News

November “Best Hits” Workshops – Registration Open Now!

The votes are in and we have our winners! Thanks for picking the topics for our “Best Hits” workshops coming up in November 2018. Registration is now open for all workshops, including a Workshop Pass that admits you to all three for a discount. Hope to see you there!

“best hits” workshops

All workshops take place at:

Lincoln Street United Methodist Church

5145 SE Lincoln St, Portland, OR

Click below to register!

70s / 80s Pop – Sunday, November 4, 1:00-4:00pm

Music of the Beatles – Saturday, November 10, 1:00-4:00pm “On the Road Again”  Traveling Songs – Saturday, November 17, 1:00-4:00pm

 

Workshop Pass – Attend All Three!

Questions about any of these workshops? Let us know: hello@learnsongbysong.com

Workshops return in November: Vote for your “Best Hits”

Ad for survey of workshops in November

As I prepare to return to teaching, what better way to get back into the swing of things than with some of our “best hits”?! We’ve learned a LOT of music these past several years as we’ve tackled a different genre of music each term. Let’s revisit our favorites! What are you excited to play? Vote for your favorites from the following:

  • 70s/80s pop
  • The Beatles
  • Classic Country
  • Motown
  • Music from the Movies
  • On the Road Again (Traveling Songs)
  • 60s Folk Revival

Be sure to fill out this survey to let me know what music you’d like to revisit, or learn for the first time.  You do not need to have learned the music the first time around, I’ll have packets aplenty.

Finally, all workshops will take place at our SE Portland location: Lincoln St Methodist Church, 5145 SE Lincoln St. Save these dates for these workshops, *times subject to change*:

  • Sunday, November 4, 1:00-3:00pm
  • Saturday, November 10, 1:00-3:00pm
  • Saturday, November 17, 10:00am-Noon

Check back soon to learn what the winners are and how to register!

 

Welcome to our new addition!

Mother, father, and baby sitting on a couch and smiling at homeclose-up of baby Oscar

We are so pleased to announce the birth of our son, Oscar, on September 7, 2018! These first several weeks have been a roller coaster, but we are all happy and healthy and finding our way as a new family of three. As announced earlier, we are taking a break in September and October, but plan to return in November with a series of workshops and in January with regular classes again. We look forward to seeing you then!

Need some recommendations in the meantime? Check out these other ukulele opportunities in Portland!

Classes on hold for Fall 2018 – How to cope with the withdrawal?

With a baby due in early September 2018, I’ll be taking a break from classes this fall. The plan is to return with some workshops in November and December, then resume regular classes in January 2019. That said, keep checking back, or sign up for our monthly newsletter, to get the latest news and updates, as that plan could change!

In the meantime, what’s a ukulele player in Portland to do? Not to fear, we live in a ukulele-rich city with a LOT of opportunities to keep up your playing:

Jams/Groups
Classes
  • For beginners / intermediate, check out Chuck Cheesman’s classes at the Multnomah Arts Center (p71 in this brochure)
  • For those looking for a challenge, check out Tracy Kim’s Jazz & Blues for Ukulele class at Artichoke Music.
  • For kids, I’ve had a heck of a time finding class offerings, but it looks like there are some private lesson options at Ethos in N PDX and Vibe Studio in SE PDX. I’m not personally familiar with either of them, but have heard good things from those who have gone.
What you can do …
  • Remember to make practice a regular part of daily / weekly routine.
  • If you’re like me and like the accountability of a group jam or class, but have some specific material you want to work on, start a practice group with your friends from class. If you’re open to it, let me know about it and if any students I know and trust are looking for a group, I can point them in your direction.
  • Keep an eye out for upcoming performances by local and touring ukulele artists, where you can get inspired
  • Join an online learning community – I personally recommend following Cynthia Lin, whose style is similar to mine; and James Hill’s The Ukulele Way for instrumental ukulele instruction.

No matter what you do, follow whatever brings you joy in making music – good luck, and let me know what you find!

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!

