If you have ever wanted to learn to play the ukulele but don’t know how or where to start, then now’s your chance.
Seasoned musician Conor Cunningham, already known to many as an experienced tutor at MD Rafferty Music School in Armagh, will be starting group lessons at Brownlow Community Hub in Craigavon next Saturday, March 25.
The classes are for beginners and are designed to be “fun and a bit of craic”.
The 28-year-old, who has been playing music since he was eight, has recently moved to the Craigavon area after marrying wife Orla (née McCormack) last year, so the Hub is the ideal spot to share his knowledge and love of music.
Conor says there has been a huge growth in interest in the ukulele, or ‘uke’ as it is commonly called.
“There are a lot of ukulele groups springing up all over the place. It seems to be particularly popular with retired people and people who have never played an instrument before,” he said.
“It is a very easy way to start if you haven’t any musical experience. It has only got four strings, it’s super-handy and it’s cheap to buy.
“It’s also a good starter instrument for anyone who wants to go on to play guitar. It gives you the tools at the start and you can just transfer them.”
Conor will be taking two classes every Saturday morning. The first, from 10am-11am, is for children in P4-P7 while the second, from 11am-12 noon, is geared towards adults aged 15 years and above.
The classes will be capped at 10 people in each. However, there will be an exception to this on March 25, which will be a free, introductory morning, open to 20 people in each class.
“The first session will give people the chance to come along and see how they like it,” said Conor.
And the good news is that there is no need to worry about buying a ukulele at the outset, as Conor will provide the instruments for both classes, with people able to buy their own further down the line if they wish.
The cost is £60 for a block of four lessons, which includes the use of the ukes.
Although the classes are mainly for ukulele, anyone who wants to bring along a guitar instead is welcome to do so as the lessons can be tailored to both.
Conor has been a tutor with MD Rafferty Music School for the past 10 years, teaching drums, guitar, bass and ukulele, and his students will be relieved to know that his work there will continue as normal.
In the meantime, he is looking forward to the new challenge.
“I’ve had lots of enquiries,” he said. “The classes are about learning for fun as opposed to doing grades.
“It’s something to play at Christmas time or around a barbecue in the summer. It’s a social outlet too and the aim would be to eventually get out and play at different venues.”
So if you fancy being able to play popular tunes such as ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley and the Wailers, ‘5 Years Time’ by Noah and the Whale or ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy, these classes are for you.
Anyone who wants to go along to the first, free, introductory session should contact Conor by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is also happy to chat to anyone keen to find out more.