How to get a class of ukuleles tuned in double quick time…
These are the notes the ukuleles strings are tuned to, so I start every lesson with this song:
You can add your own verses; He eats green peas, He likes smelly cheese, He keeps climbing trees, He’s got knobbly knees… Just make sure that you are using the right notes.
Plucking each string in turn while singing this song is almost the first activity when I start teaching ukuleles. We sing it over and over again.
After the first lesson, we start every lesson by singing this song before we get the ukuleles out. Then I say
“In a moment (no, not yet, wait a minute) I’m gong to ask you to get your ukulele out (hang on, not yet, I said in a moment…) and see if the strings play this song. If they do, then I’d like you to here I describe some activity, like practising a chord or tune or rhythm but if the strings are not in tune, make a line in front of me and I’ll tune it for you. Have you all got that?”
I’ll repeat the instructions, and then say “OK, off you go”.
This usually works well. The older ukuleles hold their tuning quite well, so as the year progresses I have fewer to adjust.