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Serena Ryder’s advice to music classes: 'Just strum it!'

Grant Lawrence

On Oct. 19, Serena Ryder released her first holiday album, Christmas Kisses. It promises to be a seasonal classic, mixing sharp originals and cool covers. This year, Ryder has also lent her hit “What I Wouldn’t Do” to the Canadian Music Class Challenge, and it's proving to be one of the most popular song for classes from coast to coast to coast — we’ve even had a fiddle music class from Forget, Sask., sign up to do Ryder’s charging pop gem.

Serena Ryder recently stopped by CBC Mornings with Raina Douris to chat about the Challenge, and Ryder's new holiday album. When asked about her history with music education, Ryder had fond memories.

“I feel like every music teacher was my favourite music teacher, because it was what I always wanted to do and what I was really good at,” she recalled. “Mrs. Parsons was really big for me. She was a choir teacher and also my Grade 4 teacher.”

For her 2017 album, Utopia, Ryder went back to music class in an attempt to brush up on her piano and guitar chops for the more challenging material she found herself writing.

“It was crazy. It made me feel like a little kid again,” Ryder told Douris. “I don’t know the names of the chords that I play, I don’t know any musical theory, so it was amazing. It took my brain and made it go through something that felt completely new.”

Ryder also had some advice for the many schools across the country attempting to learn her song: “I do that song in the easiest way possible, which is that I tune my guitar to an open D,” she explained. “Open D and just strum it! It’s that simple!”

Listen to the entire interview here:

More to explore:

You can still sign up for the 2018 Canadian Music Class Challenge

Check out the songs for the 2018 Canadian Music Class Challenge


Need new instruments for your class? Check out Band-Aid