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30 Day Ukulele Challenge: “Brown Eyed Girl” Collaboration


Since 2017, internationally-renowned musicians and ArtistWorks ukulele instructors Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel have hosted routine 30 Day Ukulele Challenges exclusively for their students here at ArtistWorks. These fun and often collaborative challenges are designed to encourage students to learn a new song over 30 days and submit a performance video to share with the rest of the ArtistWorks ukulele community. Student participants rally together and support one another as the community steps out of their collective comfort zones to learn something new and share it with their peers.


For their most recent challenge, which kicked off at the end of February 2022, Craig and Sarah designed an exciting and unique collaborative opportunity for their students. Through a series of 11 individual lesson videos, Craig and Sarah taught their students how to play and sing Van Morrison’s 70s classic, “Brown Eyed Girl.”


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play ukulele from master musicians like Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel? Try some free online ukulele lessons now!


Students submitted videos performing not only “Brown Eyed Girl’s” iconic melody, but also the full chordal arrangement, lead vocal part, and supporting vocal harmonies. From there, Craig and Sarah aggregated all of the performances and created a collaboration video showcasing all of the student participants playing together as a virtual ensemble. Today, we’ll be debuting said video to the public…


“For this challenge, we picked some themes and techniques that students could find throughout our ArtistWorks curriculum. We wanted to make sure they could apply things they learned into a new song or project like this,” Craig and Sarah explain. “Although most challenges are individual, we thought it would be fun to combine the different parts of the arrangement and feature the students at every turn. It was great to have a ‘virtual’ band, especially for those who haven’t been able to safely join others in music over the past few years.”


Due to the musical structure of “Brown Eyed Girl” and how Craig and Sarah crafted the lessons and song arrangement, students of all levels were able to participate in the challenge. Whether a beginner just getting comfortable strumming a few chords or a more advanced player perfecting their finger-picking, students at any point in their musical journey were able to join in the fun!


When asked about their experience taking on this challenge, one student said, “this was the first time I had tried finger-picking. My favorite part was playing to the backing track that Craig and Sarah provided. It was hard, but it really helped with my timing.”


Watch the full collaborative performance of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” from Craig and Sarah’s ArtistWorks ukulele students here:



“One of our favorite parts of this project is seeing students push themselves,” said Craig and Sarah. “For many of them, it was their first time performing! It was wonderful to see them grow and help them hone their parts utilizing the video exchange program before they did their final recording. We look forward to the next one, which we’ll announce later this year.”



Have you always wanted to learn how to play the ukulele? Through our comprehensive ukulele lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Craig and Sarah’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner ukulele to advanced performance techniques and tunes. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as ukulele players and musicians!


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



Ukulele Lesson: Basic Picking Technique with Craig Chee

Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee Monthly Ukulele Livestream: January 2022 feat. Diane Nalini

Ukulele Lesson: Introduction to Barre Chords with Craig Chee




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