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Teaching Kids

This group is for kids who play the ukulele and the people who teach them. Questions? Ask away... but only with permission from a parent, please.

Members: 17
Latest Activity: Jul 27, 2014

Discussion Forum

teaching my grandson uke

Started by Jim Sober Oct 17, 2009. 0 Replies

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Comment by Jim Yates on February 5, 2014 at 4:04pm

Grandfather's Clock

Here is one of my past students who has taken a break in order to study violin.  Kyle is great kid with a great ear.  Five minutes before the end of each lesson, we'd call his mom or dad down to hear what we'd been doing.  His mom got out her phone for this tune.

Comment by Jim Yates on June 28, 2013 at 9:55pm

Here's another one that kids enjoy a lot.  It's a happy song in spite of the fact that there are two deaths.

 Carl Martin

It was (F) late one (C) night by the (F) pale moon(C)light
All the vegetables (G7) gave a (C) spree;

They (F) put out a (C) sign said the (F) dancing's at  (C) nine
And (D7) all the admissions were (G7) free,
There was (F) peas and (C) greens and (F) cabbage and (C) beans
It was the biggest crowd you (G7) ever did (C) see;
And when (D7) old man cucumber (Db7) struck up that (D7) number
You (G7) should have heard those (Gdim) vegetables (G7) scream
Oh the  (A7) little turnip top was doin' the backwards flop
The (D7) cabbage did the shimmy, she (Db7) couldn't (D7) stop
The (G7) little red beet (Gdim) shook its (G7) feet
And the (C) watermelon died of the cockeyed heat;
(A7) Little tomato, agitator, (D7) shook the shimmy with the (Db7)sweet po(D7)tato
And (F) old man (Fmi) garlic dropped (C)dead of the (A7) colic
(D7) Down at the (G7) barnyard (C) dance
this (A7)morning.
(D7) Down at the (G7) barnyard (C) dance.

F-2010   C-0003   G7-0212   D7-2223 or 2020   Db7-1112   Gdim-0101   A7-0100   Fmi-1013  

Comment by Jim Yates on June 28, 2013 at 11:53am

I have taught this song to kids since 1967 and it is one that seems to delight them all.  Sometimes I leave out the first verse.  I learned it from a 10" Folkways LP by the NLCR.

Hopalong Peter from New Lost City Ramblers
(C) Old Uncle Peter, he got tight
Started up to heaven one (G) stormy night
The (C) road being rough and (F) him not well
He (G) lost, his way and he went to ...

(C) Hopalong Peter where you goin'?
Hopalong Peter where you (G) goin'?
(C) Hopalong Peter won't you (F) bear in mind
I (G) ain't comin' back 'til the gooseberry (C) time.

Old mother Hubbard and her dog were Dutch
A bow-legged rooster and he hobbled on a crutch
The hen chewed tobacca and the duck drank wine
The goose played the fiddle on the pumpkin vine.

Hopalong Peter...

Down in the barnyard playing 7-up
The old Tom cat and the little yellow pup
Old Mother Hubbard she's a-pickin' out the fleas
The rooster's in the cream jar up to his knees

Hopalong Peter...

I've got a gal in this here town
If she weighs an ouce she weighs 700 pounds
Every time my sweet gal turns once around
The heel of her boot makes a hole in the ground

Hopalong Peter...

Comment by Barb Phoenix on June 27, 2013 at 8:29pm

Can anyone send kid friendly songs for the uke.  I'm a ventriloquist and I start my shows with the kids singing.  I'm getting tired of old MacDonald....

Comment by Michael Haynes on July 14, 2012 at 3:17am

The elementary school club I direct has students who prefer both methods. Sorta depends on the person/student. When I talk to my students, I tell them that the tabs are sometimes easier for beginners, but I really want them to become competent musicians, but some play for fun, others for knowledge. Can't win. Just play!

Comment by Jim Yates on November 13, 2011 at 1:20am

Octopus's Garden is a song that kids like and is also easy to chord.  Start with a C chord played with the ring finger, then go to Ami with the middle finger, Then drop the index on the second string, making an F, then, leaving the index on the first fret 2nd string, drop your middle finger onto the third string, 2nd fret and your ring finger on the first string, 2nd fret.  The same chords in a different order are used for the "I'd ask my friends..." part of the song. 

The tune can be played in this key using the first three strings.


I have a couple of questions.  Do you use tab to teach single string melody playing or standard notation?  Do you think a low G tuning is best for single string melody playing?

Comment by Michael Haynes on September 20, 2011 at 3:31pm
How about Nobody Likes Me (commonly called Guess I eat some worms) Use key of F and C7. It's an easy starter.
Comment by Noel Tardy on September 20, 2011 at 10:12am
I'm looking for songs that will interest 11 year old boys. Suggestions please!
Comment by Jim Yates on September 20, 2011 at 9:29am

Eve is a popular Toronto singer/ songwriter who has been a volunteer at the Shelter Valley Folk Festival.  Although this article is more about teaching adults, I think it might be useful here too.

Comment by Jim Yates on September 20, 2011 at 9:24am
I have two kid uke students at our local music store.  At my suggestion, their moms are sitting in on the lessons and each has bought her own ukulele.  I have started having them play duets with one rhythm uke and one lead uke.

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