, Derry, New Hampshire


January 3, 2013

Derry students learn fine points of the ukulele

There is more to this instrument than Tiny Tim and his tulips.

Even as the shaggy-haired musician sang his signature song about tiptoeing through the fragrant flowers, it was his ukulele helping put this unique singer on the music map.

The small instrument is now making a mark on a local music class.

The simple, four-stringed instrument is a hit with students at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School who meet regularly to learn the fine points of plucking the strings to make music together.

Hood music teacher Kate Boisvert plays the instrument herself as part of the group the N.H. Ukuladies and said the ukulele is perfect for students who want to play.

“It’s so much smaller, so much easier, more portable (than a guitar),” she said.

Boisvert began as a guitar player but found that fingering hard.

Making the switch to ukulele was easy.

“The guitar was so hard for me,” she said. “My friend said I had to try the ukulele. It’s now been a year and a half.”

Bringing the compact instrument to her students came with a generous donation from the Kala Ukulele company that offered six slightly used instruments to the school.

On one afternoon students put the finishing touches on some holiday songs and studied their fingering charts. Some students had the chords down while others studied the notations a bit more.

“The more you press down on the fret, the less it will rattle,” Boisvert said.

After some last minute touch-ups on fingerings the group strummed out a rendition of “Silver Bells.”

“Just act like you know what you are doing,” Boisvert called out. “Just smile and rock it out.”

Boisvert said she hopes her students can perform in a few months when Hood has its annual talent show.

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