This is an archived article. Click here for current issue.
From The Ukulele Yes! Vault
Re-prints of vintage Ukulele Yes! articles

This is a message from Chalmers Doane that appeared in a 1977 issue of Ukulele Yes! The message is short and to-the-point, articulating with characteristic clarity the philosophy of the Doane ukulele method.

President's Message
Ukulele Yes! Vol. 2, No. 1. (1977). p. 1.

It is becoming increasing[ly] evident that more and more people are realizing the service the ukulele can render in the field of Music Education. I think it is important for me to point out that if the ukulele is indeed capable of acting as an effective vehicle for meaningful, in-depth Music Education, then it MUST be recognized that it is a good way, but not necessarily an “easy” way for the teacher.

The article as it originally appeared in Ukulele Yes! Vol. 2 No. 1 (1977).

For the Ukulele program to work – it MUST be done properly. The difference between learning a few chords on the ukulele and the Doane method of ukulele instruction, is that with the Doane method, there is an attempt 1) to treat the ukulele as a musical instrument, to be learned in a logical and sequential manner; 2) to include most aspects of personal musicianship – such as, sight reading, ear training, good practice habits, singing, solo playing, accompanying, ensemble playing and rhythmic playing. Attention is also given to producing good tone and developing precision on the instrument. The objective is NOT to learn pieces, but rather, to become a musician.

A musician is someone who thinks he is a musician. This is the definition I like to use when dealing with the problem of mass Music Education. If the student does not think of himself as a musician when he graduates from music classes, then there is some question as to whether the music teacher has succeeded of failed. But, when the student thinks enough of his own ability to play, sight read, write or sing music, that he counts himself as being a musician, then the teachers main job has been accomplished.

It is not a gimmick nor is it a fad – it is a serious Educational approach, which like any other idea, depends for its success on one main thing– THE TEACHER!

I think it is possible to sustain lasting interest with only a few chords and singing BUT most often it requires a more comprehensive approach. If you are willing to consider my definition that “He is a musician when he thinks he is,” then this outlines a very clear objective for the teacher.

Through workshops, articles, books and recordings, we are gradually increasing the resource material available to strengthen the teacher of music through the ukulele.

It is not a gimmick nor is it a fad – it is a serious Educational approach, which like any other idea, depends for its success on one main thing– THE TEACHER!

Find out as much as you can and believe me, through the ukulele you give one of the finest gifts there is to offer – A MUSIC EDUCATION.

J. Chalmers Doane

Former Supervisor of Music in the Halifax school district and member of the Order of Canada, Chalmers Doane maintains a busy schedule as a teacher and performer in his native Nova Scotia. He is co-author of the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series. Visit

Top ^