My son, Daniel, is in the second grade. The other day, he expressed an interest in learning to play the Baritone Ukulele. I showed him the basics, and he was quickly making music on his own. Remembering that experience, I thought it might be a good time to briefly discuss some ukulele resources we use with our KWA kids.
Baritone Ukuleles are normally tuned similar to a guitar, but we have chosen to turn ours to “open tuning” (key of C). We tune the four strings of the instrument as follows: C (lowest string), G, C, and E (highest string). Strumming with the right hand without pressing any strings with the left hand plays a C chord. Using the left hand to press one’s finger across all strings at the 5th fret yields a F chord. Pressing all the strings at the 7th fret yields a G chord.
With these three chords, kids can play many songs, although some songs may have to be simplified to work. Our biggest challenge has been to find simple songs that have an appropriate vocal range for kids when played in the key of C. Here are a few we have discovered that work well:
- Jesus Loves Me
- Father Abraham
- Deep and Wide
- Amazing Grace (sing down an octave)
- Silent Night
- Joy to the World
- I Saw the Light
- Amazing Grace / My Chains Are Gone