“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 offers a variety of unique workshops (see list below) for festivals, events, ukulele groups, corporate team building, and more. Cynthia also offers teacher support for ukulele in educational settings. Trained by James Hill in the trusted Ukulele in the Classroom ukulele program (3-year teacher training program, JHUI), Cynthia can also provide support to teachers who are using, or hoping to use, ukulele as a teaching tool in their classrooms, or come in as a specialist to give your music class a boost with an engaging workshop that aligns with your curriculum. If you are an organizer interested in having Cynthia teach at your event or organization, or would like to talk about a custom workshop or teacher training support opportunity, please get in touch. Let’s make music!
“Bayfield Ukulele Society recently hosted and enjoyed two energetic and educational ukulele workshops led by Cynthia. She was a dynamic teacher who managed to engage all levels of experience by both encouraging the newbies, and challenging the more advanced. In our diverse group of 20 + adults, there was something for everyone and we not only gained confidence with some new strumming techniques and creative song arranging, but had a terrifically fun afternoon playing and singing together. Our learning from that day continues to impact our weekly practises. We would highly recommend Cynthia as a professional and talented musician and a vibrant and articulate teacher.”
Currently, Cynthia offers the following fun and engaging workshops.
WORKSHOPS (60-minute sessions)
Ukulele Bootcamp (Beginner)
Just getting started on the ukulele? This class is for you! We’ll cover everything from holding your uke to tuning it up, strumming and building chords. Of course, we’ll have a few songs in the mix right from the get-go too. You’ll be making music on this wonderful little instrument before you know it!
Rhythm is Going to Get You (Confident Beginner)
That trusty old “down up” strum has been your go-to but you’re ready to step it up and add some spice to your songs. Let’s take a look at how we create rhythm on our ukuleles through a variety of strum patterns and techniques.
How do Baroque-style chamber works sound when arranged for ukulele “orchestra”? So, so nice! If you’re already relatively comfortable with reading notes and/or tablature and picking melodies, and you are a fan of the sweet sounds of Baroque music, this workshop is for you! We’ll work up a short multi-part Baroque-style arrangement that will have you channelling your inner Telemann, Handel or Vivaldi.
Up Yer Kilt! Celtic Ukulele (Confident Beginner – Intermediate)
Ah, the ukulele is a bonnie wee instrument for singing along with, making it quite ideal for Celtic tunes and kitchen parties! In this popular workshop, we’ll learn some Celtic rhythms in our strumming and work through a few tunes that will have you ready for the ceilidh in no time.
Sing it in Harmony (All Levels)
A melody vocal line is essential in a song but what if we want to add some two- or three-part harmony into the mix? In this workshop, we’ll learn how to create harmonized vocal parts on your ukulele with some simple techniques. You’ll have a chorus of sweet voices in no time!
The Ookestra (Confident Beginner – Intermediate+)
Have you wondered what a ukulele orchestra sounds like? Want a little break from the strum? In this 2-part session, we’ll learn to make beautiful multi-part music using differentiated single line parts and by the end we’ll have our very own ukulele orchestra — the Ookestra! **Please note that these are two full 60-minute workshops that are done sequentially.
Let’s Build a Song Arrangement (All Levels)
How can you take a simple song and create something much bigger? We’ll look at ideas for building an arrangement that can take a simple tune and, by adding an intro, outro, and some interesting bits in between, we can make it a full-fledged song arrangement on the ukulele.
I Want to Play That Song (Confident Beginner – Intermediate+)
Have you heard a song on the radio or in your playlist and thought, I want to play that song? You could go online to try to find it or… you could learn to figure it out yourself! In this 2-part session, we will dive into the basics of major and minor chords, chord families, and common chord groupings and progressions, as well as rhythms and feel. We’ll then test out this new knowledge by working through a song or two together as a group. By the end, you’ll have some practical music theory under your belt and be ready to translate what you hear into something you can play! **Please note that these are two full 60-minute workshops that are done sequentially.
You Better Shape Up! (Confident Beginner – Intermediate)
Do you dare to venture past the third fret? In this session, we’ll look at a few different chord shapes that we can move past first position and along the ukulele fretboard, making transposition easier and a whole new world of sounds available to you. Finger stretch warm-up included!
Chord Seasonings for Tasty Tunes (All Levels)
Don’t just get stuck in a rut with the basic chords. Let’s add some flavour to this meal! We’ll talk about some easy ukulele chord seasoning you can add to your songs to really help them “taste” great. We will work through a few songs together to test out some of these delicious new flavours. You’ll go from short order cook to sous chef on the uke in this workshop!
Oh, the Places You’ll Go (Confident Beginner)
You’ve been playing chords and strumming up a storm but you’re ready to start learning some notes and see what the fuss is about. We’ll take a look at the C scale and venture into some basic melodies. We may even take a crack at improvising with your new found notes! *Ability to read musical notation not necessary.
BUILD YOUR SONGBOOK WORKSHOPS
BritPop (Confident Beginner+)
British pop music from the 1990’s sounds surprisingly fabulous on ukulele. In this workshop, we’ll take a look at some common chord and strum patterns and sample some hits from that decade. Your 90’s BritPop snarl completely optional.
I Wanna Be Sedated — Punk Uke (Confident Beginner+)
3 chords for the win! Well, we’ll add a few more chords into the mix, too, but we’ll take a look at how fun it can be to play old school punk rock on your ukulele. Are you ready to stick it to the man? (in friendly ukulele style, of course)
Like, Totally 80s! (Confident Beginner+)
There are four chords that can open up a world of righteous 80s repertoire. We’ll explore how these totally tubular chords work with so many songs from this decade and how some choice strum pattern changes can switch it up even more. Ukulele to the max, dude.
Contact Cynthia to book for your upcoming event!
Beginner – This level of has been playing for up to 6 months and has learned 3 – 4 chords but hesitates in between chord changes to move the fingers to the next location.
Confident Beginner – This player knows a handful of chords and can move from one chord to another without pausing. Has developed a strum or two or a basic finger pattern for picking.
Intermediate – This player can hold a steady rhythm, and is competent with a variety of basic chords (for example: A, Am, Bb, B7, C, C7, D, Dm, E7, Em, G, and G7.) Understands simple chord progressions (such as I, IV, V chords) and learns chords to simple tunes fairly quickly.
All Levels – Any level of playing ability welcome at these workshops.