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Ukulele Reports
Updates from ukulele classes around the world.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
San Antonia, Texas, U.S.A.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Ukuleles in the Music Education Curriculum at Queen's University School of Music
Dr. Roberta Lamb

Music programs are being cut from schools in SE Ontario. Instrumental music instruction does not start  in our local area schools until grade 9. Music instruction in the elementary schools (through grade 8) is hit-or-miss. What to do?

As a university school of music, the best thing we can do is to provide instruction and options for our students who will become music teachers. We know that some elementary schools have ukuleles hiding out from the old days when Chalmers Doane was a young man encouraging ukulele throughout Canada. We know that the grade 3s learn a bit of soprano recorder. We want to go further. We want to provide direction and support to a means of learning music that is accessible to the most young people our future music educators can reach. Ukuleles and recorder ensembles provide an inexpensive option.

We have a course on Music Education at the Intermediate Level. We use this course as a bridge between the primary level elementary music education methods and the senior level high school music education. We encourage all of our music education students to take the course. It includes some general education theory applicable to the early adolescent student, but with a major focus on developing skills for the young music educator. To do this we find a school or two in the local area where out university students can have an in-the-classroom experience teaching a small group of grade 5, 6, 7 or 8 students music lessons. To prepare for the teaching experience, the university students learn basic skills on the soprano and alto recorder (If they have this experience already, they go immediately to a tenor, bass or sopranino). They also learn basic uke technic following the steps developed by Chalmers Doane and refined by James Hill. They practice teaching each other and song-leading in the university classroom.

We want to provide direction and support to a means of learning music that is accessible to the most young people our future music educators can reach.

This year our placement will be with First Avenue School in the Limestone Board, Kingston. The Music Education at the Intermediate Level students will each teach uke to two grade 5 or grade 6 students. A feature will be a workshop at the elementary school led by James Hill that involves the grade 5-6 students, the university students and the grade 5-6 teachers. James will play a short public concert at the university later that evening.

We have been inviting James Hill to Kingston since 2003. His first visit was to Music Education at the Intermediate Level. Since this class is offered only every second year and we wanted to keep interest in the ukulele high, we invited James to play a concert the following year. He played a standing-room-only crowd. We keep this class-concert rotation going annually, so that James Hill will be assisting with our third ukulele sessions in the Music Education at the Intermediate Level class this November 2008.

Links: Queen's University School of Music | James Hill and Chalmers Doane's Ukulele in the Classroom Method

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Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Ukulele Hale
Jody Kamisato

Ukulele Hale is a place that enriches the lives of students of all ages and skill levels through a fun, positive, personal and home-like environment. Students are introduced to music theory, techniques, improvisation, performance skills and the chance to grow into positive, happy and confident individuals.

Students are introduced to music theory, techniques, improvisation, performance skills and the chance to grow into positive, happy and confident individuals.

The reason why we chose Ukulele Hale as our name is to reflect the spirit of our studio. Ukulele is a Hawaiian word that translates to “jumping flea” (that doesn’t mean we actually have fleas jumping around in the studio…) Hale is also a Hawaiian word that means “house” (although we’re in a building, we like to have the same comfort and relaxation you would find at home). Here you would experience the enjoyment and fun of learning the ukulele in a personable, positive and creative environment from instructors who are passionate about both the ukulele as well the student.

Ukulele Hale students and instructors (Mr. Jody Kamisato, Ms. Gina Sunada & Mr. Daniel Akemoto) have participated in various projects, field trips and events including filming for Uketree Productions “Island Style Ukulele with Jody Kamisato” DVD, Ukulele Pa’ina & Xmas Pa’ina (featuring Hawaii’s top amateur ukulele players and professionals including Taimane Gardner, Bruce Shimabukuro & Maunalua), various T.V. & radio programs, Sunshine Kids and Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. In 2007, Ukulele Hale along with the Ukulele Foundation of Hawaii raised money to purchase ukuleles for the Kliptown Theatre Productions in Soweto, S. Africa.

Ukulele Hale is currently working with the “Ukes on the Loose” program started by the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Our mission is to give students the opportunity to participate in a semester ukulele program held at selected school locations throughout Oahu. “Ukes on the Loose” will begin its launch this Fall 2008. Song selections for the Fall semester will include holiday pieces as well as original compositions.

Our future goal is to tour to Japan and participate in the Ukulele Picnic that draws a crowd of up to 10,000 people. We would like to continue sharing our music through public performances, and volunteering with the different local organizations here in Hawaii.

Links: Jody Kamisato's Homepage | Ukulele Hale on MySpace

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San Antonia, Texas, U.S.A.
Joyce Flaugher

Aloha from San Antonio, the Ukulele Capital of Texas. I have been teaching ukulele since the early 1980's. I have shared the joy of making music with Kindergarten through Retired students.

Our 3rd annual Summer Ukulele Camps are scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd weeks in July, 2008. Camps are for kids 8-12 and ukuleles are provided by funds from our 7th annual ukulele festival, Texas Uke Fest. There are three locations for summer camps this year - Leon Valley Library, Boys and Girls Club, and Maverick Library.

I have taught in various locations, but recently teaching at my home studio. I like small classes so I can sit "knee to knee" in a circle with the class. Many of the folks interested in learning ukulele want to strum, but I also teach basic concepts of music, playing melody, and performance techniques. Ukulele is alive and well in Texas!

Link: Homepage

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Do you teach a ukulele group? Are you a student in a ukulele class? If so, send us an update on your activities: what you've learned recently and what you're learning now. Make sure to include your name and location.

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