The Fabulous “Kiwileles” is the biggest ukulele orchestra in the world, based in New Zealand. At this year’s New Zealand Ukulele Festival there are expected to be over 2500 Kiwileles (kids playing ukuleles) from 117 schools to perform alongside national and international ukulele artists. The Festival is in its 5th year, bringing together diverse musical styles, international artists, great local talent, emerging bands, school children and community groups with food, music stalls and instrument sales. The festival in its fifth year is organised by the New Zealand Ukulele Trust.
Take your ukulele along to the festival, it’s a family fun day for free!
A school production is a great place to share a school ukulele group’s playing abilities. Recently, Kapiti Primary School held their school production and the school’s junior and senior ukulele groups both performed. Members of the junior ukulele group range in age from 5 to 8 year old. They have been playing for five months.
The junior ukulele group led by Richard Bamlett played:
Row Your Boat
Found a Peanut
Five Little Monkeys
They played great – good job! Watch their performance below:
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.
So you’ve been playing your cheaper Makala Dolphin ukulele for a while now and you’re wondering what type of ukulele to buy next. The Kala KA-15s ukulele is a great next purchase. Kody made the step up to this ukulele and it cost him a reasonable $99 NZ.
Kody shares the differences between his new ukulele and his old ukulele: “My new ukulele which is a Kala, model KA-15s is a lot lighter then my Makala Dolphin. It feels like it is made of a different wood and has a lot more room inside of it. The wood is also thinner compared to my other one. It has very different strings (quality Aquila strings, article to come soon), which along with the fact that inside it there is much more room, it makes my ukulele a lot louder as well as sounding nicer in general. I also find that it goes out of tune a lot less then my old ukulele. Overall I think that anyone who is an avid ukulele player and is willing to get a new ukulele should get this one because it is amazingly lighter, sounds better, and is much easier to tune.”
Without doubt, to get better at anything you need to practise. To begin with, a little and often is the best way to start. Practise for twenty to thirty minutes a day, everyday if you can. This is better than practising one day a week for a few hours.
Regular practise will also allow the strings on your ukulele to break in a lot quicker, so that you don’t have to keep tuning your ukulele all the time.
Just don’t take my word for it.Ruby says, “I’m getting better with practise.” Ruby has improved from playing basic one and two chord songs, to playing Beach Boy classics like Surfin’ USA.
Tristain says, “I practice for twenty minutes a day, and I’ve got way better.” He now plays a wide range of songs and can be heard practicing during his spare time at school. His favourite song to play is ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by Train.
What size ukulele should I buy? Ukuleles come in four different sizes:
Soprano – this is the smallest size ukulele and is a great starting ukulele size for kids. The Makala Dolphin ukulele I recommend for kids are this size.
Concert – this is the next biggest sized ukulele, and the size I prefer to play myself because it offers a bit more space on the fretboard for bigger fingers.
Tenor – this is a great size for finger picking, and usually has a deeper sound than the soprano and concert ukuleles.
Baritone – the biggest of the lot, and not one I’d buy until your competent playing either of the above sized ukuleles.
A point to note is, the soprano, concert and tenor sized ukuleles are all tuned the same way, i.e. GCEA. This is an important consideration when buying a ukulele, as most ukulele sheet music is written with the tuning GCEA in mind. While baritone ukuleles are tuned the same as the top four strings of a guitar.
The Makala Dolphin is a soprano sized ukulele and a great place to start for kids and adults alike.
At Kapiti Junior Ukulele Group perform ‘Baby Bumble Bee’. The group range from 5 to 8 years of age. They are all beginners too, but I’m sure you’ll agree they do a good job of the song ‘Baby Bumble Bee’. Watch them perform it by viewing the video below.