Ukulele is becoming more and more popular in general music classes, even beginning to be more popular than the recorder. But why is ukulele such a great instrument for schools? Here’s my take on this question.
Makes you Smarter
Music study is wonderful for students because making music expresses emotion, builds community and makes you smarter. School music programs are often cut first in times of fiscal crisis, but I feel that the benefits of music study are so great that it should remain in school curriculums no matter how tight the budget. And the portable, affordable ukulele is just the ticket to keep school music programs alive in the current atmosphere of budget reduction and standardized testing.
There is a reason that all human cultures embrace music. Playing music is great for one’s emotional health. Music can change and release emotion; it can match one’s current emotion, provide joy or comfort; and it can relieve stress. In school, music classes are often places where students feel emotionally safe and have fun.
Builds the Community
Playing the ukulele builds community. Students play and sing together. Strumming chords together with a steady beat requires concentration and listening to each other. Students use their eyes, ears, and sense of touch to achieve this goal: a unified creation with a beginning, middle, and end, occurring within time. Such a creation is called a song, which seems simple, but playing and singing with others creates a sense of cohesion that can unify a whole class.
Easy to Learn
The Ukulele is relatively easy to learn. Students build a sense of accomplishment as they master the basics of the instrument and gradually move on to more challenging mater playing ukulele and singing can make you smarter.
Neuroscientists have discovered through the use of MRI’s that while simply listening to music lights up many areas of our brains, playing an instrument lights up almost all of the areas of the brain. It’s like fireworks going off! These MRI results make sense because playing an instrument requires the use of both the left and right hands, understanding mathematical concepts when creating rhythms, using speech centers to sing lyrics and using the amygdala (emotional center of the brain) to feel what the music is trying to say. Music is perhaps the most fun kind of brain workout a human being can have!
I believe we should never think of cutting music programs as an alternative when times are tight. The benefits to students are too great: emotional health, strengthened the sense of community, and neurological growth. So let’s look to the happy little instrument from Hawaii as a way to keep the benefits of school music study flowering in the lives of our students.
I hope you now understand why ukulele is such a great instrument for schools. If you’d like to try a book that teaches all these great concepts to your students, why don’t you try Ukulele for All?
- Unique UFA pedagogy begins with one chord songs to give students instant success as they learn solo and ensemble skills.
- For today's digital learners, the INTERACTIVE Practice studio - included free - offers multi-screen video lessons, play-along recordings, and more for every song in the book.
- The informative Teacher Edition will make it easy for you to succeed with teaching ukulele.
Get your copy now!