This is an archived article. Click here for current issue.
Brain Pickers Anonymous
By James Hill

In 2003, when I first visited Chalmers Doane at his home in Nova Scotia, we talked about many things. Those who know Chalmers know his passion for music is both contagious and all-consuming. Early in our visit he mentioned his interest in brain research; he was – and still is – fascinated by the application of brain research to music education. I'll admit that, beyond pop-psychology myths like "left-handed people are more creative than right-handed people," I didn't know much on the subject but I listened with great interest.

In the years since that conversation I've caught up on the essentials of brain lateralization (the study of how functions are distributed across the left and right brain hemispheres) and, while I'm wary of dualistic models that over-simplify complex things, I've often found the left/right brain model useful, especially when trying to understand colleagues and students who don't think the way I do. (Hmmm... that seems to happen more often as I get older.)

A perfect example: Chalmers and I have radically different styles of learning and organizing. Still, we were able to collaborate closely over a five-year period during the development of the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series and we continue to "tandem-teach" whenever possible. Our neurological styles are complimentary and our shared interest in lateralization research has given us a common language when discussing pedagogy. A healthy dose of mutual respect and trust hasn't hurt anything, either.

In this issue you'll find a feature article by yours truly about engaging students across the entire neurological spectrum (i.e. from strong-left- to strong-right-brain dominant learners). For those already familiar with whole-brain teaching techniques, feel free to post additional ideas and strategies in the comments section following the article.

We've also got an interview with Chang-soo Kim, founder of Bambell Music, the company at the centre of Korea's burgeoning ukulele scene, and a great Pedagogy Corner article by Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers on understanding and using that pesky diminished 7 chord.

And don't forget, we're always accepting submissions for future issues of Ukulele Yes! We pay good money for published feature articles, interviews, pedagogy corner columns and arrangements. Click here for submission guidelines and more info.

Uke on!


James Hill
Editor, Ukulele Yes!

Top ^


Show your support for Ukulele Yes! with a contribution in any amount.