My year · Reviews

A Pirate, a Ukulele and a Song


So, without meaning to, I seemed to have made ‘learning to play the Ukulele’ one of my New Year’s resolutions.  And whilst I haven’t mastered it to any great standard, I have learnt enough to be able to play some songs to sing with my daughter, which is a very beautiful thing. And this is thanks to a wonderful website, Ukulele Tricks, run by Brett McQueen .

So this post straddles two topics; a review, and a celebration of some lovely 1:1 time with my lovely baby girl.

First the review…

Brett McQueen is fab! Simple, effective written and video tutorials take you step by step through the basics of getting to grips with the instrument, in a way that is clear and accessible. There’s a variety of activities and exercises, taking you from the very beginnings of picking up the instrument, through to different techniques, and tutorials for playing a range of songs. You can download a free e-book, and sign up for a regular newsletter which keeps you on track with top tips and new lessons. What’s even more lovely is  that Brett’s passion for this instrument radiates though every aspect of the website, and this is infectious – who knew I’d come to love this small and quirky instrument quite as much as I have!

And now to share the lovely music-making I did with my daughter. I wrote this song many moons ago whilst working on an early years project t’up north in Halifax (you’ll notice the heavy influence of a certain well-known film about pirates, so it must have been around 2003). If you fancy singing this with your children, the words follow, along with some suggestions as to how you can adapt its use for different ages.

Here’s some lovely singing time with my beautiful baby girl (11 weeks here):

And here are the words…

Captain Jack wears a scarf for a hat

With beads in his long dark hair

He sails the seas in his ship of old

And has lots of stories to share

Can you play some sounds for him

That friendly pirate boy

He’ll come and say hello to us

And we’ll all shout ‘A-hoy!’

And adaptations to try with different (very approximate) ages …

  • Tiny baby – sing and enjoy watching their response [much bouncing and cooing encouraged]
  • Baby/toddler – sing along with a selection of instruments [to shake and scrape and bang at will]
  • Toddler/pre-school – begin to join in with the word ‘a-hoy’ [shouted with much gusto and joy]
  • Pre-school/Yr 1 – begin to sing the words together [might need to slow it down a tad so little voices can catch all the lyrics…very frustrating for small ones trying to join in with songs if they are sung too quickly to keep up]
  • School aged – introduce names and/or certain instruments for a child to select and play solo eg. ‘can Sophie play the drum for him, that friendly pirate boy…’ [taking turns, exploring sounds and learning instrument names]
  • Even older – what stories does Jack have to share? Can you make some up? Can you make new lyrics to this tune to create extra verses all about his adventures? [Anything goes!]

Let me know if you have favourite songs that work well with small children.

Delighted to be linking up with…

Family Fever

Photo credit: Debby ☂ via / CC BY


5 thoughts on “A Pirate, a Ukulele and a Song

  1. Love the idea of learning to play an instrument that you can share with your little ones. I play the tenor horn, so there’s no chance they’d sing along to that. Lovely sharing music with little ones.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids


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