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!

Free Demo Classes September 9 & 10

With the opening of a new location and the start of a new class, Song by SongTM is letting you try something new:

Ukulele 1 (offered East & West) is for the absolute beginner. I’m talking no music experience necessary, you don’t have to know what a note is or a chord or even what your favorite song is (because I’ll teach you some!). Come on by: September 10 – 1:30pm – West Hills UU Fellowship, 8470 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, Oregon. We’ll have ukuleles available for you to try out, songs ready to go, all you need is some curiosity and a smile. Let us know you’re coming by registering here.

Intro to Ukulele Ensemble is for all ages of folks who are up for a challenge. Maybe you’re still relatively new to the ukulele, but you’re not really into the sing + strum thing. You’d prefer to let your uke do the singing (think Jake Shimabukuro). Or maybe you love the sing + strum thing, but you want to expand your skill set as you play and sing (think James Hill). Either way, this class is going to make you a better player and a better musician all around.The free demo of this class is Saturday, September 9 – 12:00noon – Artichoke Music, 2007 SE Powell Blvd. in SE Portland. Curious? Let us know you’re coming by registering here.

Fall 2017 Schedule & Events

Happy September, everyone!

Back to school means back to music … lots to look forward to as we gather again to raise our ukuleles and sing together again. Registration is open for Fall classes and – oh! – the choices! With a new location opening in Southwest Portland, and two new classes added to the mix, there is a lot to look forward to:

Find your class to review full details, descriptions, and addresses.

Curious to try before you buy? Come to a free demo class.

 

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch: hello@learnsongbysong.com