The sound of the ukulele is a part of Hawaiian culture. It was introduced to the islands in 1879 and has been used ever since. The instrument started became popular with mainlanders in 1989 when Hawaii was annexed by the United States. In the early 1900s, tourism to Hawaii started becoming more common, and some touring shows of Hawaiian performers introduced people to the sound of the ukulele. Today, it’s one of the most popular instruments in America. In fact, there are more ukuleles sold in the United States than in any other country. Andrew Molina is a ukulele virtuoso who is originally from Hawaii. He has been playing the instrument since he was a child and has been performing for audiences around the world for over 20 years. His performances are known for their high energy and his ability to connect with his audience.
Introducing Andrew Molina
Andrew Molina has played ukulele in Austria, China, England, Scotland, Ireland, Tahiti and of course the U.S. Each of these performances has offered a unique opportunity to share Hawaiian music with the world. Andrew’s performances are known for their high energy and his ability to connect with his audience. He has a passion for sharing Hawaiian music with as many people as possible and his lively performances reflect this.
Molina has released three albums, all of which have been nominated for “Ukulele Album of the Year” at the prestigious “Na Hoku Hanohano” music awards. He has also been featured on the cover of England’s Uke Magazine. His music has also been featured in video promotions for Hawaiian Airlines and Ocean Vodka.
Andrew Molina as a Ukulele Teacher
Andrew Molina has developed a passion for teaching ukulele, and has released the Andrew Molina Ukulele Acedemy on Teachable. The Ukulele Academy is the perfect way to learn this incredible instrument, regardless of your skill level. With high quality instructional videos and interactive quizzes, you’ll be able to advance at your own pace while confidently mastering the fretboard. You’ll also learn little techniques that will take your playing to the next level. Impressive your friends and family with your improved musicianship, and discover how ukulele can be a truly emotional experience. The Ukulele Academy is the perfect way to learn this incredible instrument, regardless of your skill level. With high quality instructional videos, you’ll be able to advance at your own pace while confidently mastering the fretboard.
Andrew Molina Teaching an In Person Workshop in Portland OR on May 25th
Ukulele enthusiasts in the Portland, Oregon area are in for a real treat on May 25th when Andrew Molina comes to town for an in-person workshop. Molina is a world-renowned ukulele virtuoso who has been playing and performing for audiences around the globe for over 20 years. His workshops are known for being high energy and interactive, with a focus on helping students improve their skills and confidence. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, you’re sure to walk away from this workshop with some new techniques and knowledge to help take your playing to the next level. So mark your calendars and register today – spaces are limited and this is sure to be a popular event!
When: Wednesday, May 25th from 7 – 9 pm
Where: Winona Grange, 8340 SW Seneca St, Tualatin, OR 97062
Cost: $40 per person
To buy tickets: Andrew Molina Ukulele Workshop (brownpapertickets.com)
Andrew Molina Interview
I’m excited to share my phone interview with Andrew to learn a bit more how he started playing ukulele, his passion for teaching, and how covid affected him.
How did you become interested in playing the ukulele?
I grew up in Maui, and took a ukulele class in middle school. My cousin would come over and show me some tips and tricks, but I didn’t become passionate about it at that time. I guess I was like the typical middle school kid who thought ukulele was “cool” but wasn’t really interested in learning it. It wasn’t until I heard Jake Shimabukuro play live in Maui about 10 months after I started learning that I started taking it more seriously and realized how much I loved playing Hawaiian music and ukulele.
Until that time, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I really had no idea. But after Jake’s concert, I definitely wanted to be a ukulele musician when I grew up.
Where do you live, and how is ukulele part of the culture there?
I live on Maui, and ukulele is a big part of the culture there. When I was growing up, every family had a ukulele, and it was just always there, maybe as a decoration hanging up on a wall, or in the living room. But ukulele jams weren’t a big thing. But the first time I went to the west coast, and realized that there were people organizing jams, and that it was a “thing”, I got super excited.
Now, there are ukulele jams happening all over the world, and it’s amazing to see how much the ukulele culture has grown, not just on Maui, but all over the world in recent years.
What got you interested in teaching?
Before COVID, I was really focused on my ukulele performance, having top techincal skills and delivering an amazing performance. But when COVID shut down the world, I (along with all other musicians), had to re-evaluate what I was doing. I realized that I really missed sharing my knowledge and connecting with people through music. And so, I decided to start teaching online ukulele courses. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’ve loved getting to know my students from all over the world and helping them improve their skills.
I do have to say that now we have started re-opening things, I am excited to be playing and teaching live again. It’s great to see all those smiling faces!
What are your thoughts on teaching ukulele?
I think teaching ukulele is a great way to share the joy of playing music with others. I love seeing people’s faces light up when they learn a new song or technique, and it’s especially gratifying to see them progress and improve over time.
How did you develop the curriculum for the Andrew Molina Ukulele Academy?
I actually worked with Joshua Waldman from Tigard Ukulele Group. He has extensive knowledge on curriculum development, so I would tell him my ideas and show him my outline and he would give me feedback. Once I finished the outline, then I just got to work, developing the curriculum and filming the videos.
What will you offer in your in-person workshop in Portland on May 25th?
I’m going to be teaching an introduction to fretboard navigation and moveable chords. We all love jamming together, but one thing we can do to make things more musical and fun are more chord options AKA expanding your Chord Vocabulary! I will give everyone the key to start seeing the fretboard as a map using a couple basic methods. In addition I will introduce everyone to moveable chords which will give everyone more ways to play their favorite chords. (Fretboard board navigation and moveable chords go hand in hand). I’ll also be sharing some ukulele tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years. And finally, I’m super excited to be travelling with my dad Jay who plays bass, and we will play some songs together, as a teaser for our show on Sunday May 29th at the Portland Rose Festival.
Do you have any fun facts about yourself?
I actually love doing jujitsu. Jujiutsu is a martial art that uses joint locks and throws to subdue an opponent. It is a relatively modern martial art, developed in the early 20th century by Mitsuyo Maeda. Maeda was a member of the Kodokan, the world’s largest Judo school, and he combined his knowledge of Judo with other martial arts he had studied, including Jujutsu, to create his own system. These days I just practice for fun and exercise. It’s a great way to relieve stress, and I always feel great after a workout. I actually have an exciting project that I’ve been working on that I’ll be releasing later this year.
Do you have any advice for beginner ukulele players?
My biggest piece of advice for beginner ukulele players is to just HAVE FUN! Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t get too caught up in trying to learn every song or technique perfectly. Just enjoy making music, and the rest will come naturally.
Thank you Andrew for your interview. It was great to chat with you on the phone, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in person on May 25th!
It’s amazing to see how the ukulele culture has grown in recent years, and it’s thanks to passionate musicians like Andrew Molina who are dedicated to sharing their love of the instrument with others. He has developed an excellent curriculum for his online ukulele academy, and he is also offering a workshop in Portland on May 25th. If you’re interested in learning more about the ukulele or improving your skills, be sure to check out his academy and sign up for his workshop. You’ll be glad you did!