3 Ways to Make Ukulele Playing Ridiculously Fun
Have you ever noticed that even the coolest instrument can become monotonous (ie. boring) to your students after what seems like a super short amount of time? There are a few reasons that happens.
First and foremost, your students are looking for instant gratification. They live in a time where you can order your favorite toy or a new video game and have it within a day or two. I mean, that’s pretty fast. All of life is like that, right? Groceries can be delivered within a few hours. You can talk to your grandparents over Facetime with just a click of a button, and you can watch your favorite movie before it’s even left the theater.
So it’s no wonder your students expect to be able to play any instrument in five minutes or less. You know that’s not in the realm of possibility, but they think everything should be learned in super speed. That’s why fun should be a part of your music classroom, no matter what you’re teaching.
Fun makes everything easier to learn, and, if we’re being honest, easier to teach. If your students are having fun, so will you. And who doesn’t want their job to be so much fun all the time, right?
So when you’ve been playing the ukulele (or any other instrument for that matter) for 3 weeks (basically 3 times), you’re not ready to hear, “We’re doing this again?!” That’s why you need to add elements to your music class that are ridiculously fun. Here are 3 strategies to help you do just that:
- Bring in the real music. Real music (for your students) doesn’t necessarily mean pop music, although that does help. They’re fine with anything that sounds like real music to them. Basically, this means you need to find accompaniment tracks that sound great. There are a few ways to do this.
- Create an accompaniment track using a platform like Soundtrap, Bandlab or Garage Band. All three of these platforms have loops that you can use to compose your own original accompaniment in whichever key you choose.
- Use a platform like Quaver Music that has plenty of accompaniment tracks to go along with their lessons.
- Use music your students love. It’s o.k., really. As a music teacher, of course you have goals to help your students learn to love all genres of music, but as the old adage goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Sometimes it’s just fine to give in and let them play all the pop songs. They will love you and the uke so much more than if they have to play Hot Cross Buns and Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
- Add some movement. It’s so much fun to add a little movement when you’re teaching an instrument. One of the best times to do this is when the chords are too hard. For example, if you’re teaching Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls, most of the song is the chords C, Am, and F. Super easy for your kiddos to play, and so much fun, because they all know it. You can even use the actual song on YouTube to play along. There is one part that is trickier, and on that part, why not let your students get up and dance?
Adding some fun to your day is the best way to keep your students interested and learning. Plus, they will learn to trust that when they come to your class, it will always be an amazing musical experience. Try it, you just might like it.
Looking for more ideas on how to add fun to your music classroom AND keep your students learning? Check out my private Facebook Group, The Music Teacher Group.