Ukulele for the Young Beginner

Ukulele for the Young Beginner: repertoire, theory and music games in the classroom 

My classroom method is now available for purchase on

This resource for teaching beginning fingerstyle ukulele may be used in both classroom settings as well as private lessons. The games are ideal for groups of children in grades K-3. (It should be noted that some of the activities are geared toward the younger student, while others are best for those who are older.)

Musical development is akin to language development. We learn how to make sense with sound by immersing ourselves in examples and then creatively experimenting with what we hear. Our mastery of verbal expression develops as we continually listen, interpret, symbolize and generate our own ideas. Musical understanding follows this same trajectory. As we learn new notes to play and read, we should also be given ample opportunities to improvise and notate our own ideas. In keeping with this developmental concept, Ukulele for the Young Beginner provides students with opportunities to explore music notation and creation in each chapter.

Children also learn through play and repetition. 19 of the 40 pieces in this text have accompanying games which provide students opportunities to reinforce musical knowledge in a fun way. These group games may be used as activators to introduce new musical concepts or to provide routine at the start and end of each lesson.

With the exception of 4 classical arrangements, all the pieces in this text are English-language folk songs. It is recommended that students sing each song before learning how to play it on their ukuleles. Many of the pieces in this resource are party songs that I learned as a child in Massachusetts during the 1970s. Other songs were picked up in my 10 years as a general music classroom teacher. Several tunes and games were acquired during my studies at the Kodály Summer Institute at Holy Names University in Oakland, California.

Here is a sample song from the book: Rocky Mountain

Here is a classical music arrangement from the method: Vivaldi’s Spring