Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lower School Uke Jam!




Happy... March?
Red Burst Soprano Dolphin
In the Lower School, we're celebrating the arrival of spring with ukuleles! While fourth-years have been playing ukuleles throughout the school year, third-years were focused on recorders, and River and Sky classes (first and second grade for you non-CFS'ers) have been rocking out on drums, xylophones, and small percussion.

Exciting for this year in particular is that I've finally been able to replace the last of our old, not-so-good ukuleles with Makala dolphins and sharks. This is a big leap in quality (though only a small leap in cost), leading to better sound, much better intonation, and less frustration for beginning players. Plus, they look awesome!

Our youngest students are learning good playing position, steady down-strumming, and the open strings. We're connecting the pitches of the strings to songs they've learned and xylophone notes--a great match for ukulele since the first three strings are G-C-E, or sol, do, mi, the primary notes of many teaching songs. We'll also learn the C chord.

Third-years review all of the above, plus we learn to fingerpick the notes B-A-G, the first three notes they learned on recorders in the Fall (conveniently, the fourth note they learned, E, is an open string). We'll even play some of our recorder songs on the ukulele. If time allows, we'll learn more of the C scale as well as another chord or two.

Fourth-years have already learned all this, so our next task is to learn to strum the chords to this week's song of the week, Ben Harper's "With My Own Two Hands." It uses three chords we've learned, C, F, and G7, plus one other one-finger chord, A minor. We're using the tune as sung by Jack Johnson with Ben Harper (you can hear it during the credits of the Curious George movie!), but my favorite version for listening is Ben Harper's original, which you can check out here. It's an easy song to play and to sing, and a great reminder of how each of us has the power to make a difference in the world.

With My Own Two Hands
Ben Harper

 C                                 F              C
I can change the world, with my own two hands
                                    F             C
Make it a better place, with my own two hands
                                    F               C
Make it a kinder place, with my own two hands
                Am                 G7          C
With my own, with my own two hands

C          F           C
I can make peace on earth, with my own two hands
                           F             C
I can clean up the earth, with my own two hands
   F    C
I can reach out to you, with my own two hands
       Am       G7      C
With my own, with my own two hands
       Am       G7      C
With my own, with my own two hands

C        F C
I’m gonna make it a brighter place, with my own two hands
                                           F    C
I’m gonna make it a safer place, with my own two hands
                      F    C
I’m gonna help the human race, with my own two hands
       Am       G7      C
With my own, with my own two hands
       Am       G7      C
With my own, with my own two hands

C                    F C
I can hold you, with my own two hands
     F      C
I can comfort you, with my own two hands
     F        C
But you got to use, use your own two hands
        Am        G7       C
Use your own, use your own two hands
Am        G7       C
Use your own, use your own two hands

       Am        G7       C
With our own, with our own two hands
       Am        G7       C
With our own, with our own two hands
       Am        G7       C
With my own, with my own two hands

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