La Crosse music teachers prepare to teach ukulele

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The teachers were the students on Friday, and members of the Cheez Land Uke Band were the teachers.

They're learning how to play the ukulele, so that they can teach their 3rd-5th grade classes.

Through a grant from the La Crosse Public Education Foundation, the teachers bought a set of ukuleles to be shared among all the elementary schools.

"We thought it would be nice to offer another opportunity for our students to have something else to interest them in the arts, specifically music," said Jill Schams, music teacher at Southern Bluffs.

"We kind of consider ourselves to be the ukulele ambassadors, so we said sure, absolutely," said Diane Brose, a board member of the Cheez Land Uke Band. "They're the music teachers so they have the theory, they have all the background, but they haven't necessarily played the ukulele so we just showed them the tools they need to have."

"It's becoming very popular again," said Ben Olson, Vice President of the Uke Band. "It's a very easy instrument to play. You have four fingers and it only has four strings. And there's nothing complicated and you don't have to know anything about music. All the chord diagrams are kind of like paint by numbers."

The difference between a ukulele and a guitar is that a ukulele has four strings, whereas a guitar has six, which makes it a little easier for kids to grasp.

"It's a little bit less intense than maybe a bigger instrument or even a cello or a violin where they also have to use a bow," said Schams.

"They're doing awesome, they're very enthusiastic about it," said Brose, talking about the teachers.

"You can't frown and play a uke," said Olson.

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