March 10, 2020

Inspired by Music- Learning How to Play the Ukulele at CDC!

By Valerie K. & Sonya T.

We love supporting creativity in our classrooms! Sonya Thompson over at Canyon View CDC in Irvine had recently been awarded a grant from Shirley Orlando on behalf of Island Bazaar in Huntington Beach, CA that included ten ukuleles for the students. Thompson was hired as a Teacher at CDC last August 2019 and has been taking classes at a local ukulele store. She introduced the children to music by using her own ukulele. The children became so enthusiastic that they wanted to teach each other! Site Supervisor, Adrian Turley, utilized this opportunity to purchase four ukuleles for the program. 

The children decided to create a music club and named it Music Legends. Thompson introduced classical music to the students through orchestrations they had to identify while listening individually, and as a group, during music club every Tuesday and Thursday during the fall. 

Not long after, the students brought their band and string instruments to share with 3rd through 6th graders during music club! There were two saxophones, one baritone, one flute, two clarinets, one viola, and two violins in the ensemble. 

Thompson mentioned that she sometimes orchestrates a listening game that requires the students to interpret and write down what song they think is playing, and what movie the song is in. 

“They also have recognized John Williams as the current popular writer of “Star Wars” and “Home Alone”. They love this game a lot,” says Thompson. 

“After receiving the ten new Ukuleles this past January, we have volunteer Ukulele class where I write on the dry erase board Ukulele chords and whoever wishes on that Tuesday or Thursday opens their instrument and we all strum along to beginner songs they like and know.”  

Some of the songs include: 

“Row Row Row Your Boat” 

“Down By The Bay” 

“You Are My Sunshine” 

“Pearly Shells” 

“Jingle Bells” 

“Wonderful World” is the newest song they’ve been working on. Thompson created a binder that featured a beginner Ukulele book, including songs that the students have mastered and learned how to play. 

Some students from 3rd-6th grade will visit the Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade classrooms to play the Ukuleles for their peers. 

“Getting all the children to sing together is a big goal of ours.”