Have you ever walked into an elementary music classroom? I might be biased, but I think it is just about the best place on Earth! Kids singing, playing instruments, composing music...it is just the epitome of creativity and fun!
I teach general music to an amazing group of about 700 K-5th grade ethnically and economically diverse students.
Our school is in a rural area near a military base, so we have a large population of transient military students. I see each class once a week for 50 minutes, and I try to cram as much music theory and hands-on music making into that time as possible. We have a lot of fun, and we learn a lot of stuff!
Our county has limited resources and cannot offer funding for the arts. We make the best of what we have and sometimes have to get pretty creative in order to offer the students the best education possible. For many of my students, elementary school will be the last time that they ever take music in school. In order to motivate a lifetime of music making, I try to make music class fun and exciting!
Playing stringed instruments is a wonderful opportunity for children! Students learn about fingering and technique, while practicing rhythm and note reading. All of this, while students are learning to create and perform music!
The problem is that guitars are too big and have complicated fingerings that can be difficult for 3rd and 4th grade students to handle - ukuleles are the perfect solution!
With a ukulele, students have a small instrument that they can easily handle, while it is also musically simple enough for them to be successful. Plus - it's cool!
Through this proposal, my students will have access to 6 soprano ukuleles. The students will take turns experimenting with the instruments, and will have the opportunity to learn countless skills and songs through the included method books, as well as various technological resources. The best part, is that this is an instrument the students could continue to play for a lifetime! The skills they will learn can be transferred to other stringed instruments, like the guitar, but best of all students would have the opportunity to make some truly wonderful music.
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