The local graduates of Grant Elementary’s “Karate” course are breaking barriers, not boards.
Grant Elementary’s Ukulele Karate Class- Long Beach, CA
One of the biggest challenges facing educators today is how to provide engaging learning experiences for their students. Keeping everyone involved and invested in the lesson and experience is tough, especially with ever shrinking funding for arts programs, including music.
Music Education has been shown to uniquely tie a number of learning modes into one experience. Helping students grasp not only counting in time, but aspects of mathematics, physics and tactile coordination— as well as teamwork and interpersonal skills.
At Ohana, we believe in supporting our local and global programs dedicated to helping kids, adults, and those young at heart find their passion for making music. Some of the most rewarding projects we are involved in are dedicated to just that.
To keep his students engaged, Grant Elementary’s 5th grade teacher— and Local Ukulele Ambassador— Scott Karkanan has started “Ukulele Karate.” As students learn new chords and are able to play new material, they earn a colorful “belt” that affixes to the headstock of the ukulele. Having achievable goals for the year-long program helps keep the students invested in learning more about music and this unique instrument.
Ukulele Karate “Belt” Image Source: Scott Karkanen
At the end of each academic year, the participants of the after-school ukulele program put on a concert showcasing the skills and tunes they’ve pick up with Mr. K. Students learn songs from a number of genres— including current pop music, classic rock, and American folk standards. Youngsters that show particular prowess are invited to help lead some selections and also assist fellow students.
Ohana was more than happy to work with this local program to support student enrichment, and help students start their lifelong love of music! Check out the Ukulele Karate class in action in the video below!
Are you an educator working to keep music alive in your community? Share your stories. We’d love to hear how you’re working to bring more aloha to your school!