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JHUI Institute Staff

Meet the 2018 JHUI teaching staff:

James Hill

Teacher (All Locations)
James Hill is Canada’s best-known ukulele performer, a “serious virtuoso upon the instrument,” (Jim Grabenstetter, Canadian Folk Music) and a “rare peer” of Hawaii’s foremost players (John Berger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin). His debut album, the “beautiful, humorous, and virtuosic” Playing It like It Isn’t (David Kidney, The Green Man Review), burst onto the scene in 2002 and was followed by On the Other Hand a year later. A Flying Leap (2005), his first release on the Borealis record label, firmly established his reputation as “the Wayne Gretzky of the ukulele” (Stuart McLean, CBC Radio). True Love Don’t Weep, his collaboration with cellist/singer Anne Janelle, won Traditional Album of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Man With a Love Song (2011), “a jewel of an album” (The Australian) puts Hill’s impressive songwriting skills in the spotlight while The Old Silo (2014) garnered his first JUNO Award nomination.

James has also gained a reputation as a distinguished teacher. He has presented ukulele workshops throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australasia and has been a guest lecturer at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and at the University of Oregon. In 2007, the James Hill Ukulele Initiative was established as a platform for promoting and facilitating the teaching and enjoyment of music through the ukulele.

Visit James online at www.jameshillmusic.com

Cynthia Kinnunen

Teacher (Toronto and Vancouver)
Cynthia grew up with music all around her and first started learning it formally at the age of 8. Over the years, she has studied piano, flute, bassoon, oboe, voice and ukulele. She completed her Grade Ten Conservatory certificate in piano and went on to pursue an honours degree in music, with a major in piano and a concurrent diploma in arts/non-profit management. She has also previously taught as a certified Kindermusik educator.

She has always felt compelled to share music, whether teaching, performing or just making mixtapes. Influences have ranged from early 20th century big band to 80s one-hit wonders, baroque chamber works to the rhythms of world music. Cynthia truly loves the diversity of music.

Cynthia has found the Ukulele in the Classroom curriculum a wonderful foundation for introducing ukulele in a variety of instructional settings and to many different ages. She currently teaches private music instruction in ukulele and piano, ukulele group classes, the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble program, and is Director of the Royal City Uke Fest in Guelph, Ontario. Passionate about the role that music can play in our lives, our homes and our communities, she encourages everyone to learn and make music, no matter their age or ability.

Visit Cynthia online at www.cynthiakmusic.com

Angela Dwyer

Teacher (Toronto)
Growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, music played a big part in Angela’s life and it was there where she participated in the Chalmers Doane Ukulele program. She is a graduate of the JHUI Teacher Certification program and will complete her Masters of Education in 2019. Angela is currently Director of the Marigold Ukulele Players in Truro, NS, as well as a teacher with the Doane Uschool. She maintains a busy private teaching studio and is Coordinator of the Marigold Ukulele Festival. She also leads a double life as Personal Assistant to James Hill and Anne Janelle!

She performs in her community with various ensembles, has been a church musician, sings in her community choir as well as with the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus. One of the reasons Angela loves to teach is because of the effect music has on people’s lives. |I particularly love the ukulele! I have witnessed the ukulele not only as an educational tool, but as a vehicle for building social groups, a companion through serious illness, a team builder for a staff group, and as an antidote for lonely seniors. My students range in age from 5 to 95 years and no matter what the age, learning the ukulele is the beginning of a wondrous journey!”


Bobbie Stirling

Teacher (Vancouver)
Bobbie Stirling has taught music for over 28 years. During that time, she taught 5-12 band, 6-12 chorus, K-5 general music, and assisted with the University of Victoria Wind Symphony, where she earned her Masters of Education degree. She has extensive teaching experience in the public schools, having taught K-12 music in Montana, Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts and Oregon. While in Boston, Bobbie taught 3-5 music at The Conservatory Lab Charter School, and percussion techniques to graduate students as an adjunct professor at The Boston Conservatory.
An accomplished percussionist, Bobbie plays drumset, bodhrán, and Timpani professionally. She picked up the ukulele in 2009 and completed her third year of course study in the James Hill Ukulele Initiative in 2013. She has taught ukulele workshops, private students, school groups, and led adult ukulele groups.

For two years, she conducted The Gorge Winds, a community band based in The Dalles Oregon, where musicians of all ages and ability levels combined to make music. The accessibility of the ukulele draws people to the instrument initially, but the breadth and depth of the instrument keeps people interested. Ukulele is a wonderful tool to teach melody and harmony, and it’s fun! Bobbie sees the ukulele as a gateway to develop relationships, because making music is about building community.

Click here for JHUI Institute location information

What? When? Where?

JHUI Institutes are currently offered in the following locations:

  • Toronto, Canada
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Newcastle, Australia
  • Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Northampton, United Kingdom
  • Stuttgart, Germany

Click here for registration details





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