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Beaver Dam fifth graders learning the ukulele

October 17, 2018 GMT

Beaver Dam Elementary School fifth-graders may all be proficient in playing “Tiptoe through the Tulips” soon. Ukuleles have been brought into the musical program, with students at Wilson and Jefferson Elementary School beginning to learn the instrument this week.

“I think it is kind of hard, but it is fun,” fifth-grader Nevaeha Smolen said.

Rick LaFleur, K-5 music educator for the Beaver Dam Unified School District, said that the district purchased a set as a trial run to see how well the students learn on the instruments.

“They will be separated to the other schools, so all the students in fifth grade get to use them,” LaFleur said.

Ukukeles can be played by notes or chords, LaFleur said. He has been focusing on teaching the students chords.

“We began on Monday with the students learning C on the ukulele and today (Tuesday) they are learning G and F,” LaFleur said. “They did learn note playing when they learned to play recorders. It’s a whole different aspect when you learn to play chords. It is also more popular to play ukuleles with chords and singing with it.”

The students seem to enjoy playing the ukulele, LaFleur said. It is a different skill than they have learned in the past.

“They are really adapting well,” LaFleur said.

The district also began using the Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music program this year. LaFleur said the students are able to learn with an interactive portion of the program where they can play along with the video.

“Weeks down the road, they will be able to switch between chords for a song,” LaFleur said.

Fifth-grader Cameron Privett is excited about that possibility.

“If I get a ukulele, I could play along with my dad’s guitar,” Privett said.

Fifth-grader Seth Webster already plays piano, saxophone and the recorder.

“It’s different,” Webster said about learning to play the ukulele.