Ukulele used to bring generations together

Ukulele Macomb is branching out with new youth programs and workshops called Uke It.

It's not an instrument you see many kids playing.

Ukulele Macomb wants to change that.

The strumming group started "Uke It" last year. It's a new music program inspired by Ukulele Macomb designed for young adults, 6th grade and up.

"It's just something really nice for them to learn and to be able to learn young so that they can continue with it so when they're our age, they can really be good," Candace McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin is a youth group leader for Uke It.

"It's great to get the youth interested in music," McLaughlin said. "It's a wonderful outlet for them."

'We had a great time this year learning music and how to play and music appreciation," Western Illinois Museum curator Sue Scott said. "It's just been a wonderful session."

The group was able to provide instruments for kids through a grant from the Fender Foundation.

"We made a deal if they finished it, they stayed the whole year and they would own their own instruments then," Scott said.

Eight out of 10 kids kept their ukuleles.

But organizers said Uke It is about more than just music, it's also about building real relationships.

"When you play the instrument, you have to learn how to play it," Mike McGowan from Ukulele Macomb said. "Whenever you sing the songs, you have to interact with other people. It's very much of a human interaction without all that electronic stuff in between."

'It brings old and young together," McLaughlin said. "It's an opportunity to span the ages. We had a member that was 11 and a member who was 90.

"Old people are kind of cool and young people are kind of cool, too, so I think it works both ways," Scott said.

McLaughlin said even though she taught the kids how to play the ukulele they still schooled her on a few things.

"They bring songs to us that they want to learn and it helps us become more current because we're stuck in some of the oldies," she said. "So they're bringing in things like, 'Wake Me Up,' and that's a great song."

She also reminds her students not to knock a classic. It may be an oldie but it's a goodie.

Click here to hear Ukulele Macomb play live on KHQA This Morning.