Susie Kusagaya from California was Mele’s first private ukulele student to take lessons at the Bailey House in November 2011. We met when Susie stopped by our 1st booth at the Annual Maui Ukulele Guild Exhibition at Queen Kaahumanu Center. Susie returns to Maui about the same time every year and later attended Mele’s Ukulele Strumming Workshops at the Bailey House.
“I was prompted to take ukulele lessons after my girlfriend asked me to go with her to a Ukulele Jam at a senior center near to where I live in California. I am a senior and have no prior knowledge of playing musical instruments, but always had a desire to learn something new.
The Ukulele Jam is not a place to learn, but a place to play along with everyone else as a group. Therefore, it was important for me to make sure that I was strumming and holding the ukulele correctly and this prompted me to take lessons before picking up bad habits.
Since my trip to Maui was coming up, I decided to take some private lessons while I was there and found Mele at “ukulelemeleonmaui.com” on Google. I called and spoke with Mele and I instantly knew she was the one that would teach me how to play the ukulele. Mele is a wonderful instructor with lots of patience and she will teach you the proper way to strum and hold your ukulele with good posture. She will begin with a history of the ukulele, finger positions, types of strumming, etc. With practice and perseverance I was on my way to playing the ukulele. Although I am not proficient yet, it’s the only way to get started before “you pick up bad habits” on your own.
If you are looking for an instructor for ukulele in Maui or “on-line,” I highly recommend Mele Fong. She is the best instructor, a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice and lots of talent! It was well worth the travel time between Kaanapali to Wailuku. I loved the Bailey House museum where she teaches; it makes you feel like you’re part of the Bailey House history!” – Susie Kusagaya from California, 9 December 2011.
(Photo of Mele with Susie Kusagaya from California who took 5 private lessons at the Bailey House, November 2011)