NURTURING A CREATIVE FUTURE
Our purpose is helping children’s natural creativity flourish,
providing balance to a knowledge based education system.
Are you a parent wanting online instrumental music classes in a live format for your child,
with a focus on creativity and fun with a growth mindset approach?
Welcome. You are in the right place.
Your child’s imagination and creativity will be engaged, supported and extended
through a highly child friendly, innovative approach to learning to play instrumental music.
We teach kids across Australia and New Zealand.
“I have no hesitation in recommending Uke4kids to anyone with children. The Uke4kids program has been the best decision I've ever made regarding extracurricular activities for my daughter!
Aelwyn has found learning online a positive experience.
I cannot speak highly enough of her teacher, Yanai. His approach to teaching and learning allows the children to not only develop technical skills and musical understanding, but fosters creativity and allows them to see how mistakes are a part of the learning process. Encouraging everyone to write their own songs, never belittling their efforts and always showing a keen interest in what they come up with. Passion about music and learning is evident in every aspect of the program.”
Ari, Aelwyn's dad
CURIOUS CALM CONFIDENT CONNECTED CREATIVE-THE 5 C's
These five key qualities work together to foster a deeply embedded resilience in children.
Inviting curiosity, supporting calm, building confidence, facilitating connection and celebrating creativity sets kids up for deep learning.
Which of the 5 Cs is most important? It differs for each child, so classes need to be flexible and agile, adapting to the students in the room.
Children light up in an environment which supports who they are right now - where each child is seen for who they are. They thrive when they are encouraged to find out more about themselves and discover what they can do.
Learning new things can feel hard. When the difficulty is acknowledged, and a child is supported to find their way through that challenge, they experience genuine success and this feels so good.
You want your child to be able to confidently make positive choices through their childhood and teen years. To figure out who they are and what they want to do.
The 5 Cs are essential for kids to succeed in life, navigate challenges more easily, and develop positive relationships with themselves, with others and the world around them.
“The Uke4Kids approach nurtures the 5Cs in children, which creates a strong foundation for building resilience in children. It’s really important to build resilience early. There are a lot of stresses in children’s lives these days. A lot of things we do as a modern society are not enabling resilience. So the Uke4Kids approach helps parents with that important job of building more resilience in young kids.
Through the process of learning ukulele with Yanai, my son Liam developed a literacy around being able to reflect on his day, connect it with how he is feeling right now, label that feeling and ask, "What might be useful for me right now?"
This is a remarkable capacity to be building in young kids and one that I certainly didn’t expect to come from learning to play the ukulele. Whether he’s feeling bored, tired or lonely, Liam knows to pick up the ukulele because ‘it would be good for me right now.’ He knows something will shift for him after a few minutes on the uke. Liam has learnt that even if he doesn’t feel like it right now, picking up the ukulele for a few minutes will change how he feels and he can then see what happens next. This capacity is very self-empowering. It enables Liam to independently change how he is thinking and feeling, and then make a more healthy, creative and productive choice about what to do next."
Michael is the father of Liam, who started with Uke4Kids as a preppie at 5 years old. Liam is now 12 years old, in Year 7 and has his own ukulele teaching business. Yanai is still his mentor.
Michael is a Consultant Paediatric Dietitian and owner of the Paediatric Dietitian Clinic, specialising in feeding and eating disorders for young children with neurodevelopmental disorders - which is also the focus of his current PhD research project. He is also founder of Nature Smart Kids, an initiative to educate kinder and school communities about the evidence-based health benefits of nature play and outdoor learning: https://www.facebook.com/naturesmartkids
WHAT CAN KIDS DO THAT ROBOTS CAN'T?
The 5 Cs are developed in the classroom through the framework of ‘The 6 Gets’, the practical application of our philosophy.
Having fun embeds new learning much more deeply. Kids learn they can express themselves, their emotions and their daily experiences in a safe, fun way. Your child’s individual style is nurtured, while being encouraged to connect with both themselves and the world around them.
Children are given explicit permission to play with what music means to them. They learn that it’s good to mess around and experiment with music. Using the ukulele adds to the ease and fun of the experience.
