How To Buy the Right Ukulele

james' two cents Jul 13, 2022

This video is part of Ready, Steady, UKULELE!, a comprehensive online course for absolute-beginners that costs just $1. Learn more

By James Hill

People often ask me, "how many ukuleles do you own?"  My answer is always the same: "If you still know how many you have, you don't have enough!" 

Ukuleles come in all shapes and sizes.  Compared to many instruments they're...

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We'll get through this with music.

james' two cents Aug 26, 2020


It's a tough time to be a teacher. Nobody knows what the school year will bring. It could be in-person classes. It could be online lessons. It could be both. Only one thing is for certain: you don't have time to prepare for everything.

You need something that will pivot with you, whether you're in-class or online. Something that helps you give awesome lessons no matter what. Here's some...

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Life After "Oh! Susanna"

james' two cents Jun 26, 2020

Black lives matter.

On June 7th, 2020 I marched alongside friends and strangers through Truro, Nova Scotia, my 4-year-old son on my shoulders. We listened, we cheered, we cried and we vowed to do better. We promised to learn. We promised to take action.

So, what does "taking action" mean once the banners and bullhorns are put away? It means making a difference in your...

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Baritone Ukulele Tuning - An Alternate Tuning Method

james' two cents Jun 22, 2020


There are a lot of alternate ukulele tunings methods out there, specifically baritone ukulele tuning. So, I wanted to teach my favourite alternate tuning to you!

If video is more your thing, then you can watch our video on alternate ukulele tuning (for baritone) above. Or you can check out our online ukulele lessons at Uketropolis where we have jazz lessons, intermediate...

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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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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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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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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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How To Master The Clawhammer Technique

Ready to learn clawhammer with James? His online course Americana Ukulele includes lessons on clawhammer along with a 30-minute "Bum Ditty Bootcamp" play-along practice video! Learn more

Clawhammer is an old and beautiful playing technique that could change your life. Learn how to master the clawhammer below!

This technique probably comes from West Africa and is used extensively in...

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