• Diana Mathur

Get Started Playing Ukulele for Pandemic Resilience, revisited

Since I wrote about Melanie Kareem’s evolution from Topanga Canyon’s best known belly dancer to international ukulele evangelist (for Topanga New Times February 2021,) Melanie has launched Get Started Playing Ukulele—the on-line campus for picking up this humble yet musically exhilarating instrument via the Melanie Method. Go to GetStartedPlayingUkulele.com!



Melanie has rallied her students (many are players from the former Topanga Ukulele Revival, and the illustrious Stockton Folk Dance Camp) for going on 500 days straight!



Look all around,

there’s nothing but blue skies.

Look straight ahead,

there’s nothing but blue skies.




So sings Melanie Kareem’s virtual ukulele group, expressing the Johnny Nash sentiments in unison, and with an “island strum.”

Melanie Kareem and Diana en route to a Dance


Melanie brings the zest of her former dance studio to daily music lessons via Zoom: the same attentive teaching approach and snappy materials, the same welcoming space and shortcuts to joy.





Mother's Day 2019 Performance at the Theatricum Botanicum; Vanessa, Melanie, Diana, and Rachel. Photo by Napali.


You can meet a lot of nice people on Melanie's on-line ukulele class., like Sam in Arizona.


Melanie’s a community-building teacher with a bright philosophy:

Instead of, “I can’t do this,” her students will tell you that Melanie’s maxim is, “This is a struggle for me now, a challenge that I’m excited about being able to accomplish.”



The behind-the-scene talents of Cari, Jenni, and others make it happen at Get Started Playing Ukulele.