Category Archives: Teaching Tools

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!

 

Suzukulele Update

Our last Ukulele group class before the holiday break at SuzukiMusic was last Saturday and I’m so glad to have a few weeks to prepare more material for these kids. They have been consuming everything I bring in at a considerable rate!  (So, I finally just invested in the teacher edition of Sibelius 7 )

It’s certainly a lot of fun teaching these guys. Tuning is a quick process each week as many of them, having been Suzuki students for many years already, have developed a very fine ear for pitch. The range of age is quite wide, at 10 to 17 but their learning levels are fairly even. As I suspected, singing seems to be the biggest challenge so far. Not their ability to sing but their willingness to be heard is more the issue. We’ll just have to keep at it…  Anyway, I’m looking forward to continuing with this pilot project in the new year. 

I’ve put up a few links to the arrangements I’ve made on Sibelius so far on a new page of the blog so check them out.  Feel free to use and share these pieces!

Using SoundCloud

So this summer, while at the JHUI level 2 course in Vancouver, one of our fellow classmates, Mark Jackson, introduced the group to SoundCloud. We were just about to sight read a piece together and Mark pulled out his iPhone and started recording us. (that’s his voice in the first few seconds before the music begins) The track was instantly uploaded and out there in the world.

Ever since then, I’ve been thinking I’d like to use this fun technology for teaching and so here is my first attempt.

My ukulele students have now started to learn this piece so I’ve shared this with them to listen to and hopefully help them with their practice. Maybe someday they’ll put their own sounds out there for the world to hear.