Category Archives: Maia

A Grand River Poem

I often find
The Grand River
Running through my mind

As I stop on a Toronto sidewalk
And step to the curb to jay-walk
My eyes dart around on the road ahead
But my mind is on the riverbed

The curb is like the water’s edge
With a bridge of stones to the other side
And a Kingfisher laughing its way down the river
To where the water is deep and wide

But the city’s steel-enforced trees
Have concrete roots and glass bark
And flat roof treetops
Where pigeons are watched
By falcons and hawks

Concrete paths and man-made trees
Make me pause and long to be
Where the owl hoots from the tallest trees
That are a stone’s throw when the river’s low

When the river’s high, it hustles by
And combs the grass on either side
Like market-going neighbours who buy
Every fruit and berry that they can carry

Thinking of where the berries come from
My mind abandons the city’s hum
To where no sounds can be heard
Except for the water, the wind, and the birds

Next to the fields of the neighbouring farm
Down the hill from the big, old barn
The river bends and twists
Where the fishermen’s path cannot be missed

Far from the city’s drone
Under slow-moving water
Beneath a silver-green stone
A crayfish isn’t the only one
Who calls the Grand River home

A Chickadee Story

The Chickadees in High Park ignored me all summer, but today they surrounded me!

As I paused on a path to take an autumn photograph, a Chickadee fluttered beside my ear – and then another flapped against my camera-holding hand. Then, in a flash of feathers, there were suddenly 3 in the nearest bush, staring me down with their intense cuteness.

But I found myself strangely without sunflower seeds – in either of my coat pockets – so I was relieved to find that my bag of homemade trail mix had pumpkin seeds and shelled peanuts.

Yes, Chickadee claws seriously tickle my otherwise-numb, ukulele-weathered fingertips! I can even see a dent from a larger Chickadee’s grip moments before this tiny sweetie took her turn.

She was tentative and waiting deep in the bush, but came closer when I began to speak encouragingly. When she finally landed on me (seen here), she sat there for a long time, giving me a look that so help me said, ‘you forgot to break up that last peanut.’ She was right!

She eventually jumped into the palm of my hand and grabbed a piece of pumpkin seed, which she ate in a nearby bush. When she came back and found that I’d broken the peanut in two, she quickly snatched half and flew like a rocket to a faraway tree.

When I came home, I put a handful of sunflower seeds into each of my coat’s pockets…

The Grand River

Little has changed in the place where the Grand River runs through the forest where I learned to love nature. The welcoming paths beckon just like always, inviting me to enter and venture through the cool, shady woods. And the goal remains the same. Go to the river.

As a child at the water’s edge, the river taught me to babble and to go with the flow. The birds taught me to sing and weave songs. And the trees taught me to listen. Each lesson remains true today. Rustling leaves aren’t always the wind.

The chickadee warns about a ground squirrel rustling as the hawk swoops while the heron is hunting for a fish jumping at bugs scurrying across the slow-moving water that cleans and is cleaned by the rocks under which the crayfish hide. And after the Kingfisher leaves the scene with the last word, the fleeting silence is broken by a splashy plop as I toss a farewell stone into the river. Until next time.

To this day I can’t wait to skitter over the bouncy plywood bridge that crosses the swampy creek behind the house, and to search the pinecone-covered ground for just the right stick to whisk away the spiderwebs that will surely be strewn across the quickest path down to the river.

While time moves slowly on my family’s country property in southcentral Ontario, the nearby towns have quickly built suburbs with neighbouring wind turbines that cast long and moving shadows across unfarmed farmland. These days, traffic is more than just one car.

But the cows still lie down when a big rain is looming, and the owls still hoot up a storm in the evening, and there’s still a familiar and comforting place to be found where low waters create bridges of stones that go all the way to the other side.

Nestled between farmers’ fields, in the middle of a thriving forest, the tree canopies open fast and reveal water and sky at a place where the mossy paths turn to follow alongside the Grand River. At the river’s edge, little has changed.

Ukulele Daily Good-Newsletter 01

Welcome to Ukulele Daily!

