Ukulele Resources for the Elementary Music Educator
This year, I am adding four ukuleles to my classroom. I have had many students begin learning ukulele on their own time because it is a nicer solution for a parent than to buying them a guitar. When they brought the ukulele to me, I realized that I needed to find resources they could use for when they are learning at home and to encourage the learning in my classroom.
Tuning the Ukulele
Here is a list of tuners to help an elementary student to tune their ukulele:
- Guitar Tuna (Android or Google Play) – Do your students use Chromebooks or Android Devices? This Google Play app is free and will work on those devices (as long as your Chromebooks accept Google Play apps).
- Guitar Tuna (iOS) – If your students have access to an iOS device, then this free app has the option to show how to tune a variety of instruments, including ukulele.
- Ukutuner – This website makes it very intuitive to tune a ukulele. Tap the play button on a certain string and it will continuously play that sound until you press stop.
Learning to Play the Ukulele
Here is a very brief and small list of resources:
- UkuWorld – Ukutuner is apart of UkuWorld. This website is everything ukulele! As they write:
- “UkuWorld is the center for all your ukulele needs! Tune your ukulele with our advanced UkuTuner. Practice those difficult chords with UkuChords and step up your game by learning some ukulele scales with UkuScales. Don’t know where start? Go over to UkuGuides and read some of the comprehensive guides are just go over the quick tips. In the end, above all, enjoy playing your favorite songs on your ukulele and what better way to do that than with UkuTabs where you can find a huge amount of songs available at your fingertips. UkuWorld Community is here to offer you the ability to share your experiences with fellow ukulele enthusiasts and discuss. This in a friendly and respectful environment without too many bells and whistles. Login or register and come and join the fun!”
- Youtube Learn to Play Ukulele Videos
- Dr. Chris Russell has some excellent and useful ukulele resources on his website. When I perform a search, I find resources on tuning, books, and more. Check it out here.
- In addition, check out his play-along podcast here.
- Uke Can Do It! – A fabulous resource for ukuleles by music teacher Philip Tamberino.
- Ukulele 101: Beginner’s Guide to Ukulele in the Elementary General Music Classroom by NAfME member Kristin Loos
- Rainbow Ukulele Curriculum by Shelley Tomich
- https://www.theukulelesite.com/free-resources – Free ukulele resources and tutorials
- https://pro.riffstation.com/ – Riffstation is a free desktop application for Mac and Windows computers. Load any MP3 and Riffstation will automatically detect the chords and sync the chord diagrams with the music. You can also slow down the audio, change the pitch, isolate or mute guitar parts, loop specific sections and even sync a metronome!
My favorite ukulele group is the NJ music educator groups, The Two Ukes! You can check them out on the Facebook Page and on Youtube. If you are in northern NJ, come to one of their shows. They are excellent!
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com