The Sum of the Parts - Mark
          Jackson (Community Musician)

The Home of School Ukestras in the Hunter Valley, NSW

"It makes no difference what instrument you choose – recorder, trumpet, piano,
bass, guitar, mandolin; none can compare with the ukulele as a means of music education in our schools."

J. Chalmers Doane
Teacher's Guide to Classroom Ukulele, 1977  (canada)

Welcome to the SchoolUkestras site!

Hi! I thought I better make a specific page for beginners and teachers in schools. Here you will find music and stuff that is useful for kids who are learning the uke!

You'll be pleased to know that we are starting Jukestra! The Junior Ukestra! First classes in Charlestown on Wednesday 15 February 2012. More info here!

You've also landed right in the middle of a whole bunch of pages linked to 'The Sum of the Parts (music)', a site for community music, adult Ukestras, The Do Riders, and other musical projects of Mark Jackson.

We started teaching ukulele in Newcastle region primary schools in Term 4 2010 and as of Term One 2012, Ukestras are happening at Waratah and Cardiff South Public Schools.


Easy Two Chord Songs

Deep in the Heart of Texas is the first song I teach most people. It is two chords, and has a long period where you do not play uke so you can change to the next chord! Total beginners can just stick on F & C all the way through, but if you are feeling up to it, modulate to G & D for a little more challenge!  Here is the music printout for it and this is the youtube of the Muppets singing it. Too cute!

Jambalaya is the second song that is taught. Although it is an old pop(ular) song, it is another two chord song, which makes it easy to learn and to play along to. This is the Music. And this is the youtube clip. Ask Mum, Dad or (better still!) your grandparents about these songs. They will probably know them!

Modern Songs

All of these songs are in C - just to make it easy to start with.

 Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye is a pretty new song. It has heaps of different parts, and sounds great as a group. The youtube clip can be seen here, and here is the music and the riff (the catchy bit).

The Middle is by Jimmy Eat World is an easy song with only three chords that also sounds great. It was released in 2002, when it hit the Top 100 List. Here is the song with lyrics, and here is the music

Perfect by Pink is an ideal four chord beginners song. It also has great lyrics (although watch out for the version that isn't all that polite!). This was a Top Ten hit in late 2010/early 2011. Here is the youtube version that doesn't swear, and here is the music for that.

Billionaire - by Travis McCoy (featuring Bruno Mars). Nice chords, not so sure about the dream of being so rich!!   As is common, be careful about singing words that may not be appropriate! Here is a nice acoustic version of Travis and Bruno. And here is a video of Bruno Mars when he was four, doing Elvis impersonations.

Catch my Disease is the Ben Lee song that was a hit in 2005. The video is of the Ukastle Ukestra performing it at the 2011 Melbourne Ukulele Festival. 

And then there is always Hey Soul Sister by Train, the song that kids always ask for.

Other Useful Stuff

You need four chords to write a pop song (Hey Soul Sister, Perfect, a million others). Have you seen the Axis of Awesome?

Start here ->   How to write a Pop Song

If you want to know more - here is a diagram and some notes about how to start playing scales.

Even more info is available at James Hill's website.In July 2011 Mark is performing with his Ukastle Ukestra at the Hawaii Ukulele Festival then heading to Vancouver to learn about advanced Ukulele Pedagogy from the best - James Hill.