To harness the healing power of music by promoting and supporting music therapy programs for hospitalized children, by giving away ukuleles to children in need through music therapy programs and sending the children home with the gift of music for life, and by advocating for the benefits of music therapy.
Medical research shared by the American Music Therapy Association reports music provides amazing therapeutic benefits to sick children: assisting with pain management, decreasing the anxiety of hospitalization, and providing emotional support during medical procedures.
The child-sized ukulele is the perfect instrument for this work. As of March 2015, the UKC had donated over 500 ukuleles to more than 80 children's hospitals around the country. Many of our hospitals are on their third, fourth, even fifth batch of ukuleles - a testament to the program's success and efficacy.
NBC Nightly News with Peter Alexander, April 4, 2015
Ukulele Kids Club Hitting the Right Note With Sick Kids: A music therapy center in Miami is using the ukulele to benefit sick children.
"His Mom took out her phone to show me videos of Jason playing with his band. He was a rocker. We started to talk about his music and what kind of guitars he has and he began to sit up in bed, eyes opening wider, smiling. I asked him if he would like to show me a few licks on my guitar. When he reached out to grab it, the tubes pulled on his arms and he couldn't get them around the guitar. The guitar was just too large for him to hold. I told Jason that I would be back in just 5 minutes. I ran downstairs and brought back my much smaller "back packer" (a guitar with full neck but almost no body). Jason smiled and grabbed it from me with a certain smirk on his face. I said 'let's see what you got,' so I started playing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' by George Harrison and to my amazement, this is what happened. This was about 2 years ago now and the event that led to putting small ukuleles into the arms of hospitalized children."
"This is Camila! She likes dolphins and the color purple. Music Therapy was consulted to decrease anxiety, normalize the hospital environment, and elevate mood. She tried guitar, but fell in love with the ukulele. I asked her if she would like to have her own to use while in the hospital and for home. She smiled saying, 'that would be awesome!'" -Katherine, Chris Evert Children's Hospital, Music Therapy Intern, Broward Health
"Meet our latest recipient of a UKC original ukulele! He is 10 years old and learned how to play 4 chords in 30 minutes! This remarkable young man is an example to many other children that 'Yes, you CAN do it!' Even when it does not seem you can, a little bit of effort goes a long way! Thank you Ukulele Kids Club for helping us make a difference in the lives of our patients!" - Board Certified Music Therapist, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapist, Practicum Supervisor, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Miami Children's Health System
"I was able to give away one of your wonderful ukuleles yesterday. Matthew was admitted, discharged, and readmitted over the course of the past month or so and because of this has become withdrawn. He has a music background of guitar lessons, so I introduced the ukulele as a way to engage him and increase his activity level while also brightening his day. He was skeptical at first, but ended up loving it! He's learned 7 chords and 2 songs over the course of just 3 lessons! These lessons have also been a great way for him to improve his fine motor skills, as he has been complaining of weakness in his hands. As always, thank you so much for all you do to enhance the lives of our patients. We couldn't do it without you!" -Melinda, Board Certified Music Therapist, Music Therapy Department, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Miami Children's Health System
"I am happy to introduce our newest Ukulele Kid's Club member from St. Luke's in Boise! Mabel is a sweetheart who was looking for a way to stay stimulated during her treatments, and UKC has provided the perfect solution! I was lucky enough to show her a new ukulele and chord chart, and before I could even finish explaining how to use them, Mabel was figuring out fingerings on her own. She is excited to keep learning some of her favorite songs on ukulele, and smiled so wide when she heard she could keep this ukulele and take it home with her. Here she is with her brand new Ukulele Kid's Club uke! Thank you so much for all you do, I am so proud to be on your list of hospitals." -Mary, Music Therapist, Board Certified, MSTI St. Luke's, St. Luke's Children's Hospital
"This is another proud owner of a beautiful new ukulele from the Ukulele Kids Club. Daniya is 11 years old and has been in and out of the hospital her entire life. She has dealt with so much, but always has the most infectious smile on her face and can make anybody laugh. She was very excited to learn how to play the ukulele and mastered 5 chords in her first session! Daniya was able to play and sing two songs by the end of our session together, including Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off." She was so happy when I told her that the ukulele was hers to keep, and she was still practicing when I walked by her room later on in the day. Daniya will also be joining me, along with other patients and the Shakey T Band, onstage next month at "The Jackson Jam" benefit for my program, so look forward to seeing this talented little girl on stage then!" -Stephanie Epstein, MM, Board-Certified Music Therapist, Holtz Children's Hospital, Jackson Pediatric Center
Donating Ukuleles to Music Therapy Programs in Children's Hospitals
The Ukulele Kids Club has donated over 2500 ukuleles to children's hospitals across the country since 2014. We have a very active program in the Miami area, working closely with the music therapists at the Holtz Children's Hospital and the Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Each hospital receives an initial batch of 5 ukuleles. Music therapists identify patients who can benefit most from this therapy. Kids can even take their ukuleles home with them as gifts of music for life. Research shows that music helps hospitalized children heal. Many hospitals are on their 8rd, 9th, even 10th batch of ukuleles.