Importantly, children learn to be easy with making mistakes, to be OK with not knowing something, and to be comfortable with asking How? Why? What if?
Current innovative approaches to learning prioritise creativity and empathy, as the capacities children need to thrive in the increasingly complex future of AI and technology. A great question to ask is “What can kids do that robots can’t?”
The process of learning to play music is ideal for nurturing these critical growth mindset skills and values. Children are engaged, supported and extended gently and sensitively according to their goals, age and stage of development.
THE 6 GETS© LEARNING FRAMEWORK
The 6 Gets is the framework developed by Uke4Kids™ to support children’s learning and development
through the process of learning to play music.
Learning happens by connecting new knowledge to what is already known. It has to make sense. Connected learning also means connection to many things, including a sense of purpose, feelings, self and others.
A combination of counting, stepping, clapping and jumping is a fun and effective way to learn beat and rhythm patterns. This also supports neurological development and builds more activity into a child’s day.
Children are encouraged to take risks and try new things, even when it might mean ‘messing it up’. Valuing mistakes and ‘colouring outside the lines’ allows for greater learning, awareness, new ideas and self compassion.
When a child is curious, they are able to think about things differently and learn new things. We encourage students to ask questions, and think about things in new ways. Having permission to say “I don't know” can be powerful.
This is where the magic happens. Kids need to feel safe to express themselves, and playing music is a simple and powerful way for kids to express their feelings. It might just make the music sound better too.
GET IT DOWN
‘Getting something down’ means being able to do it without any problems. Mistakes can highlight a problem needing to be solved. Children learn to solve problems in a way which increases the effectiveness of their efforts and helps them feel successful.
THE PROBLEM WITH CREATIVITY
But - aren’t kids born creative?
Yes. Absolutely. Studies by scientist George Land show that 98% of 5 year olds have a genius level of creative thinking. That’s so extraordinary, but not surprising if you’ve been around a 5 year old.
What is alarming is that by 10 years of age that number has lowered to 30%. By age 15 it’s down to 12%. And we adults? A mere 2% of us have that capacity. [George Land, 2016, Breakpoint and Beyond].
Why is this?
Many reasons. Modern living brings so many challenges and competition for attention. Parents juggling home responsibilities, work, often study, childcare and kids' activities.
Children’s ever increasing access to digital media, and reduced access to imaginative play and the outdoors.
The education system is under-resourced and still centred around knowledge and facts. In this environment children’s creativity is not valued nor supported as much as it could be. Because the brain tends to get rid of what is not seen as useful and valuable, a child’s ability to be creative is dramatically lessened.
While being correct can be important and even vital in some instances, too often it is prioritised over kids being encouraged to be curious, and express their own ideas and perspectives.
By championing creativity, the Uke4Kids program restores balance in a way most schools are not able to do, bound as they are by standards, mandated testing, a set curriculum, and a sheer lack of resources.
As a parent you probably want your child to be a creative, critical thinker. To be willing and able to ask questions. To say ‘I don’t know” - and have the courage and confidence to go and find out.
We are here to support you in your goals for your child.
SO, WHAT'S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH THE UKULELE?
To put it simply - Accessibility.
There are many reasons why it makes sense to begin a child’s instrumental music journey with the ukulele.
It’s fun. It’s low cost. Kids experience quick success.
Playing ukulele offers a fun experience for both singing and playing, perfect for young learners with small hands and big minds. Learning happens more easily and deeply when fun is involved.
Let’s be honest. How many of us began an extracurricular activity, only to lose interest after a couple of terms. A beginner ukulele is much cheaper than most commonly learned instruments. Parents feel better about giving it a go, compared to the investment required for other instruments.
Also if it's accidentally stepped on by the 6 yo learner, or their younger sibling, not so many tears.
Kids experience the feeling of being successful more easily and quickly compared with those instruments traditionally learned by kids. This is essential to building confidence in the process,
and they are naturally inspired to continue to engage.
Most traditional instruments (e.g. piano, violin, guitar) are very versatile, however they also have technical challenges needing to be overcome to be played well, even at a basic skill level.
