Classical and steel-string guitar, ukulele
Available: Wednesday and Thursday morning and afternoon, Friday afternoon and Saturday morning
Ages taught: Adult
Levels taught: All
John specializes in acoustic guitar, classical guitar and ukulele. He loves to work with adult learners ranging from beginning to advanced players. He uses finger style and flat pick techniques to play rhythm accompaniment, lead and chord/melody style. Students get a healthy dose of folk, ragtime, country, blues, jazz and Irish music, and cover the nuts and bolts of practical music theory. John offers patient instruction, encouragement, and lots of support for his students whether they pursue a relaxing hobby or desire to become expert players. He welcomes those interested in most any style of guitar or ukulele playing.
Performances include churches, bars, weddings, concerts, live radio, and festivals. John’s current goal is to be the best teacher he can be, and with more than 25 years of teaching experience he has helped countless aspiring players to live their dreams. John believes that the basics of musical instrument playing are accessible to everyone. Steady progress springs from the application of good practice habits. Students with prior musical training or experience should build upon the foundation of knowledge that they already possess, and with John’s patient guidance apply it to learning to play the guitar or ukulele. There are many great ways to discover music. Some people are most comfortable learning to “play by ear,” while others succeed by reading musical notation or tablature. Still others become adept by watching experienced players and following their example. As a teacher, John is comfortable with all of these methods, and aims to find what works best for each student.
Mountain dulcimer, ukulele
Available: Monday, Thursday
Ages Taught: 8+
Levels Taught: All
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Susan spent her childhood and adolescence involved in musical theatre, and in college majored in music before moving on to primary education. She taught grade-school for twenty years, including serving as the music resource person for grades K-5. Susan has given private music lessons in Seattle for more than twelve years and teaches both private lessons and classes at Dusty Strings. Susan has been a member of the Seattle Ukulele Players Association (SUPA) since its formation. She loves getting people hooked on the ukulele.
Susan specializes in arranging material to fit the student’s skill
level, chord-melody styling, and jazzy progressions and endings. She plays in the ukulele groups, Ukestra Seattle and The Greenwood Trio.
Banjo, bass guitar, guitar, percussion, singing, ukulele
Available: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
Specializes in early learners ages 4+
Levels Taught: All
Erie specializes in working with young people. Each child brings something wonderful and different to the table and Erie seeks to engage with that while challenging students musically. Musical rigor, emphasizing creativity, humor and playfulness, are a significant part of the process. From the get go, he teaches and supports creating music as well as performing it. When a student creates and (formally or informally) notates music, she gains a deeper understanding of her developing concepts and skills. One of Erie’s main goals is to foster autonomy, whereby the student becomes his or her own teacher.
Erie uses tablature, staff notation, playing by ear, observation, audio recording, singing, and more—in whatever mixture best benefits the student. Erie plans for immediate success so his students can start making a joyful noise right off the bat. There is no one “right path” but there is a great feeling of “rightness” when students learn and produce music which grows naturally from their creativity and aspirations. In addition to playing music, Erie encourages and helps his students to create and write their own musical pieces.
Erie grew up in a musical household and has been playing music since junior high school. A former Seattle school teacher, he taught music the last several years of his career there. He’s excited to now be in the middle of a second career teaching young people (and adults too) the mysteries and joys of the various fret boards.
Ages taught: 10+
Levels Taught: Beginning and intermediate
John’s goal is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to enjoy playing ukulele at the beginning level and to facilitate student growth into intermediate and higher levels. By evaluating individual learning styles, he seeks to develop each student’s proficiency with chording, finger placement, strumming, and finger picking techniques by teaching music that is at once a lesson in the basic elements of ukulele skills and an essential exercise needed to develop those skills.
John began playing ukulele by learning simplified popular tunes from the ‘40s and ‘50s on a soprano with the aid of a strange device called the Chord Master. Acquiring a baritone ukulele at fifteen provided a segue into swing and folk music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. In addition, his music interests include jazz, doo-wop, traditional and contemporary Hawaiian, and chord melody and finger picking techniques. Study of ukulele masters such as James Hill, Kimo Hussey, Jim D’Ville, and others inform John’s teaching method. John is co-founder and current president of the Seattle Ukulele Players Association (SUPA), where he shares his love of ukulele by teaching the skills needed to participate in monthly song circles. He also works with students at a Seattle elementary school, teaching basic chords, strumming, and performance techniques, with a focus on a performance at the end of each school year.
Upright and electric bass; Birch also teaches piano, guitar, and ukulele
Available: Tuesday mornings
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: All
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Birch is a well known stand-up and electric bassist in the jazz, funk, hip hop, Americana, and rock scenes. His secondary instruments are piano (beginner to intermediate jazz/pop), guitar, and ukulele (beginner to intermediate folk/jazz), and he also teaches music theory.
Birch has built a strong reputation in the Northwest as an accomplished bass player, composer, and producer. His diverse musical background includes playing in symphony orchestras, a jazz performance degree from the University of Washington and years of gigging experience ranging from jazz to Americana, funk, hip hop, salsa, Brazilian, and Afro-pop bands. Birch starts with a focus on good technique and then explores the genres of music in which the student is interested, helping them grasp the rhythms, harmony, patterns, and feel that gives each style of music its distinct character.
Levels taught: All
Ages taught: 7+
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Sunga Rose is an experienced teacher & performer. For 9 years, she has been the bandleader, vocalist and ukulele-strummer for the 1920s trio Miss Rose & Her Rhythm Percolators. She and her partner, Michael Alexander form the vocal & ukulele duo, the Honeyville Rascals, which features a variety of music, including vintage Hawaiian jazz and their own jazz/blues/folk originals. In June of 2015, Sunga formed Ukestra Seattle, a 14-member ukulele orchestra based in Seattle that plays everything from Beethoven to the Beatles.
Sunga picked up her first ukulele 9 years ago and hasn’t put it down since, which makes riding a bicycle somewhat awkward. She has been running her own studio and teaching group ukulele classes and workshops at Dusty Strings in Seattle for 7 years and is a certified instructor in the James Hill Ukulele in the Classroom teaching method. She has also run the beginners’ ukulele jam at Dusty Strings for over 6 years, providing fun & guidance for newer players. Sunga has taught ukulele, vocal performance and songwriting at the Northwest School’s summer camp for the past 2 years, working with kids, aged 10-16, from all over the world. She also taught ukulele classes at the prestigious Puget Sound Guitar Workshop in 2016.
Sunga has been singing for as long as she can remember and has studied musical theatre, opera and jazz. She offers vocal lessons for non-singers who think they can’t carry a tune as well as coaching for singers who are pursuing a career in music. Learn more about Sunga at sunrosemusic.com.