Closely related to the guitar and gaining equal popularity in the general music classroom is the ukulele. The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawaiian interpretation of the machete (a small, guitar-like instrument). Building and learning ukulele can be done easily at both middle and high school levels. Ukulele kits can be purchased online at www.grizzly.com and assembled in the classroom for cross-curricular learning. This section will discuss several online resources available to include: Pineapple Pete's Uke School, Ukulele Underground, Ukulele in the Classroom, and tablature resources.
Pineapple Pete's Uke School may have a funny name, but this is a fantastic online source that may be used to augment teaching in the classroom or help practicing at home. This resource offers a series of lessons at three levels: beginners, basic, and advanced. All lessons include written instructions, imbedded audio, and imbedded video. The audio and video play examples for the student as well as playing exercises for practice. This site starts from the most basic fundamental of how to hold a ukulele and advances through finger-picking techniques. The exercises in the videos can be utilized for performance assessments in the classroom. Consider having students perform the assessments individually, as a group, or submit electronically.
This is another entirely online resource that utilizes videos for instruction. Ukulele Underground was started in 2007 to "help grow the next generation of ukulele players throughout the world." One of the major differences between Ukulele Underground and Pineapple Pete's is a lack of written instructions and sequencing in Ukulele underground. The videos however are very well put together and provide and excellent resource for students. This online resource is free and should be used as a supplemental material in the classroom. The videos are very upbeat and appropriate for all age-level learners. Instructors must remember and take into consideration that the lessons in Ukulele Underground are not sequenced and do not contain inherent assessments. That said, assessments can still be created through the videos. Simply find videos that are applicable to the unit of study and use exercises in the video to create assessments.
ukulele in the classroom
Ukulele in the Classroom is a written resource that offers a classroom curriculum for teaching ukulele. Materials available for purchase start with the basic book, Play Ukulele Today!, and expand through much more complicated concepts in Ukulele in the Classroom, Books 1-3. Each book comes as both a student and teacher version. The teacher version includes a detailed curriculum with lessons that include:
ukulele tablature resources
Just like guitar, consider the use of free online tablature resources. After leaving your class, students will mostly utilize tablature for further playing as most of the free resources that they will have available to them are in this format. The web resources below provide free access to ukulele tablature.
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- individual performance
- performance through digital media such as YouTube
- group performances (unison or different parts)
- recital performance
- public performance
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