Workshops

Cynthia offers a variety of unique workshops 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 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. If you are an organizer  interested in having Cynthia teach at your event, 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- or 75-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 techniques, including chunking, muting, and more. 

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.

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! We’ll learn some Celtic rhythms in our strumming and work through a few traditional (and not so traditional) tunes that will have you ready for the ceilidh.

Harmony Made Simple (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- or 75-minute workshops that are done sequentially.  

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, as well as rhythms and feel, before testing out this new knowledge by working through a song 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- or 75-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 beautiful sounds available to you.  Finger stretch warm-up included! 

Chord Seasonings for Tasty Tunes (All Levels)

Add a little more flavour to your songs by exploring chord “seasonings”. Why simply use C major when something else might sound even better? We’ll talk about some easy ukulele chord seasoning you might add to your songs to really give them even more flavour. We will work through a few songs together to test out some of these tasty new bits. You’ll go from short order cook to sous chef on the uke in this workshop!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go (Confident Beginner)

Scales. Yeesh, who needs ‘em? We definitely do! Scales aren’t just for warm-ups and technique practice. We’ll take a look at what cool things we can do  with things like improvising just by getting to know a few basic scales on your ukulele. Rest assured, this ain’t no boring scales class! 

SONGBOOK THEME 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!

Level descriptions

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.