Category Archives: Jamming

UD#112 Hark! The Herald Ukulele Duet

Posted on

UD#112 Hark! The Herald Ukulele Duet from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek  Last year we did a duet arrangement of “Coventry Carol”, which, from all reports, people really enjoyed. I was hoping to do something similar this year! One of my online groups requested that we do a version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” So, I found a traditional arrangement and transcribed the soprano and alto parts for two ukuleles: high G and low G. I also added a third uke strumming chords. Have a listen! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN to “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” duet: I know some of   …Continue Reading


UD#110 The Strum-o-lo-gy of Swingin’ the Blues

Posted on

UD#110 The Strum-o-logy of Swingin’ Bluesfrom Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek I’ve created an arrangement of “Blue Monk” by Thelonius Monk. Have a listen, and then read on!   CLICK TO LISTEN TO “BLUE MONK” The music sheet is below. Try it out with some uke buddies! Today, I am going to focus on strumming the chords.  In the song we use three chords: G7, C7, D7.  A lot of times when we play jazz music on the ukulele we use chords “up the neck.” So today, instead of playing the open G7 like this…   we will play the   …Continue Reading


UD#109 So What: Ukulele Jazz Band

Posted on

UD#109 So What: Ukulele Jazz Bandfrom Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek NEWS: Today’s lesson: I thought I would share with you one of the tunes that I’ll be teaching at the BC Swing Camp. It’s a song called “So What” by Miles Davis. Have a listen here: One of the really unique things about this song is that the melody is played by the bass. The students that I have taught this song have really enjoyed learning the bass part on the uke. The original key is D minor, but I moved it to C minor for the ukulele arrangement. Have a listen…   …Continue Reading


UD#108 Magical Skipping Ropes: Harmonics

Posted on

UD#108 Magical Skipping Ropes: Harmonicsfrom Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek I have written another piece for this week’s lesson. Every part in it is played with natural and artificial harmonics, except for the main melody. Can you hear how the notes in the backing part sound a little unusual, maybe a little more bell like? That’s the sound of harmonics. Have a listen: >TABLATURE for HARMONICS PIECE< NATURAL HARMONICS The easiest way to play a natural harmonic is to place your fretting finger lightly on the midpoint of the string: the exact middle point between the nut and the bridge. If you look at this   …Continue Reading


UD#106 Wipe Out!

Posted on

I love to teach Wipe Out to my students. One of the great things about it is that the main melody of the song uses melodic patterns that repeat again and again with variations. I like to show my students the notes in the patterns and the shape that these notes make on the fretboard. Then, we learn the melody by ear, a little at a time. If that sounds fun, read on! Or, if you prefer, you can jump to the end of the lesson and grab the tablature there.


UD#94 Send a Song!

Posted on

UD#94 Send a Songfrom Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek Moving to Zoom… When the pandemic hit, I pictured myself shutting down the teaching studio and being forced to find some other way to make a living. I am so grateful that I have been able to continue teaching online. I’ve been surprised at how well it works. In fact, for practically all of my students, this period has brought significant growth.  There is, however, one serious drawback to online lessons: I can’t play with my students. This is because of the delay or latency in the system. What   …Continue Reading


UD#89 A Holiday Duet for 2 Ukes

Posted on

UD#89 A Holiday Duet for 2 Ukes from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek When I was a kid, the Peanuts Christmas special would come on every year. There was such a strong mood that was evoked by that short TV program. I think that, along with the animation and story, it was the beautiful music that helped create such a special feeling. Today I’d like to share with you an arrangement of “Christmas Time is Here,” which was one of the main musical numbers from the program. Here is a link to the song as originally performed by   …Continue Reading


UD#75 Broken Harpsichord to Ukulele Orchestra!

Posted on

Broken Harpsichord to Ukulele Orchestra! (UD#75) from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek I want to start with a little story… I studied music at Concordia University. My principle instrument was guitar. One of the first things that they did with the guitar players in the program was figure out who could read music well and who couldn’t. I didn’t do so well in that test! If you were a good reader you got to go to an ensemble where you were the only guitar player. Nice! But, if you failed your reading test, like me, you got put   …Continue Reading


UD#43 Another Round? (DONA NOBIS PACEM)

Posted on

UD #43 Another Round? from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   Learn a beautiful new round to play and sing with your ukulele group!   In UD #32 we talked about rounds. I introduced “Jubilate Deo” a beautiful 12 bar round. It was so wildly popular that I’ve been on the look out for a follow up ever since. Happily, one of my students at Ruby’s Ukes introduced me to this gorgeous round, Dona Nobis Pacem. If you are not familiar with musical rounds, please go take a peek at UD #32 and come right back. Here is   …Continue Reading


UD#38 Sixteen Beat Strum: Steal My Kisses

Posted on

UD#38 Sixteen Beat Strum: Steal My Kisses (Ben Harper) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   OKAY, let’s look at Steal My Kisses by Ben Harper. The song has three chords in it: G C6 and D6. Here are the chords in open position on the uke: And here are the chords “up the neck”: NOTE: The D6 up the neck needs to be played at the 5th fret. There’s a little 5 there at the top of the diagram that is hard to see. The progression goes like this: | G                 |  C6                |  D6                    |  G                         …Continue Reading


UD#33 Mr. G7 Goes West: Low-Rider! (G7 in 4 positions)

Posted on

UD#33 Mr. G7 Goes West: Low-Rider (Play a G7 in four different places on the neck) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek THE INVERSIONS OF G7: First things first. Let me introduce you to my favorite one chord song. Lowrider by War. You can strum along with this song with one chord: G7. Give it a go and come on back and we’ll look at some different funky ways of playing G7.   Please find a fretboard chart on the right which you can use for reference as you go along through the lesson (click for printable version).   …Continue Reading


UD#32 The Thrill of Accidental Harmony (Jubilate Deo)

Posted on

UD#32 The Thrill of Accidental Harmony (Jubilate Deo) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   Singing or playing in harmony is one of the most thrilling things to do in music. This week I want to introduce you to a type of composition called a round. A round is kind of melody composed in such a way as to allow different groups to start at different points. When the melody is “staggered” in this way it creates harmonies. Here’s a recording of some of my intermediate students from Ruby’s Ukes singing a beautiful round called Jubilate Deo: Some simple   …Continue Reading


UD#29 Stay Together Everybody!

Posted on

UD#29 Stay Together Everybody! (Staying in Time) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek This week I want to talk about playing together as a group. We are all familiar with the topsy turvy sound of a group of musicians who are not really playing together in time. I think this happens in large part because the members of the group are not listening to each other. Each individual is making their own playing more important then the playing going on around them. The other day I tried an experiment with a class to see if I could get   …Continue Reading