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From The Ukulele Yes! Vault
Re-prints of vintage Ukulele Yes! articles

This is an excerpt from Jody Wood's excellent three-part article A Pedagogical Trio which also included "Teaching to Different Levels in One Class" and "Demonstration Lessons."

Teaching the Parents to Play
By Jody Wood

Ukulele Yes! Vol. 5 (1980). p. 12

One of the most important ingredients in the success of any ukulele program is parental interest and support. All students need help and guidance at home as well as from the teacher. It is necessary to make the parents aware of the importance of their role in their child’s achievement. One of the best ways of doing this is by having a parents’ meeting shortly before or after the new ukulele classes have begun. At these meetings the teacher can describe the program, demonstrate the instrument, emphasize the importance of regular practice and attendance, give details as to where and how to obtain a ukulele of good quality and suggest ways in which the parents can help their children.

Everyone has a good time and there is a terrific fringe benefit. Many of the parents have enjoyed the session so much that they have enrolled in the adult ukulele classes.

Even if the parents are committed to the ukulele program, many are concerned because they don’t have any musical background and feel that can’t help their children. In Halifax for the past two years we have added a new facet to the parents’ meeting – we teach them to play the ukulele.

All parents are encouraged and invited to bring their child’s ukulele and book to the meeting where a short ukulele lesson is taught. It is designed to include the basics of playing and methods for understanding the book [Classroom Ukulele Method by J. C. Doane -- Ed.] – how to hold the instrument, how to strum, how to interpret chords and notes from the diagrams, how to play chords with a song from music, how to read and pick notes from the music and how to play the [major] scale. With the amount of knowledge the parents can help their children and listen to them practice with understanding.

The idea has been very well received. By the end of the lesson, everyone is singing Tom Dooley and This Old Man with great enthusiasm. Everyone has a good time and there is a terrific fringe benefit. Many of the parents have enjoyed the session so much that they have enrolled in the adult ukulele classes.

Jody Wood is former Music Coordinator for SD8, New Brunswick, and a former co-director of the Halifax "A" Ukulele Ensemble. She is the author of two ukulele books: Doane Ukulele Level 1 Skills and Technique and Doane Ukulele Level 2 Skills and Technique.

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In This Issue: PRELUDE IDEAS & LETTERS UKULELE REPORTS INTERVIEW FEATURE ARTICLE FREE ARRANGEMENT PEDAGOGY CORNER FROM THE VAULT