“A good-newsletter for people who think about ukulele daily”

This is the pre-release of Issue 01 – for Spring 2017

Based on real people’s true stories

Written by yours truly,

Ukulele Daily

The Mum Strum Intro Blog


In various living rooms and backyards (Oakwood/Rogers/St Clair West area)

By reservation only – spaces limited – email to inquire!

The detailed Mum Strum story is on The Official Mum Strum Page.


Maia Store

Looking for unique gifts made locally (or with cotton)?
Wishing for a crowd-free shopping experience?

Maia Store is ready for the season!  And so is Ned…


I’m selling Maia-made gifts (CDs, gift certificates for ukulele lessons, and silver/semi-precious jewellery), as well as Maia-approved products (Thentix and Pocketdiscs).  Keep reading for details…

Maia Store is located in my music studio – open daily – by appointment only.

Shoppers may be treated to a mini concert, if they wish…

Want to do some shopping?  Email me!


My albums are $15 or 2 for $25 – and not available in stores!  (We see you, Ned!)


My debut album, From Now On, features an Alhambra guitar and an old baritone ukulele.

My second album, I’ll Be Here, features a Fender concert ukulele and gourd thumb piano.

Both albums’ main ingredient is all orginal Maia songs (except for Amazing Grace, final track, From Now On).

Want?  Email!

Stay tuned for album number three!  I’m rehearsing to record 12 more original songs in late-January 2017…


Ukulele Gift Certificates for one-hour private lessons are $40 (see details on certificate)


Did you know that I’m a ukulele teacher? I also offer preschool music circles and music for seniors. And Teddy Bear Jams, too!

Uke interested?  Prefer a $20 (half-hour private lesson) certificate?  Have another request?  Email me!


Maia-made sterling silver jewellery. Plain or featuring semi-precious stones or amber.


It takes 4 pliers to make each link. Link by link – there is a lot of Maia love in these chains!

Prices range from $15 (simple earrings) to $140 (necklace, bracelet, earring set). Bracelets are between $20-40.

Want?  Email!


Thentix is my go-to cream, from my nose to my toes…  They also make lovely lip balm and hair oil.


Did you know that I am a Thentix distributor (  Yeah, it’s that good!  Why is it so good?  Thentix is made with sunflower oil and honey (etc.) by a not-too-big but not-too-small company in Ontario.  Soothing for babies-to-seniors, and used in hospitals, Thentix is simple, good skin care that smells sweetly close to nothing.  Well, except for the lip balm, which smells like honey, and the hair oil, which smells like the beach….
Want?  Email!  (My prices are better than in stores)

Special Offer:  free trial jar with any other purchase (while supplies last)
COTTON FRISBEES!!!  Actually, these are (100% cotton) Pocketdiscs.  Please don’t call them ‘frisbees’…they hate that…

Pocketdiscs ( are handmade (fair trade) in Guatemala, designed and distributed by a friendly company in California.

I was only able to find the Indoor edition of Pocketdisc sold in Toronto, so I ordered a box-full of every size!

Seriously, this is the best toy in the whole wide world.  You can grab a Pocketdisc out of thin air without ever hurting your fingers!  It’s a musician’s dream toy!  And it is great for an energetic outdoor or indoor (winter or rainy day) activity, as well as being hands-on, off-line, smile-to-smile fun!

Indoor size – $15
Sports edition – $20
el Grande – $25

Want?  Email!

Maia at The Barns

Oops, I made a typo on my poster! 

Please see my “Maia at The Barns” (Jan 7, 2017) Event page here: 


Home Is Where The House Concert Was, Nov 5 2016

Home Is Where the House Concert Was

Re:  House Concert with Jay Linden and Maia Waern, Sat Nov 5, 2016

By:  Maia Waern


As I warmed up the soup and set up the chairs, Jay Linden drove in from Cambridge with an armful of instruments and a chocolate cake.

And as I tuned up my ukulele and tried on my cowgirl shirts, audience members came from Kitchener, Bradford, and Orangeville, as well as from up the street, from around the corner, and from the basement.

The food table was our opening act, with organic comforts of home including Maia-made rainbow salad and fresh local apple cider.

The concert began with a hush. The welcoming silence felt like a gentle spotlight. I cheered inside.

And as I embraced my ukulele in my cushioned wooden chair, I was partly still a little kid who dreams of being a performer, and partly an adult who has achieved my childhood dream.

