Spring 2019 Classes Open for Registration!

Welcome to Spring, everyone! I hope you all have enjoyed / are enjoying your Spring Break, and are looking forward to getting back to playing ukulele with us. Classes begin again the week of April 15 and run 8 weeks through the week of June 3. Registration is now open! Click on class titles below for more information about each class:

Southeast Portland classes

All SE Portland classes held at Lincoln St Methodist Church: 5145 SE Lincoln St., Portland OR 97215

Southwest Portland Classes

All SW Portland classes held at West Hills UU Fellowship: 8470 SW Oleson Rd, Portland OR 97223

This Term’s Musical Theme

Anyone who has taken Ukulele Sing & Strum knows that each term, we study a different genre of music. This term we are returning to THE BLUES!

Spring Classes with Song by Song. Announcing our musical theme: The Blues! Register now: learnsongbysong.com

Typically, we cover the 12-Bar Blues in Ukulele 2 (and those enrolled in Ukulele 2 this term will, indeed, do so). However, I’m excited to bring this theme to Sing & Strum classes, as well as Ukulele for Kids and Ukulele Ensemble. These classes will look at the 12-Bar Blues, as well, in addition to other songs and techniques representative of the tradition.

When we think of the Blues, perhaps we think of mainstream examples, like the music of B.B. King or Billie Holliday. But did you know that Elvis Presley’s Hounddog was originally a blues song? Any fans of the Grateful Dead? An enormous amount of their repertoire were old blues songs. Eric Clapton? Same deal. Throughout the 20th century, rock’n’roll music kept borrowing (or just outright taking…) from the Blues. Think of rock as the musical teenage child of the Blues and you’ve got the idea.

In most classes this term, we’ll learn traditional songs that illustrate the original form of the Blues. Then we’ll look at more modern songs that are clearly inspired by the Blues, but don’t necessarily sound like Blues songs. Sprinkled throughout, we’ll also learn some unique Blues techniques, including the “Blues shuffle”, the impressive-sounding “trickle-down close”, and other “fills” that you can insert into any song to give it more of a Blues feel.

I hope you can join us for this expedition into new musical territory! If you have any questions at all – about the Blues, about classes, about anything – please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know! Email me at: avery@learnsongbysong.com.

Hope to see you in class soon!

Winter Weather Cancellation Policy

With the recent snow and ice that has been seen in the Portland, Oregon region, and the uncertainty just how much more is in store for us, I wanted to take a moment to clarify Song by Song™’s Winter Weather Cancellation Policy. While this policy mostly applies to weekly classes, consider it also valid for workshops and retreats, unless where noted.

First of all, it’s important to clarify that other music schools in town often refer to the call made by Portland Public Schools (PPS) each day, and follow accordingly. That is, if PPS cancels school, their classes are cancelled. We do consider PPS decisions, but because most of our classes are offered in the evening, and Portland weather is so fickle as to drastically change over the course of the day, we do not automatically cancel classes is PPS has canceled school for the day. However, if PPS does not cancel the school day, but cancels afternoon / evening activities, we will cancel classes for that day. This does not apply to workshops and retreats, as they take place on the weekends.

In general, if any afternoon / evening class is to be cancelled, I try to make that decision around 12:00noon, to give you all plenty of notice. For workshops and retreats taking place on weekend mornings and afternoons, I try to make that decision by midnight the night before. Notice of any event cancellation will come by email, and be posted on our website and via social media. Please make a point of checking any and all of these modes of communication to make sure you get the word.

Sometimes, such advance notice is not always possible. If any unexpected weather rolls into the region, may be cancelled up until 1 hour before class begins. Please keep a close eye on your email and social media for confirmation one way or another.

If weekly classes are cancelled, all efforts will be made to add a class the week after the end of the term. This is subject to the teacher and site availability. If not possible, another date will be determined for a make-up class. If a workshop or retreat is cancelled due to weather, all efforts will be made to reschedule the event. Registrations and payments made for the original event will be honored at the rescheduled event, and refunds will be offered to those who are not able to attend the rescheduled event. In the rare case that an event is not able to be rescheduled, all registrations will be refunded.

