One Class at a Time: Ukuleles will strum new life into classroom

By Audrey Wise

January 22, 2014 Updated Jan 22, 2014 at 7:58 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- A local music teacher is trying to strum new life into her classroom.

Currently, Sterling Middle School music teacher Ann Guthrie uses xylophones to teach notes to her 5th through 8th grade students.

Her xylophones get the job done, but they are in bad shape.

"They are pretty beat up looking," said Guthrie. "I've tried to repair them the best I can, constantly re-gluing and the nails pop right back out again."

Guthrie has been granted a One Class at a Time $1,000 grant. She said she will use the money to purchase ukuleles. She believes they will be much more beneficial in her classroom.

"This is really going to supply new energy to my program that I really want for my students," she said.

She adds, the instrument is easy to learn and it supports many elements of music education.

"It can also help with basic music theory, which they won't even realize they are getting," she said.

Guthrie said decent ukuleles cost about $40 each. She, like many teachers, uses her own money for many classroom supplies.

She said, "I buy stuff at garage sales when I can. A lot of times I pick up instruments that way and I donate them to our band program here."

But this project Guthrie couldn't tackle alone, and now she can.