Category Archives: Teaching Ukulele

Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend – It’s a wrap!

It’s been 6 weeks since the Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend already. Over the course of that weekend we worked on three pieces that we have put together in virtual performances. Our video launch and final wrap party starts on Sunday, October 4th at 7:30pm

All 3 performances will be rolled out in a sequence of YouTube premieres as follows:

Down By The Salley Gardens at 7:30 pm https://youtu.be/AfsYoAhL-BY

A traditional Irish melody, with text by W. B. Yeats, arranged for ukulele ensemble by Brenna MacCrimmon. Music recorded by participants of the 2020 Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend. Audio mixing by Brenna MacCrimmon

Runaway at 7:45 pm https://youtu.be/uXjC1iwVqo8

This Del Shannon piece was arranged for ukulele by Eve Goldberg and filmed during the final Zoom session on the last day of our Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend, August 23, 2020. Participants sent me their audio recordings which I mixed and added to the edited video from our “one-take spotlight sequence” during the weekend.

Harmony Club Waltz at 8:00 pm https://youtu.be/_PimYhRuHRA

The 2020 Cyberlele Orchestra performs an excerpt from Harmony Club Waltz by the famous ragtime composer Scott Joplin. This piece was arranged for four-part ukulele ensemble by one of our fellow JHUI teachers, Nancy Piver

Be sure and “Set a Reminder” for all 3 YouTube premieres. You’ll be notified when the videos are about to begin and you can also join the conversation in the video chat areas. All of this will be followed by an online after-party on Zoom. (link details will be provided by request) We hope to share with as many of you as possible.

See the whole playlist from Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend

It’s been a real pleasure working on this project, meeting so many players from around the world and sharing our music virtually. My thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated! Here’s a memory from that weekend’s staff concert when our virtual trio played Bach’s Minuet in G to start it all off

Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend starts tomorrow!

Update: If you’re registered for this workshop, the sheet music and listening tracks are now posted. We’re ready for a full weekend of virtual music making! There are still a few spots left if you’re thinking about joining us: tinyurl.com/cyberlele

Friday Evening Concert

If you want to tune in to our free concert on Friday night, click here for the invite link!
I’ll be performing for the first time in a virtual live event so I’ll admit I’m excited and a little nervous. Along with solo performances of some original songs and classic pieces, we’ll be playing as a trio in a pre-recorded performance as well. (I’ll post the video link here later)

Saturday Night Campfire

Show up, strum along to popular songs (chords provided) and if you feel up it, maybe do an open mic spot.

After a weekend of workshops…

Our main goal is to have fun but we’ll also learn to fine tune our playing so we can create a video like this one. Mozart’s ‘Andante Grazioso’, performed by Eve Goldberg’s Ukulele Orchestra of Toronto. We will do the recording of the parts AFTER the weekend workshop. Hope to see you there!

Virtual Orchestra Fun

Last month I tried my hand at creating this first video montage for The Ukulele Orchestra of Toronto with Eve Goldberg using a trial version of Final Cut Pro X. I had a great time learning how to use this software which I also used for a couple of family projects as well as my SoundSlice video of La chanson des blès d’or.

I enjoyed it so much that I purchased the app at the end of the trial and I offered to put together another one for the orchestra which will premiere on YouTube this Sunday afternoon at 2pm EDT.  It’ll be an arrangement of Mozart’s ‘Andante Grazioso’ created by Eve which we’ve worked on for 2 sessions of the Ukes of T now. We just had never had a chance to perform it live yet. (Plus, I’m a huge Mozart fan, so I really wanted to do this one, but that’s a long story for another post in the future…)

Cyberelele Orchestra Weekend Aug 21-23CYBERLELE ORCHESTRA WEEKEND

Next up for this summer’s virtual orchestra fun, I’ll be joining Eve Goldberg, Brenna MacCrimmon and Cynthia Kinnunen to teach a whole weekend of online orchestra classes, which will be followed by video montages of the pieces afterward. 

