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Being Brave … with my Ukelele!

Come with me on a journey …

My students are brave with me every week.  They try new fluency passages, they raise their hands to answer tough questions, they know that the simple act of being brave will get them big kudos.  They make goals, they practice every day, and they try to reach those goals.

I decided that it’s time for me to show them that I can be brave too.  You see, I recently (and I mean RECENTLY) took up the ukelele.  And I use that term loosely.  Two Fridays ago I brought my ukelele (it’s actually an electric ukelele called a Konablaster) to class to play a simple song for my students.  The tune was “Happy Birthday”.  A simple task, you say?  Not even close.  I had only learned half of this very short song so far, but I wanted my students to hear me making mistakes, struggling with the notes, moving my fingers to the right strings when I plucked the wrong ones.  Yes, I was sweating, and yes, I was a bit nervous, but isn’t that something akin to what my students go through every day in my room — putting themselves out there — being brave?

I muddled my way through the first half of the song …

… and everyone clapped.  Loudly.

I made mistakes and my timing was way off, but my students showed me true support!  You could feel the excitement in the room.  My students couldn’t wait to hear me play again!

I vowed to them right then and there to bring my ukelele in each Friday to show them how I was improving.  I told them I would practice every week and (with any luck) they would be able to hear my improvement each week as the year goes on.  And sure enough, last Friday, I brought in my uke and played the whole song (with two mistakes, and remember, it’s okay to make mistakes!).  Two students even asked if they could video me with their phones to show their parents!

The moral of my story, so far, is that what I ask of my students (to make goals, to practice, to do their very best) is what I wish to show them right back.

Stay with me, and I will continue to update you on the lessons they learn, the lessons I learn, the mistakes that are made, and the fun we have on this journey together!

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