Dec 08

Music Unit – Blues and Ukuleles

The ukulele is a surprisingly versatile instrument. For very little money you can get one that sounds good, stays in tune and is easy to play, and the Internet is full of learning resources for the classroom. I acquired one last week, downloaded a chord chart, and figured out the Blues in C, and how I’ll get a grade 7/8 classroom strumming it.

This week I aim to teach…

  • holding/strumming
  • fretting hand position,
  • 3 chords “I7 IV7 V7 in Key of C”
  • a well-known lick and
  • a strumming rhythm. 

The shuffle rhythm is precisely what drummer LaFrae Sci refers to as “The heartbeat of the blues,” so I’ll show her 8-minute video. We’ll do the interactions she suggests as a class, and then I’ll transfer the “heartbeat” rhythm to the strumming arm. (I also need to remember to find out how many lefties are in the group!)

I’m leaving tuning for later, although I’ll talk about it. I need to make sure the ukuleles start out in tune. I’m going to stress ear training every visit, but this week my first objective is to give them instant gratification, get them  “playing “something.” 

I’ll show the whole group each chord, count off into 3 groups, lead them through 12-bar Blues, swap groups and repeat.


To use TuxGuitar as a tab and notation editor for ukulele, choose Tracks→Properties and set up like the screenshot.

Screenshot, Tux Guitar app set a ukulele.