Learning an instrument is a life-long skill and passion. Our hope is that all students learn to love music throughout their lives. As educators, we want not only to teach our students the basics of music, but also to provide them with a gift that will last a lifetime. We want our students to be able to play and sing campfire songs, sing lullabies for their children, and have a creative outlet to express themselves when words are not enough. We have found that many students who struggle in their general education classrooms find success in Music class. Through learning to play the ukulele, students develop discipline, hard work, teamwork, fine motor skills, creative expression, and a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
With this grant, I was able to purchase enough ukuleles to complete my classroom set. I now have 30 ukuleles, enough for every student in each 5th and 6th grade general music class to have their own instrument to use at school. This keeps all students engaged and excited to learn about music and apply it to the ukulele. I was also able to purchase several sets of strings and tuners that will allow me to do my own maintenance on the instruments and keep them in tune.
My students are all very excited to have our very own ukuleles. A few have even gotten their own ukulele so that they can practice at home. For the majority of the students, who are not able to purchase their own, however, they are able to play a musical instrument at school. I have a group of students who come in during recess to practice. I am also training a few students who are interested to tune the instruments, and they have been putting in extra time to help me tune them before school!
I have especially enjoyed having the students work in small groups during class, and watching them problem solve and work together to put the chords and lyrics of the songs we are learning together. My students will be performing on the instruments (as well as singing) in our spring concert and are very excited to do so.
~ Margaret Brinkerhoff, Gregory Heights Elementary School