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5 Reasons You Should Teach Ukulele

Sep 20, 2022 | Music Teacher Activities, Tips and Tricks for Music Teachers, Ukulele

5 Reasons You Should Teach Ukulele

Ever since Grace VanderWaal hit the stage in 2016 on America’s Got Talent, ukulele has been all the rage with elementary school students. In fact, according to the National Association of Music Merchants, there were almost 2 million ukuleles sold in the United States in 2021! So what’s all the fuss about?


Put a ukulele in a child’s hands, and you will have smiles for miles. First, they look like a mini guitar. That alone makes them exciting. Plus, kids love playing the ukulele. They love the sound, the size, and the many different styles of music they can play. They can’t WAIT to use them each week.

They’re easy to use

While ukuleles look like guitars, they are significantly smaller and much easier to play. They fit nicely into the smallest student’s hands, and the nylon strings are super easy on the fingers. It’s easy to press down on the strings and make them ring, so students have more success playing them than playing another string instrument like the guitar.

They’re light-weight and easy to hold. They’re also easy to take with you anywhere, so students can easily bring their own to school. And because they’re so cost effective, many parents will be willing to purchase one. In fact, they make a wonderful fund raiser.

They’re cost effective

You can buy your own inexpensive ukulele for between $40 and $60. That means a class set can be purchased for around $1,200. While this may be a budget killer at some schools, ukes can be used by every student in your school, including the little ones. Because everyone will use them, you may be able to write a grant and purchase a set.

Need some help in your search for cost effective ukuleles?

  • Amazon has some great options and will work with you when you are buying in bulk
    • Mahalo ukuleles are a good option. They sound pretty decent and stay in tune.
    • Kohala is another option that is a little pricier.
  • Musicians Friend is another good place to check out. They will also work with you if you give them a call.

There is so much music to play!

Once your students have learned about 5 basic chords, they can play TONS of music. Think everything from pop and country to traditional standards like Happy Birthday and Darling Clementine (am I aging myself?). Most kiddos love the pop music best, so why not let them play some of it. They only need to learn C, F, Am, and G to play SO MANY pop songs. Don’t roll your eyes. You know that’s what your students want to play. Why not go with it, and forget the hassle of fighting with them sometimes? Check out 15 songs using these 4 chords here.

They’re easy to teach

So this is a huge plus. You literally can’t find an easier instrument to teach than the Ukulele. Unless you’re comparing them to ORFF instruments or nonpitched percussion. In fact, following are a couple of great options for teaching songs on the uke without even pressing any of the strings:

  • Tune the ukulele in open C tuning to be able to easily play songs with the chord C.
  • Teach rhythms using only open strings. For example, you can play a chord progression while they play rhythms on only one string. It sounds like they’re playing real music, so your kiddos will be happy.

The best part about teaching ukulele, besides the smiling faces of your students, is that the uke is super easy to learn. Remember, you only need to be 3 lessons ahead of your students to be able to teach any new instrument, at least in the elementary school world.

What if you’re not sure where to start? I’m teaching a FREE masterclass On October 4th called 3 Picture Books to Use for Ukulele Practice. Not only will I give you some pointers about how to start out learning to play, but I’ll also be showing you 3 picture books you can use to help your students practice their ukes. Feel free to reach out for more information.

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