Rockin’ the Ukulele with Quaver!

by Abby @ Quaver on March 10, 2017

in At Quaver HQ

We are excited to welcome February’s Teacher Feature Alex Kayser to the blog! During the webinar he shared his custom Ukulele lesson, and today he is offering tips for teachers who are interested in implementing ukuleles into their own classroom.

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Take it away, Alex!

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Are you looking to add an instrument unit to your curriculum that will be relatively cheap, accessible, and most of all fun? I searched for years for a solution for students who were craving to learn guitar. Last year, I discovered the combination of the Quaver Curriculum and a class set of ukuleles, and it’s proved to be the perfect solution!

Here’s how it worked for me:

Assign “Uke Buddies”

I received 15 ukuleles through a Donors Choose project. Don’t be afraid to spend the extra money to get quality ukuleles, they will last longer and stay in tune when your students start rocking! I pair students with a “Uke Buddy” and encourage them to take turns and collaborate.

Introduce in 4th grade

I start the Quaver Ukulele Unit with 4th graders and continue to build on their skills when they return in 5th grade. During the first few weeks we watch the hilarious talk show styled introduction videos, explore the detailed IWB Fretted Instrument Anatomy screens, and learn how to tune. Teaching the students how to tune their instruments may sound like a pain, but with the awesome Quaver visuals, some digital tuners, and patience, you’ll appreciate the student’s ability to independently tune in future lessons!

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Take Your Time

The Quaver Ukulele Unit follows a very logical and smooth sequence including: learning to play open strings, playing scales, steps, and skips, learning three easy chords, and culminating with performance! I’ve found that I can stretch most of the lessons out over many weeks – so don’t be afraid to take your time and have fun with all that Quaver has to offer!

Customize

I LOVE customizing lessons in Quaver. So, once my students know the three basic chords (C, F, G7), I use the Resource Manager to pull slides and songs from the Quaver library and insert chord charts I create in Photoshop using the “Add Screen” feature! We’ve played everything from Spanish folk songs to famous pop tunes!

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Spanish Folk Song Chord Chart

Don’t take my word for it! Navigate to the Special Project under the 5th Grade Curriculum right now and dive into the fun world of ukulele! You’re students will be rocking on their ukes in no time!

How to access Quaver’s Ukulele Resources:

  1. Log in to QuaverMusic.com
  2. Click the Teacher Tab to navigate to the Teaching Resources
  3. Click the Curriculum icon located to the left of the Teacher Dashboard
  4. Head to 5th Grade
  5. Choose Special Projects

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Do you use Quaver’s Ukulele resources in your classroom?

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melody March 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for sharing! I have been diving into the ukulele unit as well. I like the advice to teach them how to tune themselves bc I have been doing it myself and it is time consuming. I will definitely check out the webinar for more info :)

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2 Linda Creasap March 15, 2017 at 10:41 am

I was so excited to see that Quaver has a ukulele unit! I remember growing up in the 60s (yes I’m that old!) how classmates would bring ukuleles to school and play them in our free time. It was a great stepping stone for my little fingers to transition to the guitar. My 2nd graders just love it when the ukuleles come out to play. I’ve found lots of different ideas to try, for example, adding the Orff instruments to play the melody while ukuleles strum the chords. Because of their age I do have to make a few adjustments (& tuning), but seeing the smile on their faces is priceless.
“Miss” Linda
Pine St. Elementary
Spartanburg, SC

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3 Alex Kayser March 20, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Love the idea of combining the Orff instruments with the ukuleles!

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4 Sarah Thompson March 15, 2017 at 11:29 am

We love the ukulele unit!! I started it with my 6th graders to get a handle on things before jumping in with my 5th graders. Both groups are having a blast and catching on very quickly. Many of my 5th and 6th graders received ukuleles for Christmas and are excited to bring them in and learn how to play.

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5 Nicole March 15, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Love the Uku! My 5th and 6th graders love writing Uku Jams in QStrum. No the fingerings are not the same as guitar but the chords are! We write a QStrum and then layer a QBackbeat over it to create our own unique pieces!

Can we get Uku added to Qstrum??? And some more advanced chords???
Love it
Uku it up!

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6 Abby @ Quaver March 15, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Hi Nicole,

We have exciting news for you because a ukulele and beginner guitar option will be added to QStrum on March 31st!

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7 Philip Gorden March 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

What size (soprano or concert) ukuleles do you recommend to buy for 4th and 5th grade students. I am trying to get a class set and need to put together a proposal. Thanks

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8 Alex Kayser March 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Hey Phillip! I originally went with all soprano ukuleles because they were slightly cheaper, but have also acquired a few concert ukuleles that the students love! I have not noticed a difference in the student’s ability to play the different sizes, but they do like that the concert ukuleles have a louder and clearer tone!

Regardless of the size you decide on I would highly recommend spending the extra money to get instruments that have quality construction and tone!

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9 Philip Gorden March 21, 2017 at 9:31 am

Do you have a brand that you recommend?

Reply

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