At Kapiti Primary School in New Zealand we have two ukulele groups, a junior and senior one. Three teachers work together to teach the junior group, they are Ms Neave, Mrs Eaton and Mrs Nolan. They work with the junior group two lunchtimes a week. Below is a photo of the junior group.
The senior group is taught by Mr Madge (author of this site). He works with the senior group on a Tuesday lunchtime, Wednesday lunchtime with the advanced players and after school on a Thursday. We have been using the Uke ‘n play ukulele for Kids book and CD by Mike Jackson. After two weeks of lessons the beginners in the group can play the C and F chords and five songs! The advanced members of the group are working their way through Uncle Rod’s Ukulele Boot Camp resource. Below is a photo of the senior group.
Ukulele 4 Kids recently clocked up its 10,000th viewing. Viewers have visited from all over the world. Most views have come from people living in the USA. The following five countries are where most views have come from:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
Other visitors have viewed from Mongolia, Estonia, Chile, Puerto Rico, China and many others.
Ukulele 4 Kids thanks you for your viewings and support and
Recently I was looking for ukulele images and instead came across ukulele personas for Firefox Internet browsers. A Firefox persona customizes your Internet browser at the top as in the picture below.
It doesn’t affect its performance in anyway, just makes it more interesting and specific to your interest of playing the ukulele.
There are a few personas you could choose from, a selection are shown below.
The instructions to change your Firefox persona are easy to follow to . Try this link to view available Firefox Personas.
If you have the right software you can even create your own persona. I don’t, so I couldn’t tell you how to create them.
So go ahead and personalise your Internet browser. I’d be impressed and happy if someone made a funky Firefox persona for ukulele4kids.com now there is a challenge – any one up to it?
My son, Carter, goes to Chelsea House Early Childhood Centre in Raumati, and this week I visited my son’s centre to listen to him and his peers singing Christmas carols. I should have hidden from view of my son, as he wanted to spend his time with me instead of participating. My son is only three, so being strategic I pretended to go to the toilet so that I could watch out of his sight.
My son’s class teachers from room 5, Trish, Tracey and Charlotte and his class peers performed three songs:
- Twinkle Little Star
- I’m a Christmas Tree and
- In the Jungle.
His teachers Trish and Tracey played ukuleles and Charlotte supported the kids with encouragement and actions. They all did a super job and all parents who turned up to watch thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see the ukulele being used.
The use of ukuleles being used by Chelsea House staff came about through staff interest in learning to play. So earlier this year staff were provided lessons by Jeff Gardiner, organised by Yvonne the Chelsea House Centre Director. I was lucky enough to be invited to come and watch a staff performance at the conclusion of their lessons. It was very good with a wide range of songs played.
This is just another example of kids being exposed to the wonderful instrument that is the ukulele.
One of the ways to improve your ukulele playing is to play in front of others. Nobody wants to play their ukulele badly when playing to an audience. So here are ten good reasons, in no particular order, to play for others as suggested by kids:
- It provides an incentive to practise.
- You can tell if your playing was good by the applause you receive. If you get a standing ovation – wow!
- It can make your playing more popular
- It boosts your self esteem
- It makes you look cool
- It can give you a bigger profile
- A talent scout may pick you up
- Your confidence improves
- You inspire others to play
- You do it for the pleasure of sharing.
On Thursday the Kapiti Primary School senior and junior ukulele groups performed a range of songs at Coastlands Shopping Mall, Paraparaumu, New Zealand. The kids had a good time and a new audience to applaud them. They enjoyed playing and loved the ice-blocks they got at the end (REASON 11). View the photos of them performing below.
Here is an inspirational story. Matthew was born with a left hand that had three stubs, a half finger and a thumb. At four years of age his toe was transplanted to his hand, and he had bone from his hip transplanted into his half finger to make it straighter. He didn’t let this get in the way of learning to play a ukulele.
What does Matthew say. “When I heard my teacher Mr. Madge was starting up a ukulele orchestra, I thought it would be fun to give it a try even though I thought I would never be able to play it because of my hand. I like playing the ukulele and I think it is fun. If you want an easy instrument to play, you should give the ukulele a go and remember, even when it gets hard to shift from chord to chord, keep trying and never give up.”
I consider him an inspiration to all – go Matthew! Below watch Matthew play the Beach Boys classic Surfin’ USA.
Hey kids, ever wondered about the origins of your the ukulele and how it got to New Zealand? Radio New Zealand Concert has a programme about the small and easy to play ukulele that has become the new recorder. Kiwi children and adults alike have recently re-discovered a secret that our Pacific neighbours have known for years. Megan Collins looks at the ukulele, from its early years in Hawaii, its establishment on every island, including the North, South and Stewart atolls (RNZ).
Interested in listening? It’s aired at 9am (NZ time) on Wednesday December 1st.
If you need to know what frequency to tune in to on radio, are not from New Zealand, miss the show, you may be able to still listen to it online. Click here for more information.