Once upon a time . . . it’s how many good stories begin. Music, always the music, it was like breathing. As a kid, I just sang. Junior Choir at church, piano lessons in grade 2, by grade 4, our principal Mr. Lightfoot had me accompanying our class singing. I think The Happy Wanderer was in there somewhere . . .
Junior High band, the flute, Summer Camp, the guitar, High School Choir, College Choir, University Choir, a cappella choir, Music Education Degree. Job!
And that’s when the whole ukulele thing started.
Chalmers Doane was still going across our fair country to spread the gospel of uke. I was inspired then and really haven’t stopped since, even when ukulele was dormant in much of the world for a time.
My music teacher colleagues nicknamed me the Ukulele Princess of Sherwood Park. I am no longer officially that, but the shortened name is still uttered on occasion, the domain name was mine for the picking, and here we are.
And now ukulele is back. And I can help you with that. You should know this is one of my very best things . . . I cannot change the oil in your car, perform a root canal, or frankly, tell the difference between a Megabyte and a kilowatt . . . I can, however, teach music teachers how to teach ukulele.
I have enjoyed teaching ukulele to my students ever since the last century, even when it wasn’t "cool." I generally begin teaching ukulele to grade 4 students, by then they are chomping at the bit to learn. It is incredibly satisfying to see them bloom as musicians. So many concepts make sense and come alive through playing the ukulele.
I love seeing teachers become brave enough to teach ukulele to their own students, with good pedagogy, technique, skills and a wide variety of repertoire. I share concepts, resources and strategies that I have developed over the years, incorporating new and current materials, from the best (and worst) that YouTube has to offer to the excellent resources developed by the acclaimed James Hill.
"I am fairly certain that given a cape and a nice tiara, I could teach anyone the ukulele."
Monica Dear (inspired by Leigh Stanley)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada