New Season, New Sounds

pedagogy corner Apr 19, 2022

In music, we’re taught a lot of rules and told we must follow them. But creativity is a critical part of all music-making; exploring the creative aspect of music can build confidence, expand understanding, and lead to new realms of expression. And spring is the perfect time to awaken your students’ creativity!

Improvisation. Where to begin as a teacher? How do we...

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How To Teach Intervals In Music

pedagogy corner Apr 04, 2022

Why is it so important to teach intervals in music and how can we do it? Cynthia Kinnunen gives us some ideas on teaching music intervals with games and exercises to engage our students, both children and adults.

Intervals are the building blocks of music. We create music either by harmonizing two or more notes (chords) or by connecting a series of pitches one after another (melody). In...

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Beethoven's Symphony No. 7

from the vault Mar 22, 2022

Back in 1812, Beethoven completed his seventh symphony. His works are powerful and this theme from the second movement of the piece is no exception; a mix of hope and tragedy, elation and despair. Beethoven himself considered it one of his best works. We hope you enjoy exploring this two-part arrangement of it on your own or with your students. 

Download free scores (Print-friendly...

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Pirates and canons and ukes, yo ho!

pedagogy corner Mar 09, 2022

The most engaging musical activities are those that add wind to our sails. Canons offer numerous pedagogical benefits but they’re not only useful classroom teaching tools, they can also be a whole lot of fun! Raise those sails and get ready! 

We’ve sung the praises of canons many times here at Uketropolis. Lorna MacPhee’s article Canons as Reading Weaponry post...

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Rag That Uke!

from the vault Feb 23, 2022


What Is Ragtime, Really?

When most of us think of ragtime music we think of Scott Joplin’s piano rags and the music of his generation (ten years either side of 1900, say). But the basic style is older than that and there’s good reason to think that it started with guitar and banjo music that wasn’t written down or recorded. In other words, the early ragtime pianists...

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Is It OK To Play Ukulele With A Pick? (And Other FAQs)

pedagogy corner Feb 16, 2022

As ukulele teachers and leaders, we get asked a lot of questions, many of which are common across our classes and groups. This month we’ll offer some ideas for a few frequently asked questions you might hear in your classroom or group. 

1. How do you know what strumming pattern to use ukulele?

I’m sure you’ve heard this one about strumming patterns A LOT! We...

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Snow Shovel Blues

from the vault Jan 28, 2022

This From the Vault throwback feels just right for this time of year—in the northern hemisphere, at least! Enjoy James' student-friendly blues tune, Snow Shovel Blues


Download the free score in PDF format: 

Snow Shovel Blues is a fun, open-ended blues tune. With the idea of engaging both left- and right-brain learners in this...

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The Advantages Of Online Teaching - Ten Amazing Reasons!

pedagogy corner Jan 18, 2022


Despite the obvious challenges, there are some good things that have come from this push to online teaching during the pandemic, as well. Let’s kick off the new year acknowledging some of key advantages of online teaching as ukulele teachers during this time with our countdown of the Top Ten Reasons To Love Online Teaching!

10. Convenience. No more driving in nasty...

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Why Improving Your Playing is the Most Enjoyable Way to Improve Your Teaching

from the vault Dec 20, 2021

This year-end From the Vault post harkens back to a holiday season article James crafted for a 2009 Ukulele Yes! issue. "After the rush and bustle and before school is back in session, take some time to play ukulele for your own enjoyment. Here's why it'll make you be a better teacher and here's a piece for you to sink your teeth into on your own time." 

(By the way, if you're interested...

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Holiday Helpers! Musical activities for in-class or at-home

pedagogy corner Dec 07, 2021


Looking for something to give your students during the final days of classes before the holiday break? Or perhaps a take-home project they can work on? The Uketropolis Team has a few ideas to help keep your students busy! Or if you're looking for online ukulele lessons, then head over to our homepage!

It's that time of year when you might be looking for some activities to keep...

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