When any event is cancelled, participants are encouraged to make a personal call as to whether it is safe for them to travel to the event. As we know, Portland neighborhoods can vary greatly in winter weather impact. Please be safe! If class is not cancelled but you feel it is not safe for you to leave your home, all efforts will be made to catch you up on material, whether through video tutorials or, occasionally, a mini-private lesson before or after the next class you do attend. No pro-rated refunds will be given. If a workshop or retreat is not cancelled but you feel it is not safe for you to leave your home, 50% of your registration fee will be refunded to you.

Thank you for taking a moment to review this policy. Any updates to this policy will be announced on this blog. Please direct any questions or comments to me at avery@learnsongbysong.com

Spring 2018 Registration Now Open!

Welcome back – I hope everyone had a great Spring Break!

Classes resume the week of April 16 and run 6 weeks right up until Memorial Day Weekend. Click here to Find Your Class.

If you’re not sure which class is right for you, or have questions about attendance or location details, check out our new Class FAQ page. If you don’t find your question(s) addressed there, feel free to reach out to me any time: avery@learnsongbysong.com

Also … know any kinda beginning players?

Ukulele 2 – Free Demo Class

Saturday, April 14 – 10:00am – Lincoln St Methodist Church – 5145 SE Lincoln St, Portland

This demo class is intended for those students who have mostly taught themselves some chords and songs themselves, but are looking for a more guidance to help them deepen their musical skills. This demo class will survey the types of songs and skills we will cover in Ukulele 2, including a quick review of all the chords in our favorite Key of C, and then a dive into the keys of D, G, and A through the study of the 12-Bar Blues, followed by some Carter Family three-chord songs. Whew! Are you interested? Or know someone who might be? Details and registration here.

Hope to see you back in class soon!

New & Continuing Classes begin this week …


New Classes begin this week … enroll now to reserve your spot!

Leaves are falling and our learning continues! Our class schedule continues into November/December mostly the same as our previous term.

Whether you are a new or a continuing student, you can Find Your Class Here.

And, as always, feel free to reach out with any questions to: hello@learnsongbysong.com

See you in class!

Registration is OPEN for Fall Ukulele Retreat


Anne Weiss and I are really looking forward to this special event! Join us and kick back in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge for a memorable musical experience, where you will learn more about:

  • Making music with others
  • Improving your vocal and instrument skills
  • Expanding your repertoire

In addition to instruction time, you’ll have the opportunity to go on a local hike, visit local wineries, and/or enjoy a one-on-one lesson with myself and/or co-instructor Anne Weiss.

Come for the whole weekend, or come for the day on Saturday. Whichever you prefer, be sure to take advantage of our Early Bird registration this week, ending Monday, October 2:


One thing important to note:

You are responsible for reserving your room! Contact the Lyle through their website or call: (509) 365-5953. They have reserved all rooms for us until Monday, October 2, after which rooms will be released to the general public.

As always, if you have any questions about this event (not hotel-related), feel free to let us know at hello@learnsongbysong.com

Can’t wait to see you there!


Free Demo Classes September 9 & 10

With the opening of a new location and the start of a new class, Song by SongTM is letting you try something new:

Ukulele 1 (offered East & West) is for the absolute beginner. I’m talking no music experience necessary, you don’t have to know what a note is or a chord or even what your favorite song is (because I’ll teach you some!). Come on by: September 10 – 1:30pm – West Hills UU Fellowship, 8470 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, Oregon. We’ll have ukuleles available for you to try out, songs ready to go, all you need is some curiosity and a smile. Let us know you’re coming by registering here.

Intro to Ukulele Ensemble is for all ages of folks who are up for a challenge. Maybe you’re still relatively new to the ukulele, but you’re not really into the sing + strum thing. You’d prefer to let your uke do the singing (think Jake Shimabukuro). Or maybe you love the sing + strum thing, but you want to expand your skill set as you play and sing (think James Hill). Either way, this class is going to make you a better player and a better musician all around.The free demo of this class is Saturday, September 9 – 12:00noon – Artichoke Music, 2007 SE Powell Blvd. in SE Portland. Curious? Let us know you’re coming by registering here.

Fall 2017 Schedule & Events

Happy September, everyone!

Back to school means back to music … lots to look forward to as we gather again to raise our ukuleles and sing together again. Registration is open for Fall classes and – oh! – the choices! With a new location opening in Southwest Portland, and two new classes added to the mix, there is a lot to look forward to:

Find your class to review full details, descriptions, and addresses.

Curious to try before you buy? Come to a free demo class.


Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch: hello@learnsongbysong.com