“Uke Can Do It! A Ukulele Music Program” was a huge success! With the help of Think 360 Arts for Learning and Colorado Creative Industries, our elementary students received music lessons twice a week from January through May.
At the beginning of the semester each child was given a ukulele to name and care for throughout the semester. The students began to learn the parts of the ukulele, the note names of the strings and listening for correct tuning. As the children learned their first chords Ms. Ann incorporated rhythm education, pitch and ear training. The rhythm education taught rhythm notation and supported their development of strumming consistency. Pitch education started them on the path of becoming familiar with the notes on the staff and trained their ear and vocal chords to match and move between notes with accuracy.
To learn songs they played together as a large group, worked in smaller groups and played solos. The songs alternated between learning new strumming patterns and new chords as well as practicing what they already had learned.
The students learned through this experience how to play four chords and ten songs on the ukulele, rhythmic strumming, the musical notation for whole, half, quarter, eighteenth notes and rests, signs and pitches for the solfege scale. We followed their interests in music while steadily working on building on what they knew. The older group was so eager to play a variety of music that we learned how to pick “The Imperial March”.
Both classes demonstrated confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm for music, and a joy in singing as a group and soloing. This project gave many children musical opportunities that they would not have had otherwise. Students can proudly affirm they can play an instrument, read music and confidently perform in front of an audience.