Category Archives: Adult Learning

Suzukulele – Ukulele for Suzuki students

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.

It’s official!

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!

A funny thing happened after I registered…

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!)

ECCA course is a go at CVES

I just got word that I’ve got the minimum 8 students already signed-up on the first day of registration for the upcoming Extra-Curricular Creative Arts course I proposed at our elementary school. I’ll be teaching Ukulele Level 1 for an 8 week introductory course starting in January.

This is for real, I guess. No turning back now!

Ukulele Lady by Vaughn De Leath