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.
The former multi-platinum New Zealand band Goldenhorse, singer/songwriter Kirsten Morrell became the ambassador of The New Zealand Ukulele Trust last week.
Morrell will sing with the world’s largest ukulele orchestra, the NZ Kiwileles at the NZ Ukulele Festival on Saturday 26th November at Waitakere’s Trust Stadium.
The festival is on the national election day this year and a polling booth has been provided allowing those who attend the festival to vote.
For further information on The New Zealand Ukulele Trust and the festival visit www.nzukulelefestival.org.nz
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A new page was added to the site today called ‘chords’. On this page you will find all the basic ukulele chords that you should need to play almost every song. They have been listed in alphabetical order so that they are easier to follow for kids of any age. You are more than welcome to download, adapt the chord chart and share with others. Please let others know where you got the chart from, and come back and visit the site regularly.
Download Ukulele 4 Kids chord chart
Sitting on your ukulele is maybe not the best thing to do. I’ve never heard a ukulele being played well while being sat on. If you sit on your ukulele you have a very good chance of breaking it. This ukulele was brand new and was sat on by accident. The result was a broken ukulele that can no longer be played.
However, it’s important to recycle the bits from the ukulele. If you’re into weaving or are considering starting, you can make yourself a wrist bracelet from the strings of the broken ukulele. By wearing them you’re sure to be reminded, not to sit on another ukulele again.
Trey, the boy in the photograph, kindly volunteered to sit on the already broken ukulele, as he feels it is a good way to start a modelling career – good on you Trey!
Ukulele 4 Kids was set up by Clive Madge to provide a readily accessible resource for kids who are learning or thinking about learning to play the ukulele. It is hoped that it will appeal to “kids” of all ages. With regular practise it doesn’t take very long to be able to play and sing today’s mainstream songs, or songs of generations past.
The site will continue to develop over time and be continually updated about once a week, and will be a long term project. There are many ideas in the pipeline, most of which have been suggested by kids who are learning to play the ukulele. It would be great for others to share ideas to be considered for publication.
Through short articles, reader contributions, links to other sites and resources, this site aims to inspire and encourage kids of all ages to pick up and learn to play a ukulele.