Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

What If A Day – John Dowland on ukulele

22 2009

I don’t normally post videos I make on my website but this one is special in the sense that it is a big HUGE thank you video dedicated to Herman Vandecauter (YouTube Channel) who has been patiently teaching me fingerstyle uke for the past three months.

There are no ukulele teachers around where I live nor any other player that I know of and Herman has kindly offered to teach me fingerstyle ukulele over Skype.  Despite a few occasional technical problems, learning over Skype has proven a good solution and I am very grateful to Herman for helping me in my ukulele learning.

This video is very far from perfect and contains all the typical beginner mistakes (a few jarring notes, some rhythm errors and left hand fingers moving too much) but keeps track of my progress anyway. Back in August this year I was fingerpicking with just one finger !

And of course, there are always extra glitches I make just because the webcam is filming. Maybe my first resolution for 2010 should be to be less self-conscious.

Anyhow, What If A Day is a piece by John Dowland arranged by Jamie Holding (from his ebook John Dowland 18 pieces which you can purchase here)

If you are after a beautiful rendition of What If A Day, check out Valéry Sauvage‘s version of the same arrangement :

I wish you all a Merry Christmas !!!!


  1. Ron Hale on the 26th of December 2009 @ 11:04

    I’m sure learning the piece from Herman is akin
    to having Dowland himself guide you through it.
    No mistakes interfered with my enjoyment.
    And deliberately trying to be less self-conscious
    is self-defeating.

  2. Armelle Europe on the 26th of December 2009 @ 12:12

    Ron Hale : Thank you very much for the feedback. Herman is indeed an excellent teacher and I would never have managed to play What If A Day without his guidance.
    You’re probably right about deliberatly trying to be less self-conscious but I’d really like to be able to not be affected when somebody or a webcam is watching me play. I hope this will come naturally over time!

  3. Jeff / Humble Uker on the 16th of May 2010 @ 18:25


    Hello, I see your playing leans towards my likes too. I feel more skillful with a fingerstyle as long as I don’t jump up and down the fretboard. I have found several John King arrangements from his ‘Ukulele Solos and Duets book meet this criteria and are quite fun. It must be great to work with Herman V.

    Thanks posting this and for performing. I also make mistakes as I play and don’t think I have ever played anything perfectly. I think even the greatest players notice less obvious flaws in their playing as well. Perfection is over rated, sharing music with friend is the greater joy.

  4. Armelle Europe on the 16th of May 2010 @ 21:34

    Humble Uker : Hello Jeff, I haven’t tried John King’s arrangements yet. He is such a virtuoso I thought his arrangements would be too difficult for me to play. I should maybe buy his book and give them a try.
    Herman is a very good teacher, I am so very grateful for his Skype ukulele lessons.
    Thanks for the kind words, I find accepting one’s flaws quite difficult!
    Talking about sharing music with friends, how come there aren’t any of your videos on your YT ? ;)

  5. Eric on the 1st of July 2013 @ 13:40

    In your website a mention was made referring to ukelele tabs and music of John Dowland. The source in question is – Brand new site:
    Unfortunately this site as well as the old one yeald only this response:
    “Error establishing a database connection” Do you know if the given url is faulty or not online anymore?

  6. Armelle Europe on the 1st of July 2013 @ 18:19

    I receive the same error message. I will try and ask Jamie Holding if there is anything wrong with his site and get back to you then.
    Thanks for letting me know of the error.

  7. Armelle Europe on the 10th of July 2013 @ 11:09

    @Eric : I’ve checked Jamie Holding’s site today again and it is working now. I have updated the link in my post.
    Best regards.

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