When students in Mrs. Patti Sheriff's general music classes at Robb Elementary School began to show an interest in playing the guitar, she knew she wanted to find a way to introduce those 3rd and 4th graders to a new instrument.
Oftentimes, a guitar is too big for elementary students at third and fourth grade, so Mrs. Sheriff found a solution for her young musicians to learn the key concepts of playing a guitar - ukuleles. According to Mrs. Sheriff, a longtime music teacher at Keystone Central School District, what is learned on a ukulele can be transferred to and assist in learning to play other stringed instruments. Her hope is the 3rd grade unit with the ukulele will help prepare students for learning violin, viola and cello in 4th grade. And, a ukulele unit in 4th grade would deepen the understanding and skills to prepare students for learning guitar in middle and high schools.
Mrs. Sheriff requested a LaRue Hinchcliffe Stars in the Classroom Mini-Grant from the Keystone Central Foundation to work with Lanning's Music in downtown Lock Haven to purchase 25 blue ukuleles. Her units impact 10 3rd and 4th grade general music classes at Robb Elementary. The committee funded her request with $1500.
The students had a chance to perform a few songs with their instruments at the Robb Elementary School Showcase in May. According to Mrs. Sheriff, "This opportunity can also build background knowledge for orchestral string instrument study and help to build our school orchestra program."
The Keystone Central Foundation Stars in the Classroom Mini-Grant Program was created by donor and longtime educator, LaRue Hinchliffe. The goal of the mini-grants is to help the faculty and staff of KCSD implement innovative programs and opportunities for our students. If you are interested in learning more about how you can donate to mini-grants, scholarships, or other giving options, please contact Executive Director Melissa Bottorf at email@example.com.