Engaging students with composition

pedagogy corner May 18, 2020

We are always looking for new ideas to engage our students and what better way than to bring their own creativity into the mix by teaching them musical composition?

by Cynthia Kinnunen, a Music Educator from Guelph, Ontario who's part of Team Uketropolis, offering online ukulele lessons! 

Last month, music educator Angela Dwyer gave us some great ideas about introducing...

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How To Improvise On The Ukulele: Teachers Tips

pedagogy corner Apr 14, 2020

This post explains how to teach students how to learn to improvise on the ukulele! These are formidable times for music educators. Many of the teaching strategies, motivational techniques and rules of engagement for face-to-face music instruction have had a major overhaul to accommodate our new online world, like with Uketropolis, we've become the premier place to learn ukulele online.


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Avoiding Teacher Burnout in the Online Era

james' two cents Apr 06, 2020

For those of us in music education, this is a time of rapid transition from face-to-face teaching to online teaching. This brings exciting new possibilities but also new challenges for teaching online ukulele classes and any other kind of instrument! What I'd like to address in this video is the issue of teacher burnout in this brave new world.

Burnout has always been a danger for...

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How To Improve Your Ukulele Tone And Sound Better!

pedagogy corner Mar 09, 2020

These days, many adult players are looking for more than just ukulele lessons. Sometimes they don’t know what ‘more’ is, but they know they want it. I believe that a place to start is helping students to identify what to listen for and as a consequence, to learn how to improve their ukulele tone!

Getting started

So, where to start on this listening and tone journey to...

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Two ideas. A million possibilities.

james' two cents Mar 04, 2020


In 2002 I released my first album. It was called "Playing it like it isn't" and I recorded the whole thing in my dorm room. That was the start of my career as a musician.

At that time there was no YouTube and the third wave of ukulele hadn't really started yet so I was always getting emails from people saying, "Help! I want to learn ukulele but there's nothing out there."  Now...

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How To Hold A Ukulele: Ergonomic Tips

pedagogy corner Feb 11, 2020

Here's a quick guide to warming up as a ukulele player and tips on how to hold the ukulele properly as a right-handed player.

Just as athletes have a stretching and warm-up routine, ukulele players should consider posture, ergonomics and warming-up for ourselves as we engage in music-making!

Stretch it out!

It's February and for many of us in the colder climates, that means we’re...

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Benefits Of The Ukulele

james' two cents Feb 04, 2020


They say that firewood warms you three times: once when you're chopping it, once when you're stacking it and once again when you're burning it. Your ukulele is a lot like that, there are unique and special benefits to playing the ukulele, as we'll learn here!

Your ukulele warms you three times: once when you get your fingers going and you get that blood flowing into your hands and you...

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JHUI: Big Changes Ahead!

james' two cents Jan 15, 2020

There are big changes ahead for JHUI.  What are they and when will they happen?

By James Hill

It's been almost a decade since my dad and I developed the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (which most of us now call JHUI).  The idea was to support the growing community of ukulele teachers.  The format of JHUI, our ukulele teacher program, has never changed: we start with a...

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How To Start A Song Right!

pedagogy corner Jan 10, 2020


One thing is for sure: the hardest part of doing anything is getting started.  Music is no different. 

By James Hill, founder of Uketropolis, online ukelele lessons.

How many times have you had trouble getting a song started?  The more players there are, the more challenging it seems to get that first word, note or chord to happen at the right time. So in this short...

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The Transformative Power of the Ukulele

james' two cents Dec 30, 2019


Ukulele is a transformative instrument with the power to change lives for the better.

Happy New Year wishes from James!  Uketropolis online ukulele lessons founder reflects on why the way you feel when you play ukulele is the way you want to feel all the time.


Full Transcription

Happy New Year from Whanagamata beach in New Zealand!  This place has been the spiritual...

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