Today went fairly well. I brought in my porta-kit, small bass drum, snare, and HH. Rolled the drums in on a dolly, carried my Taylor backpack. Carried the dolly upstairs. Tuned the 6 ukes. Setup the kit as the kids came in. Played some drums for them. Then split the set into separate pieces. Taught them to play a drumset pattern, each one playing a different instrument. Then I passed out the ukes to 3 kids who remembered the chords from last week. We strummed the chords along with the drums. We went round-robin on the concept for most of the class.
I told them that I would be loaning the black uke to the person I saw trying the hardest and listening the best. If they practiced the chords, took care of the uke, and brought it back next week, I would loan them a guitar and give the uke to someone else.
It was a toss-up between the R brothers and J. I gave the uke to A. He asked me if he could keep it, meaning indefinitely. I told him each would have an instrument for 2 weeks. I told the kids, “We can make this better and better if we work together, if we work with each other as a team.” All in all, we had the entire class playing more or less in sync for a good portion of the time. The kids asked if they could play ukes at the performance. I told them that’s the plan. I had the kids help pack up the instruments then lined them up.
-George Yellak, SWAN music teacher
The names of students are represented by a letter for privacy reasons.