The kids at one elementary school in eastern Toronto get to play ukuleles every week.
The ukulele lessons are thanks to Melanie Doane and James Hill, two musicians who helped launch the Ukulele in the Classroom program, an ongoing teacher-training program and ukulele teaching method.
A ukulele is a small string instrument that looks like a mini guitar.
It has a long neck and a hollow body, but instead of having six strings like a guitar, a ukulele only has four.
Making music with a uke is a good way for a big group of people to learn about and experience music.
“It’s a springboard into music,” says Doane.
A uke is small and affordable, so people of all ages can learn the basics of how to play, like plucking and strumming the strings.
From there, groups of ukulele players can learn how to play together to create harmony and layers.
After only a short time, even beginners can create melodies. “Because you can make music, it is so exciting,” says Doane.