PDA

View Full Version : Who's Teaching Ukulele in School?



Charley
10-05-2015, 07:52 PM
Anyone else teaching ukulele in school? If so, I'd like to know more about you and what you're doing! Things like...

What grade levels?
Approximately how many students?
What state?
Do you have classroom ukuleles or do students provide their own?
Anything interesting you want to say about your program?

Here's me...

I'm the music teacher at a private K-8 school in Southern California. I introduced ukulele to our oldest students 3 years ago, loaning each of them one for the year and giving a weekly class on it.

Since then we've expanded down as low as 3rd grade. I keep a classroom set of Makala sopranos for younger grades, and we use them approximately 3-4 times a month (we have to also do other music stuff as well). Older students still get to borrow one for the year. We have about 20 Lanikai or Kala sopranos we loan out.

I teach using Ukukele Underground or Ukukele Mike videos; I'll go over the chords used in the song first, then they watch it again on video, and (hopefully) practice with that video at home during the week.

How about you guys??

Ukulele Eddie
10-06-2015, 01:48 AM
I'm in SoCal and they just started offering ukulele in my daughter's school orchestra for 3rd grade and up. She has a uke and has taken a few lessons, but she does violin in orchestra.

Heidi Swedburg (http://www.sukeyjumpmusic.com/) and Daniel Ward do wonderful things with kids on the ukulele, so you should check them out (and they're local, too). My kids took their class and really enjoyed it.

Have fun!!

Charley
10-06-2015, 04:34 AM
Thanks Eddie. Heidi and Dan are friends of mine, and they came to the school last year to help kick off our expanded program. They played a concert, then Heidi spent an hour with beginners, and Dan had the older kids for a while.

bonesigh
10-06-2015, 05:02 AM
I helped our music teacher get started with the uke a few years ago. He now has 25 ukes in the classroom and teaches 3, 4th and 5th I believe. We used to have an after school club but when he had his first child and mine graduated to Jr. High we fell out of that but might start again this year. You can reach him at perryj@clarke.k12.va.us I'm sure he wouldn't mind talking to you. We are in Berryville Virginia (:

the flat tire
10-06-2015, 08:17 AM
I just started the ukulele club at the high school I work at.
We got grades 9-12, a good mix of boys and girls. We're about a month and a half in and I think we got about 15 strong, down from over 20 students.
I was planning on teaching the beginners, but a couple of students took over and now I pretty much just watch!
I had to purchase/provide 4 instruments, and some kids brought in their spares, for a lot of kids were interested, but didn't have their own ukes.
Currently we are talking about fundraising, and we are planning a Halloween lunch concert.
I'm really hoping this takes off!

Recstar24
10-06-2015, 08:30 AM
Hi,

I teach junior high grades 6-8 in the Chicagoland area. Ukulele is taught to everyone, kids have music in 9 week installments, and I'll see every kid in the building, which is about 700. We have 30 classroom instruments available, and 30 additional that can be checked out through the library if kids want more practice. I am hoping to start an extra curricular club this year.

For curriculum content, I use a hybrid of James hills ukulele in the classroom, Aaron keims beginner handbook, Daniel ho's beginner series, and my own stuff through YouTube. We use ukutabs.com for song arrangements and play.riffstation.com as a practice tool.

the flat tire
10-06-2015, 08:39 AM
Hi,

I teach junior high grades 6-8 in the Chicagoland area. Ukulele is taught to everyone, kids have music in 9 week installments, and I'll see every kid in the building, which is about 700. We have 30 classroom instruments available, and 30 additional that can be checked out through the library if kids want more practice. I am hoping to start an extra curricular club this year.

For curriculum content, I use a hybrid of James hills ukulele in the classroom, Aaron keims beginner handbook, Daniel ho's beginner series, and my own stuff through YouTube. We use ukutabs.com for song arrangements and play.riffstation.com as a practice tool.

