LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Four strings, a handful of chords, and a lot of interest. 4H Specialist Jennifer Tackett never dreamed so many young Kentuckians would want to learn to play the ukulele.
Tackett laughed, "You know, you never know when you start a program how it's going to go."
Tackett, who is also a singer-songwriter, came up with the idea during the pandemic to reach kids via a virtual music club. She was concerned COVID might have cut down on exposure to music and the arts.
"It's important to give kids the opportunity to figure out if music is their spark, " Tackett said. "We already had a virtual cooking club, and it had been working well, and I thought we could try a ukulele club and see how it goes."
She said she posted the class on a Friday and by Saturday morning they already had over 60 kids of all ages, from all corners of the commonwealth signed up. One of those kids was 12-year-old Myla Leger.
"I thought why not? Let's do it, " Leger said of the club.
Leger, along with her fellow club members, met via Zoom twice a week. They learned the basics of the ukulele, researched local musicians, and even did a community service project. They started out with six meetings, but they then extended their meetings due to interest.
"There wasn't any arguing. Everyone was just, 'hey how are you doing?' Everyone was pretty active, " Leger said.
For Leger, the club has sparked an interest in furthering a musical education; Tackett was hopeful that might be the case.
Tackett said, "I'm hoping maybe this helped get their confidence up, and maybe they'll continue to play."
For the fall, they have already got 30 kids signed up, and Tackett said they will keep the club virtual to continue reaching as many kids as possible.
If you are interested in the club, you can reach out to your county 4H agent or find them on Facebook for more information.