I love the freedom of playing without a plectrum because of the many ways you can play the uke all in the same song. You can switch from picking to strumming at will, throw in some fan strums, or chucking and add various other effects to suit the song. That is one of the things that makes it such a great little instrument to play.
To help develop the strumming techniques I started looking for songs that use different strumming patterns and methods. In order to really "get" a new strum you need to be able to apply it in the right song and see the way it really fts in. I picked songs with reasonably simple chord structures. In fact I'm pretty much of the opinion that the fewer chords there are in a song, the harder you have to work on the strumming to make it sound good. There are lots and lots of really good 3 chord songs with distinctive strumming patterns that illustrate that, in all kinds of music including Blue Grass, Blues, Rock and Country and Western to name a few. In fact I remember reading somewhere that a Jazz players plays thousands of chords to a few people, while a blues player plays a few chords to thousands of people. The simpler chord structures also mean that you can concentrate more on the strumming.
So I started putting together the songs and the styles to create "Strum Class". This is an introduction to various strumming patterns and methods and then applying them to the appropriate song. The songs all include the lyrics, the chords and at least 6 individual instrumental tracks with some as many as 12 tracks. Using the player you can vary the tempo and you can also turn any or all of the individual backing tracks on or off. Lots of different strumming patterns and methods are covered. The songs are also great fun to play and fairly easy to learn. So they make a great set of songs for a jam session. As with the KaraUkey books, I opted for well known songs where royalties are payable so there is a cost, but it is still cheap. Strum Class has only been completed a little while but sales are happening, so I hope people enjoy working through it as much as I enjoyed putting it all together.