I have a personal interest in the theory of education, and one aspect of recent education theory that I have become interested in is Edupunk. Although its an idea that principally developed through the use of Web 2.0 within education, I think it can be more broadly associated with DiY ethos of education. It is this wider view that I think the Uke potentially steals the show in.
Coming from Taunton, I love this video, especially the description as being ‘just outside London’… haha.. only in the way Chicago is just outside New York! I however think this is a wonderful example of how the Ukulele can become an important educational tool, and not purely for teaching music.
It’s worth noting that although this video shows a reasonably recent development in Taunton, the ukulele has a much longer history in teaching in Canada, it was J. Chalmers Doane who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools.
Interestingly for those who have come to the Ukulele in the current wave, one of the key early figures of this new ukulele revolution, a certain James Hill, actually learnt his ukulele skills in the Canadian school system. Ukulele instruction has been mandatory in many schools in his home of Langley since the late 1970s and this is where Hill was introduced to the ukulele at the age of nine. During his teenage years he honed his skills as a key member of the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble under the direction of Peter Luongo.
James Hill has continued this teaching tradition and regular gives lessons at Ukulele festivals and events, and recently co-authored the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series with that first pioneer J. Chalmers Doane.
It seems to me that the Ukulele really is a potentially very inexpensive method for teaching music and the arts in the school system, as well as bringing a little fun and joy into the world in the process.