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Burdell-Hunt Elementary becomes first Bibb school to build ukulele ensemble

Lacey Barnes says the instrument will help students with fine motor skills and listening, all things that they can use in the future.

MACON, Ga. — Burdell-Hunt Elementary School is now the first school in Bibb County to teach students how to play ukulele.

From singing to instruments... 4th grader Essence Bacon says everything about music excites her. 

"I have a keyboard in my room. I used to play songs on there, not really specific songs, but notes," Bacon said. 

Bacon says music is her favorite subject, because she gets to learn even more about instruments in class. 

"We have a recorder that we're starting to play. We are starting to learn some notes. Right now we're playing 'Hot Cross Buns' and we're learning #G and #A," Bacon said. 

In March, Bacon, along with the other 4th and 5th graders at Burdell-Hunt Elementary School, get to add another instrument to their resume.

"We will be teaching our students ukulele's as an ensemble, and also played in general music class," Lacey Barnes said. 

Lacey Barnes is the music teacher and choral director at the school. 

She says, after years of attending music conferences, she knew that teaching her students how to play a ukulele was a must. 

So first, she learned how to play it herself. 

"One day I had to submit an exemplar lesson for virtual learning and the director of fine arts for Bibb County School, Ben Bridges, actually saw me playing my ukulele and thought, 'Wow, I didn't know that you played, would you mind starting a ukulele ensemble for your school, you'd be the first school in Bibb County to do that,'" Barnes said. 

Without a doubt, her answer was yes.

"This is a very musical and intuitive instrument, you can accompany yourself while you're singing. One of the first things that children learn how to do is sing. A lot of people learn how to sing before they talk," Barnes said. 

Barnes says she is in the process of tuning all of the ukulele's in her classroom, and teaching students the basics before they can actually play.

They are set to begin in March.

Barnes says they were able to get their brand new instruments through COVID-19 funding.

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