Ukuleles

RICHMOND, Va. — An elementary school teacher is pushing a music-education app here that ditches the recorder for the ukulele — with an accent on The Beatles over Beethoven.

“Within a couple of chords, you can find out a thousand songs. Students become instantly hooked,” said Samson Trinh, a saxophone player flipped instructor who based his Uke ‘n’ Roll program after looking for a fresh angle at the classroom.

30, Trinh, decided to bring the ukulele into his fourth- and fifth-graders in Glen Allen Elementary outside Richmond at 2012. He chose on music — think educated them 16 tunes on percussion and ukulele and Eight Days A Week rather than Ode, which they sang to.

“I was like, ‘Wow, they are really doing this. They’re soaking it in their own souls right now,’ ” Trinh said of the early courses. “I think that it would turn students on to find out their preferred Lady Gaga song, or Rhianna, or whoever they are listening to nowadays.”

He has since taken in courses for adults and pupils, and a sabbatical from teaching to showcase his Uke ‘n’ Roll program including in courses in public schools school.

“My whole goal is to be essentially the Jamie Oliver of music education,” said Trinh, speaking to the popular chef who’s campaigned against the use of processed foods from schools. “It’s something I really believe in, something I am passionate about, by sheer joy of music.”

Trinh said he committed a sort of institutional heresy when he decided to ditch classroom education of this recorder, a rite of passage of elementary school pupils, for the ukulele.

“The way I thought about it, that’s when students have a tendency to lose interest in music, because of this 1 instrument,” he explained.

Compared to a recorder’s progressions, enjoying sweet-sounding chords on a ukulele may alter the way a student attitudes reading and performing songs during their lives, Trinh said. The ukulele can be cheap and likewise kid sized, with ukes priced as low as $20.

“The children do this thing in their hands, and it simply makes sense. It is the size that is right. It’s enjoyable,” said John Gonzalez del Solar, owner of Fan Guitar and Ukulele in Richmond. By hosting weekly Uke ‘n’ Roll classes at his store, he collaborates. “You give a kid a ukulele for 10 minutes and he’s going to be talking about it for 3 weeks. That’s just the nature of the tool.”

When Americans bought more than a thousand ukuleles, according to the National Association of Music Merchants Ukuleles are as hot as ever with retail sales bursting to over $ 77 million in 2012.

Programs between the classroom and ukuleles are all currently occurring . Last month, ukulele maker Kala Brand Music Co. donated 1,200 tools to San Diego-based Guitars in the Classroom for a program in which students write songs in their ukuleles as a teaching tool for math science and social research. Ukeleles went to colleges.

Eight-year-old Kaden Blanchet, a third-grader in Glen Allen Elementary, said she liked the ukulele classes of Trinh that her parents bought her a ukulele to play at home, where she writes her own songs. 31, her mum Tonia Blanchet, explained it had been Kaden’s idea to have a birthday celebration this coming May, from Trinh himself, with an appearance.

“I actually enjoyed doing it as you may understand really, like, you can learn very quickly,” Kaden said. “And I love when you get to learn the chords that are new. You can put them together and attempt to create your own music with them after you learn them. You can sing along with it”

Lisa Thoms, 46, of King George, Va., along with her 9-year-old daughter Ainsley chose a Uke’N’Roll class with Trinh at last year’s UkeFestVA. She said Trinh passed out sheet music like Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog for his arrangements of tunes and Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours.

“It is like happiness,” Ainsley Thoms stated of her bamboo, goldfish-shaped ukulele. “It is a fun, joyful tool. It is really upbeat. It makes me smile.”

Brian Shane also reports for The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times.

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