Music educator, researcher, songwriter/arranger, performer, advocate for music education and community music.
“Cynthia is a terrific teacher. She’s experienced, dedicated, and knows how to teach core concepts while keeping the learning fun and accessible. I’ve hired her for several of my ukulele events and recommend her to both students and festival organizers.” – James Hill
Cynthia Kinnunen began making music as a child, with myriad musical influences from classical to world music, big band to rock, jazz and punk. Over the years, she has studied piano, flute, bassoon, oboe, voice and ‘ukulele. After completing her Grade Ten Conservatory certificate in piano, she went on to pursue a university honours degree in music with a major in piano and a diploma in arts/non-profit management. She is currently working towards her MA in Community Music at Laurier University.
Cynthia is a Level 3 James Hill Ukulele Initiative instructor and has been a clinician for James Hill in this teacher training program. She is also part of the James Hill Music Team as Director of Engagement for the Ukulele in the Classroom music education program. (J. Chalmers Doane/James Hill)
Teaching: Passionate about lifelong learning, Cynthia provides instruction to students aged 6 – 106. This includes private piano and ‘ukulele lessons in Guelph, as well as workshops, classes (including the unique Royal City Ukulele Ensemble adult learning program) and custom group sessions/workshops in Guelph and nationally/internationally. Cynthia also provides corporate team-building workshops and teacher coaching.
She is a sessional lecturer (First Year Seminar) at the University of Guelph, teaching the FYS course The Mighty ‘Ukulele: Finding its place in education, medicine, culture and community.
Performing: Cynthia performs as a solo artist as well as half of Transit Lounge (ukulele & bass duo).
Royal City Uke Fest: Cynthia is founder and director of Guelph’s annual ‘ukulele festival, Royal City Uke Fest.
Cynthia spent over twenty years working in marketing, fundraising and events in the non-profit sector in universities, hospitals, NGOs and arts organizations.
She’s married to a bass-playing engineer and is mum to three great kids who keep her on her toes and thankfully haven’t all gone completely mad from the number of instruments in the house.
“Cynthia is a very patient, enthusiastic and knowledgeable music instructor – her enthusiasm makes learning to play ukulele (and music theory in general) a challenging, fun and enjoyable experience! As a student it is great to be able to leave each class with the tools and ability to play new songs and motivate ourselves to keep learning.” – Adult student
“FABULOUS! Cynthia’s kind and enthusiastic approach has delivered outstanding results with our students. They progressed extremely quickly in learning this great little instrument under her guidance. Cynthia successfully led students into becoming a great group of performers. After only 3 short months, over 50 students performed in front of an audience during a school-wide assembly. Thank you Cynthia!”
– David Marquis, Principal