Ukulele Mele On Maui
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Testimonials From Senior Classes

Ellen S. with Ukulele MeleEllen Sjoholm - Maui
15 December 2016

"We had a very, very, Merry "Mele" Christmas today at Kaunoa Senior Center. Under the direction and teaching of Mele Fong ~ holiday songs that could have been tired and predictable, became creative and challenging through the unique ukulele styling teaching method she has developed. Through the use of special introductory chords, innovative rhythms, and chord progressions, songs that we have heard for 50 years became "new again" and heard in the spirit of the composer. There were feelings of cohesiveness and excitement as we were able to execute the compositions with her fresh new approach.

Mele has the ability to create a special spiritual connection between her primarily adult students, as they work among each other to master her song arrangements, with each receiving the benefits to mind and spirit that singing in harmony with others can provide.

Much appreciation to her for using her seemingly tireless energy to pass on to others the joy and knowledge she has received from her years of professional singing both as an individual and in a variety of groups and bands.

Mele Fong is a true island girl, and now woman, who has "come home" to Maui to give back generously to her community and students ~ not only during this holiday season, but throughout the year." 


Les with Ukulele MeleLes Perreira - Maui
23 November 2016

"I'm a student in Mele's Ukulele Class. I'd like to tell you how much I enjoy it.

Mele is always positive. When you can't get the strumming, she'll tell you to play "air ukulele" or just practice holding the chords and play what you can. It's fun. 

 


What is most amazing is the amount of research she does
1) making sure the lyrics are correct,
2) who wrote the song,
3) what the song is about.

Then she'll print it or put the song on PowerPoint so we can play and sing it. She still finds the time to put on presentations like Songs of the Islands or Stories of the Monarchy. The best was Ukulele Mele Week which was so much fun - I love it!

I'm so happy to have Mele as my ukulele teacher. I appreciate what she does and hope she keeps up the hard work. Thank you very much."


Lee Ann takes lessons from Ukulele MeleLee Ann Shigezawa - Maui
2 September 2016

"Thank you, Mele for a wonderful learning experience! Your class, 'Ukulele Strums for Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Volume 1, provided me with another opportunity to improve my strumming skills and to become familiar with more Hawaiian songs. I also liked the added bonus of learning Hawaiian words and culture in the sessions. Learning to play "Makalapua" brought back long-forgotten memories of elementary school; learning the background of "Sanoe," "Ku'uipo I Ka He'e Pu'e One," and the other songs brought extra understanding to those songs. I'm looking foward to your 'Ukulele Strums For Nostalgic Hawaiian Songs Volume 2!" 


Charles takes lessons from Ukulele MeleCharles Calvan - Maui
27 August 2016

"Mele. Thanks for allowing me into your Hawaiian songs class. I mainly signed up for this class (4 Mondays from August 1-22, 2016) in hopes of improving my performance of Hawaiian songs and especially trying to improve my Olapa strumming technique. This class has helped me with the pronunciation of the Hawaiian language in song and the different strums. All the information about the background of the songs has been so educational for me. I look forward to more classes in the future."


Kip takes lessons from Ukulele MeleKip Bowley - Maui
27 August 2016

"Aloha Mele, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for a wonderful experience in your Hawaiian Songs 1 class (4 Mondays from August 1-22, 2016). I did not expect to learn as many useful techniques for playing ukulele Hawaiian style, plus learning some very challenging strums. The selection of traditional Hawaiian songs was great, and your presentation was excellent. Perhaps the best part of the class is that it was fun. I am looking forward to the Hawaiian Songs 2 class."


Steve takes lessons from Ukulele MeleSteve Black - Berkley, CA
2 June 2016

"Mele has the magical ability to provide personalized attention and support in group classes. Learning new chords and strums is fun under her watchful eye. She has the contagious enthusiasm to motivate students and the uncanny ability to make each student in a group class feel that they are getting individual attention."

 


Susan takes lessons from Ukulele MeleSusan Colletto - Kula, HI
19 October 2015

"I'm very grateful for what I have learned from Mele in the last 10 months! After receiving an Ukulele for Christmas last year I quickly signed up for private lessons with Mele. I really learned so much having this one on one time in my lessons. While taking lessons I was also able to attend her workshops at the Bailey House. Taking the next step and playing Ukulele with other people was really rewarding. Also while taking lessons I purchased a few of her songbooks that were another great learning tool. With the songbooks I practiced between lessons and continued to learn. Her lessons on the CD's were easy to follow. I could then review my questions with her at my next lesson.

Finally I joined one of her group classes at Kaunoa! That's when I knew all the lessons and tools offered by Mele really paid off. The students I joined at Kaunoa had been playing for 2 years and I had no problem keeping up with them, and again, playing with a group is so much fun! I love to sing and play along with the group! Thanks so much Mele!!!" (Susan joined 'Ukulele Strumming 202 class in September 2015)


Bill and Phyllis take ukulele lessonsBill and Phyllis Davidson - Campbell, CA
3 February 2015

"We are on our way home after 2 weeks on Maui. We had lovely experiences and one of the highlights was sitting in on a lesson taught by Mele. Singing and playing with her class was such fun, especially her approach to strumming. She is an excellent teacher, teaching in a concise and fun way. We have joined her website and plan on taking advantage of her online offerings. Thank you Mele and Rich." (written by Bill about participating in Advanced Ukulele class on January 28). 


