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View Full Version : School recorders give way to ukulele



arw
06-29-2010, 04:44 PM
http://www.odt.co.nz/your-town/dunedin/112489/school-recorders-give-way-ukulele


While they would never replace the recorder, ukuleles were a great option for schools because they were relatively cheap, easy to pick up, and teachers could learn with their pupils, she said.
"The ukulele is an instrument that appeals to young and old, and most people that try it end up hooked."

tnobes
06-29-2010, 04:46 PM
Alright! I wish we had ukulele's in my music class in elementary school! Great idea. I am going into teaching and am already planning on ways to incorporate my uke and guitar into lesson plans :)

SailingUke
06-29-2010, 04:51 PM
Look at the Canadian program, James Hill is a product.
http://UkuleleYes.com (http://www.ukuleleyes.com)

itsme
06-29-2010, 05:27 PM
I think it's great! I remember when my older brother had to play some cheap plastic recorder for school. He hated it, but I was secretly jealous because I never got that opportunity. :(

There are many marvelous things about kids and ukes being a great matchup. They are small and easy to hold for kids, relatively inexpensive, and fairly easy to learn the basics on.

But one of the best benefits IMO is that it introduces kids to polyphonic music. A recorder only plays one note at a time. In two seconds you can show a kid how to strum a C chord on a uke. And that's a lot more fun and exciting than playing just a C note on a recorder. :)

haolejohn
06-29-2010, 06:16 PM
Alright! I wish we had ukulele's in my music class in elementary school! Great idea. I am going into teaching and am already planning on ways to incorporate my uke and guitar into lesson plans :)

it is great. what6 age? I teach 4th this year and 5th last two years. I did war songs on my uke with the class.

farmerboy
06-29-2010, 08:18 PM
We have 60+ ukes in our high school, with a regular orchestra of 20 who go out and do functions. It's great. If I had to teach recorder I think I'd leave.

kissing
06-29-2010, 09:41 PM
I'm half-hearted towards this move.

There are pros and cons of the ukulele becoming a school-kid instrument.
Just look what it did to the image of recorders..

Tudorp
06-30-2010, 01:15 AM
I remember those cheap plastic recorders. I am a kid of the 60s and 70s, and I remember in music class, we had to bring a dollar to school to pay for our recorder. They were plastic, but I remember them being pretty cool, and well made thick plastic not at all flimsey. Many kids turned them into weapons and sword fought with them in class.. lol.. I loved mine, and played it long after that part of the class was over. My first song on it? Of course "Hot Cross Buns". Today, I still see recorders like that but they want $10 or $12 for them now.

That said, I also think Ukes would be cool to play in music class. I have a kid that is a classmate of my daughter come over because he loves my Ukes, and also even tho "IZ" died before this kid was born, he is a huge IZ fan. He came over initially because my daughter told him I liked IZ, and can play ""Somewhere Over The Rainbow". He wanted to come over and hear me play it. I sat down with him, handed him a Uke, and taught him to play it. Now he comes over all the time to learn more stuff. Eventually, I think Im gonna give him one of my cheapies... Hes a cool kid..

kissing
06-30-2010, 01:25 AM
I remember those cheap plastic recorders. I am a kid of the 60s and 70s, and I remember in music class, we had to bring a dollar to school to pay for our recorder. They were plastic, but I remember them being pretty cool, and well made thick plastic not at all flimsey. Many kids turned them into weapons and sword fought with them in class.. lol.. I loved mine, and played it long after that part of the class was over. My first song on it? Of course "Hot Cross Buns". Today, I still see recorders like that but they want $10 or $12 for them now.
I respect recorders myself.
I have a few, play them and know that even the cheap plastic ones can sound terrific (such as Yamaha ones) in the right hands.
And there ARE professional recorder players out there who play some very serious music on them with serious technique.

However, the widespread image of 'recorders' is not such a classy one.
It is often looked down upon as an instrument due to too many associations with it being a child's instrument that sounds squeaky.

Say the Uke gets widespread as a recorder replacement. Many schools start enforcing them to school kids, most of whom will probably end up with a cheapo Mahalo-esque ukulele with crappy strings, have poor intonation and tone.....

