It's exciting! and a little bit scary. I have decided to take the leap (more of a hop) into entrepreneurship (yep, had to look up the spelling). Music has been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember - with one exception...that time I pulled a giant can out of the cabinet and right onto my toe at around age 2 - painful core memory. I started my formal music training quite young - around 4 or 5 with Yamaha group piano lessons and then private lessons. As with many youngsters, I didn't enjoy my lessons. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing the piano. I just didn't like the formal method of the instruction. After consistent begging, whining (and most likely tantrums), my parents let me stop taking lessons but of course told me I would regret it later in life. Well...it's later in life and do I regret it? Yes...and no. I regret not continuing music lessons in some way, shape, or form. I do not regret stopping the lessons with that particular teacher. A love of music and sense of joy in music-making was not being fostered in my scattered, goofy, and (undiagnosed) ADHD mind. And here's an interesting thing...I DID love music. I never stopped playing piano. I taught myself songs and themes of shows I heard on TV and radio (yep, I'm old) by ear. Then once I was a bit older and picked up the trumpet, French horn, guitar, bass, and finally the ukulele, I had more of an appetite to learn about the theory and techniques of the instruments I played than when I was a young boy just wanting to have fun and make cool sounds. Fast forward to the present...after decades of teaching music, playing in orchestras, the Air Force Band, and singing in choirs, I have decided to focus my energy on one humble little instrument - the ukulele. I picked up the "uke" in the early 2000s and fell in love immediately. Along with a good friend and colleague, I started an after school program for kids in Grades 2 - 4. It was a huge hit and always had a waiting list. What started as simply a fun way for my students to make music extracurricularly eventually became an integral part of the Grade 3 and 4 music curriculum. It was clear early on that the ukulele is the perfect instrument to put in young hands (old as well!). Just 4 nylon strings and a short fretboard that fits little hands and bodies beautifully and is easy on the fingers (when approached properly). It produces a bright, beautiful sound that blends well with young voices. Unlike many instruments, students will be able to make a pleasant sound immediately on the ukulele. An initial positive experience goes a long way - first impressions, right?
Hopes and dreams for Ukulele For All
- Private lessons - taught by yours truly via Zoom, at my home studio, or in your home (if you in the NYC area). I will tailor the lessons to the students learning style and passions.
- A sequential curriculum for teachers to use in their classes and privately. I am currently creating content that will be available on Teachers Pay Teachers in the near future. The format will be digital and also include printables. I am creating original exercises and songs that will help teach music literacy along with fun supplemental recordings of accompaniments that can be used in class and performances - even at the beginner level.
- Workshops and clinics for students and teachers on a variety of topics (e.g., starting a ukulele program, teaching music literacy with the ukulele, chords, progressions, and songwriting, etc.).
- Blog and Podcast - I will be posting both blogs and video podcasts regularly on a variety of ukulele topics. Stay tuned for more info on these!
- Forum - If you have questions, comments, and/or want to start a dialogue on a particular topic, please join the Ukulele For All Forum on my website.
That's it for now! I look forward to this new adventure and I hope you'll consider being a part of it!