Now we’re talking about gateways! Gateways to the world of music. As of late, many schools have bought ukuleles in large numbers. We hope that whole classes will come to the Ukulele Games, so that we will really become a World Record Ensemble. Anyone can learn three easy chords on a ukulele. Below pupils the 18th of March from a school on Gotland, Lyckåkerskolan in Visby.
The UKUZUKI method
In the mid-1980’s, I taught ukulele classes for four-year-olds. The UKUZUKI Method is certainly well-known. It is also used for the violin and flute, but then it’s called the Suzuki method. In my UKUZUKI classes, four or five children, each with a parent, sat on the floor in a circle and played and sang together. The parents and children made up the lyrics and we kept to one-chord numbers (an open D6, left hand free, just holding the head of the instrument). The ukulele was held onto the stomach by a strap and the children immediately became musicians. We sang Row,row, row your boat but with home made lyrics in Swedish. We played and sang Frère Jaques, The Farmer in the Dell, Kalle Anka satt på en planka, etc.
A couple of years ago, I was having a beer at Lottas Krog in Umeå and a guy, big as the broad side of a barn, served me: ”Aren’t you Thomas?” he asked. Yes. ”You taught me to play the ukulele!”And he’s still playing!. That was nice to hear. In 1987, he was four years old.
With all due respect, the recorder is a beautiful but actually quite difficult instrument to master, even if there is a very fine and educational intention in introducing them to young players. The recorder was once a relatively cheap instument, but since the 1990’s, when ukuleles could first be bought in six-packs for 800 kronor, the ukulele curve has been skyrocketing. This, along with the fact that the idols of popular music often play the magnum ukulele (a large, six-stringed ukulele, also called guitar…?), has contributed to the instrument’s popularity. Not to mention its portability.