Sibil and Bruno from Zurich, Switzerland, progressed from no knowledge of how to play the 'ukulele to playing 3-chord songs and singing in different languages in just a few days. Here they are playing Happy Birthday on March 3, 2016. Read more.
Sheila Howe & Company - Michigan
11 January 2017 (lesson for 4 on January 9)
"What a great experience to learn to play the Ukulele. We truly enjoyed our lesson and look forward to learning more in the future."
Sibil and Bruno - Switzerland
8 March 2016 (10 lessons February 27-March 4)
"While we were traveling the world by bicycle, we came up with the idea to carry an ukulele would be fun. What could be a better place to start playing the ukulele than Hawaii? So we booked a flight to Maui and here we are. We booked intensive lessons for one week and are more than happy with our progress. Not only we are able to play the song "Happy Birthday," we also can sing it in Hawaiian! Besides teaching ukulele, Mele also taught us a lot of Hawaii. We never played the ukulele before, but after one week of intensive lessons, we have a variety of songs we can play such as the Happy Wanderer, Happy Birthday and many three chord songs more.
We really love her style and her approach of teaching. The beautiful location of Bailey House Museum is another highlight, we even played outside in the garden surrounded with a lot of native plants. We can highly recommend Mele as your future ukulele teacher.
By the way, Make sure you can get a lesson on Friday: So you can see Mele in her beautiful "Aloha Friday" dress. :-)"
(See their website showing their travels around the world by bicycle)
Mark and Andrea H. - Vancouver, Canada
19 April 2015 (1 lesson 14 April, plus attended 8 April Ukulele Mixed Plate)
"My wife, Andrea, mentioned that she wanted to learn to play the ukulele when she retired. I don't believe in waiting for retirement to do anything, so I bought her a ukulele for Christmas. She was thrilled and I decided to join her on this journey and bought one for myself. The local music store had a good selection of ukuleles but no support system for lessons. It's important to advance rapidly to maintain interest, so we signed up for 10 weeks of lessons locally. We enjoyed our fellow students but clearly the instructors wanted to be performers and not teachers. The owner was rude and spent much of our lesson time each week on self promotion, our "lessons" were dominated by our instructor showing off his playing skills, giving students limited opportunity to play and learn. Neither demonstrated any understanding of teaching theory.
We struggled along and learned to play some songs, enjoyed our time together while many of our fellow students quit. We went to Maui and sat in on Mele's beginner lesson at the Shops at Wailea. While in Maui we were blown away by the skill level of many performers and the people who worked in ukulele stores. We then signed up for a private lesson with Mele and received access to some pre-lesson material online. That's when we realized that we needed to unlearn almost everything we had learned at our lessons in Vancouver! We spent the day before our lesson with Mele trying to do this. Our private lesson with Mele was fantastic! We learned more in 45 minutes with her than we'd learned in ten 90 minute lessons at home! Mele's an accomplished entertainer but the focus of her lesson was on teaching us, she's a professional instructor, who demonstrates a masters level of teaching theory.
For anyone learning anything, I recommend learning correctly from the start to avoid the inefficiency of having to unlearn bad habits and techniques that will not work as you advance. We're going to continue by taking lessons with Mele online. Thanks Mele!"
Jeffrey and Yumiko Young - South Salem, NY
25 August 2014 (2 lessons from 28 July - 1 August)
"We (my wife and I) had two lessons during our visit to Maui. We had bought ukuleles on a previous trip and had a very basic lesson (plus bought some books), but we found Mele's instruction very helpful. My wife is very musical and I am not but we were able to play together and learn enough that we are able to practice after the inevitable return to the mainland. We had the lesson at the Bailey House, which is a nice location as it is quiet and also a nice historical place. All in all, highly recommended!"
