Middle School

Middle School Ukulele

0.5 Credits
18 weeks
Open

Have you ever dreamed of playing the ukulele? Whether you want to play the ukulele for your family and friends, plan to be a professional performer, or just love playing music, this course is a great place to start. No prior music experience is needed. You will learn the fundamentals of music and the basic skills necessary to play a wide variety of music styles. Your guide will take you through each step of this journey towards becoming a skilled ukulele player and musician.

Competencies

Ukulele Basics

Students will demonstrate an understanding of ukulele basics by describing the elements of music, explaining the parts of the ukulele, describing tuning a ukulele, and playing open strings on the ukulele.

Playing Melodies Using Tablature

Students will demonstrate an understanding of playing melodies using tablature by explaining the five practice principles, describing left-handed skills on the ukulele, reading and playing ukulele tablature.

Strumming Chords on the Ukulele

Students will demonstrate an understanding of strumming chords on the ukulele by describing chord diagrams, explaining changing between chords, and describing chord quality.

Advanced Ukulele Skills

Students will demonstrate an understanding of advanced ukulele skills by playing a scale on the ukulele, creating new music through improvisation, and describing classical guitar influences and impacts on ukulele players.

Major Topics and Concepts

Module 01 Let’s Play Ukulele!

  • Define and recognize the basic elements of music: beat, rhythm, meter, pitch, dynamics, duration, and timbre.
  • Understand the relationship between time and sound in music.
  • Differentiate between melody and harmony in music.
  • Understand the three common types of ukuleles and their parts.
  • Understand how to care for and protect your ukulele.
  • Recognize strings by number and letter name.
  • Tune your ukulele.
  • Perform basic right-hand strumming and plucking techniques.
  • Strum the open strings with a steady beat.
  • Play melodies using open strings on the ukulele.
  • Pluck open strings with a steady beat.
  • Identify important information about two famous ukulele players.
  • Apply the Five Practice Principles.
  • Implement proper practice techniques.
  • Demonstrate correct left-hand form.
  • Read and interpret ukulele tablature.
  • Play a melody on the ukulele.

Module 02 Playing Melodies Using Tablature

  • Apply the Five Practice Principles.
  • Implement proper practice techniques.
  • Identify left-hand fingers by number
  • Demonstrate correct left-hand form.
  • Play a melody on the ukulele.
  • Read and interpret ukulele tablature.
  • Understand how copyright laws protect your music.
  • Explore ways that music concerts contribute to a community.
  • Play a familiar melody on the ukulele.

Module 03 Strumming Chords on the Ukulele

  • Read and interpret fretboard/chord diagrams.
  • Strum the A minor chord to accompany a melody.
  • Count to four in the Hawaiian language.
  • Strum the A minor and D dominant seventh chord progression to accompany a blues solo.
  • Use a common finger to change between two chords.
  • Use alternate fingering on two chords.
  • Identify the chord quality associated with a chord symbol.
  • Strum three chords (Am, A, and A7) using common fingers.
  • Strum a chord accompaniment to a piece of music.
  • Identify the chord quality of the A minor, A major, and A dominant seventh chords by listening.
  • Explore how changes in chord quality can affect the mood of a piece of music.
Module 04 Building Your Ukulele Skills
  • Play the C major pentatonic scale.
  • Use “hands separate” practice techniques to improve playing skills.
  • Describe strategies for creating improvised solos.
  • Create an improvised ukulele solo using the C major pentatonic scale.
  • Understand how classical guitar influences and impacts ukulele players.
  • Play a piece of music on the ukulele using classical guitar techniques.

Course Materials

You will need a playable ukulele (soprano, concert, or tenor) and a way to record and submit a video performance to your instructor. Because of the differences in tuning, baritone and bass ukuleles are not appropriate for this course.

A ukulele is “playable” if it is the correct size for the ukulele player, is easy to press the strings down against the frets, and plays in tune up and down the fretboard. There are three common types of ukuleles: soprano, concert, or tenor. If you do not already have a ukulele, you may want to seek the advice of an experienced ukulele player, a ukulele teacher, or your local music store.

Most ukuleles are strung for right-handed players, so that the right hand plucks the strings and the left hand presses the strings down against the frets. Many left-handed ukulele players play right-handed ukuleles. Many ukulele players and teachers recommend that left-handed students try playing on a right-handed ukulele when first learning. However, most ukuleles can be restrung for playing in a left-handed position if necessary.
This course is taught using a right-handed ukulele. Students choosing to use a left-handed ukulele will need to adjust accordingly.