But we also believe that music-making should be a fundamental part of our everyday lives, to help us better express ourselves, and to connect with others and ourselves. Unfortunately most instruments and their associated lessons are quite expensive, and this limits the ability of many children (and their parents) to access a quality musical education.
The ukulele is the best and most cost effective way to start (and continue!) a music education for all children.
- Very easy for small fingers to manage
- Ukuleles are very portable
- They’re inexpensive. You can get a reasonable quality uke for $30 to $40.
- You can sing while you play (unlike the recorder!)
- It’s fun!
- The uke is the perfect introduction to other fretted instruments (especially the guitar)
- You can learn melody and chords (picking and strumming)
- They sound good as an ensemble
- Simple to learn, yet can be played at the highest levels of skill
- Perfect for learning contemporary pop songs, or playing classical repertoire.
The Sum of the Parts (music), based in Newcastle, is one of the world’s leading ukulele educators for children and adults. We take much of our inspiration from the Canadians, who, for forty years, have championed the ukulele as the best introduction to music for children. In our local teaching we are drawing from that knowledge pool (primarily through the Ukulele in the Classroom book series – for which we are the Australian distributor), but we also remain flexible, and adapt to the needs and desires of communities, individuals and situations.
Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart know that learning should be fun, yet also based in sound educational principles. In pursuit of this, they are the only Australians to be Year 2 Certified by the James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teacher Certification (about to complete Year 3). Since 2011 we have travelled to Canada and Hawaii to improve our skills and to learn from the best.
All of the teachers we engage have a current NSW Working with Children Check and are passionate musicians, ukulele players and teachers.
What have we done?
In short, we have helped create a ukulele revolution in our city, and provided innumerable and incomparable experiences for our children and adult students.
- In 2013 8 children performed at the New Zealand Ukulele Festival. What an experience! Go here for detailed information on our preparation for the trip.
- Have been interviewed a number of times on ABC 1233. Click here for an interview from late 2013, or here for an interview from 2012.
- Performed at many school concerts.
- Our adults have performed at numerous festivals around Australia and in Hawaii (fourth year in a row coming up!).
How can I get involved?
If you are a school Principal, teacher or parent seeking to improve your music education program through the most accessible, fun and diverse instrument (which you can sing along with), then contact Mark or Jane for more information.