Tuesday, February 27, 2018


“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water,
the actions of individuals can have far reaching effects.”
                                                                                                       Dalai Lama

Greetings, dear disciples. It has been several months since MaGuru has visited with you. I trust that this has been a meaningful time for you all.

I have been happily communing with my many ukulele and guitar students around the country during this time. Recently, some of my students have shared some experiences that have touched the heart of MaGuru. I would like to briefly share two of them with you now. 

“Everything is caused by something,
and in turn, is cause for something else.” 

In my teaching practice, there are many moments of “seeing the bulb go off” when a student has insight into their playing. These are powerful and beautiful moments for me, as they are for teachers everywhere. Greater still are the moments of joy my students share with me related to their musical experiences. 

My dear friend of many years, Caterina of Asheville, NC, started taking ukulele lessons from MaGuru a year ago. Much of her focus has been to learn traditional Greek folk and dance music to honor her culture. Recently, Caterina traveled with her son and grandson to Chicago to see her 90 year old mother in a Greek-American assisted living center. She spent parts of 2 days joyfully singing for groups of seniors who share her heritage.  She was kind enough to send MaGuru a video of her and her mother harmonizing on a song that they have been singing together her whole life.

There are no words to describe how moved I felt while watching this video.

My very good friend Mark has been a MaGuru student (" a MaGudent") for a year from his home in Tampa, FL. He has generously served his community for many years as a Hospice Nurse. Recently, while calling on an assisted living center that he sees every week, he noticed a ukulele and guitar hanging on the wall in the rec room. Being a self-respecting ukulele enthusiast, he tuned the ukulele up, and began playing for the patient he had come to see. When he returned the following week with his own ukulele to again entertain his patient, he was greeted by a full room of excited residents of the living center, and proceeded to play for them. It was a peak experience for my friend. Mark has requested that any new material be “senior friendly.”

This was Mark's first experience of performance, and it was hugely successful. Learning of this touched MaGuru deeply. 

"Each one of us is something greater than ourselves.”

MaGuru is truly humbled by learning of these joyous moments in the lives of my students. These two beautiful stories have reinforced the knowledge that our interactions can have a positive and wonderful ripple effect further down stream. 

I am so grateful.

Stu MaGuru

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Staying Optimystical

Greetings, dear readers. Today, MaGuru will impart an important principle that relates to music, and to life in the bigger picture. It is the concept of Staying Optimystical.

What is Optimystical, you may ask?

MaGuru defines it as the art of staying positive with a spiritual (or mystical) perspective. An old school expression that addresses this is: "An optimist is someone who sees the glass as half full, instead of half empty." We've all heard this phrase. An Optimystical person takes it a step further with the understanding that what is visible in the glass is topped off by an unseen mystical essence that makes life a richer, deeper, more positive and fulfilling experience.

In a musical context, an Optimystical person values the journey as much, or more, than the ultimate outcome. As Ram Dass has so eloquently said, Be Here Now

And, as MaGuru says, Be Here Now. And now . . . and now . . . And. Now.

There is no end to one's musical journey. As with enlightenment, when one "claims" to be enlightened, they surely are not. Similarly, when someone believes they've reached the limit of their own ability, they are just as surely mistaken.

Enjoy your musical journey! Stay Optimystical.

Oh, MaGuru, you've done it again.

Friday, November 11, 2016


After this long and arduous political season, many of my students and devotees have contacted me, saying, "Oh MaGuru, please share some of your wisdom and immense depth.

To that, I, MaGuru, sayeth:

Practice "Karma-lele."  This is the spiritual principle of ukulele cause and effect where harmonious intent and actions of an individual or group influence the future of that individual or group.

In other words, as Paul McCartney almost said, "The music you take is equal to the music you make."

As Mohandas Gandhi almost said, "Be the musical change you want to see in the world."

As MaGuru says - "Be your own spin doctor." Meaning, if you play a note or chord that is not "traditional" (correct), claim ownership and declare that you are expressing an alternative and intuitive version.

Repeat after MaGuru:

My groove is on a higher plane.

My groove is on a higher plane.

My groove . . . . . . . .

And finally - LOOSEN UP! It's going to be okay . . . really . . .

Oh, MaGuru...you've done it again.