(Note: Jeff's 5-star rating was posted on YELP on 8/25/2014)
Peter Robbert - Paso Robles, CA
6 May 2014 (2 lessons January)
"What a great experience! While researching our trip, taking a ukulele lesson in Hawaii sounded like the ultimate in cliche tourist activities but it was one of our best memories of Maui. The Bailey House was a fantastic setting for the meeting in January 2014. From the time of our arrival, you are surrounded by the history and culture of Maui.
With no training, no rhythm, and no ear for music, I am sure that I was a challenge for Mele but she was a very patient teacher. The pre-arrival homework was very helpful to understand the background information and allowed us to move right into the lesson. My abilities (or lack thereof) were pushed yet felt progress and a sense of success. My wife and I took a second lesson together later in our week vacation and, despite a significant difference in musical training and ability, Mele was able to keep us both engaged and develop fundamental skills that we were able to bring home and practice. Unfortunately, life was waiting for us when we got home and we don't have the time to practice, the palm tree lined beaches, or the whales cresting on the ocean. We highly recommend Ukulele Mele On Maui and cherish the memories of our lesson and doing our homework, practicing ukulele on the beach overlooking Maalaea Bay."
Doug Van Patten and Marilyn Kirkham
21 January 2014 (12 lessons from 8 November 2012 - 13 February 2013)
"Hola from Panama,
A year ago we were taking ukulele lessons from Mele in Maui. Today we are in Panama for the winter with ukuleles in tow. I am past retirement age and had never attempted to play a musical instrument. Our time with Mele changed that. The ability to make music is a wonderful gift. Thank you Mele!
We looked forward to our weekly lessons at the Bailey House Museum. I enjoyed the learning process, however, just being in an intimate setting with Mele's singing was like attending a private concert. I love her voice!
We received a special gift when Mele and Rich came to Homer for an Alaska visit and conducted workshops. The group workshop setting provided me with an opportunity to tune my ear and play along with other ukes. I've some work to do in that area!
Yesterday we completed a 3 day sailing adventure among some beautiful tropical islands. Every evening when we anchored up we played and sang with the crew and other guests. What a pleasure! Muchas Gracias, Mele!"
Alison Moodie - Jamberoo NSW, Australia
12 October 2013 (lesson 12 February 2012)
"A group of us, friends from school days, were heading to Maui to celebrate our 50th birthdays together. I wanted to give my friends a gift that was memorable and unique to Hawaii. I happened upon the idea of a ukulele lesson! Googling from Australia to find out whether this was even possible, I found Mele and everything went smoothly from then on. Mele made it easy for me to arrange the whole surprise while still at home in Australia. The time was booked and my surprise was ready.
We took the picturesque drive to the Bailey House Museum and found a warm and welcoming Mele. The lesson was great fun and we learnt interesting facts about the ukulele while learning to play. Mele presented each of us with detailed notes to take home so we could continue to learn. To celebrate our new Australian-Hawaiian friendship, Mele even taught us the old Australian song "Waltzing Matilda."
I was thrilled with the lesson and my friends all had a great time. Mele wrapped my surprise gift for my friends in warmth and professionalism. It's been nearly a year since we had our magical holiday on Maui and we still talk about what a brilliant time we had with Ukulele Mele on Maui. Thank you Mele!" (Alison is third from the left)
Terri and Robert R - Irvine, CA
24 January 2013 (lessons 10 and 16 October 2012)
"When we planned our latest trip to Maui, a top priority was to take ukulele lessons while on the island. Robert searched the Internet and found Mele Fong. The lessons with Mele became one of the highlights of our trip. Both of us were new to playing the ukulele and Mele's lessons gave us a good foundation upon which to build.
Back at home, we continue to play and enjoy our ukuleles. Thanks, Mele, for starting us on our ukulele adventures!"
Zayeet Za'it and Free Landauer - Wales and Maui (respectively)
22 January 2013 (lessons 3 and 16 January)
From Zayeet: "From my home in Wales, I recently journeyed to Maui to celebrate my 60th birthday. One of the highlights of my visit was definitely the ukulele lessons my brother and I had with Mele. She's an inspiring teacher who pays great attention to basics such as how to hold the instrument and correct strumming methods. Our second lesson was on my actual birthday so we had lots of fun learning "Hau'oi la Hanau" together. Thank you Mele - - you're truly terrific!"
