Winter Weather Cancellation Policy

With the recent snow and ice that has been seen in the Portland, Oregon region, and the uncertainty just how much more is in store for us, I wanted to take a moment to clarify Song by Song™’s Winter Weather Cancellation Policy. While this policy mostly applies to weekly classes, consider it also valid for workshops and retreats, unless where noted.

First of all, it’s important to clarify that other music schools in town often refer to the call made by Portland Public Schools (PPS) each day, and follow accordingly. That is, if PPS cancels school, their classes are cancelled. We do consider PPS decisions, but because most of our classes are offered in the evening, and Portland weather is so fickle as to drastically change over the course of the day, we do not automatically cancel classes is PPS has canceled school for the day. However, if PPS does not cancel the school day, but cancels afternoon / evening activities, we will cancel classes for that day. This does not apply to workshops and retreats, as they take place on the weekends.

In general, if any afternoon / evening class is to be cancelled, I try to make that decision around 12:00noon, to give you all plenty of notice. For workshops and retreats taking place on weekend mornings and afternoons, I try to make that decision by midnight the night before. Notice of any event cancellation will come by email, and be posted on our website and via social media. Please make a point of checking any and all of these modes of communication to make sure you get the word.

Sometimes, such advance notice is not always possible. If any unexpected weather rolls into the region, may be cancelled up until 1 hour before class begins. Please keep a close eye on your email and social media for confirmation one way or another.

If weekly classes are cancelled, all efforts will be made to add a class the week after the end of the term. This is subject to the teacher and site availability. If not possible, another date will be determined for a make-up class. If a workshop or retreat is cancelled due to weather, all efforts will be made to reschedule the event. Registrations and payments made for the original event will be honored at the rescheduled event, and refunds will be offered to those who are not able to attend the rescheduled event. In the rare case that an event is not able to be rescheduled, all registrations will be refunded.

When any event is cancelled, participants are encouraged to make a personal call as to whether it is safe for them to travel to the event. As we know, Portland neighborhoods can vary greatly in winter weather impact. Please be safe! If class is not cancelled but you feel it is not safe for you to leave your home, all efforts will be made to catch you up on material, whether through video tutorials or, occasionally, a mini-private lesson before or after the next class you do attend. No pro-rated refunds will be given. If a workshop or retreat is not cancelled but you feel it is not safe for you to leave your home, 50% of your registration fee will be refunded to you.

Thank you for taking a moment to review this policy. Any updates to this policy will be announced on this blog. Please direct any questions or comments to me at

Notes from JHUI 2018 …

Last July, I rode the train to Vancouver BC with some skepticism but mostly curiosity about this guy from Canada I’d heard about – James Hill was apparently convincing schools all over the world to teach music literacy with the ukulele. Hmm, I thought. Interesting …

Being the folkie that I am, I had spent much of my music teaching emphasizing to students that you don’t have to know how to read music to make music or to understand how it works. And yet, I had students who were eager to learn music and I had to admit the fact that I was at a bit of a loss as to how to go about teaching them.

While I am still a folkie at heart and I still believe that there is plenty to learn and enjoy in music that does not require music reading, I have really enjoyed working with James’ program – the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (affectionately called “JHUI”)- and the second year of training I attended in Vancouver BC this month was no exception.

Having completed an exam on Book 1 (the green book) of the 3-book curriculum, I was excited to dive into Book 2 (the red book) to learn some new music and concepts. I have to tell you … what a leap! The repertoire in this book makes a huge leap into a variety of world and classical music that had me humming all week. I can’t wait to share these pieces with you Ensemblers out there!

The other thing I was inspired by were some of the examples I saw – mostly modeled by James – of leading a large ensemble of mixed level players, sometimes with, sometimes without music. (My personal favorite was an arrangement of the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey !!) When I return from maternity leave, one of my first new projects will definitely be more workshops oriented toward this idea of bringing lots of uke players together to tackle one particular piece for a chunk of time and just have fun challenging ourselves and being impressed with ourselves too!

I’ve included some photos below, including some evening nature walks around different parts of Vancouver. We were spoiled with great weather, which I was not about to take for granted!

You are invited …

Sunday, December 10 – 4:00pm

Lincoln St Methodist Church, 5145 SE Lincoln St., Portland

Occasionally throughout the year, I enjoy organizing events that allow my students to share their music learning with friends and family.  This year, though, we’re upping the ante:

  • Joining Song by Song ukulele students of Avery Hill in this performance will be banjo and harmony singing students of fellow Portland music educator Leela Grace
  • Before and after our celebration, and during intermission, local woman-owned businesses will be selling their goods and services to help you with your holiday shopping. Check back soon for a profile of these participants!

I invite you to Save the Date for this special event so you can plan to attend. Bring your friends, bring your family, and bring your open ears to celebrate the hard work of these musicians.

Special Video Invite

Ok, so it’s not on cardstock with our initials embossed in gold, but …

… Anne Weiss and I would still like to share this special invitation:

Like those harmonies? Like that picking pattern? We’re happy to share them with you at our Singing & Ukulele Retreat, October 27-29. Choose your package: Weekend Pass or Saturday Pass.

Questions? Let us know:

Registration is OPEN for Fall Ukulele Retreat


Anne Weiss and I are really looking forward to this special event! Join us and kick back in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge for a memorable musical experience, where you will learn more about:

  • Making music with others
  • Improving your vocal and instrument skills
  • Expanding your repertoire

In addition to instruction time, you’ll have the opportunity to go on a local hike, visit local wineries, and/or enjoy a one-on-one lesson with myself and/or co-instructor Anne Weiss.

Come for the whole weekend, or come for the day on Saturday. Whichever you prefer, be sure to take advantage of our Early Bird registration this week, ending Monday, October 2:


One thing important to note:

You are responsible for reserving your room! Contact the Lyle through their website or call: (509) 365-5953. They have reserved all rooms for us until Monday, October 2, after which rooms will be released to the general public.

As always, if you have any questions about this event (not hotel-related), feel free to let us know at

Can’t wait to see you there!