School of Rock Regina students ‘string’ in the New Year with ukulele workshop

Students of the School of Rock Regina's ukulele workshop perform Vance Joy's 'Riptide.'. Dave Parsons / Global News

It’s a perfect fit for 11-year-old Isaac Van Dijk. He’s sporting a Nirvana T-shirt while rocking out on the ukulele he recently learned to play.

“I just want to be a rock star when I’m older,” he said.

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Van Dijk is one of 12 aspiring musicians taking part in the second annual School of Rock Regina’s “Rock Ukulele” workshop.

“It’s fun because I did this last year and it was a really fun time,” Van Dijk said. “I’ve learned more songs and I’ve made more friends and it’s just been a great opportunity.”

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In three days, the camp teaches kids aged seven to 13 years old the basic notes and hand placements for a ukulele, eventually building up to a setlist made up of classics like Guns & Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine and Let it Be by the Beatles.

Van Dijk, who has been taking guitar lessons for over a year, said “it’s pretty fun” to combine rock ‘n’ roll with a folk-style instrument.

For Isabelle Kindrachuk, 13, it’s her first time picking up a ukulele. But she said her experience playing trumpet in her school band helped with memorizing the notes.

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“I’ve always loved music and it was kind of interesting to actually learn how to play it,” she said.

While she said “meeting new people” is the best part about the workshop, she was first attracted to music for a different reason.

“Just the way it can hold an entire story in two minutes,” Kindrachuk said.

Roland Schulz, School of Rock Regina president, said this is the perfect time to introduce students to a new instrument.

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“It’s a good way to start the new year off,” Schulz said. “Ukulele is a great entry-level type of instrument to start with. They can see if they enjoy it and go from there.”

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“We are more like a clubhouse. The kids come and hang out and they meet new kids, new like-minded kids that like music and they can share their ideas,” Schulz said.

Schulz said School of Rock Regina plans to offer one-on-one ukulele lessons in the future, hoping to encourage more people to pick up a new instrument.

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