From Free: "My sister and I met with Mele for a ukulele lesson in Wailuku, Maui. I found Mele to have a perfect personality for teaching the ukulele. On top of that, her methods for strumming and learning are excellent. I never knew how to strum before this lesson. Actually, the lesson was so good, that we decided to have a second lesson together before my sister left Maui. This is definitely a Maui experience not to be missed!"
Harmony and Michiko Lynn Powers - Palo Alto, CA
20 January 2013 (lessons during Christmas break)
"My daughter (Harmony) and I took a couple of ukulele lessons from Mele last Christmas. Mele is an amazing, talented musician and we absolutely enjoyed her lessons. She was welcoming, fun, thorough and very patient with us especially with my 6 year-old whose attention span was not so long.
It was the first time we ever even held a string instrument, and Mele taught us all the important basics such as the history of the ukulele, how to properly tune it, hold it, strum it, press down on the strings, read chords on the first day. With her excellent coaching, I managed to play the birthday song by the end of our second lesson!:)
Mele is an awesome teacher all around, but what's so special about her is her attitude and enthusiasm. Her big smile and warmth created a fun and comfortable learning environment for us who were true "learn from scratch" beginners. Back in California, my daughter and I continue to enjoy practicing the ukulele every evening. Thank you so much Mele for the wonderful introduction to ukulele!"
Tony and Laura Lipira - Chicago, IL
21 October 2012 (lesson 11 October)
"Hey Mele - We thoroughly enjoyed the beginner ukulele lesson with you at the museum! You were very patient with us at our different levels and showed us the basics in less than 1 hour. We will continue practicing with the song book provided. Thanks and aloha!"
Michael H. and Markus M. - Austria
4 September 2012 (lesson 27 August)
"The ukulele lesson with Mele was a birthday gift to our friend Marcus (right person in the picture) who joined us in Maui during our vacations. Markus and me are both guitar players and the lesson with Mele was the first lesson with a ukulele. We started with basics on how to hold the ukulele and how to play it right. After that, we learned the basic chords and played several songs with Mele who gave us great instructions and also sings during the playing.
Mele is a great teacher. She gave us a lot of background information and hints during the lesson which improves the understanding and quality of playing ukulele. We really enjoyed the private lesson and highly recommend Mele for anyone who would like to learn or improve playing ukulele in Maui (during vacations or not)."
Lucy and Sophia Schappy - Comox, B.C
15 April 2012 (lesson 2 April)
"My lesson with Mele was one of the highlights of my Maui vacation! Mele is a warm and direct teacher who taught me my introductory lesson on the ukulele. I loved it so much that I went directly to the store afterwards to buy my own ukulele to take home. The setting in the museum was perfect, this an experience both my daughter and I will always cherish.
Thank you Mele!"
Kris and Nick Moore, Adam Corlet (left to right) - California
31 March 2012 (2 lessons during spring break in March)
"My love for the ukulele grew even more on my first trip to Hawaii last year where I was able to pick up three new ones. Ever since I picked one up it always puts a smile on my face and makes me happy. My brother and I started playing together and always have fun when we do; we also play the piano and guitar. It was an easy extension to pick up the ukulele although the strumming and finger positioning is quite different.
"My mom had planned another trip to Hawaii this time to Maui for our spring break. We all thought it would be fun to take some formal private lessons for the ukulele. She did some research and found Mele which turned out to be a lot of fun and informative. Mele was an excellent teacher and made it fun and interesting for us. We brought our friend Adam along and we all took lessons together and after our first lesson we were able to play Happy Birthday over the phone to Adam's sister who lives in San Diego. We are back in La Jolla, California playing our ukuleles one again.
Thank you Mele for helping us perfect our new techniques. Nick, Kris, and Adam."
Testimonials on YELP
Testimonials on Google+