Professional Development

Professional Development

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Past PD - September 2019

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2018 PD Ukulele imageSPRUKE Ukulele Festival in Brisbane on Friday, 13th September 2019 from 9:30am-4:30pm

pdf2019-09-Brisbane_PD_Program_-_FINAL_REVISED.pdf472.39 KB13/07/2019, 11:33

Proudly supported by the SPRUKE Ukulele Festival, the Australian Ukulele Teachers and Leaders Association Inc. will be hosting a fun-filled Professional Development day for ukulele leaders, teachers and anyone interested in working with the ukulele in any context.

No matter what population you work with, or in what setting, this forum will be a great opportunity to gain some strategies for teaching new skills, learn some useful tips on technique and skill development and have some serious fun playing music together!

AUTLA is the Australian Ukulele Teachers and Leaders Association Inc., an association to support and promote ukulele in the community and as an addition to teaching classroom music in schools. You can check out the aims of AUTLA on the website at

Program outline






REGISTRATION (Conference Chair: Janine Shearer)



The role of the ukulele in supporting children’s development, families and communities from a music therapy & neuroscientific perspective 

Vicky Abad

President of the



Arranging and teaching for a mixed level class. Including:

•     How to start simple and step-up through the levels

•     How to create an arrangement to accommodate different levels

•     How to keep slower learners encouraged while providing variety and interest for more advanced players.

Cynthia Lin





Practice strategies to teach your students

Vanessa Nugent


Paperless Teaching - Moving into Technology

Robyn Hamilton


Useful warm-ups for every class plus scale patterns to help you teach improvisation

Ian Porter





Teaching chunking, triplet strumming and fake flamenco

Ruth Allen


Teaching very young students plus resource creation for class material

Cyprian Koffsovitz





Teaching bar chords, inversions and alternate voicings

Ian Porter


What is AUTLA? General discussion re uke teaching and leading. What would you like in the next PD day?

Dan MacEoin






The AUTLA Committee





Our Presenters

Our keynote speaker - Dr Vicky Abad QLD

Vicky Abad
Dr Vicky Abad is a Brisbane based Registered Music Therapist with extensive national and international clinical experience in paediatric and early intervention music therapy and music early learning. She holds an Undergraduate Degree in Music, Post Graduate Degree in Music Therapy, Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Research and a PhD in music early learning and music therapy. Vicky is President of the Australian Music Therapy Association and a researcher at the University of Queensland. She has achieved international recognition for her clinical work and research in the area of music therapy parent-child intervention and the impact of music early learning on family health and well-being.

Vicky is currently the Managing Director of Music Beat Australia, a multi-faceted music business that supports families to develop every day through music. The Music Early Learning Program includes a pre-school program where the pre-schoolers learn to play the ukulele. The business also provides parent workshops on how to play the ukulele and make music in the home.
Vicky has been the Program Director of the Masters in Music Therapy Course at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and the Director M.A. of Music Therapy at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Music Centre in the Republic of Ireland. Her other roles include Senior Music Therapist at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, and the Founding Director of the internationally renowned music therapy early intervention program Sing & Grow. Vicky has published widely and has presented and keynoted in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Norway, Austria and the United Kingdom.

Cynthia Lin San Francisco, USA

Cynthia LinCreator of the #100DaysofUkuleleSongs project, Cynthia Lin is a YouTube sensation and a modern-day jazz ukulele diva. Through her popular YouTube channel (32+ million views) and approachable teaching style, Cynthia has helped hundreds of thousands of people across the world to discover the joy of ukulele. Her online Patreon community has over 3000 members, and she leads the vibrant San Francisco Uke Jam community with her uke partner Ukulenny. Together they founded the San Francisco Uke Fest, which was officially recognized by the State Assembly of California.

As a singer-songwriter, Cynthia has released 7 album recordings independently, with her recent albums Ukulele Days and Cozy Christmas hitting the Billboard charts in their first week of release. Cynthia performs regularly solo, with a jazz and uke combo, and with her acclaimed Bay Area band, Cynthia Lin and the Blue Moon All Stars. She encourages you to follow your passion.

Cathy Welsford NSW

Cathy is a Level 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and was one of the founders of AUTLA. Based in Valla Beach, Cathy works as a community musician with ukulele groups, choirs and music for senior citizens. She has established flourishing ukulele groups that perform at local events and festivals. She is also one half of the group, The Wild Women of Anywhere Beach performing original songs and quirky covers. She runs team-building workshops based on learning ukulele, and as a staff member of the New England Conservatorium of Music, wrote and developed a ukulele program for schools: Music, Literacy and Ukulele. She also performs at ukulele festivals in The Outlaws Big Ukulele Band.


