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.
Do you need to replace your strings on your ukulele? If so the easy to follow video (a kid’s words, not mine) below demonstrates how to do it.
Haere Mai is a Maori song of welcome, performed by the Kapiti School Junior Ukulele Group. They have been taught by my colleague Richard Bamlett. I’m sure you’ll agree they do a great job. Watch them perform it by viewing the video below.
Find the Five Foot Two chords here. It is easy to play even though it has five chords – C, E7, A7, D7, G7.
To get an idea of how the song sounds take a look at the video in the post Five Foot Two
To view our other videos visit our YouTube channel ukulele 4 kids.
View our other song chords page.
Let me know what you think, and I hope you enjoy playing it.
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
The Wiggles Ukulele Baby DVD is great viewing for kids. The Wiggles play a compilation of 21 songs within an island beach theme. The ukulele is one of the main instruments used. There is a lot of singing and dancing that all kids can join in. It certainly kept my young son dancing and singing, and dad had to join in too.
Who’s in the DVD? All four wiggles, Murray Wiggle, Jeff Wiggle, Anthony Wiggle and Sam Wiggle. There’s also Captain Feathersword, I think he is cool! Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wag the Dog, Henry the Octopus and Ringo the Ring Master. Also featured are special guests Daryl Somers and Rolf Harris. Rolf plays his wobble board, this took me back to my childhood, watching Rolf on television listening to his Australian accent.
There are musicians from around the world playing a variety of instruments. Note, there is no instruction on how to play the ukulele, and it isn’t played in every song.
The main feature lasts nearly 60 minutes. The special features last for nearly 30 minutes, so all up nearly 90 minutes of viewing. This should keep youngsters who like the Wiggles engaged, allowing mums and dads the time to have a quick cup of tea and a biscuit.
It’s rated ‘G’ or ‘U’ so it is suitable for anyone. Get it from your local library first, and if your kid(s) enjoy it expect to pay about $19 NZ for your own copy.
My favourite lyrics from the songs are a good way to finish this review are,
“You can play the ukulele daily.”