Issue 64: Miss Mary Mack and the Ukulele

My Wider Opportunities ukulele classes seem to be going well – it is the first time I have taught ukulele and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

As usual, it has proved impossible to use the same material for each of the classes. I planned to start by teaching the C chord, move on to A minor, with a view to teaching F as soon as it looks as though the children will be able to manage to position their fingers. Miss Mary Mack looks like being the perfect vehicle for singing and playing a song using F and C chords. There is plenty of time to change the fingers for the C chord on the third line.

Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack (play an F chord on each red word)

All dressed in black black black

with silver buttons buttons buttons (play a C chord on each blue word) 

all down her back back back

So that was the plan. The reality is that one year 3 class is learning to pluck a simple accompaniment to the good old song “Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen” so that they can play it in their Christmas pantomime.

The mixed year 3 and 4 class is going well: they have managed to sing “Star light, Star bright” alternating between C and A minor on beats 1 and 3.

The year 5s are storming ahead. It is amazing what a difference a year makes in a child’s ability to follow instructions, retain information, and organise their fingers into the precise movements needed to play chords. I reckon that they are on track for Miss Mary Mack next week, if they haven’t forgotten everything over half term.

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