After School Ukulele Program for Kindergarten

Makala Shark Ukuleles - Kala.com (Dolphin models are also available)
Makala Shark Ukuleles – Kala.com (Dolphin models are also available)

From Spokane, Washington comes a great kindergarten after school program idea!

Spokesman.com shared an article: “Right-sized ukuleles fill tiny hands“. An excerpt says:

“231 kindergarten students. Two to three times a week, each of its classes has 30-minute music instruction. Westlund teaches them basics for singing, counting in rhythm and playing simple instruments like hand drums.

By May, Westlund and teacher volunteers plan to start an after-school ukulele club at the Millwood center for those kindergarteners who want to learn more about playing the instrument.”

Read more about the kindergarten center and the ukulele club!

What Size Ukulele Should I Get?

Sizes of Ukuleles compared to a Guitar - Baritone | Tenor | Concert | Soprano | Guitar
Sizes of Ukuleles compared to a Guitar – Baritone | Tenor | Concert | Soprano | Guitar (source: Wikipedia.org)

There are 4 basic sizes of Ukuleles and a number of variations. 

Of the four, three are tuned alike (G | C | E | A). If three people each play a different size they will all sound good together (IF each is in tune). The pitch (or note) sounded for each is the same. The only difference is the tone of each (from treble to bass like turning the ‘Tone’ button on a stereo)

The Baritone is tuned like the top strings of a guitar (D | G | B | E). The chord shapes are the same as on a guitar (minus two strings).  The chord shapes are also the same as on the other ukuleles BUT the names/letters are not the same – examples:

  • a G chord on a Baritone is the same shape as a C chord on the other 3 ukes.
  • A C chord on a Baritone is the same shape a F chord on the other 3 ukes.
  • A D chord on a Baritone is the same shape as a G chord on the other 3 ukes.

Confused? If so, it is okay. I suggest that you start with one of the other 3 and when you have that down pretty good, you can consider branching out to a Baritone.

The following ukes are easier to master because the strings are based on Middle C (the middle C of a piano) and the Key of C. In fact, the range is similar to that of a ‘Recorder’ that is often taught in elementary schools. More and more schools are switching to Ukuleles instead of Recorders in music classes.

  • Sopranos – the smallest and the traditional one that most people think of when they hear of the word, ‘ukulele’.  Sopranos are usually the best choice for small children. Makala Sharks and Dolphins are great choices for children because they come in bright colors, are very durable and sound very good.
  • Concert – a little larger offers a few more inches of wood at the bottom to tuck under your arm and has a few more frets to expand the range of notes that you can play up the neck.  From my current observation the Concert is the most popular size.  Concerts are great for anyone from growing kids to adults.
  • Tenor – a little larger than the concert the Tenor is about half the size of a guitar. I sense that it is becoming more and more popular.  It is particularly popular with Guitar players because it is not such a reduction in size from the Guitar.  Many Ukulele professionals play Tenors.

 

‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran for Ukulele – fingerpicking AND strumming

I love this song – the melody is just beautiful.
I wanted to play it on the ukulele and started searching for good arrangements.
Ran across this tutorial video and love it – a little fingerpicking and a little strumming – neither too hard.
The hard part is that you need a capo on the 1st fret – they cost about $15 for a good one.

The video – https://youtu.be/s8b2xKBj-ao

The printed music/notes for the video are in the comments or here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B62zBAbDVZxXeWJxNkdDbVdiUUU/view

Kickstarter: Astro Folding Ukulele

Astro - the first folding ukulele (https://www.astroukulele.com/)
Astro – the first folding ukulele (https://www.astroukulele.com/)

“Astro is an electric soprano ukulele. The body and the neck are composed by two separated parts, molded in composite wood, an innovative and ecologic material, obtained 100% from natural resources…

Thanks to our special patented mechanism, that connects the rotation of the neck to the floating bridge, it is possible to fold the ukulele without releasing or removing the strings.”

Visit the AstroUkulele.com Website to learn more about it!


Other mentions:

NewAtlas.com

Amy Kucharik says the Ukulele ‘delivers the songs I write’

Amy Kucharik (source: AmyKucharik.com)
Amy Kucharik (source: AmyKucharik.com)

WickedLocal.com: Rockland posted “Sounds Around Town: Amy Kucharik makes a lot of music on four strings

“…Kucharik’s first instrument was piano (“I never excelled at it.”). She then moved on to French horn (“Neither that nor the piano inspired me to be a songwriter.”), then guitar (“That was a slow learning curve for me.”), before meeting up with the ukulele, which has absolutely inspired her.

“What’s neat about the ukulele is that with just four strings you can have a lot of fun with alternate voicings up the neck, and jazzy chords,” she said. “I don’t play the ukulele just to play the ukulele. I play it as a way to deliver the songs that I write.”

Play by ear? No? Check out ‘The Toneway Project’


The Toneway Project has been around many years but I’ve just learned about it.  I’m quite interested because I am addicted to music books and don’t try hard enough to play by ear.  I know very few of the songs but I’m learning to play a little better by ear.

Ex: recently I considered buying a ‘glow-in-the-dark’ Makala Waterman and then it occurred to me if it was dark then I couldn’t see my music and couldn’t play any songs. Sad!

You can learn to ‘jam’ by ear. I CAN learn to ‘jam’ by ear.  NO songbooks or songsheets. Let’s do it!

 Going to a bluegrass jam group introduced me to ‘The ToneWay Project’. They offer some great products BUT you don’t need to buy a thing to benefit as their Website offers a lot!
 – Ukulele lesson videos (first one is about 30 min. others are 9-15 minutes or so) – http://toneway.com/learn/ukulele-lessons
 – Sound clips of many songs that are featured in their books- http://toneway.com/songs
AND much, much more.
A couple of the leaders in the jam have a book from ‘The ToneWay Project’ called ‘Family Tradition Songbook’. It has 371 songs with words but no chord charts or letters (only numbers like 1, 4 and 5). It is only $.7.95.

There are even a special method book and a songbook for the ukulele.

 BUT the point is you don’t even need books.
I’ll close this post with their motto:
“Many think you must get good to play with others. We say it’s better to play with others to get good.” Source: Toneway.com