The main point of this website is to provide other teachers with the opportunity to learn from my experiences delving into the world of ukulele, and specifically using ukulele as a method of music instruction in the classroom. That, and this provides me a way to help me organize my thoughts and leave myself a time capsule of where I was in my educational journey...
I didn't realize just how much I really did with ukulele this year until I stopped and looked back...it's been a busy year! Thinking back, I gave 5-6 different clinics for teachers, attended several myself, created a new ukulele ensemble (DeKalb Homeschool Ukulele Orchestra), built a cigar box ukulele, and continued to refine my book and instructional materials. In addition, I got to meet Jason Segel (also a ukulele player) and have him sign my polkalele, and my fretted orchestra got to play for and with Craig Robinson, who of course also signed the polkalele!
One of my continuing frustrations this year is that it seems that most of what I see out there for classroom teachers is still primarily focused on strumming chords only, and how "easy" it is. If you know me, you know that I find "easy" to be one of the most damaging pedagogical words in the English language.
But that's a rant from another time.
I've been lucky enough to add to my fleet of instruments within my classroom, and start down the road to being able to check out instruments to students to take home to practice. This has allowed me to experience some new brands and types of ukes that I hadn't gotten the chance to check out before, bringing in some of the hits and misses...
It's this time of year that we as classroom teachers are already in planning stages for next year's classes. We find out what classes we will be teaching, or what latest pedagogical methods our school has decided to employ for next year, and take a look back at what has been successful in the past year to figure out how to approach next year. So take a look at my flops, foibles, and successes in the next few blog entries. Perhaps they will be of use to you.
Paul Marchese is a middle-school vocal & general music teacher at Hadley Jr. High in Glen Ellyn, IL. He became a ukulele enthusiast several years back, and has been working to help other music teachers find the best way to utilize this instrument in their own classrooms.
Got A Ukulele?