Come play ‘O Canada’ on January 11!

I’m encouraging my students and fellow players to come out and play ‘O Canada’ at the  game on January 11. Here’s the Ottawa Folklore Centre’s link to purchase and receive a free ticket  (limited to the first 60 to sign-up to be in the Uke Choir).

There is a chord sheet and video lesson on their website. I’ve also created sheet music (updated on Nov 22) of the planned arrangement in C, for anyone who would also like to learn to play the melody.  Accompanying chord diagrams and tabs are also indicated.

This is a must have piece that all Canadian ukulele players should have in their repertoire!

Fall Registration for Ukulele programs

So I guess I’ve “burned the boats”, now that I’ve given up my day job to focus on doing what I love. I’ll be teaching Ukulele in a set of new programs here and there. Here are the details:

2014_08_0002This fall, I’m starting a new ukulele program for adults at Brookfield HS, through the OCDSB’s General Interest Program. I’ll be using the ukulele method from James Hill/Chalmers Doane which includes some basic note reading, scales and playing ensemble pieces, along with chord-accompanied singing. Level 1 is for new beginners on Tuesday evenings and Level 2 on Wednesday evenings, is for intermediate players who may have already mastered some chords but would like to learn to do more with the ukulele. Material covered will be similar in both classes, levels simply determine the pace of the lessons. The first 10-week session starts on Sep. 23. Registration is available online or by phone: 613-239-2751.

For kids at Castor Valley ES, Rockcliffe Park PS and Elmdale PS, registration to their Extra-curricular programs begins on Sep. 2.

And finally, I’ll be teaching the senior students at SuzukiMusic again this year, and also adding an open adult class on Saturdays there too. Parents of senior students, former Suzuki students and even grandparents are welcome to join me for some SuzUkulele fun! Registration information for this one will be sent directly to SuzukiMusic community members.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about programs!

Endings are just new beginnings

It’s been released for almost 3 weeks now and if you’re interested in making sweet sounds on an ukulele and you haven’t been down to The Ukulele Way yet, you need to come and have a look. It’s not just a new book or method of learning but it’s also a place for players, teachers and performers to gather as a community and learn and share together.

I can’t say enough about James Hill as a musician, performer, teacher and master of the ukulele. His entire concept for this website, which was 3 years in the making, also shows his capacity for thinking big as a creative and very kind human being. Even the video ad above reminds me of his very “Zen-like” teaching style. One that is balanced, calm and respectful of everyone’s individual learning processes. (One of his first required reading suggestions, when I started his teacher certification program back in 2011, was a book called Zen Guitar. This book changed everything about how I approach my own self as a learner, as well as my students.

At last year’s JHUI institute in Vancouver, he announced to us that this new technology was coming. A few of his teachers in training signed on to become beta-testers and promoters of this new venture, myself included. And now it’s finally arrived and running full steam ahead.

This is just in time for me, as I have just completed the final JHUI Level 3 teacher certification. (See the lovely new purple badge I am proudly displaying in the top left corner?) Even though I’m very proud to have accomplished this, sometimes endings can feel sad. Like I won’t be going back to institute to see the many friends I made there in the past 3 summers. But as this phase ends for me, The Ukulele Way is a new beginning that will enable me to really keep in touch with these old friends, meet new ones and keep learning, teaching and playing my heart out for years ahead.

If you decide to come and visit The Ukulele Way, you can find me there at


Melanie Doane: Teaching Kids Music

In a TVO interview with Steve Paikin, Melanie Doane, says and does it all to promote the ukulele in schools. Grab a coffee. It’s worth the whole viewing. Favourite moments are describing her early lessons with dad (5:20), and playing the “Eliminator Game” (14:06) with her kids. Feeling very inspired after watching this. Congratulations to Melanie on releasing her new website yesterday. Check it out!

Recitals, love ‘em or not, they’re important

Recital season is upon us. With my own kids playing in concerts and recitals here and there with their school and private teachers, ( I still get butterflies for them, right before they get up there) plus preparing my own ukulele students for this annual spring ritual, recitals, and the need for them at all, have been taking up a lot of my thoughts, time and energy during these past weeks. Last night, I was at my first formal recital, as the teacher, and I will admit that I was more than a bit nervous. Not all of my students from the 3 schools were able to come, but most were there. Some filled with courage and excitement, some feeling a little apprehensive and scared, but all those present were ready. The moment I saw all their faces coming into the warm-up room and I started tuning ukuleles, pep-talking and rehearsing, everything fell into place and I honestly enjoyed every moment.

It’s important to do things that scare us a little; to step out of our protective sphere and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. So parents, yes, the recital is important but not in the way we often think it is. It really doesn’t matter if there are wrong notes or things don’t go exactly as they did in the practice room. In fact, the less said about that, the better. It’s all about getting up there, doing it and having someone there to witness and support you. There’ll always be another recital around the corner and you’ll probably do better next time. The more we do them, the more we get to know ourselves.

Autographed Ukulele for Auction

This ukulele, autographed by Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, is up for grabs at Canterbury’s Spring Music Night Silent Auction next week.

Cmdr. Chris Hadfield autographing my ukulele.

Cmdr. Chris Hadfield autographing my ukulele.

This soprano sized ukulele, Lanikai model LU11 #31204, has Aquila Nylgut strings and is tuned in the re-entrant C6 tuning.  It was autographed by Commander Chris Hadfield on Sunday, September 15, 2013 at the Wings Over Gatineau airshow. 

When my husband and I set out to visit the Wings Over Gatineau air show back in September, I knew I might get a chance to meet the famous Canadian astronaut. Before we left, I quickly stuffed one of my small soprano ukuleles from my summer camp stock into a backpack (just in case I’d get a chance for an autograph) and after about 45 minutes in line, he not only signed it for me but even played it a little too! (Glad I had tuned it while standing in line!)

It was a real pleasure to have just a few moments to meet this great man. During his time on board the ISS, he not only inspired so many children to discover space and the sciences but with his on-board guitar, gave us many gifts of music through social media like SoundCloud, Twitter and YouTube. He’s brought a lot of support and attention to the value of music education and the importance of fostering creativity in our children.  As he says, being a musician has made him a better astronaut.

Chris Hadfield playing ukulele.

Chris Hadfield playing ukulele

Here’s another video by Melanie Doane along with her ukulele students in Toronto during last year’s Music Monday celebrations in May 2013: