• About the Ukulele

    Portuguese immigrants brought small guitar-like instruments with them to Hawaii in the 1880's. The ukulele became and important part of Hawaiian music and culture. The word "ukulele" (pronounced oo-koo-leh-leh) means "jumping flea." The ukulele was introduced to the mainland United States at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Today, it is a popular instrument around the world.

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    Instructional Videos


    Ukulaliens: Ukulaliens is the Cwmtawe school ukulele club. Ukulele play along videos featuring chord diagrams, lyrics and suggested strum patterns.


    Cynthia Lin: Helpful tutorial lessons for strumming, finger picking and chords.


    Andy Ramos: Play along videos featuring chord diagrams and lyrics, and tutorial videos.


    Visual Musical Minds: Play-along videos and songs.


    Jake Shimabukuro: Inspiration by one of the world's top ukulele players.


    Why teach it in school?

    One of the traditional standards in music education is to get students performing alone and with others. Ukulele is a satisfying instrument to play by yourself and is amazing to play with others. Many other instruments also fit this bill but the ukulele lends itself well to singing and playing at the same time, and thus is especially appropriate for our general music classes. In addition, Ukuleles are a relatively inexpensive instrument, and the smaller size makes it both portable and easier for smaller hands to play. 


    In the ukulele unit, students learn pitch, rhythm, harmony, expression, chords and melodic lines. Once a student understands how to read TAB and can play 3-4 chords, the number of songs and styles they can learn is almost unlimited.


    In addition to TAB and traditional notation, we use chord diagrams to help new ukulele students learn to play their chords. A chord diagram shows you exactly which finger you need to put where in order to play a certain chord.


    How to read a ukulele chord chart (follow this link for more details)

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    Tuning and other information

    How to tune your ukulele

    For more information about the ukulele and songs to play go to: Ukulele music info


    Where can I get one?

    At Galileo we have a class set of ukuleles that your student can use, however if you wish to purchase one for at home practice they are available at almost any music store, usually near the guitars. The specific look and style may be slightly different depending on the brand, but the basic sound and technique of the instrument is the same.