Ukulele Forecast: Workshop Season Continues for Portland, Oregon

Avery leads a ukulele workshop with thirty-plus people in the room.

Workshop season got off to a great start in Tualatin where I was hosted by the Tigard Ukulele Group (check out their weekly jams!). There’s more where this came from, coming up in both SE and SW Portland, both weeknights and weekends. Join us for these upcoming workshops below …

Featured Workshop: Chords Up the Neck

Ukulele and hands. Text: Song by Song Workshop: Chords Up the Neck.

You’ve got over 12 frets on your fretboard, why relegate your playing to the first three or four? Learn new chord shapes based on the 5th fret and up that you can apply to songs you already know and add more variation to your playing. Check out the video preview below.

Register: Ukulele Chords Up the Neck

Other Workshops

Spring 2018 Registration Now Open!

Welcome back – I hope everyone had a great Spring Break!

Classes resume the week of April 16 and run 6 weeks right up until Memorial Day Weekend. Click here to Find Your Class.

If you’re not sure which class is right for you, or have questions about attendance or location details, check out our new Class FAQ page. If you don’t find your question(s) addressed there, feel free to reach out to me any time: avery@learnsongbysong.com

Also … know any kinda beginning players?

Ukulele 2 – Free Demo Class

Saturday, April 14 – 10:00am – Lincoln St Methodist Church – 5145 SE Lincoln St, Portland

This demo class is intended for those students who have mostly taught themselves some chords and songs themselves, but are looking for a more guidance to help them deepen their musical skills. This demo class will survey the types of songs and skills we will cover in Ukulele 2, including a quick review of all the chords in our favorite Key of C, and then a dive into the keys of D, G, and A through the study of the 12-Bar Blues, followed by some Carter Family three-chord songs. Whew! Are you interested? Or know someone who might be? Details and registration here.

Hope to see you back in class soon!

Sneak Peek at this Saturday’s workshop

Ukulele J-Term is under way! Here’s what to expect from our first workshop…

Saturday, January 13 – 10:00am-12:30pm

Artichoke Music – 2007 SE Powell Blvd, SE Portland

Register here

Check out other upcoming workshops here and buy your 3-class pass here

Happy New Year 2018!

Welcome back, everyone! I hope and trust you all had pleasant and (somewhat) restful holidays, wherever and whatever you celebrate…

Beginning a new year is always a great time to take stock of what matters most and what we find ourselves wanting to work for in the future. This month marks *five* years since I began teaching music, and it boggles my mind to think of the journey it has already taken me on: the people I have met, the songs we have sung, and smiles and laughs we have shared. Thank you so much to all of you who have been a part of this journey! As you take stock of your own 2018 adventures, I sincerely hope that music, and making music in community with others, is at or near the top of your list, as well.

If so, I’m excited to offer you several opportunities to make music a part of your life this year:

Ukulele J-Term: January 11 – February 1

Ukulele 1: Thursdays, 5:30-7:00pm at Artichoke Music – For the absolute beginner, this class will get you started on the right path with your ukulele. (Note: Baritone ukulele players should contact me separately, as it is tuned differently and may require private lessons to give you the best start.) Class starts January 11 – Register here

January Workshop Series: Saturdays, 10:00am – 12:30pm at various locations – For Advanced Beginner through to Advanced players, this series of workshops is intended to focus on specific skills to support your playing:

  • January 13: Music Theory at the Campfire* – Artichoke Music (Inner SE PDX)
  • January 20: Playing & Singing Harmony with the Carter Family* – W Hills UU Fellowship (SW PDX)
  • January 27: Build Your Sense of Rhythm – Lincoln St Methodist (SE PDX)

* For these classes, it is best if you are familiar with the three-chord families of the key of C, D, G, and A. If you’re not sure about a workshop, or have any questions, email me at: avery@learnsongbysong.com

Find complete class descriptions and registration here

 

Regular Weekly Classes Resume February 6

For those of you ready dive back into weekly classes, check out the upcoming schedule here so you can save the dates and decide which class works best for you. Registration will open soon!

 

Happy uke-ing, my friends!

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.