The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Ukulele for Kids 1 and 2 (DVDs) Review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright

Marcy Marxer
Homespun Tapes
Box 340
Woodstock, NY 12498
845-246-2550 or 1-800-33-TAPES

Last year our 12-year-old son, Josiah, decided he wanted to learn to play the ukulele. Sounds like a great idea, except that he had never played an instrument and neither of his parents knew how to play the ukulele, although my husband, Ronny, has a strong background in music. Being clever and determined, Josiah and Ronny purchased two ukuleles, a couple of songbooks, and a beginner DVD to help them learn. I wish now that they had been able to start with this DVD series, Ukulele for Kids 1 and 2. The material is designed to teach beginning students, ages 5 to 10, which is a bit young for Josiah, but it would have given him a great foundation in playing this fun and versatile instrument.

The Ukulele for Kids DVDs have ten lessons each, starting with the parts of the ukulele and teaching five chords on each DVD. There is a booklet included with each DVD that has the chords for the lessons and a progress chart. Marcy and her puppet, Ginger the dog, make the lessons engaging for kids with their lively banter and simple explanations. They teach some basic chords and jump quickly into playing simple songs to make the process more enjoyable. The graphics and on-screen chord charts help kids understand correct fingering, how to read and understand the chords, and how to correctly tune their ukulele.

Josiah and Ronny both enjoyed these lessons, although they are really meant for a younger audience. The lessons were interesting and Marcy was very encouraging, which made learning the ukulele much less intimidating. The information is thorough and comprehensive but might be a bit too much information in some areas. The lessons start slowly and build as the student gains practice and confidence. The DVDs are a great way for kids who want to learn to play an easy instrument to jump right in with both feet, even if they have no music background. Not only will the lessonss help the student gain musical skills and confidence in a fun and non-threatening way, but they should also instill a love of music for a lifetime! It is wonderful to have a product that helps kids teach themselves a great skill. That is part of the essence of homeschooling!

Product review by Dr. Anne Margaret Wright, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2007