Ahhhh! A well earned week off with the Thanksgiving Holiday. One of the best ideas from the bargaining team I was on. Then, a week at Keoki Kahumoku's Hawaiian Music and Lifestyle workshop. (http://www.konaweb.com/keoki/).
This last week we had another 'ukulele club meeting. I think we had about 50. They divided into groups and started jamming on some songs. Had about 4 groups. Karsten had a large group and was in heaven playing my Lehua tenor that I recently outfitted with a pickup. I also recently picked up 2 practice amps for $10 each off craigslist. Karsten really enjoyed playing my uke with the amp and had all the kids around him enthralled. He was showing them something. I was working with some kids who are just learning some chords and wanted to learn Island Style.
On Wednesday I did a video of Karsten playing. I will do some editing of it and post it at a later date. It is about 10 minutes long. He is getting better and better. A couple of the science teachers were commenting on how nice it is to hear and see all the 'ukuleles on campus and how good Karsten is. Let's me know that I am doing the right thing.
I will try to post more later. It has been a long week with parent/teacher conferences and lesson planning for a sub the week after Thanksgiving.
Well the first quarter is over and I have taught 24 students the basics of playing the ukulele. They did not want to rotate to their next elective so I may start with a lunch time jam for the alums of the class.
They learned the basic C scale and how to read simple musical notes. I decided not to teach them to read tabulature. They learned the basic chord progressions for G, C and F as well as some in A (they wanted to learn Drop, Baby Drop so I used Aldreine's video from Ukulele Underground). I also taught them the picking part and they did really well.
This next group of 26 may be a bit more challenging but I think they will get into the groove in the next week. It is always a challenge when they first start. It is different and new.
I decided to put a pickup into my Lehua tenor that I use at school as I found that when I used a small practice amp they would stay together better as far as beat and tempo. So now I can plug in my Po Mahina and the Lehua. All I have to do now is restring the Lehua with the high G, though I am still hesitant, not sure why.
The Ukulele Club after school is going strong. We had about 60+ at the last meeting. We were competing with an after school volleyball game against the other middle school in the district. The kids who don't play are learning basic chords and strum. I am going to try to get those who do play to bring in some of their music and let them use my Lehua, plugged in, to jam together. My challenge is to keep those who play already engaged in the club so that as students learn more they can jam and play together. It is a large group and they are all pretty enthusiastic. Since I am doing the Club every other week there are a number of kids who come by on the off Tuesday with their ukuleles wanting to come and play. Sometimes I have a few of them hang out in my room and do minor repairs to tuning pegs or restring an instrument. They are funny these kids. They think that doing these things is magical.
I'm a middle school teacher who enjoys playing the ukulele. I have started a ukulele club at my middle school and with the 2009-2010 school year I am now teaching an elective class for 6th graders - Beginning Ukulele.
I play regularly with the Royal Hawaiian Ukulele Band at the Templebar in Berkeley. I am trying to figure out how to play more.