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 http://theukuleleway.com/chantal_leblanc
Well, another year done! After last night’s portfolio wrap-up webinar session with James Hill and my fellow Level 2 teachers, I have now completed my second year of studying/teaching with JHUI. No stopping now…on to Level 3 at the end of July in Vancouver, for me. I’ve also completed my first full year of teaching the ukulele program at the OCDSB and am really looking forward to continuing with my students and hopefully many new ones in September. But for right now, my summer project is developing the “Suzukulele” senior program for this coming fall at SuzukiMusic.
After successfully bringing in the ukulele to the younger student musicians at SuzukiMusic’s summer camp last year, the idea for offering ukulele as a fun, team-building, skill-building option for senior Suzuki students has been brewing away in my head ever since. As a one week summer camp enrichment class with the younger students, we mostly focus on singing fun camp songs and strumming together, while making parallels between their main instrument (either violin, viola, flute, guitar or cello) and the ukulele. We can find many things in common with each of these: number of strings, size, clef, shape, materials, etc… and the children realize that being a musician is not limited to the instrument you play. You can use and build your existing musical skills into many different styles and purposes. Suzuki students already have a great natural ear and are used to the group environment so ukulele class is a really fun exploration for them. I’m really looking forward to summer camp again this year.
When it comes to introducing the ukulele to the senior students this fall, building camaraderie between instrument groups and challenging their musicianship skills will be the main focus. We’ll be working on ensemble playing in parts, classical, jazz and folk styles and singing too. Shinichi Suzuki said: “It is necessary to be concerned about the importance of educating a really beautiful human spirit” What better way than to bring teen spirit together in song? Oh yes, there will be singing.
As of last night, after our last webinar session with James, the Level 1 Certification Program is now complete and I am now a certified ukulele teacher! It’s been a great year of interesting teaching experiences, personal reflection, focused practicing and surprising revelations about myself. I’m so looking forward to connecting with my fellow teachers again in 2 weeks at the next institute in Vancouver. I hope many of them will be returning and continuing with me on the level 2 course.
The wheels are also in motion for next year’s ukulele course at Castor Valley through the board’s ECCA program! I’m hoping to fill 2 morning classes next fall and this time the program will run for 32 weeks.
As for my next immediate project, I’ll be teaching the ukulele to some violin, viola, cello and guitar students at SuzukiMusic’s Summer Camp next week. The order is to deliver enriching, fun, sing-and-strum music skills for these already budding musicians. Suzukulele time!
On the same day I registered for James Hill’s Level 2 Teacher Certification course, my dear husband bumped into James at the airport in Toronto. How cool is that? I’m really looking forward to continuing on this journey of learning and yesterday I received my Book 2 CD and method books. I’m pretty excited about the variety of repertoire in this one. In particular, I love the classical pieces and the french folklore. It looks like it’s going to be fun and challenging too! I also received my Play Ukulele Today! book, which I’m hoping to start teaching online to my nephew in northern Ontario. His birthday is next week and he’s getting a ukulele from Grandmaman. (my other newest student, but that’s for another post)
Now here’s another great video I found this in the Spring publication of Ukulele Yes!
James Hill – Assam/Like A Bird (HiSessions.com Acoustic Live!)