I suppose no one is to blame... schools should by all means exploit the advantages of ukuleles for their kids, and it would be great to have more kids given the opportunity to learn uke at a young age whether they like it or not....

But it will kill off some of the classy, mysterious edge Ukes currently have now while it isn't as mainstream as recorder or guitar.
It'll be less an instrument one discovers on their own. It'll just be something that "everybody plays, so conform"...

Tudorp
06-30-2010, 02:14 AM
I agree there might be pros and cons to them being a forced school thing. But, I still think it would be a cool alternative, and a choice of the kids "You have a choice to play the recorder, or the Ukulele...". I just remember the anticipation when I took my dollar to the school and gave it to the music teacher. And then had to wait a week or so before the recorder got there. The day I walked into music class, and saw the cardboard box on the teacher's desk, I KNEW what that box meant. Our recorders are in. Watching the teacher open the box, and eagerly stretching my neck out to get a peek inside. Seeing a box full of little black plastic recorders I was excited, and my hands were sweating waiting to get my hands on it. As the teach called us up one by one an my turn came I was excited. Walking up quickly to the front of the class, in the background hearing the squeaks from the recorders that were handed out before mine. Im not sure, maybe it's stupid, but I am 49 years old, and I just remember that day with great fondness, and how excited I was.. I was stoked when I was able to squeek out Hot Cross Buns, and it actually sounded like the song, how proud I was. Just a cool memory for me. I can imaging a feeling like that from a kid, and the memory of that when that kid is an adult with a Ukulele. I love the excitement in the kid''s eyes that comes over here to play the Uke with me and my daughter. I can see the excitement in his eyes when I hand him my throw down Uke, and when he plays it. I just love seeing that, and is also why I plan to give that Uke to him pretty soon. He is excited about playing it, and when he goes home, it seems like he can't wait to come back to hold it again.. That's the good stuff man...

BashfulPuppet
06-30-2010, 04:38 AM
I'm not sure that Ukuleles will replace the recorder in the classroom. I own and enjoy playing both the Uke and the recorder and while I think the uke has many musical advantages over the recorder I still believe the recorder has an edge over the uke when it comes to a compulsory classroom instrument. First is price, as inexpensive as Ukes can be the best sounding plastic recorders are still nearly half the price of a playable inexpensive uke (I recently bought a pair of yamaha soprano and alto recorders for $50). Second is the ease of play, as easy as it is to play a Ukulele its still easier to play your first song on the recorder and when it comes to a classroom where you have a wide range of abilities and interest in learning the easy instrument has the edge. Third is that the recorder is a pickup and play instrument. No tuning is required. When you're looking to fit a music class into an already full school day not having to tune 15 or 20 instruments is a plus.

All this aside ... If I were given the choice I would choose the Uke. I think that if children learned to play a uke they would have a musical skill that would give them more long term pleasure than most will get from a recorder (its hard to sing while playing a recorder). And in the end music is about bringing joy and pleasure. But most school administrators don't understand the Uke so they will stay with what they know.

All that being said, in the end I'm for any music program. Anything that helps a child know and understand music better is a good thing.

Tudorp
06-30-2010, 04:46 AM
I think your right about the logistics of the Uke "replacing" the recorder. The recorders are much easier to manage then the Uke with a classroom of 15 or more kids. If you hand out 20 Ukuleles, odds are at least half of them would end up destroied beyond playability (again, many of the recorders when I was a kid ended up used as weapons almost immediatly). Those old plastic recorders, at least the ones when I was a kid were damn near indestructable. You would have to bang one on the desk or floor pretty dang hard to crack it. That many Ukes, would be a nightmare, and like ya said, tuning would be a logistical nightmare for an hour class. You couldn't be sure each was tuned properly before the class was over. BUT, that said, I think it would a cool "Addition" for an alternate. All of my daughter's friends that come over, and see a Uke laying around, or me playing on it, always have the same reaction, "that is cool..." Kid's are interested in it, and even tho some may think "thats stupid", or a "toy", it still brings exposure to the instrument, and the more exposure, and the more kids think it is "cool", the more mainstream the Uke will become...

