Building Student Confidence Through Performance

Confidence Through Performance

How my students conquered their fear of performing

Greetings! This post is about how I learned to build my students' confidence through jamming together, recording videos, and performing. My students have gone on to perform at malls, convention centers, and school open house events. They have performed at all of these events without me!

When I became an elementary music teacher, I thought I had interviewed for a middle school music position. In my mind, I didn't have what it took to be an elementary teacher. I perceived elementary teachers as having unlimited patience, excellent organizational skills, and a flawless classroom management system. 

I didn't think that I had any of those. 

Fast forward to my first month working as an elementary teacher... I started realizing that the kids could do just as much as my middle students did if I did a good job explaining. I also noticed that elementary students had a real curiosity for learning. Elementary students ran to my class because they were so excited to be there and they thanked me for teaching them after I dismissed them. -I had never experienced this type of kindness before. 

Seeing how ambitious my little ones were, I decided to attempt teaching ukuleles at the elementary level and it was a complete success! Elementary students all thought that guitarists were cool and they saw the ukulele as a child-sized guitar. They knew in their little heads that if they could learn ukulele, then they could transition to the guitar when they grew up. 

Now I have recorded a few videos of my students playing the first songs that they learn. I really wish I had taken more videos along the way. Here is a video of Nanoha and I playing Jingle Bells. She was so nervous recording this! I was in the zone too because I didn't want to mess up!

This was one of the first videos we ever recorded together. Nanoha is now a talented drummer, guitarist, and singer. This girl will be someone someday, I know it. 

Fun fact: The reason I started teaching with stickers was because of Nanoha. When she and I started working together, her English and my Japanese were so limited. Using stickers and color was the only way that we could communicate. Over time, as my Japanese and Nano's English improved, we relied less on the stickers and more on the fact that we got so good at playing together. If you have young, talented children, I highly encourage you to play with them. It will not only help them grow as musicians, but also build your bond.

If you get permission from parents, I also encourage you to videotape the students and upload their work to YouTube. Today's kids are growing in an age where technology and the internet are places where they get to learn, engage, and create. Seeing their work on such a public platform will encourage them to learn more songs to practice.

This leads me into my latest student, Sienna. If you follow my blog and YouTube channel, you know that I recently started working at a new school. My most determined student so far is the lovely Sienna. She bought her ukulele the weekend after meeting me because she was determined to learn and she had a supportive mother. 

I told Sienna's mom about my YouTube channel and I asked her, as I ask all parents, if it would be okay to record a video for YouTube. Sienna's mother thanked me and agreed. Sienna and I were thrilled!

Looking to buy ukuleles?

Sienna is now a lot more motivated to learn more songs because she wants us to record videos together and post them here to share with you!

The arrangement of Mary Had A Little Lamb you see in this video only uses 2 chords! This is a great song for beginners to learn because the transition from F to C7 is pretty easy. I like using the site CapoTasto Music. 

Here's the link to all of their ukulele tabs

Sienna, comes to my classroom for 20 minutes on Wednesdays and is always excited to learn. She said that our next song will be London Bridge.


  1. I *love* seeing the videos of your kids playing. Actually, so do my kids-they run over to watch what someone their age is doing! I agree with you on letting them engage online. It is exciting for my kids to share what they are doing, too--and it ups the ante, so to speak on how well they choose to do it, sometimes. :) Thank you for sharing!

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