No ‘frets’ for UNI Ukulele Club

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  • The UNI Ukulele Club meets on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Russell Hall, led by associate music professor Kevin Droe.

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You may have heard popular songs such as “Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors or “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas on the radio. Instead of using a guitar or electronic instruments, the UNI Ukulele Club performs these songs with their titular instrument.

The UNI Ukulele Club or “Uke-N-I” meets on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Russell Hall, Room 68. Anyone is welcome to join, including those who don’t have prior music experience.

The club began last year and is led by Kevin Droe, associate professor of music.

During meetings, students learn new chords as they go along. They are not required to read music notes, and ukuleles are provided if a participant doesn’t have one. In addition to ukuleles, the club also has a drum set, a bass ukulele and a tambourine.

For Alisa Vance, senior accounting and management information systems major, the Ukulele Club has provided her with an opportunity to learn a new instrument.

“During the first meeting I attended, I had no idea how to play the ukulele,” Vance said. “I didn’t know any chords. During the first meeting I went to, we learned different ways to strum the ukulele and just practiced strumming.”

Club members then began learning how to play basic ukulele chords, then practiced alternating between chords.

“After that, we started playing along with some songs that had the chords that we had learned,” Vance said. “I loved learning to play an instrument.”

Around the world, the ukulele has grown in popularity for both those with and without prior music experience. Vance mentioned the convenience of transportation afforded by the instrument’s small size as well as the ease of learning how to play.

Although she finds the instrument easy to play, Vance has still encountered challenges while in the club.

“The biggest challenge for me is that we meet on Wednesdays and I can’t always attend,” said Vance. “But, during the next week, I can go and pick up where I left off last time.”

Several songs are played each week such as “Send My Love” by Adele and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. These are only a small sample of the songs that are played during meetings.

The club also hosts informal concerts. So far, they have played on the Maucker Union rooftop next to the tables, as well as hosted mini ukulele lessons during Maucker Union Live last August. In the future, they may have other performances.

Being a part of the club has allowed Vance to learn that people relax in different ways. It also helped her find happiness in some of life’s simpler things.

“My favorite part of being in the Ukulele Club is that it is a fun time to get together and play music,” Vance said. “There is no pressure to play the correct notes. It is a way to relieve stress and hang out with friends while doing so.”

Students interested in joining Ukulele Club can attend a meeting or email [email protected].