small build and his lively antics while performing on the instrument. he was compared to a jumping flea. The Hawaiians, fond of nicknames, called him "ukulele". (Uku meaning flea, and Lele meaning jumping). The instrument was an instant success and even King Kalakaua learned to play it."

    more ....


         In 1880, Manuel Nunes was the first to open a ukulele shop in Hawaii. Many others soon followed, including both Diaz and Santo who worked for a short period of time for Nunes.

         By the early 1900’s the ukulele was showing up in several west coast cities in the United States. It wasn’t until 1915 that the ukulele really became popular in North America. In 1916, Samuel Kamaka (pictured on right) began manufacturing ukuleles in Hawaii in a large scale. kamaka

         Made from Koa wood unique to Hawaii, the Kamaka Ukulele remains to this day, one of the most renowned ukuleles in the world. Prices can range from $400 to over $2000 for a handmade Koa ukulele.

         From the 1920’s to the 1950’s the ukulele experienced tremendous growth in popularity. In North America, the C.F.Martin guitar company began manufacturing ukuleles. Using Mahogany as their choice wood, they soon established themselves as one of the premiere ukulele makers in the world. Today there are numerous ukulele manufacturers both in Hawaii and in other parts of the world. In addition, there are many other custom builders who build exquisite ukuleles in many styles and shapes.

         Other prominent ukulele makers today include Kala, Oscar Schmidt, Koaloha, Lanikai, Kanile'a, Pono, and many others. Quality sounding 'ukuleles are now produced worldwide to accommodate all levels of playing skills.


     more ....



    1920's to Present Day

         The Hawaiians were quick to accept the ukulele and it became an important part of the basic foundation of the "Hawaiian 'Ukulele" sound we know today. It was used primarily as a rhythm instrument. However, it did not remain a "Hawaiian" instrument in the sense that it was adopted and played in many other countries, especially North America.

         Because the ukulele had only four strings, it was easy to play. One could easily learn to strum it and sing with it with little or no prior training. People from all parts of the world quickly accepted it, especially during the Roaring 20’s period in the United States. That was the beginning of world acceptance and the recognition that the ukulele was a legitimate musical instrument, from its roots as a mere novelty to credibiliy in the hands of today's virtuoso artists.

         As an instrument to accompany singing, it is perhaps the simplest of all instruments. In a matter of some 30 minutes, one can learn 3 or 4 basic chords and strum an acceptable accompaniment for singing many, many songs.

    elvis     As a solo instrument, it required, as any musical instrument does, formal study and lots of practice. From the 1920's onwards, names such as Roy Smeck, George Formby, Cliff (Ike) Edwards to Elvis Presley (pictured on left) , Pat Boone (pictured on right), the Beatles and others helped to spread the popularity of the 'ukulele. 


         In the modern era, names such as Jim Beloff, Herb Ohta, Troy Fernandez, Chalmers Doane, and the late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole have left their mark on the ukulele scene.

         The current generation of 'ukulele virtuosos includes the likes of Jake Shimabukuro, James Hill, Kimo Hussey, and their female counterparts, Brittni Paiva and Taimane Gardner. 

         These musicians, and many others to follw helped with the resurgence in popularity of the ukulele today. It was the simplicity of the instrument that first attracted the Hawaiians to the instrument and it is still drawing many people, young and old to learn to play it today.


    The content of the preceeding article are taken from various sources, and do not represent the views or opinions of the author or B.C.

    Credits and photos: Courtesy of:

    1) "Ukulele O Hawaii" by Ohta San. Published by Kamaka Hawaii, Inc. 
    2) "The Ukulele A Visual History" by Jim Beloff. Published by Miller Freeman Books


    Please publish modules in offcanvas position.