Sharing our love of music – and especially the ukulele – has led us all over the USA to give workshops at festivals, ukulele groups, schools, arts communities, and in music stores. We give workshops on both musical instruction and professional development for artists. Listed below are our most popular workshops, and we can tailor any of these to fit your group and student level. We’re constantly working on developing new workshops and new methods to share knowledge and encourage players, so if you have something specific in mind that you don’t see here – let’s talk!
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"Erin McGrane, I learned SO much at your workshops. You and Jeff are great teachers. I've been practicing since I got home and I swear that I'm becoming a better player by the minute! It was just the right amount of learning at the right time. Love your CDs, too, BTW!" -Judy Cox
"Erin McGrane- It was so fun to meet you and Jeff!! You are excellent teachers and made everyone feel so comfortable! Had a thoroughly great experience! We would love to see you here in Southern Oregon! Looking forward to catching up with you at another festival! Ditto what Judy said, Love the CDs!!" -Marianne Heater
"These guys are a must for any music-lover, to get even more excited about playing and catching the rhythmic fever of the UKE! Can't wait for their workshop!!" -Mary Franssen
"You are all so amazing! Thank you for sharing your incredible music and kindness. Fantastic class. Right at the perfect time!" -Shari Ballard-Krishnan
"Every time I see a picture of you two I feel some rhythm coming on. I'd like to believe it flowed straight from you to the rhythm center in my brain. Still working on my brain passing it to my wrist & hands." -Linda Gamnes
"I have to say your workshop yesterday in Durango was one of the best I've ever attended. I didn't want it to end. Erin and Jeff have not only mastered their skills as musicians and performers; they also generously give away tips and techniques to help ukulele players of all skill levels settle into the groove of magic making and fun! Thank you for helping my confidence soar and the love you freely give teaching others. Durango will roll out the red carpet whenever you return which we hope is soon." -Lille Diane
"Thank you for coming to Durango! Not only are you skilled musicians but your energy and enthusiasm for the music and each other was other worldly! So impressive!" -Andrea Zeiner
"You changed my perspective on watching performances! Lots of good hints and things to take care of before launching into the music!" -Mark Swarthout
Workshops: Musical Instruction and Professional Development
Ukulele As A Rhythm Instrument
Want to play more confidently and musically? Erin McGrane and Jeff Freling of Victor & Penny show you the difference between just strumming along and driving the rhythm. Learn simple but effective strumming techniques and delve into the styles of swing, hot jazz and gypsy jazz. Rock steady rhythm is the backbone of every good song so jump on the train! | LEVEL: All levels welcome, basic knowledge and proficiency on your instrument recommended.
Performance Skills: Level I
Learn valuable tools on how to present your songs confidently in a live performance. Together, we’ll tackle how to connect with the audience, manage stage fright, and focus on singing, playing and remembering your lyrics all at the same time (gah!). We’ll break it all down for you as we discover what makes a great performance great, and how you can have great performances too. | LEVEL: One is best is for the beginner to intermediate player.
Performance Skills: Level II
We’ll take it to the next level in this hands-on open-mic style class. In a safe, encouraging environment we’ll try out the things we learned in Level I. You get to present your song and work on it one-on-one with V&P to hone your performance and ask questions. This is a great chance to gain experience and have some fun. Performance II is one of our most popular workshops – come find out why and take yourself to the next level. | LEVEL: Two is best for the intermediate to advanced player with an opportunity to receive feedback on your prepared piece.
ARRANGING: What’s in Your Toolbox?
So you found the chords to that great song you want to learn. Now what? Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane of Victor & Penny show you helpful tips and techniques to take that song you love and make it your own. We’ll talk about what makes a great song great as we explore key elements of arranging such as intros and tags, interesting chord substitutions (including beefing up with jazz chords), strumming styles, finding the right key for you, dynamics and more. Show your style and mix it up with panache and confidence to sound your best and make a song your own. There will be Q&A time at the end of the workshop. BONUS: We’ll be arranging a few tunes in class as a group, so bring in a song you’re working on. We’ll work on as many tunes as time allows. | LEVEL: All are welcome; best suited for guitar and ukulele players intermediate and above. Basic knowledge and proficiency on your instrument preferred.
What Works! (And What Doesn’t)
What do artists and entrepreneurs have in common? Everything. Artists, just like traditional small business owners, have to wear many hats—creator, fabricator, accountant, marketer, technologist, and more. And, just like traditional small business owners, artists can find this to be a daunting task. How do some artists make the leap to sustainable and profitable artistic practices? Through their work with over 500 artists (from musicians, to writers, to painters, to filmmakers), the Artist INC program has identified the common behaviors of successful artist entrepreneurs. In the What Works/What Doesn’t? workshop we will share those key behaviors and leave you ready to apply them to your own art practice. The workshop includes discussion of portfolio careers, goal setting and planning, communications strategy, and financial planning. The last 30 minutes of the workshop is dedicated to audience needs, so bring your questions. Presented by Erin McGrane, Artist INC fellow (2010), peer facilitator and workshop presenter for ArtistINC and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
CROWDFUNDING for Musicians
Crowdfunding can be so much more than a “presale” for your Cds! This interactive workshop guides musicians through all the steps of crowdfunding, including how to plan, launch, and manage a successful campaign. Performers will leave knowing how crowdfunding connects to their strategic goals; how to calculate the cost of a crowdfunding project; how to select the right crowdfunding platform; what makes a successful campaign; and how to create a communications strategy and leverage an existing support network. Crowdfunding for Musicians is 3-hour deep dive into the online world of crowdfunding. The workshop demystifies the process, explains the mechanics and empowers artists to engage with patrons and audiences in new and meaningful ways.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS: Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane of Victor & Penny
Victor & Penny are Jeff Freling (Blue Man Group, Chicago) and Erin McGrane (George Clooney’s, “Up in the Air” and cabaret troupe Alacartoona). Formally trained at Berklee School of Music (Boston) and the Conservatory of Music (Kansas City), Mr. Freling participated in the international program, The Acoustic Guitar Project in 2014 and is an accomplished composer, arranger, an outstanding instrumentalist. Ms. McGrane is an ArtsKC Fund Inspiration Grant recipient and a Mid-America Arts Alliance Professional Development Grant recipient as well as a fellow of the ArtistINC program for which she currently serves as a peer facilitator and a workshop presenter. Victor & Penny are official showcase artists of the prestigious Folk Alliance International Conference (FAI 2014, 2015, 2017), the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference (SERFA 2016), and the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference (NERFA 2014). V&P were 2013 Escape-To-Create artists-in-residence in Seaside, FL. The group regularly tours the USA, having made 1,000 personal appearances and traveled 200,000 miles in the last four years. In 2016, the group released their original music album, ‘Electricity,’ which joyfully captures the energy, humor and soaring musical improvisation of their live show.