Ukulele for 5-6 year olds, really?

  • Ukulele is great but what age should you introduce it? Most of the instruments at Music Rhapsody’s Summer Music Day camp are just not age appropriate for our youngest campers, 5-6 year olds. We recommend the clarinet, trumpet, flute, saxophone, or guitar for our older students. Even piano, we find is more successful if waiting for a bit more maturity and fine motor skill. This doesn’t mean we don’t have fantastic music education classes for 5-6 year olds, we do, Orff classes! The xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels and unpitched percussion are presented in a way that is very successful for our little guys and the best way to teach beat, rhythm, harmony, form, improvisation skills. Ukulele has been requested by many of our students and this year, I decided to offer ukulele as an afternoon class option to the little 5 and 6 year olds. Now that we’ve had 6 lessons, I decided to introduce my energetic, entertaining strummers to you! I videoed a little summary of what we learned in 6 days. Then I will also share a video of my 10-12 year old ukulele students with the exact same amount of lesson time.  

    I did have a lot of laughs with the 5-6 year olds. There were many times in the class when I looked at one of them and said “Hold it like a guitar, not a dulcimer!”. Times when I said “Are you using that ukulele as a back scratcher?”or thought “How can you play when the neck of your uke is between your legs?”

    There have been a few techniques that I learned that saved me. One is asking them to decide how many strums we will play or which chord. You will see a lot of me asking them questions in the class. I have learned that chord changes are very difficult for 5 year olds. I have found that teaching very easy chords and finding opportunities where they can strum on that one chord as I sing or play another instrument is the most enjoyable. I will also teach a 2 chord song with the children playing one chord and me doing the other chord or splitting the children in 2 groups,each group playing one chord when I indicate its their turn to play. 

    Go to to see the video of my funny little guys and see the download of the chord chart for the students. Soon to come, the older students after the same amount of lessons.


  • Lynn Kleiner
    Lynn Kleiner You take the other strings off the ukulele? Any comments from the parents on this? How long would you play on one string? Interesting!
    August 5, 2012
  • Lynn Kleiner
    Lynn Kleiner has the chords and songs used in the first 6 half hour lessons with the 5 and 6 year olds in the ukulele class from Music Rhapsody's Summer Music Day Camp free in Downloads. Go to Music Box and click videos to see the childre...  more
    August 13, 2012