Because of this, most music teachers focus heavily on technical skills during lessons,
with creativity and personal expression too often neglected.
The ukulele is just as versatile as the above examples, and is also much easier technically. This is a huge plus.
The small size, and having only 4 strings, means learning a simple melody, or chords for a song,
can be achieved much more quickly.
This enables teachers to support their students’ technical progress, while also actively
encouraging creativity and personal expression.
The 6 Gets Learning Framework © is perfectly supported by the accessibility of the ukulele.
"Felix has loved learning ukulele with Uke4Kids. It was great to see how quickly he learnt to play a song all the way through - very satisfying for a 6 year old!
The size of the ukulele makes it the perfect instrument for smaller kids to learn to play because it's easy for them to hold and with only 4 strings is quicker for them to get to grips with than a 6 stringed guitar.
The Uke4Kids team have a dynamic and professional approach to music teaching whilst never losing sight of the fun factor."
Nicki Ross, parent
The Uke4Kids program embraces the opportunities and benefits offered through Zoom
Every week students are tuning in, tuning up and having fun.
Nurturing Curiosity, Confidence and Creativity for kids throughout Australasia is now so much easier through the shift to online learning. Restrictions imposed by location and distance no longer apply.
The classes have evolved from a rapid response in a crisis in 2020, to high quality classes.
They are supported by a range of digital and print resources.
Traditionally music classes have been face to face, either at a music school or as part of
an instrumental music program at a school.
This meant only the kids in that location or attending that school could access classes.
The other problem is that, in a world where we are being told pandemics are the new normal, access to learning may be hugely impacted by sudden changes in public health responses, sometimes for months at a time. Lockdown does not affect online learning.
Teaching online means many more children can access the benefits of this program.
With access to the technology now readily available, kids can jump into a class from anywhere.
HOW DO I ENROL
Complete the enquiry form, telling us as much information as you wish, and asking your questions.
We will contact you to arrange a discovery chat with you over the phone - a zoom call is possible also.
The call is to learn more about your preferences and your child, see if your schedule and our schedule ‘work’ and answer your questions.
The level of uke and other musician skills, and the individual needs of children are considered when allocating a class for your child.
A conversation with Dassana is a great way to learn more about our approach, and work out which program is a good fit for your child and family.
A trial class is available if you would like to make sure your child and the online space suits before committing to a term of lessons.
There are two options for learning:
Zoomkulele small group classes
Quirky Kids 1:1 classes
The group classes have up to 5 children, grouped at the same ability level. While they are a group class, there is still a lot of capacity for personalisation of teaching and learning process for individual class members.
The 1:1 classes are of course highly tailored to the individual child’s goals, personality, preferences in music, learning styles and so on.
They are also useful for a child to access for a while in order to build their skill level, with the purpose of joining a group class when they are ready.
THE SMALL BUT IMPORTANT STUFF
Classes available during the school day (preferred) and after school if needed for home educated kids
After school for kids who attend school during the day
9am to 6.30pm weekdays AEST
Weekly 25 minute classes
Technical requirements -
reasonable speed internet
access to Zoom
suitable device - tablet or larger. A phone is not big enough.
Group classes $25 per class or 1:1 $66 per class, inc of GST. Family discount applies
Free Trial class/Assessment available
NDIS funding may be applicable
All the team working with your child hold a WWCC
Introducing Yanai Morris and Dassana
We are partners in life as well as in business. We created Uke4Kids to be the kind of music education experience we both wish we’d had growing up.
We understand what it is to be parents and we bring that real-life experience to our program.
Yanai’s chief passion is music, and ensuring children have the opportunity to learn and play music which is representative of them, not someone else’s idea of what music should be.
He brings decades of his own music education, performance and teaching experience to his role as director and creator of the Uke4Kids method.
Dassana is passionate about helping children to navigate the significant challenges confronting them on a daily basis.
She has worked as a counsellor, and has a long career in senior roles on school and university boards, parents & friends committees and steering groups.
Yanai and Dassana understand the challenges facing schools regarding wellbeing, and what lies ahead for our young learners. They are excited to be part of the solution through their music program. In this way they empower kids with tools they need to thrive in this complex world.