Cyprian Koffsovitz VIC

Cyprian is a Melbourne based ukulele teacher and performer with 20 years experience in music and 8 of those seriously focusing on the ukulele. He primarily teaches ukulele and beginners guitar at an OSHC centre. Cyprian is a member of The Outlaws Big Ukulele Band and performs regularly at festivals specialising in solo ukulele instrumentals. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Music Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Art. He is currently Vice President of AUTLA and enjoys programming in electronic music in his spare time.



Ian Porter NSW

Ian Porter
Ian is a Level 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and was one of the founders of AUTLA. Based in Sydney, Ian founded The Outlaws Ukulele Big Band, The North Shore Strummers, The Willoughby Ukestars, and the Willoughby Ukulele Orchestra, with participants from all over the Eastern States. Ian is the ukulele teacher in-residence at the Dougherty Centre in Sydney’s Northern suburbs where he provides beginner to advanced classes and often delivers workshops to other ukulele clubs and at festivals. He is a regular solo performer as well. His playing style is a mix of finger-style and Shimabukuro-esque strumming.



Janine Shearer - NSW

Janine Shearer
Janine is a Registered Music Therapist and a Level 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative. She is currently on the AUTLA Committee. Janine has been teaching ukulele on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for 8 years and has developed and published Ukulele Workshops and Intensive Courses for hundreds of students at a Beginner and Intermediate Level. Janine is the musical director of the 50+ strong performance ukulele ensemble, The Lightly Strung Orchestra, as well as leader of the smaller Silver Strings Ensemble. She is also a member of The Outlaws Big Ukulele Band and regularly performs with all groups at Ukulele Festivals. Janine hopes to encourage as many people as possible to experience for themselves how making music ADDS LIFE to your life!



Robyn Hamilton - QLD

Robyn Hamilton2
Robyn formed the 80 strong ukulele and guitar group in Gympie called “Gusto” in 2011. The group continues to grow and perform regularly within the community at street parties, charity events, nursing homes and The Gympie Muster. Robyn is also part of Lime Burners, a country-rock band where she features on rhythm guitar and vocals. Robyn spends any “spare” time volunteering for The Australian Institute of Country Music. Her aim is to make music available to all ages.





Ruth Allen - NSW

Ruth Allen
Ruth is a Level 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and was one of the founders of AUTLA. She has attended workshops with Kimo Hussey, Aldrine Guerrero and a host of other local and international experts. She runs concerts and workshops in the Port Macquarie area and at Australian Ukulele Festivals, as well as playing with and helping to manage The Outlaws Big Ukulele Band. Ruth runs the Port Macquarie Ukestra and Conservatorium Ukulele Ensemble, plays uke with local Port Macquarie group U4RiA and also co-directs a community choir and a pop-up pub choir, Bar Cappella. Ruth's mission is to help people become the best uke player they can in the shortest possible time with the least effort and the most fun.



Stu Eadie - NSW

Stu Eadie
Stu a.k.a. Stukulele was gifted a ukulele for fathers day around 10 years ago and was instantly hooked… all those great jazz standards that were way to challenging to play on the guitar were suddenly a breeze… Before long Stu was teaching kids at public schools and then adults at community college. After 4 terms of students the question was raised… “so where do we go now?“ Miss Amber and Stukulele’s UKE NIGHT in Mullumbimby was born and has been going strong ever since. Stu is also a 3rd year 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and his main real passion is to teach kids to read music using the ukulele. Teach them well and let them lead the way!!!.



Vanessa Nugent NSW

Vanessa 2
Vanessa is a Level 3 Certified Ukulele Teacher with the James Hill Ukulele Initiative and currently the Secretary of AUTLA. She has participated in workshops with pre-eminent Hawaiian ukulele teachers Kimo Hussey and Aldrine Guerrero as well as other widely acclaimed ukulele teachers. Vanessa has presented workshops at a number of AUTLA Professional Development Days. She has performed at the Hawaiian Ukulele Festival as part of the group Ukestralia and is a member of The Outlaws Big Ukulele Band which performs at Ukulele Festivals throughout eastern Australia. Vanessa is also the founder and leader of The Hungry Head Ukulele Group that has been running for seven years.

Where & When

Day: Friday, 13th September 2019 

Time: 9:00am-4:30pm

Venue: SunPAC, Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre, 470 McCullough St, Sunnybank QLD 4109

Goolge Map access

Full Cost: $50 (Members $40) 

Bring your uke, music stand, pen/highlighter/pencil and your sense of humour!

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Registration Details:
• Date: Friday, 13 September 2019
• Time: PD Day: from 9am to 4:15pm; AGM from 4:30pm-4:45pm
• Venue: SunPAC, Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre, 470 McCullough St, Sunnybank, QLD, 4109
• Cost: Non-members: $50; AUTLA members: Receive a 20% discount: $40
• BYO: Uke and a pen/pencil. Handouts will be provided during sessions
• Registration: Register for the day-long PD workshop online at and pay with PayPal or a direct deposit link.
• Enquiries: Please email any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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