Exploring the compositional voice of the ukulele as a learning resource for instrumental practice

  • Callum James Maciver

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Arts by Research


Since the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century (ie 2010-present), the ukulele has seen a steady rise in popularity due to the its relative ease of use, musical versatility and low cost. This has driven the growth in the number of enthusiastic performers who have congregated in various learning groups to share and play their music. As a result, established organisations within the field of music education have begun developing and releasing their own performance syllabi for graded ukulele examinations to be implemented in the pedagogical context. This has, in turn, created a demand from players and educators for more musical materials for the instrument which can simultaneously entertain and educate.

As a practitioner of the ukulele, the practice of compositional abilities will be utilised to create a series of original musical compositions. These will collectively act as a learning resource, enhancing the technical ability and all-rounded musicality of the developing ukulele player. More specifically, this learning resource will be target players with a basic technical understanding of the instrument. These stylistically-varied compositions will be informed by analysis of renowned ukulele practitioners as well as a selection of interviews conducted with ukulele practitioners who offer insight into the use of the instrument. The resource will focus on enhancing various elements of their wider musical practice such as reading music notation, technical versatility, rhythm, melody, performance, composition and collaboration. It is through the creation and
analysis of this composition portfolio that I will explore the ukulele as an ideal route for more people to engage with instrumental practice and aid their wider musical development.

Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorNicole Panizza (Supervisor) & Christopher Hobbs (Supervisor)

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