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Hi,  I teach music to grades 4-8 in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. (30 minutes from Niagara Falls)

My grade 6 and 7 kids loved learning to play the ukulele this year.  In the past I taught the kids using static music but this year I tried something new and what a success it was.  I created a 21 video program that plays each song at three different tempos and the kids get to follow along with a bouncing ball.  

They love it because they never get lost and the music has a rock band accompaniment which makes the songs a little funny.  I love it because I get to save my voice and I can walk around and help kids who are having problems.  They loved playing as they learned how to play all the little kids songs like Baa Baa Black Sheep, The Itsy Bisty Spider and their all time favourite "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ".  The grade 7's actually loved singing along with the songs, reminiscing their early years as little kids.  Somedays I was smiling ear to ear at their enthusiasm with sining these little kid songs.  I kept giving them songs with harder and harder chord progressions and strumming patters yet still using the same three chords, C F and G7.  

At the end of the unit, I took them to the kindergarten room and they buddied up with a little one.  My kids played the ukes, everyone sang and the kids felt like rock stars.  Then the magic began, my big kids started teaching the little ones how to play the C chord on the uke.  It was such a memorable day for everyone.  The kindergarten children wrote us thank you letters and my big kids begged to have a playdate again.  It was such a great way to get them to perform without the big pressure of going on a stage. 

The next day I took them onto the internet and gave them a son with 6 new chord.  MeleKalikimaka.   They had never seen these chords before..... and in 20 minutes they were playing the song!  Basic chord structure was stuck in their brains and they could apply it to new learning!!!!!   I was so proud of them!  

I will be presenting this program at next years 2016 Ontario Music Educators Association Music Conference in Toronto Ontario.  Or you can check it out at www.funmusicforbeginners.com

Denise Blaney has been an elementary music classroom teacher since 1993. She recently presented a ukulele workshop to 80 music teachers at the 2014 Ontario Music Educators Association Annual conference. She will be presenting again at next year's OMEA conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.