That, is awesome!

cml27
10-06-2015, 10:05 AM
Charley,
I'm in the third year of volunteer hosting an after school ukulele club at my kids' public elementary school in N.California. I'm also the volunteer recorder teacher (3rd graders). Our ukulele club is open to 3-5th graders (sorry, I'm not babysitting). I have a 10 week session in the fall and another in the spring. The idea is to expose as many kids as possible to the ukulele. Ukulele Source in San Jose was so helpful in procuring our PTA purchased instruments. I have 10 instruments, but open my class to 15 total in case people have their own instruments. In the Spring, our group has played 2 songs at our schools-wide concert.

My big challenge is teaching a combination of new and returning students all at once. It's been a great adventure. We've even had a few teachers join us. I've used UU for source material as well as UkuleleMike, Dr.Uke, and Richard G. for song inspiration. The happiness on the kids' faces is my payment!

Debby
10-06-2015, 10:26 AM
Our school had a uke club last year that met once a month for 2-6 graders. There is a class set, if kids don't have their own, but most kids do. The teacher also uses the class set in her classes, I think with 5th graders. I'm starting to wonder if we will have uke club this year.

FourSilverMoonbeams
10-06-2015, 10:29 AM
I am just about to start teaching uke in my school. I teach in a small independent (Steiner/Waldorf) school in London where I am a class teacher as well as being the school's music teacher.

I am just about to introduce my class to the uke. They are 8/9 years old which is Waldorf class 3. We have ordered Ohana ck20s and are waiting for them to arrive. They will belong to the children but remain in school as we will be practising together every day.

I am currently working out the details of my teaching program, but it will probably start with learning to play simple single line melodies and lead on to ensemble pieces and polyphonic solos. I haven't decided yet at what stage I will introduce strumming, but I definitely want to start with one note at a time.

Even though I play high g, I have decided to start them with low g as I think it will make more sense to them.

I almost forgot to mention, the really exciting part is that in Waldorf schools the teacher stays with the same class for 8 years. My bunch have just started class 3, so that should work out as almost 6 academic years of daily uke playing.

the flat tire
10-06-2015, 12:42 PM
Back in the olden days, when I was shorter, every kid in the 3rd grade had to learn ukulele as part of a Hawaiian culture thing.
Our whole class had Kamakas.

vanflynn
10-06-2015, 03:13 PM
Hi Charley, congrats and kudos to your program. I've been thinking about pitching a small level program to our local school.

How has the loaner part worked out? Many losses or damages?

Charley
10-06-2015, 04:02 PM
Hi Charley, congrats and kudos to your program. I've been thinking about pitching a small level program to our local school.

How has the loaner part worked out? Many losses or damages?

No losses, no damage so far, in three years. Our only "loss" was when a 7th grade girl became very attached to her borrowed Lanikai, to the point of naming it. Her mom talked us into letting the girl keep it, and she bought the school an identical one.

vanflynn
10-06-2015, 04:13 PM
That is wonderful. Thanks

joekulele
10-06-2015, 06:16 PM
I run an after school ukulele club at the elementary school where I teach. This is the start of our third year. We started out with 25 Makalas that we got on loan from Ukes for Schools in Roseville, CA. Since then, I won 25 Watermans from Kala and have sent the Makalas on to another school to use. We are located in Ceres, CA (in the Central Valley, due east of San Francisco).
This year we have 35 students, 25 borrowing the Watermans and 10 with their own instruments. The kids range from 2nd to 6th grade with my returning students as helpers for the very beginners. It's such a rewarding endeavour. The kids are so excited to play!
Joe

Brian1
10-06-2015, 07:17 PM
Since then we've expanded down as low as 3rd grade. I keep a classroom set of Makala sopranos for younger grades, and we use them approximately 3-4 times a month (we have to also do other music stuff as well). Older students still get to borrow one for the year. We have about 20 Lanikai or Kala sopranos we loan out.


Thats amazing to me. I remember playing the recorder in school, and the way the "spray" tasted. But I am very curious about this... You have a classroom setting and the student play (I assume for less than 45 min)3-4 times a month. Is that really enough time for elementary school kids to learn to play? If a song takes 3 minutes to play and you play three songs twice (18min x 2) that leaves only about 5 min to get the ukes handed out and put back. That is hardly any time to teach chords, refresh their memory about last weeks chords, or give individual help. It seems like 2hrs a month for 9 months.. as an adult I think that'd be difficult.

