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.

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