Phil Natividad

Phil Natividad has been teaching ukulele at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music & Arts since 2014, offering both group and private lessons. Additionally, he engages in outreach through the Conservatory’s Music Equals programming, that focuses on areas of the city where music education is underserved.

Phil began his ukulele journey as a self-taught enthusiast, initially drawn to the instrument by his Hawaiian teaching colleagues while working as an English teacher in Japan. Mesmerized by the playing of artists like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and Jake Shimabukuro, he found unexpected inspiration in Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder’s “Ukulele Songs” album, reigniting his passion for the ukulele upon his return to Winnipeg.

Joining the Ukulele Club of Winnipeg expanded Phil’s knowledge of ukulele music across various genres, leading to initial performing opportunities and eventually a teaching position at the MCMA. Embracing the challenge of becoming a new ukulele teacher, he transitioned from casual exploration to dedicated learning.

In 2024, Phil achieved his JHUI Level 3 Certification. The James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI) is a comprehensive three-level ukulele teacher certification program developed by James Hill. The program utilizes  the “Ukulele in the Classroom” method book series James wrote in collaboration with J. Chalmers Doane, a trail-blazing pioneer and early champion of the ukulele for use in music pedagogy. Under the mentorship of James Hill and through workshops with esteemed ukulele performer/teachers, Phil has cultivated a rich and diverse approach to teaching.

What sets Phil’s lessons apart is his incorporation of the JHUI Ukulele in the Classroom methodology, combined with the flexibility to integrate various teaching methods gleaned from interactions with world-class players. Recognizing the uniqueness of each student, Phil fosters an environment of exploration and individualized learning, aiming to spark those “A-HA” moments and guide students toward their own efficient and personalized techniques.

For Phil, the joy of teaching lies in the dynamic exchange with his students, witnessing their growth, and celebrating their accomplishments, particularly when they overcome challenges along their musical journey. To those considering music lessons, Phil offers resounding encouragement: seize the opportunity, regardless of age or experience. With dedication and persistence, the rewards of learning the ukulele are abundant, fostering not only musical proficiency but also a vibrant sense of community and connection.

When he’s not teaching ukulele, Phil can often be found performing at various events, especially during the summertime when he’s a regular at local farmers markets, sharing his passion for music with the community.