Terça-feira, 21/5/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Ukuleles grow in popularity throughout school

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A ukulele has four strings, but does have the same amounts of chords as a guitar they just are in a different key. Photo credit goes to Emily Koenig.

A ukulele has four strings, but does have the same amounts of chords as a guitar they just are in a different key. Photo credit goes to Emily Koenig.

Ukuleles are a small instrument similar to guitars with four strings. They were adapted after the Portuguese machete was introduced to the Hawaiians by immigrants in the 19 century.

Ukulele means “the gift that came here,” from the Hawaiian words uku (gift or reward) and lele (to come).

Now, their popularity is coming back because the chords are more simplistic than a guitar and the amount of fun they are to play.

Caleb Alofs, a senior at Gull Lake, is actively involved with Performing Arts Company (PAC) and a three year ukulele player. Alofs first started playing the ukulele in the summer between his freshman and sophomore year at Wesley Woods, a Christian retreat camp.

“It was an activity at a summer camp; I was going to and I had never played, but I fell in love with it,” Alofs said. “The idea of playing some of my favorite songs or pieces of music is awesome to me.”untitled-infographic (1)

Alofs favorite songs to play are The Last Of Us by Gustavo Santaolalla and Mr. Moustafa by Alexandre Desplat.

The music from Santaolalla is from an action-adventure horror video game,
The Last of Us. The music by Desplat was featured in The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film released in 2014.

“They are from movies and games that I really love, and they sound incredible on ukulele,” Alofs said.  

Mitchell Jones is another senior who has played the ukulele since before the start of sophomore year. He has been involved in the school band since middle school and was influenced to play by Gull Lake graduate and friend, Zach Cain.

“My main reason for continuing is my love of music and the fun songs the ukulele allows me to play, plus the attention is an added bonus,” Jones said.

Alofs had little to no musical experience before, and he was still able to easily learn and pick up playing. That and the soothing sound it gives is why he thinks the trend is becoming so popular throughout the school.

In terms of learning how to play, it’s not terribly difficult overall, but there is a bit of a hill to climb when you first pick it up and start learning chords,” Jones said.

Most of the popular songs can be played with the same three to four chords, so the time it takes to start playing isn’t long. As the more songs are learned, the easier to pick up on the more complicated chords according to Jones.

It is a very happy sound that reminds me of just laying on the beach somewhere far away,” Alofs said.

After a suggestion of possibly having a ukulele club at school, both Jones and Alofs were on board with the idea.

Having a ukulele club would be an interesting idea, according to Jones, the school already offers a guitar class that helps with the basic techniques that carry over between guitar and ukulele.

“I think students would be very drawn to it. They [ukuleles] aren’t that expensive for a decent one and it’s always fun to play,” Alofs said.

Since it’s becoming more popular, people would be able to meet others who know the instrument or want to learn in a proper environment.

“I personally love the growing popularity of ukuleles, just because it means more people are interested in picking up an instrument and getting into music” Jones said.



My name is Lexi Warren, I'm a senior this year. This is my third year on the Reflection staff. I play varsity girls tennis for Gull Lake High School. I work at Gull Meadow Farms in for the fall season and up until Christmas. I have two older sisters and an older brother. This year I'm taking college classes and a Teacher Academy Education for Employment (EFE).


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