Many kids don't even know what a Banjo is, let alone a Uke. But when they come into my home, they can count on one thing, and that is, they are seeing banjos, guitars, and Ukes all over the place, and they all notice, and they all say "cool".

spookefoote
06-30-2010, 06:44 AM
I help to run an orchestra of 18 players at our school and a learning group of much more than that at the high schhol I teach at. Great fun and we're hoping to appear on national tv soon!

lambchop
06-30-2010, 06:53 AM
The advantage is that kids will love playing. They will learn songs that sound more fun and be able to then take the chords they learn and play on their own. It may really get them motivated to play music. The downside is they will not as easily be able to learn to sight read with a ukulele as with a recorder, as an instrument played solo lends itself to doing that (I can just see it - which C do I play, Ms. Teacher, the third string one or the one on the third fret of the A string?).

Of course, the motivated kids can learn to sight-read in other ways (private lessons or joining band) while the ukulele will have a better chance of making them enjoy making music. I'd do a combo program with both - but start with the recorder as they will never want to go back to it after the ukulele! I'd rather take a "product" approach at the early ages and get them interested and then do the technical "process" stuff later on. And don't make it competitive. My kids got a colored piece of yarn and then beads for every song they mastered. Fine for the motivated kids, or the ones whose parents make them practice, but the ones who may be good in quality but not quantity just begin to think they are less than others.

Cool thread; just love this story! Mike

70sSanO
06-30-2010, 09:09 AM
I think it is great!

My kids had the recorders, they really wanted guitars, but that wouldn't be practical.

Four-string-four-finger is about as good as it gets for teaching.

But the number one reason...

There are no bad notes on a ukulele, but there are a lot of bad notes on a recorder.

John

mailman
06-30-2010, 10:48 AM
We were compelled to play recorders in grade school, although they were calling them Flute-O-Phones (sp?) at the time. Hated it, hated it, hated it....

tnobes
06-30-2010, 10:49 AM
it is great. what6 age? I teach 4th this year and 5th last two years. I did war songs on my uke with the class.

I will be certified for 6-12 :) I'm not sure how successful it would be with the older kids, but it is worth a try!

mailman
06-30-2010, 11:23 AM
Much easier for a school kid to relate to an instrument they've seen on YT videos and on TV (uke) than to an instrument they've not seen used in popular music (recorder). I wouldn't want to be the dork bringing a recorder to a teen party. Just sayin'....

Tudorp
06-30-2010, 11:32 AM
Much easier for a school kid to relate to an instrument they've seen on YT videos and on TV (uke) than to an instrument they've not seen used in popular music (recorder). I wouldn't want to be the dork bringing a recorder to a teen party. Just sayin'....

Oh I dont know.. I was known in my teen years to be very unpridictable. Showing up to school in a dress wasn't really the "cool" thing to do in the 1970s, but I did it, and it was hit... ;)

Oh.. .In case you want pictures, this was me getting ready to leave for school... I was my 16th birthday, and I wanted to go to school and cellibrate my "Sweet 16th"...

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs142.snc4/36469_140333379315794_100000173975723_417427_53820 30_n.jpg

How can toting a recorder to school be more embarrasing than this>?

spookefoote
07-01-2010, 06:27 AM
We have 60+ ukes in our high school, with a regular orchestra of 20 who go out and do functions. It's great. If I had to teach recorder I think I'd leave.

And I'd go too!

kissing
07-01-2010, 09:54 PM
We were compelled to play recorders in grade school, although they were calling them Flute-O-Phones (sp?) at the time. Hated it, hated it, hated it....

That's what I'm a bit concerned about. Your experience with recorders is quite common from what I can see.

Maybe in 20 or 30 years time we'll have people going

"We were compelled to play ukuleles in grade school, although they were calling them baby-guitars at the time. Hated it, hated it, hated it"



As much as WE love the ukulele, we can't assume that a majority of grade school kids these days will also.
Just as recorder-fanatics can't assume everyone will love recorders.

So why force something on all students when it is better picked up on their own?
It'll be almost embarrassing to play a uke if it is something everybody can play due to having done it in grade school.
"Go learn a real instrument"...

happyslappysoong
07-01-2010, 10:14 PM
There needs to be an elementary school reform here in Australia too.