Sunday, 25 October 2009

Teaching Ukulele in Doha

My fun job is to teach ukulele to both adults and children in Doha. At present I am starting a new class of children ,ranging from Grade 1 to 3. I manage to carry ukuleles in to the country via several means, one of which is to coerce people into bringing a few in their luggage when they come. My most reliable source at the moment is via New Zealand of all things. There is an educational consulting company here who come in regularly and who are around the corner from a music shop in Auckland, New Zealand. These latest ukes are all kinds of bright colours with a dolphin holding the strings- so great appeal to kids of all ages. I set up a series of lessons and sell the package which includes a uke and several lessons. I find that the minute I carry ukuleles through my local school I am virtually mobbed by children wanting to buy one. Since you can't find them here in Doha yet I am very careful to sell only to people who are willing to put in the time to learn to play. My first lesson was last week. I love to see a group of kids sitting in a semi-circle with ukes on their laps and smiles on their faces!! I am using a combination of New Zealand uke lessons, songs from the Santa Cruz Ukulele club and James Hill's wonderful book about classroom ukulele teaching.
The most intriguing thing for me about my ukulele classes here in Doha is that I have young members of the royal family (Al Thani) flocking for lessons, including little boys. The Qatari men play an instrument shaped like an Oud, so I suppose that this is a kind of baby oud in some ways to them.
More later as my classes progress. So far I have only managed to run through tuning methods, listening to sounds and very basic strums.
My adult class happens once a month in my home with an enthusiastic group of players/singers. Again I use the Santa Cruz song books because they are full of songs we love that are very playable. There is nothing like sitting around together singing and playing after a hard week's work. I love it.


Armelle Europe said...

I have read about your teaching the ukulele in Qatar on the blog Ukulele Hunt (

I am writing a blog called Ukulele & Languages ( I am trying to gather ukulele songs and videos from all over the world.

I haven't found any ukulele videos in Arabic so far so I was wondering if you knew anyone around you in Qatar who has uploaded a ukulele video or mp3 in Arabic ?

Good luck with your teaching,

Regards from France,


MrsP said...

Hi Arnelle,
So far I have not come across any Arabic people who play ukulele- there are wonderful male and female orchestras here where the Oud is played - there are wonderful instrument makers here also who make beautiful Oud instruments but not ukulele. Noone I have met here had ever heard of them before. Guitar is well known. I will post your question just in case someone else might have a clue about this- perhaps in Dubai where I know they sell ukes.
Good luck with your blog!
Jenny Parenteau

Anonymous said...

How in the WORLD do you get a job like this?!

MrsP said...

You come and live in Doha and bring your ukulele or guitar or piano and away you go! You do need to be sponsored by a company in order to work here, so first you need to find a real job!
Good luck!