I’m really excited to be a part of this event. Since it’s all going to be done online, I would really love to see some of my former students from Ottawa join in on the fun too! Below are the details and links for that event:


Cyberlele Orchestra Weekend
Friday, Aug 21 – Sun Aug 23 – ONLINE

Join us for a fun and exciting weekend of ukulele ensemble! In this intensive workshop we will learn material arranged in parts for several levels of ukulele, including baritone. We will be working from sheet music and tablature. Material will suit players at skill levels from confident beginners to those with advanced skills (you should know and be comfortable with basic chords in order to participate). Group and sectional classes will help us explore repertoire, expand skills and work towards creating a virtual performance. Hosted by Eve Goldberg and Brenna MacCrimmon with guest instructors Chantal LeBlanc and Cynthia Kinnunen.

Registration fee of $160 CAD includes

  • 2 days of instructional programming
  • 3 levels of ukulele plus baritone section
  • 4 teachers
  • a Friday concert
  • a Saturday campfire
  • technical support and trouble shooting throughout the workshop
  • digital access to class materials
  • opportunity to participate in a virtual performance.

More information and registration available here.

Here’s a nifty Ukulele Strap

© Lise Gray

© Lise Gray

I’ve been meaning to share this for awhile now. A student of mine from last term, Lise Gray, came to class one day with this nifty, crocheted ukulele strap. I had been trying for awhile to find a strap solution that doesn’t let the uke flip forward, scratch it or require drilling any holes into the instrument. This one does it all and is super comfortable to wear! She offered to make me a few for re-sale at Strings and Things and kindly shared the pattern with me.
I recently started to crochet again after my dog passed away last year. It’s such a great way to de-stress and relax and I do find so much peace while I’m working on a project. (It’s also a great way to keep your hands out the chip bowl in the evenings!)

I made a bunch in lots of fun colours before the holidays to give as little gifts for my younger students aIMG_0151nd they seemed to really like them too. A strap really frees up your focus when you’re trying to learn tricky finger positions without having to hold on to the instrument. If you’d like to make your own, the pattern is available for download from Ravelry here. If you’d like a ready-made one, let me know!

 

Winter Session for Adult Ukulele starts Feb 2-3

Registration for the next 8-week session of my Adult Ukulele classes at Brookfield HS is already started. If you’re a new beginner, the level 1 class can fill up quickly. If you’ve already taken 1&2 or if you’re an advanced player,  please consider joining the level 3 choir. We’ll need at least 5 members to run this course. Find courses at https://e-connect.ocdsb.ca or call 613-239-2751.

Ukulele Level 1: Wednesdays at 7pm
Course #79543

Ukulele Level 2: Tuesdays at 7:30pm
Course #79545

Ukulele Level 3: Choir format on Tuesdays at 6:00pm
Course #81036

The “Brookfield Ukers”

Good times at the Bytown Ukulele Group‘s latest jam night. It was a great opportunity for some of my adult students to show what they’ve learned in a couple of months. I was very happy that so many were willing to go up there and perform. They even gave us the name “Brookfield Ukers”. It might just stick…

Congratulations to all!
Looking forward to seeing some of you next Wednesday for the spring term. Both classes at OCDSB have been confirmed to go ahead and it’s still not too late to join.

Kicking off 2015! Registration info for Winter – Spring adult programs

Now that was a fun way to kick off the new year! Here’s a great shot my husband took of our Ukulele Choir playing ‘O Canada’ at yesterday’s Ottawa 67s game at TD Place. Many thanks to the Ottawa Folklore Centre for organizing this event! I was very happy to participate and help to lead this beautiful group and also very proud that 2 of my young Suzukulele students and 2 of my adult students came too! There’s talk of another opportunity to play again, coming up in March.

There’s also an audio clip of a story on CBC Ottawa Morning here, and some Facebook videos of our pre-game rehearsal and of the actual performance on the ice!

Photo by Steve LeBlanc.

Photo by Steve LeBlanc.

Registration is now available for the following Adult Ukulele Programs from Winter to Spring 2015:

Play Ukulele Level 1– Tuesday nights from 7-8:30pm at Brookfield HS starts Feb 3rd. Course #75051

Play Ukulele Level 2– Wednesday nights from 7-8:30pm at Brookfield HS start Feb 4th. Course #75053

To register for the OCDSB’s Continuing Education programs go to https://e-connect.ocdsb.ca or call 613-239-2751

Ottawa Folklore Centre Ukulele Choir– Thursday nights from 7-9pm

To register contact the Ottawa Folklore Centre

If you have any questions about repertoire, how much practice required, level of knowledge required, etc… please feel free to contact me directly.

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 http://theukuleleway.com/chantal_leblanc