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Newsletter sent July 13, 2024

Hello friends, 

Perry and I want to help prepare you for Reno Ukefest this year. We are 3 months away from the fun, which is a perfect amount of time for you to practice some new skills so you're ready for the jams and the open mic. 

Thanks to our sponsor Ukulele Magazine, below you will find some very helpful tutorials to get you ready for Reno. Feel free to explore the magazine's website for many more treasures by other fabulous teachers as well! 

You can find many more tutorials by googling any one of the artists from this year's line up. 

Happy learning!
Dani Joy & Perry Stauffer 

Beginner Ukulele

Are you a complete 'ukulele novice? Or looking to refresh your fundamentals?

Kick off your ukulele journey with a solid foundation with this free series of 13 videos created by Dani Joy & Ukulele Magazine. Learn to play chords and grasp the theory behind their construction and voicing. Familiarize yourself with your instrument, unlocking opportunities for playing, composing, and arranging songs—all while having a blast.

Improve Your Practice Routine

By Ukulenny

We all want to get better on ukulele, and it’s no secret that the key to doing that is practice. But what should you practice on ukulele? And how often should you practice ukulele? And for how long? Here are some tips to help you come up with a ukulele practice routine that works for you.

To emphasize these points, in the video above I put together a few clips during my family trip to demonstrate my favorite practice tips (I wish I’d thought of that rhyme while I was filming). Best wishes on your practicing journey!

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Learn to Play Daniel Ho’s ‘Between the Sky and Prairie’ on Ukulele - Intm to Adv.


A few years ago, I set out to explore our world in search of unique musical collaborations. My travels brought me to Inner Mongolia, where I had the honor of recording with theGrasslands Ensemble. This talented group of instrumentalists and vocalists represents a diversity of ethnicities: Mongolian, Manchurian, Evenk, Daur, Russian, and Han Chinese. The title track of our 2017 album, Between the Sky & Prairie, is a pioneering cultural and musical exchange, as it is the first collaboration featuring a ukulele, a low-pitched Mongolian fiddle, and Mongolian vocal melodies.

I wrote this piece while driving through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia. In awe of the endless expanse of blue and green, I strummed a G major chord: G for grasslands. I wondered whether there was a way to capture my feelings at that moment—peaceful, excited, and grateful for this majestic land—and I came up with a melodic theme that gently rippled, like the rolling hills of the steppe. To create an intro, I stretched the melodic theme out over time, a compositional technique known as augmentation. After the eight-bar introduction, I transposed the theme down an octave.

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Ukulele Warmups with Viggy Kolasinski

Just getting started with the uke? Here's a collection of popular video tutorials from my Tiktok!

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Ukulele Practice Tips From Neal Chin and Abe Lagrimas Jr.

EXERCISES “When I am actually playing, my goal is to be free to go wherever my mind wants to go. By warming up with a few physical exercises (about 10 minutes) before jumping into my actual practice, I’m much more limber to do what I want to do and I’m able to focus more on musical concepts and ideas more than physicality.”

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Newsletter sent July 1, 2024

Hello Reno Ukefest friends! 

Meet Avery Hill, songwriting extraordinaire, ukulele teacher and community leader in Portland Or. I had a chance to sit down with Avery on a beautiful rooftop downtown last week and wanted to share this interview with you so you could get a chance to get to know her. You'll see another email all about her and her workshops coming down the pipeline. 

Watch Avery Hill Interview here

It's not always easy to choose workshops at such a large event, and even tougher when you know nothing about the instructor, hence the interview. 

I'll be posting the workshop schedule this afternoon, so stay tuned! 

Dani Joy

PS If you missed the last campaign I sent where I outlined some of the festival workshops, you can read it again here:

Buy Tickets Here

Newsletter Sent June 29, 2024

Hello friends, 

I know you are anxious to know what workshops are being taught at Reno and when so I wanted to share with you what I've got so far! The schedule is being triple checked by my team and will be posted very soon.

Check out the list here on the Reno Ukulele Festival website

Buy your tickets here and REMEMBER WE HAVE A RAT PACK OPTION; BUY 10 TICKETS AND GET EARLY BIRD PRICING! Foward this email to your friends and uke group, go in together for the Rat Pack Pass and everybody gets a discount!

I made a video explaining the Levels you can view here

For Beginners

 A festival of this magnitude can be overwhelming, but don't fret, we’ve got you covered! Joining us this year is a list of fantastic teachers who are full of compassion and patience to help you navigate the festival. I have placed many of our Level 1 and Level 1-2 workshops in the same room for you so you won't have to wonder where to find your class. I've placed the workshops in (what I think is) a progressive order for those of you who are still learning the basics and just beyond. Here is the list in order of title beginning Wednesday Oct 9: 


Deer in the Head lights; Getting the Most out of Reno Ukefest (Avery Hill) 


EZ Tab (Ben Hassenger)

Unlocking your Fretboard (Ukulenny)

Become One with the Strum (Ben Hassenger)


Paperless Campfire Songs (Avery Hill)

Strumbelievable Workshop (Art Hopkins)

Play (Almost) Any Song (Ben Hassenger)


123 Chords (Viggy Kolasinski)

Fingerpicking Fun (Viggy Kolasinski)

For Jazz and Blues Cats

Perry has added a Blues Jam class and a Jazz Jam class AFTER a number of jazz and blues worksops have been taught by our illustrious staff. In the Jam you will have a chance to put into practice what you’ve learned in a real-time setting. Here’s your list:


Jazz Endings for Uke (Perry Stauffer)


C Jam Blues (Neal Chin)

Art of Solo (Neal Chin)

Pentatonics Low G/ Baritone (Michael Bremmer)


Soloing (Ukulenny)

Blues Jam (Perry, Ukulenny, Neal & Conrad)


Magical 251 (Neal Chin)

Jazzing up your Blues (Perry Stauffer)

Jazz Jam (Perry, Ukulenny, Neal & Conrad)

Music Theory anybody?

