Rex grantee Guitars and Ukes in the Classroom was the subject of a recent profile in Ukulele Magazine.
“Kathy Byington’s third graders at a school in Thousand Oaks, California, have strummed their ukes while singing multiplication tables to ‘Jingle Bells.’ They’ve written lyrics that use new vocabulary, making sure their verses fit the rhythm of the original song. They have opportunities to sing and strum these creations for the rest of the class. ‘When it comes time for a test,’ she says, ‘I tell them to just remember the song and they’ll have what they need.’
“Byington accesses easy-to-play songs from the abundant collection on the GITC website. Easy to adapt, they draw on traditional, folk, and popular contemporary genres. As she reflects on experiences teaching through music, one song stands out: ‘With My Own Two Hands,’ a song by Ben Harper and Jack Johnson that delivers an empowering message in a catchy tune: ‘I can change the world/ With my own two hands/ Make it a better place / With my own two hands / Make it a kinder place / With my own two hands…’”