View Full Version : Children's Ukulele "band"

07-11-2011, 03:55 AM
Hey all, I was just kind of seeking some advice. I have always wanted to get my Sunday School students to perform special music for church using the ukulele (I tend to have 4 to 7 at any one time). My Sunday School kids range from 4 years old to 12 years old (small church, hence the large age range). Since I scored a lot of 9 ukuleles, and since I will have 6 playable ones by the time I am done repairing them, this is becoming a reality now.

My plan is to take about 10 to 15 minutes out of Sunday School each Sunday and teach the kids three chords and we would then use that to practice a three chord song (or two chords if I can find a song they like that uses only two chords). I will NOT let them bring my ukes home as I know the kids will mistreat them and forget to bring them back every Sunday. A couple of parents may buy their kids a cheap $20 uke, but some are on tight budgets, so even a $20 uke will be too much for them.

Anyhow, how doable would this all be? My sister is a music teacher, but she isn't always able to help me, and she, like me, believes the kids would learn more if they took the ukes home and practiced daily, but as you see, that may not be an option.

Any advice you all can give me would be great, even 2 to 3 chord song ideas.


07-11-2011, 05:59 AM
First thought, use F and C7, play 4 measures of 4/4 or 16 strums of each chord. Start by strumming beat 1 of each measure and work up to more strums per measure. Let them write their own song within that structure or some other chord pattern you choose.

07-11-2011, 06:10 AM
I support the suggestion of F and C7 -- the very easiest. If you can throw in G7, then you have, along with the C, a huge range of songs in the key of C I have two chord versions of "He's got the whole world" and "Amazing Grace'", all of which work in the key of F, and a simple three chord version of "Down by the riverside" right at hand (for a beginner course tomorrow) and there are probably plenty of others.

Hippie Dribble
07-11-2011, 06:56 AM
Just awesome Dan. Wish you all the best with the endeavour mate. I think the kids will love it bigtime, and take to it like ducks to water.

I started bringing my ukes to my sunday school group a few years back and did a similar thing. These guys were primary school ages and some just past toddler stage. The group was about 5-12 kids depending on who turned up.

It took about 8 weeks to get our little show together through the winter but we learnt "Father Abraham" (C and G) with all the goofy actions. and split the groupn up into uke players and dancers for that one. We also learnt "He's Got The Whole World..." (C and G) where again, we all sang but had some ukeing and some doing the moves . There was other stuff too, but a highlight was us writing our own 'Grace song' ...to give thanks before a meal...which I would have a copy of somewhere if you're interested...heaps of fun and we used it often in our church subsequently when there was a gathering.

It IS do-able Dan. Challenging, but do-able. Kids are kids, eh! I was fortunate as I have 7 different mahalo coloured ukes at home that hang in the playroom for our children and their friends to bash about on, so uke supply wasn't a problem. In the end, most of the kids' parents went out and bought them one anyway.

I think the trick is to try and ensure everyone is involved on some level. For the real young'uns who couldn't play I always had a little box of toy instruments...mainly percussive...for them to join in on. Chicken shakers, cowbells and the like. Then we always had a couple doing actions, playing uke.... It was good too cause Eugenie helped with crowd control and when i was teaching the music, she was helping them learn actions etc etc

my golden sunday school rule: If they're having fun it's worthwhile. :) Here's some pics you might like or maybe find inspiring... all the best with it mate


mm stan
07-11-2011, 07:05 AM
Aloha Dan,
I'd start with these nursery rhymes and chords....http://www.baby-patch.com/guitar.html hope it helps...MM Stan
Let us know how it goes..

07-11-2011, 09:26 AM
Check this site out for easy songs, including Amazing Grace.


07-11-2011, 12:16 PM
Wow, I think this is an excellent idea! They will definitely enjoy it if nothing else. Great idea Eugene for the little ones. I wish you the best in helping the children to broaden their horizons while worshiping :)

07-11-2011, 02:56 PM
Another idea you can do is to take 3 or 4 students and teach them each just ONE chord.
Then you just keep time and point to each student for when their chord comes up in the song. . If you take a song that they know it is very easy for them to catch on.

07-11-2011, 03:13 PM
these are great ideas for anyone teaching young beginners to play. That page of nursery rymes is a nice resorce mmstan, I wish I had that when my kid was a wee-un.
and great photos, Eugene! thats wonderful what your doing with those kids too

07-11-2011, 03:42 PM
You all are awesome! These area all great ideas. I can't wait to finish repairing the last of the ukes so I can get these kids started. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll get going. All of your advice is golden, and I really do appreciate you all taking time to answer this post and giving me ideas. Oh, and Eugene, those are great pictures. I only hope my Sunday School kids look that happy when I put a uke in their hands.


mm stan
07-11-2011, 04:34 PM
Hey Dan,
check this out.. look on the right for more lessons or go to her main You Tube Page and scroll down on the right related videos..for more lessons..

07-11-2011, 06:17 PM
This has been used to teach thousands of ukulele players, both young and old:


07-12-2011, 07:34 AM
Man, two more good links. Thanks y'all. You have all given me plenty of material. I am really getting excited about this now. I just need to get some customer instruments out of the way so I can get these ukes playable again.