Lynwood Elementary School’s music program is more than flutes, clarinets and trumpets. On March 14, the school held a “kanikapila” which is Hawaiian for everybody bring your ukulele and jam! Almost 70 students with ukuleles played music and sang together for an hour long assembly with the Pacific Island Coastal Cultures Organization (PIKO). It was a fun afternoon of music!
Lynnette Booséy, Lynwood music teacher and ukulele player, introduced ukuleles to the school 6 months ago with the purchase of 30 uke’s using grant money. This winter, she received a donation of 6 more uke’s from Kala, a ukulele company headquartered in Petaluma. This March PIKO presented Ms. Booséy with 10 brand new ukuleles, tuners and cases for Lynwood. This generous donation exceeded $1,000 and was greatly appreciated by the students.
The ukulele is generally associated with music from Hawaii where the name roughly translates as “jumping flea,” because of the quick movement of the player’s fingers. Developed in the 1880s, the ukulele is based on several small guitar-like instruments of Portuguese origin and introduced to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants. In the 1960s, Canada began using the ukulele as an inexpensive and practical teaching instrument to foster musical literacy in the classroom. Today, the program continues in a revised version and is a staple of the music education in Canada.
The Novato Unified School District is proud of its diverse performing arts curriculum. From ukuleles at the elementary school, world beat percussion at the middle school, and the Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School, the traditional music program is enhanced with these additional offerings. There is truly something for every student at NUSD.