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As you can tell by this picture Jake is but a small man in the big world of Ukulele's. Having drifted into ukulele playing due to his passion for vintage music Jake has been lucky enough to jam, experiment and learn uke from some great players. He now is a very busy player and teacher on the uke scene running a selection of Uke courses at London's largest adult education college The City Lit. He also teaches in several primary schools both as part of the keystage 1 & 2 curriculum and as an after school club activity.
Together with fellow performer/musician Gary Bridgens he conceived a crazy adult team building workshop called 'Uke Can Do It' where in excess of 300 at a time have learnt to play uke, sing and dance in under 30 mins. A great and bonkers act that has performed up and down the UK.
Jake was commissioned in 2011 to produce an original Ukulele performance/workshop for the Manchester International Festival called 'Super Duper Musical Hero' . This workshop was taken to schools in the Manchester area and was repeated in custom built Music Boxes as part of the festival where CBeebies presenters worked in conjunction with Jake to create an all singing and dancing ensemble Ukulele show each day. The success of this workshop was repeated the following year when it was re-comissioned by the Abu-Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation.
How Super Musical Hero Works
Super Musical Heroes is a mixture of playing the ukulele, dressing up, dancing a routine and creating a fun interactive performance. I was asked to create a song to engage and teach children aged 4-8 the ukulele. The song then had to work as a performance that could work be performed with a crowd.
So I wrote and recorded a song split in two sections. The first half was a song about the power of music to lift spirits and musically it used very simple one finger uke chords. We taught the song using 3 adult performer/musicians and used games and comedy to teach the kids (& mums and dads) the song and choreography in around 40 mins.
Then it was time to get costumes on and play the rock'n'roll backing track which could be played through the festival PA on the big stage. This was the second part of the song and the choreography & lyric were designed so the entire audience could join in the fun and action too. The workshop leader and a CBeebies presenter ( in this video 'I can Cook' Katie would then co-ordinate the fun and performance !