Book Review - Kid's Guide to Learning Ukulele

Today's blog post is a throwback to when I was a bookseller in the Children's Department at Vroman's Bookstore, and one of our regulars was a music educator, and singer/songwriter, named Emily Arrow. Emily frequently writes songs based on popular picture books (here's her youtube channel), and would often stop by to check out the new releases and visit about kid's books. And just last month, she released an instructional book on how to learn the ukulele that I'm very excited about. 

Ukulele is one of those instruments that's pretty easy to pick up, especially for kids with some musical experience. A beginning instrument is not very expensive, and the neck & fretboard are the perfect size for little hands to get a start on a string instrument. With this book they'll learn about tuning, strumming, playing some beginning chords, learn up to 24 folk songs, and (my favorite) use the Song Recipe to write their own songs on the ukulele. The format is easy to follow, with lots of pictures, and the song layouts are intuitive to encourage consistent rhythm and tempo. 

So why am I talking about learning the ukulele on a piano studio blog? 

It's because I believe that the key to carrying music throughout your life is to continue being curious, to continually expand our learning in new directions, and, perhaps most importantly, to have fun with music. When students apply what we've learned about rhythm and musical flow to a new instrument it helps reinforce those crucial musical elements in their understanding. And trying a new musical avenue, even just for fun, gives students license to take ownership of their own musical journey, to be creative and to experience positive growth. 

When students are able to incorporate music into their daily lives & routines, they begin to identify as 'musicians', it becomes a part of who they are. And one of the big perq's of playing something like the ukulele is that it's very easily portable. It's the perfect instrument to take on family vacations or road trips for singalongs, or to easily have at hand for impromptu musical moments.

If you're interested in trying out Emily's approach, check your local independent bookstore!