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There’s a first for everything, and that means for students at Edgemont Elementary School too. This is the first year that Deanna Lee, Edgemont Music Specialist, has created an after-school ukulele class for third graders to sixth graders at the school. “As the music specialist, I am always trying to find ways to incorporate more music into children’s lives,” says Lee. With programs like choir, orchestra and even opera in place, Lee looked into incorporating either a guitar or ukulele class once a week after school. “There was a lot of interest in a ukulele class (and we had a classroom set of ukes to use) and so we started up in the fall of .”
The purpose of this class is to help students connect with music and each other in meaningful ways. Playing an instrument reinforces many of the wonderful things students are already learning in their music classes. Lee wants to help students find their own musical personality through this class, and so far it has been a success! When the after school class was created, there was more demand than slots available.
Many of the students take advantage of the in-class ukuleles to practice. Others went and acquired their own instrument so they could practice at home. So far the students have learned different strumming techniques and chords. This semester Lee hopes to teach the kids different patterns to practice as well.
“I believe music fills a vital role in our life in so many ways (emotionally, socially, mentally),” explains Lee. “I hope [these] students gain joy, fulfillment, greater self-awareness [and] belonging.”
Provo City School District is proud to have teachers like Lee who incorporate music programs that increase students’ skills and connects them in a way only music can. The ukulele class is held every Thursday from 3:30pm – 4:30pm after school. “There is no quantitative price or qualitative label that can be put on music. It is that important,” states Lee.