I entered the JHUI Teacher Certification program in the summer 2017 and it had an immediate impact on my teaching. I was not only gaining ukulele-specific teaching skills, also a new understanding of pedagogy and how to develop it.
While working through the three years of the of the JHUI program I’ve also been building my own teaching studio, Ukulele Inspired Studios, here in Denver, Colorado. Learning to use the skills and strategies as well as the material from Ukulele in the Classroom has helped me to become a more confident and effective ukulele instructor.
One thing I’ve learned through the JHUI training has been the importance of guiding through listening. As teachers constantly developing and using content, it is easy to forget that music doesn’t exist in the paper we hand out. Music is the process of creating sound and we should be engaging with how our students are hearing and feeling their music. Especially in the last few years, I’ve found myself moving away from visual based methodology to being more focused on developing listening skills. The first concepts we learn in Level 1 of JHUI, call and response, “I play, you play”, have become some of the most important tools in my toolbox. I’ve found that developing these listening skills early usually results in students that are more engaged and progress faster.
The thing that I’m currently excited about is creating and teaching differentiated arrangements for groups. Developing the arranging skills gained through JHUI has been a rewarding process for both myself and for my students. We are expanding our group classes and offering monthly memberships for our students to participate. We are exploring a few arrangements a month, working focused by level each week. At the end of the month all students come together for our Uke Social to play and learn together as an ensemble. I'm delighted to see students teaching and learning from each other in ways I just can't provide as an instructor. I’ve seen positive results with improved musicianship skills as well as adding an important social component that is so often missing in the standard private lesson format. My hope is that Ukulele Inspired Studios can continue to grow and provide community and learning for anyone looking to progress with ukulele.
John Nash is lead instructor and owner of Ukulele Inspired Studios in Denver, Colorado. https://ukuleleinspired.com/
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