Having a fabulous really well thought out program only works when supported by teachers who get our vision and love working with kids.
We scour Melbourne for really great music teachers who fit our requirements – the sort of people we want to have working with us and teaching your kids.
We train our teachers in the Uke4Kids approach, building on the creativity, personality and professionalism our teachers bring to their teaching role. This dynamic combination offers our kids and parents an exceptional learning experience.
Yanai Morris – Principal, Director and Teacher for The Uke Group
From an early age, music was more important to me than many other things. Now that I’m older there are many things just as important and more important, but musical experiences are still a vital part of my life and important for my wellbeing.
As I grew up I learnt to play the piano. Then I learnt the trumpet, enjoying playing in local brass bands and stage and concert bands at school. I learnt guitar and enjoyed playing in pop cover bands and heavy metal bands (a style of music I was massively into in high school). Over the years I’ve learnt to play other instruments, written a great deal of music and songs and played in some great bands. I also undertook a Diploma of Music (performance) course.
The first time I was able to make a living from music was when I moved to the Otway region and started offering my services teaching guitar and drums in schools in the area. I found that there was barely any music being taught and the schools were very keen to get someone (even someone with very little experience) to come in to their schools and teach instrumental music. In my final year I even worked 3 days a week as a combination classroom/instrumental music teacher and band coordinator at a remote school with 4 campuses.
After my years in the Otways, we moved back to Melbourne and I was looking for similar work. At a party Dassana and I met Dean Denham, the founder of the Melbourne Ukulele Kollective who suggested I teach ukulele in primary schools. At the time hardly anyone was doing this. Not knowing much about the ukulele I bought a cheap one, picked up the basics in a few minutes and thought, “What a great, fun instrument to teach kids.” Dassana and I saw the potential for creating a music program that would make learning an instrument more accessible to kids and families on many different levels and that was the birth of Uke4Kids.
I’ve now been teaching and running this organisation for 6 years. In that time I have had many many inspirational ideas about how to teach better and make music easier to get for people. Most of these ideas are born of frustrating situations where the normal things I would do to teach a song, technique or concept just don’t work and the students don’t get it. Later on when I think about it, along comes a creative solution which ends up making learning the ukulele and music more fun and easier for my students.
I love bringing new ideas for improving our program to our other teachers and also using their feedback to make improvements. I hope to one day have this constantly improving work in progress available to many students all over the world.
Liam Gerner – Uke4Kids Teacher
Seeing our uke4kids students beaming with the joy from playing uke music is one of my greatest joys in life. I am new to the uke but I passionately think that uke is the best introduction for children to playing music. Guitar and piano are often just too big for children under 10. As a professional musician I wish I had learnt ukulele from an early age and so it’s wonderful to be part of uke4kids and seeing so many children have this opportunity.
I have 20 years’ experience in music 12 years as a professional guitarist/singer/songwriter touring and living in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. I play solo, and with Pnau, Empire of the Sun, Elton john, Vika and Linda bull, Thelma Plum, Ryan Bingham.
I have been performing and tutoring as a guitar teacher for 10 yrs. I am a great believer in learning and teaching music and I too still take guitar lessons with Mark Goldenberg (Jackson Browne, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard).
I have a Working with Children certificate, a Cert 4 in Training and a diploma in both Music Theory and Music Tuition.
Kirti Mills – Get Uked and Uke4Kids Teacher
My first encounter with the glory of the ukulele was in 1996 during art school in WA. We stayed in Margaret River by a beautiful beach. One evening a couple of us wandered down to the ocean for a sunset walk, and there, in a beached dingy, bathed in red/gold light, lay our wonderful Maori lecturer Richard, a tiny uke in his big arms and his big voice singing to the waves. He taught me Pokarekareana the next day. I was converted.
While I am completing my Bachelor of Music (performance) at NMIT Fairfield, I run choirs and teach voice, piano, guitar and ukulele to children and adults. My ‘extra-curricular’ musical activities are (apart from sitting around the fire singing golden oldies with mates and bawdy Irish tunes with family, a Hawaiian- jazz trio, and a three to four piece Appalachian string band. I sing and play uke and guitar in both.
This is my first year teaching with Uke4kids/ The Uke Group. What an absolutely lovely bunch of passionate musical folk! I would love to see music become again, a part of daily family and community life. I do believe this ukulele revolution is helping that happen!! Viva la revolution!!