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Ukulele Reports
Updates on ukulele classes and events around the world.

James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification Program
Langley Summer Ukulele Camp 2010

James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification Program
By James Hill

Initially I was skeptical about running a teacher certification program. It seemed like a lot of work (which it is) and I had my doubts as to whether it was entirely necessary. But the more I worked with teachers and community members, each struggling independently to create an effective ukulele curriculum, the more I realized that there was a genuine need and desire for a structured teacher certification course. After months of planning registration opened and the response was overwhelming.

In 2010, certification instutites open to all interested individuals, not just school teachers began in three locations: Vancouver, BC; Toronto, ON; and Truro, NS. It takes an entire year to complete one level of the three-level certification structure which, along with having pre-requisite skill requirements, meant that I had the great pleasure of working with people who were very motivated and dedicated to ukulele and music education.

In addition to a full schedule of seminars and workshops over the two-day Summer Institute, those in Vancouver were treated to a wonderful presentation by Dr. Cam Trowsdale on the ukulele's place in the history of mass music education. Those in Toronto, ON were introduced to the joys of Big Band Ukulele Jazz by yours truly and those in Truro, NS enjoyed an informative and very entertaining presentation by none other than J. Chalmers Doane on music education and teaching psychology.

The certification program continues over the following months with a nine-month practicum that includes correspondence learning, logs for both personal practise and teaching, and a monthly enrichment assignment. Certification candidates also keep in touch and discuss their ideas and progress through the Ukulele in the Classroom online forum (a public forum open to all; please feel free to drop by and participate in the conversation).

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this trail-blazing "first wave" of teacher certification courses is the burgeoning sense of community that it has created. The program has brought together dozens of people who previously had little support for their efforts and who now find themselves with a network of like-minded peers.

Click here to learn more about the James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification Program.

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Langley, BC, Canada
By Jamie Thomas

From August 23 to 27, 2010 Langley's 5th Annual Summer Ukulele Camp introduced the glorious world of ukulele to 50 young students. The camp operates under the umbrella of the Langley Ukulele Association, a volunteer parent organization that also oversees the world-renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Peter Luongo.

The camp staff consisted of five members of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble under my leadership. Langley City and Langley Township were both generous sponsors of the camp, making it possible for students to register for only $40 for the week.

The camp is aimed at raw beginners and by concert time the audience was overwhelmed by what can be accomplished on the ukulele in one intensive week.

From Monday through Friday classes were held from 9:00am until noon and the week ended with a Friday evening concert. The camp is aimed at raw beginners and by concert time the audience was overwhelmed by what can be accomplished on the ukulele in one intensive week.

By week's end the students demonstrated knowledge of the open strings, tabulation notes with left hand, note-reading, playing by ear, strumming 5 chords, singing, playing along with Bryan Adams and Taylor Swift recordings as well as performing several songs of their own. The big closer of "Eight Days a Week" was a hit!

After the concert 26 students signed up for private lessons for the year, having a long-term goal of being accepted into one of Langley's four Honour Ukulele Ensembles.

Great music, excellent learning and a good time was had by all!

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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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