I am SO excited about Jim D’Ville joining us to teach his Chord Emotion class. This is the very class that cracked open my mind like an egg and allowed me to connect to the mathematics of music in a soulful way. This class is so foundational that Jim has agreed to teach it TWICE! Along with Jim’s class, there’s a smattering of others.


Chord Emotion (Jim D’Ville)


Bass 101 (Ukulenny)

Circle of Fifths (Jim D’Ville)


Paperless Campfire (Avery Hill)

Diminished/Augmented Chords (Rob Sawyer)

Bass 102 (Conrad Cayman)


Bass 103 (Conrad Cayman)

Magical 251 (Neal Chin)

Exploring Modern Songs!

Daniel Ho was so excited to share with us his plan for teaching pop songs from 1970’s & 80’s, each of which include an iconic riff! A few other teachers also leaned toward a more modern approach so prepare to get dancy!


She’s Always a Woman (Daniel Ho)


Percussive Uke (Viggy Kolasinski)

Stayin’ Alive (Daniel Ho)

Call Me Al (Daniel Ho)


Funk Strum (Ukulenny)

Fab Beatles Songs (Jim D’Ville)

Feeling Groovy (Julie Holloman)

Dance With Me (Daniel Ho)


Everything I Own (Daniel Ho)

Skill Improvement

In addition to all the fun above, you may simply want to improve a skill, learn a new one, or learn to play better with your uke group (and perhaps take home some useful knowledge to share with your Uke Club).


Chord Etudes (Neal Chin)


Play & Sing (Avery Hill)

Open Mic Tips (Bobby J)

Closed Chords (Moses Kamai)

Clawhammer Uke (Michael Bremmer)


Triplets, Rolls & Flares Oh My! (Viggy Kolasinski)

Strum by Ear (Jim D’Ville)

Chord melody 101 (Viggy Kolasinski)

Songwriting Music (Avery Hill)

Flamenco Uke (Julie Holloman)


Uke Group 101 (Ben Hassenger)

Songwriting Lyrics (Avery Hill)

Play Well with Others (Ben Hassenger)


More to follow so stay tuned!

Dani Joy & Perry Stauffer

Festival Tickets Here

Blast from the Past! 

Newsletter sent June 2024


Hello Reno Ukefest Fam, 

Look who I ran into! Viggy joined us last year and has been invited back by popular demand! We sat down to chat about Viggy's teaching style during our time at Ashokan Ukefest in New York (highly recommended!) and, if you haven't met this gem yet, watch the video below for a chance to get to know this up and coming ukulele star.

Dani Joy & Perry

Buy Reno Ukefest Tickets Here

PS Do you recognize that handsome fellow in the background? (Ashokan Ukefest 2024)

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Newsletter sent May 2024

Hi friends, 

In last week's class I taught our students how to fish! This process of learning to find the key of a song is pivotal in finding freedom in music education. I thought you may find it useful too as you prepare for the festival. 


Dani Joy 

PS if you'd like to try the homework I assigned this week, it is listed below. Reply to this email with your results!

Wk 1 homework


#1: Journey: Don’t Stop Believing


#2: A-Ha :Take on Me


#3: Billy Idol: Dancing with Myself


#4: Queen: Another On Bites the Dust


#5: Genesis: That’s All

*This one’s special! Can you hear the key change? Hint: we talked a lot about “them” in class!


*Note: I tried two other Billy Idol songs but they were all in B!

BeeGees Stayin’ Alive is Ab!

Newsletter sent May 8, 2024

Hello Festival goers, 

Perry and I are hard at work choosing workshops to fit every level during every session. We are working closely with the teachers to insure that everyworkshop is listed at the appropriate level. 

Avoid the unenviable mistake of sitting in a 75 minute class that is too advanced for you. Know your level so you can choose your workshop schedule accordingly. 

I have the time stamp listed for each level and I do spend a little time going over some basics with the Level 1 and 1-2 players, so be prepared to scrub ahead if you're a little more advanced. 

“Advanced” really begins at Level 2-3 and goes through Level 3. Read over the descriptions and, if you hope to take a more advanced class, you can use these level descriptions as a study guide to prepare yourself for a more advanced workshop.


Feel free to share with your friends!

Dani Joy

Watch Video

Buy Festival Pass

Watch Video

Workshop Levels 

1:01 Level 1 

4:54 Level 1-2 

8:59 Level 2 

12:24 Level 2-3 

15:30 Level 3

Newsletter sent April 2024

Hello Reno Ukefest friends, 

The Nugget Casino is providing food for purchase upstairs! No more waiting in long lines for lunch and using up valuable community time hunting down meals in the casino. Below you can see a sample menu for lunch. 

We will have breakfast and lunch available for purchase (possibly dinner as well) at reasonable prices and the food is awesome! Pre-made salads, sandwiches, hotdogs and soup. We will have some large round tables for folks to eat at along with entertainment during the lunch break so you can sit at the Public Stage and enjoy an Open Mic performance or artist showcase during lunch.