Grant music to Tawa ukulele children’s ears
St Francis Xavier pupils are crazy about ukuleles.
The school’s ukulele club numbers have surged thanks to a Tawa Community Grants Fund grant of $600 to buy 20 new instruments.
Teacher and club leader Naomi Johnson applied for the money because she felt the ukulele was a great instrument to get children exposed to music.
‘‘I noticed it was such an easy instrument to pick up. They just loved it,’’ she said.
‘‘Ukuleles are such a nice musical instrument, even when you’ve got 5-year-olds who can only play one chord.
‘‘It doesn’t matter if it clashes a bit with someone else,’’ she said.
The club began this year, but only pupils with their own ukuleles were able to join.
The grant made it accessible to everyone.
‘‘We’ve definitely had 10 to 15 more kids join since now that free ukuleles are available.’’
Stephanie Alataua, 7, said the ukulele club was fun and she enjoyed learning different chords and songs each week.
‘‘I joined because I’m interested in instruments and music.
‘‘My favourite song we have learnt is Firework,’’ she said.
Stephanie said she wanted to keep playing the ukulele ‘‘for ever and ever and ever’’.
India McKee, 10, said the ukulele was a good first instrument to learn.
‘‘If you want to learn guitar, then you do it because the guitar is a bit more advanced, with more chords,’’ she said.
Nyah Gavin-Scott, 9, said music was an important part of her life.
‘‘Me and my dad play songs together because he plays guitar, so I just get out my ukulele and we play.
‘‘I want to start teaching my dad ukulele,’’ Nyah said.
The club is getting ready to begin performing at school assemblies and a performance at this year’s Artsplash festival is on the cards.
The club, which is open to the public, meets every Monday at 12.30pm.
St Francis Xavier ukulele club members, from left, Nashe Marahwe, 6, Nyah Gavin-Scott, 9, Stephanie Alataua, 7, centre, India McKee, 10 and Brendan O’Neill, 8.