By the soft light of old lamps, in our time-honoured style, Jay and I swapped songs, back and forth, one by one, until we were good and done.

In my grateful opinion, I had the best seat in the house.


I wish that I’d caught a photo of our whole audience.  And another of Chris – when he began to premonition the punchline of Jay’s ‘Bob Dylan’ song.  He wasn’t the only one.  We all groaned and squirmed in our chairs.  The healing howls of laughter filled the air.

And then the whole room went completely silent again, like open arms, inviting me to play my next song.  My childhood dream came true, again and again, until well after midnight.

Speaking of dreams coming true, Julian Fauth ( will be joining us in January! 



Are uke ready? Here strums some great news…

North Toronto Institute of Music
550 Eglinton Avenue East
Between Mount Pleasant & Bayview

THANK YOU, Mary Kenedi! Strum kind of wonderful!



I AM GRATEFUL to Gavin at Remenyi House of Music for giving my name to Mary Kenedi, and thankful to the Remenyi family for making me feel at home in many ways. This includes providing me with a new instrument to introduce to my students!

LOOG GUITARS are a 3 string acoustic or electric instrument built for kids, available in Toronto exclusively at Remenyi House of Music. My students are invited to rent or rent-to-own a Loog ~ courtesy of Remenyi. Ukulele rentals are also available.

LOOKING FORWARD to meeting new students and their families! Here’s to impromptu family and caregiver jams! My students are always welcome to invite loved ones. And that includes teddy bears…


PRIVATE LESSONS & DUO SESSIONS are unstructured and compassionate, and adaptable to each kid, and each day. Boredom is transformed into lyrics on Maia’s watch! Ukulele, Loog, songwriting, singing ~ students can decide how to spend their Maia time, as long as it’s musical ~ or expressive.


PRESCHOOL MUSIC CIRCLES are just as fun as they sound ~ and only $36 per kid per hour. Very young children might do better with half-hour music circles, to accommodate their compact attention spans. Music circles are in groups of 4 to promote individual connections. Kids can expect ukuleles, percussions, small drums, my big voice, and my teddy bear crew…


PLEASE NOTE ~ caregivers are required for preschoolers. This might also apply for older kids, as necessary.

SICK DAYS can be rescheduled (in circle sessions). Family members or caregivers may participate in the place of a sick kid; rates are the same.

NO DIGITAL DEVICES are allowed in class, except to look up song sheets or bizarre chords!

TEDDY BEAR JAMS are available! Yes, you read that right… It’s a music circle with ukuleles and teddy bears ~ AND each kid gets to keep a teddy bear of their choice! Groups of 4 kids ~ family and caregiver participation encouraged. Personal teddy bears are also welcome to participate and meet new friends…





Email “Maia” at to book now or to ask a question (eg. Rates)

To learn piano, or to inquire about another instrument, or about the school:
Contact “Mary” at the North Toronto Institute of Music
(416) 488-2588


Contact Loog Guitars via their website ~

Visit Remenyi House of Music ~ 210 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Contact “Gavin” at Remenyi’s Guitar Department
(416) 961-3111

Uke Lovers Unite

Let the strum begin!


“Buggies!!” said the email, with the photo attached.


The buggies looked as cute as I remembered them, parked in a polite row at The Stop’s Farmers’ Market inside the Wychwood Barns.

It was earlier that morning when I saw my bright blue buggy nestled happily between two uniquely colourful buggies. I couldn’t keep quiet:

“Look at those happy buggies — so cute and colourful! And me, without my camera!”

Luckily, one of the buggies’ owners had one of ‘those’ phones.

As she took the shot, she was grateful to me for seeing it. And I was grateful when she offered to email me the photo, which she did on the spot. We smiled at each other many times.

Thanks again, I said. Thank you too, she said. Have a good day, we all said.

That is a 3-minute snippet of my 2 hours at the market today.

The food is only part of the healthy lifestyle that a weekly farmers’ market provides. I am grateful for the positive personal connections that, all together, become a healthier community, and a healthier world.

The Stop’s Farmers’ Market is on Saturdays from 8am to 12:30pm (open until 1pm in summer, outside) at Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street (south of St. Clair Ave West). Remember to bring your buggy…and your camera!