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Ukulele Elementary: A Classroom Jump-Start
Teacher Training Workshop

Sponsored by West Music 

October 4-5, 2019

Beck Center for the Arts – Lakewood, OH (Cleveland area)

17801 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH  44107

Workshop Description

This inaugural workshop is designed for elementary music educators who would like to introduce ukulele into their general music curriculum but are not sure where to start – or who feel they do not have enough proficiency on the instrument to teach it.

Grammy award-winning ukulele artists and educators Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer will teach you the rudiments of ukulele skills for personal development, and expert music educator Michael Checco will show you how to present that content to your students and successfully incorporate the ukulele into your classroom.

The registration fee includes all materials and sessions, and the workshop is limited to 30 participants.  West Music will provide an on-site store with ukuleles, books, and accessories.  Participants should either bring their own ukulele or purchase one on-site before the workshop. 

What You Will Learn
  •  How to play the ukulele and establish goals on improving
  •  How to teach the ukulele to your elementary music students
  •  Classroom management techniques
  •  How to incorporate ukulele into your current curriculum and with other musical instruments
  •  What instruments, materials, and curriculum you need to have a successful classroom ukulele program

copyright Michael G. Stewart

GRAMMY WINNERS, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are consummate entertainers, master musicians, and trailblazers in multiple genres of folk, country, swing and family music. They are also two fun-loving gals of the ukulele.

Cathy & Marcy’s ukulele worlds began many years ago. In 1974, Cathy was gifted a vintage Gibson soprano ukulele by an elderly student. At about the same time, Marcy began strumming on the uke in Michigan, around the corner from where uke luthier David Talsma now lives. Uke accompaniment has been gracing their GRAMMY-winning family music for over 25 years. And now, golly gosh, it’s popular!

Veteran instructors and performers at the best-known music camps, they have enjoyed teaching at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The Augusta Workshops, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamps, Swannanoa Gathering and California Coast Music Camp. They are also amongst the most prolific and popular instructors with Homespun Tapes.  In 1993, Marcy released a 2 Video set, now 2 DVD’s, “Ukulele for Kids”. It has been a BEST SELLER for Homespun Tapes. Can you believe she even teaches Ginger the Dog, a loveable puppet!  Now, Marcy’s YouTube lessons on ukulele have made fans around the world, both young and old!

The duo organizes and performs in the UKEFEST at THE MUSIC CENTER at STRATHMORE, drawing 2300 fans. This 5-day camp and free community concert pulls together players of all levels and fans to fuel them!  They have also taught/performed at Ashokan Uke Festival, Lil Rev’s Milwaukee Uke Fest, Uke Ceiliedh of Nova Scotia, Port Townsend Uke Fest & Camp, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, and Swannanoa Gathering. As keynotes for the American Music Therapy Association, Cathy & Marcy brought the uke to hundreds of music therapists and as a result, there are university level music therapy courses in ukulele!

As performers, Cathy & Marcy have spent 35 years on tour worldwide from Japan to New Zealand, Vancouver to New York, China, Malaysia, and everywhere in between. Recent shows include the GRAMMY Museum (LA), Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Washington, DC) and Wolf Trap Theater in the Woods (VA), Tuscon Folk Festival and Chicago’s WFMT Folk Festival. They are master musicians on ukulele, five-string banjo, cello banjo, acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin, percussion and a world of other instruments.


michael checco

Michael Checco is an elementary music educator in Middletown, Pennsylvania.  He teaches K-5 classroom music, chorus, and an African Drumming Ensemble.  Previous teaching experiences include general and choral music at the middle school level as well as choral music at the secondary level.  Michael is also a teaching member of the World Music Drumming program.

Michael’s classroom offers students the opportunity to develop their musicianship through singing, dancing, drumming, and playing ukuleles, xylophones and recorders.  He maintains an active schedule as a workshop clinician, singer, and conductor, and especially loves the opportunity to work with fellow music educators.  

Michael received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Susquehanna University, where he studied trumpet and voice and a Master of Music Education from West Chester University with certification in Kodály pedagogy.  When not teaching, Michael enjoys cooking, building marimbas, and collecting an unnecessary number of drums and ukuleles.

Workshop Schedule and Content


Friday, October 4th

5:00 pmRegistration
5:30 pmIntroductions and goals
6:00 pmPerformance and engagement (All)
6:30 pmBlock 1: Meet your ukulele (Cathy & Marcy)
7:30 pmBREAK
7:45 pmBlock 2: Classroom strategies for starting a ukulele class (Michael)
8:45 pmClosing


Saturday, October 5th

8:30 amHow to shop for a ukulele
8:45 amBlock 3: 2 & 3-finger chords, chord charts, and repertoire (Cathy & Marcy)
10:00 amBREAK
10:15 amBlock 4: Ukulele classroom expectations and transitions (Michael)
11:30 amGroup activity instructions & examples
12:00 pmLUNCH (on your own)
1:00 pmBlock 5: Group work and presentations (creating lesson plans)
2:15 pmBlock 6: More repertoire and techniques (Cathy & Marcy)
3:15 pmBREAK
3:30 pmBlock 7: Additional classroom techniques and issues (Michael)
4:30 pmWrap-up and next steps
Registration and Lodging

Registration Fee: $199 / person*


  • Workshop sessions and materials
  • Refreshments (meals on your own)
  • Gift card to on-site ukulele store (instruments, accessories, and resources)

Registration is limited to 30 attendees.

*Participants should bring their own ukulele or purchase one on site.


OR Contact Andrea Pelloquin for assistance – (800) 397-9378 x1325 or

Payment accepted via credit card, purchase order, or check.

A Certificate of Completion will be provided for all participants for 12 participation hours. Participants may use it for Professional Development/Continuing Educations clock hours if applicable.


Cancellation / Refund Policy

If the workshop is cancelled by West Music, all registration fees will be 100% refunded.

If the participant cancels their registration, the refund policy is as follows:

  • Before September 1 – full refund ($199)
  • Between September 1 and September 30 – Half refund ($100)
  • October 1 and later – no refund


Lodging Suggestions

All hotels are about a mile from each other and about 4 miles south of the Beck Center (approx. 12 minutes).

Four Points by Sheraton Cleveland Airport
4181 W 150th St
Cleveland, OH  44135
(216) 252-7700

La Quinta Inn & Suites Cleveland
4222 W 150th St
Cleveland, OH  44135
(216) 251-8500

Cleveland Airport Marriott
4277 W 150th St
Cleveland, OH  44135
(216) 252-5333


Workshop Advisory Committee:

  • Cathy Fink – Performer/Educator
  • Marcy Marxer – Performer/Educator
  • Michael Checco – Music Educator – Middletown, Pennsylvania
  • Sandy Lantz – Music Educator – Fort Myers, Florida
  • Paul Corbiere – Music Educator – Tiffin, Iowa
  • Melissa Blum – Senior Vice-President, National Sales – West Music
  • Judy Pine – Director of General Music – West Music
  • Robin Walenta – CEO & President – West Music
  • Andrea Pelloquin – Education Consultant – West Music
  • Sam Marchuk – Education Consultant – West Music