Allen plays ukulele with MeleAllen S. Matsumoto - Maui
2 December 2012 (lessons since July 2012, and continues)

"I started Mele's Ukulele Strumming 101 class in July 2012 and continued with the Ukulele Strumming 202 class, both at Kaunoa Senior Center. Currently, another person and I are together taking private ukulele lessons with Mele. The ukulele produces a nice mellow tone and I was amazed that strumming the chords sounds full with just the four basic strings. Mele's technique of hand/finger positioning will definitely allow you to play the ukulele well and help prevent injuries to your hands. I feel it's better to start out with good playing techniques rather than try to correct bad habits. Mele's various strumming styles and easy-going style of teaching makes it a fun and delightful learning experience. Because she is a professional musician and is educated in music theory, we are fortunate to have Mele for an ukulele teacher. Her November 2012 performance at Queen Ka'ahumanu Mall, which I attended, demonstrated the versatility of her ukulele playing."


martina takes ukulele lessonsMartina Linnenberg-Benedetti - Maui (by way of Germany)
27 November 2012 (lessons since July 2011, and continues)

"Dear Mele,
You are a great teacher and I would be a much better student "IF" I just practiced more. I learned sooooo much since I am with you. Thank you for all your help, good tips how to play effortless. Your teaching of different ways to strum an ukulele is wonderful and makes playing much more fun. When I was listening to your gig at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center on November 10, a lady next to me spoke out. She was amazed what you and your group did and could do on an ukulele. All the different strumming go immediately to my feet and I want to dance to most of your songs. Hope to learn more and more, and I am looking forward to the Christmas songs. Thanks again."


HollyHolly Huelsmann - Maui
1 July 2012 (lessons since January 2010, and continues)

"I have been a student of Mele Fong's for over 2 years. Knowing what I know now, I would urge anyone interested in learning to play the ukulele well, to look into her book with the CD and DVD. I am sure you will find her technique to be fun and easy to follow."  


Andrea K learns ukulele from MeleAndrea Kaumeheiwa - Maui
June 2011 (in first class of January 2009, Band member, and continues)

“As a fledgling ukulele player, I knew basic chords but not what to do with them. I had no idea of simple strumming patterns, and my fingers kept getting tangled in the strings. Signing up for Mele Fong’s Beyond the Basics ukulele class in January 2009 was the best thing I did. She methodically introduced our class to fundamental strumming patterns – clapping the rhythm, air strumming, and eventually, actual “hitting the strings.” It worked. As our skill level and confidence increased, she began to incorporate more complex strumming patterns, along with “challenging” chords. Today, I am amazed at the range and intricacy of the songs that we are able to play. It is not without work and practice; but with Mele’s instruction and encouragement, being able to play the ukulele with confidence and skill is definitely doable.”


 Janet Rineer - Maui
June 2011 (lessons since July 2010, Band member since January 2011, and continues)

“I picked up my first ukulele 3 years ago with no prior music experience. I taught myself a few chords and joined a few groups in order to practice and improve my playing. It was only when I signed up with Mele Fong that I received any formal instructions in ukulele playing. Mele showed me how to hold each chord correctly for a clear sound. She also taught me new strums and picking techniques that have added another dimension to my playing. Mele’s lessons are fun and easy to follow yet offer challenges at any skill level. My ukulele sounds better with each song, thanks to Mele Fong!”


 Florence Tanaka - Maui
June 2011 (in first class of January 2009, Band member, and continues)

“I have been a student of Mele’s for 2 and a half years and have enjoyed every moment of it. Mele is an outstanding instructor; an expert in her musical field. Her lessons are well planned and organized. She’s punctual and has good communication with her students. I appreciate her warmth and exuberance which truly creates a positive environment for fun and learning.”


 FaithFaith Ito - Maui
June 2011 (in first class of January 2009, Band member, and continues)

“I learned to play the ukulele in the 3rd grade when one of the teachers taught interested students during recesses. During high school, college and as an adult, I rarely played. Then I retired and took the beginning class at the senior center but discovered that it was the same chords and even songs that I had learned as a youngster.

Then I took Mele's class and was really challenged. I learned so many new chords and songs and ways to strum. Anyone who wants to learn more than the basics, should take this class. Mele will inspire you and you'll have fun playing the ukulele.” 


GailGail Hayashi - Maui
June 2011 (in first class of January 2009, Band member, and continues)

“I'm a novice ukulele player. January 2009, I knew seven basic chords and one basic strum. Mele's lessons have vastly broadened my skills. Mele's strumming techniques will heighten one's awareness of the various and distinct rhythms every song has, so you can immediately determine which strum to use. The different strumming techniques take on an identity in itself and you'll discover that some songs can even be accompanied by different strums, and that each strum, will change the mood of the song (slow/romantic, upbeat, jazzy or sassy). AWESOME! Mele's instructional technique raises the bar in learning difficult chords and rhythm patterns and different chord formations that challenges you to concentrate, but in the end you develop discipline and a confidence that you can add these various strums to any song and make playing more interesting; pleasurable and fun. Added benefit... one learns to sing songs correctly!”  


 Eileen Taketa - Maui
June 2011 (in first class of January 2009, Band member, and continues)

"If you want to go beyond the basics and learn and practice new strums and have structure in your life, this is the class for you. You will have so much fun and gain a true sense of accomplishment. After taking this class you will be able to kanikapila with your friends in your own strum. I have been taking ukulele lessons with Mele since she started classes at Kaunoa (Senior Center) in January 2009 and am really amazed at how much I have gained thru her. She has opened a whole new venue of songs that can be played with a ukulele and I am getting to play old Hawaiian melodies that were vaguely familiar." 


For more testimonials from Mele's students
private students
- small group students

Testimonials on YELP

Testimonials on Google+