What type of songs are they playing and are they keeping time?

Charley
10-06-2015, 07:49 PM
Thats amazing to me. I remember playing the recorder in school, and the way the "spray" tasted. But I am very curious about this... You have a classroom setting and the student play (I assume for less than 45 min)3-4 times a month. Is that really enough time for elementary school kids to learn to play? If a song takes 3 minutes to play and you play three songs twice (18min x 2) that leaves only about 5 min to get the ukes handed out and put back. That is hardly any time to teach chords, refresh their memory about last weeks chords, or give individual help. It seems like 2hrs a month for 9 months.. as an adult I think that'd be difficult.

What type of songs are they playing and are they keeping time?

I'm still kind of figuring out this younger kid/classroom thing, with lots of trial and error. Some are keeping time, some aren't. We're doing fairly simple things like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Three Little Birds."

If a class is too big to effectively teach, I take half one day and the other half the next day. Also, a trick Heidi Swedberg showed me... Little removable colored stickers on the neck; one red dot fior C, two green dots for F, and three yellow ones for G or G7. It takes a lot of the work out of finding chords, and they can focus more on rhythm. We still have bugs but we're getting there.

The best thing? When a parent tells me their kid is excited about Ukukele and asks where they can buy one.

Mivo
10-07-2015, 05:33 AM
I almost forgot to mention, the really exciting part is that in Waldorf schools the teacher stays with the same class for 8 years. My bunch have just started class 3, so that should work out as almost 6 academic years of daily uke playing.

Waldorf schools are fairly amazing. When I was in elementary school, in the very late seventies into the early eighties, and the public school system didn't resonate so well with me, my mother put a lot of effort trying to get me into a Waldorf school, but unfortunately they had very long waiting lines, so it never happened. I regretted it, especially later on when (as part of my job) I learned more about their pedagogical approach. My school time would no doubt have been more pleasant and fruitful. :) Lucky kids, with ukulele lessons as a bonus!

Ukulele Eddie
10-07-2015, 05:02 PM
No losses, no damage so far, in three years. Our only "loss" was when a 7th grade girl became very attached to her borrowed Lanikai, to the point of naming it. Her mom talked us into letting the girl keep it, and she bought the school an identical one.

Must've made you very proud. Deservedly so! That should be the very mission statement of the program and everyone like it!!! How's this: "We'll make your kid love the ukulele so much they'll name it and steal from your purses and wallets to buy it!"? Okay, maybe I'm not a marketing guy. ;-)

Charley
01-19-2016, 06:49 PM
Hey guys, thanks for the input on this topic.

I've just begun a new blog titled "Ukes With Class (https://ukeswithclass.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/welcome-to-ukes-with-class/)," which is all about teaching and playing ukuleles in school. I've written two posts, and will continue to write something once a week or so, sharing what we're doing in our classes.

I'd love to have you look at it, make your comments, and if you're teaching ukulele in school maybe consider writing a post for the blog. Let me know if you want to do that. I'm hoping this blog will eventually be a fun resource for school teachers, music or otherwise, who are using the ukulele.

Mahalo!

https://ukeswithclass.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/welcome-to-ukes-with-class/

Trader Todd
01-23-2016, 04:54 AM
Charley great stuff on your blog, I look forward to reading more.

I've been teaching and jamming with my 7 and 10 year old kids for a few months and it has been a great way to spend some creative family time. We've mostly been working on chord progressions and strumming. Now we need to figure out some songs. I've had a hard time finding songs that are easy enough to play, yet still keep their interest. They are kind of past the "Mary Had A Little Lamb" "You Are My Sunshine" stage, yet the pop stuff they like to listen to doesn't usually transpose to the key of C or G well.

DaveY
01-23-2016, 06:04 AM
To answer the thread title question: my daughter's college music education classmates (and her), to each other, as part of their first-year music education course. Students buy their own ukes (although my daughter, and likely others, already have one). They might not have started teaching yet -- they need to get acquire their axes -- but I'm going to ask her how it goes.