Articles & Information

Rob Amchin - FMEA 2018 Sessions

1. Integrated Arts - Exploring Visual Arts In the Music Classroom

2.  Ukulele Jam Session

3.  Beyond B A G Recorder Session

4.  For Starters: Starting Your New Orff Ensemble

FMEA 2018 Presentation by Cak Marshall and Donna Kagan

Something New for Monday's Music Class

Presentations by Jim Solomon at NYSSMA 2017

Download Notes and Instrument List:

NYSSMA Notes (Password Required)

WHOkulele? YOUkulele ! Presented by Lavonna Zeller-Williams-Bratschi at ...

WHOkulele ?  YOUkulele !

Cak Marshall and Donna Kagan Presentations at NAFME National 2017

1. Recorders From Beginning to Intermediate

2. Something New For Monday's Classroom

Thomas Pierre Sessions at WI-MEA 2017

1.  Sing, Say, Move, Play

2.  Pop, Soul, and Orff

3.  Beauty In The World by Macie Gray. Arrangement by Thomas Pierre

Spring Lesson - St. Patricks Day and Easter Bunny

Spring Lesson - St. Patrick's Day and Easter Bunny

Choosing an Ukulele for the Classroom



Choosing an Ukulele, especially for a classroom set, can be a daunting challenge.  (Please note:  I say "an" ukulele, because it is technically pronounced ookoo-laylee, and therefore gets "an" instead of "a") We always want to chose an instrument that has vibrant sound, acurate intonation, and is easy to play.  However, the word "inexpensive" is almost always synonomous with the words, "classroom set".  In other words, budget, is often a concern.

Like most instruments, with ukuleles, you ususally get what you pay for.  In general, the highest price Ukuleles ranging from over $500.00 to into the $1,000.00 plus range will not be found in the catalog of a company catering to schools and music educators.  But many excellent choices can be found in the price range a company like Peripole does cover, so lets proceed.

The main choice to be made is in what model to buy: soprano, concert, or tenor.  What are the differences?  Body and neck size, and the scale for the fretboard, are the main differences.  In fact, all three models are tuned identially (GCEA) and have the exact same pitches.  The larger body size gives the larger instrument a "fuller" sound than the small one.  However, some players prefer the sound of the smaller soprano ukulele over the larger concert or tenor models.  Usually, however, any sound differences are small, if detectable. 

Baritone and bass ukuleles are tuned entirely differently from the other three models, and therefore are not usually part of the same buying decision.  The baritone is tuned to the same notes as the highest-pitched four strings of a guitar (DGBE) for four string models, and identically to a guitar for six string models.  The bass ukulele is tuned identically to a bass guitar (EADG), but one octave higher.  These latter two models are usually reserved for higher level ensembles and groups.

Perhaps the most important distinction to be made in purchasing an ukulele is whether to buy a soprano or a concert model.  Sopranos typically have only 12 frets, whereas concerts and tenors have 18 frets.  This means that sopranos are best for chording instruments where it is not necessary to access the upper range of the instrument.  Concerts and tenors are best for more advanced skills where the player will use the upper range.  Usually, in beginner class sets, sopranos are very sufficient, but if you plan on expanding later to use the upper range, you should buy a concert model.

One other factor to consider is hand size.  Most adults can play all three, but are ideally suited to either a concert (smaller hands) or a tenor (larger hands).  Likewise, most children can play all sizes, but are ideally suited to either a soprano (smaller hands and younger grades) or a concert (larger hands and older grades).

Having covered the basics, I will now make some concrete suggestions.  All of the ukuleles offered by Peripole are very good instruments.  We have carefully screened out inferior products from our offering. Still, there are some decisions to be made. 

If you have decided that a soprano is best, the Diamond Head 7054 Maho is an excellent and economical choice, being our lowest priced instrument.  The P7055 and P7056, a little higher quality Diamond Head model is also a good choice. All Diamond Head ukuleles come with a thin gig bag.  However, the newly arrived Dean Mahogany Soprano, P7311, is another step up in quality, but an excellent value.  Although it does not come with a gig bag, one can be added, and you will still come up with a price tag lower than a similar quality Luna.  Lastly, the Luna tattloo models, P7070 and P7071 are top quality ukuleles that come with a gig bag and classy etched wood designs on the top piece of the sound box.

If you have decided that a concert model is best, then consider the Diamond Head Concert Model, P7057, the Luna P7072, or the Dean Concert Spruce, P7310 (listed in order of ascending price tag).  The Luna and the Dean are both top quality, but again the Dean, although it comes with a quality spruce top, does not have a gig bag.  Again, a gig bag can be easily added to the purchase.

Other more exotic concert models to consider (usually, with a higher price tag) are the Luna Tattoo Concert Electric (P7073 - our lowest priced model with electronics and gig bag), Dean Koa (P7312 - currently on special that includes deluxe hard case for free with purchase), and the Luna High Tide Koa (P7076 - includes gig bag).

Remember, if you need any further advice or discussion, we are only a phone call or email away!



A Dicey Little Lesson

A Dicey Little Lesson


Cak Marshall


A Dicey Little Lesson


West African Instrument Answers

Don't look at this until you've taken the West African Instrument Challenge!





Let's see how you did!

1. Djembe (A)

2. Dundunba (E-A)

3. Seke seke (G)

4. Sangban (E-B)

5. Balafon (D)

6. Ken Ken (C)

7. Kenkeni (E-C)

8. Krin (F)

9. Kese Kese or Ksing Ksing (B)

There are more videos throughout the product pages and you can find them all on our YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss new releases.

Invite a friend to take the West African Instrument Challenge.

West African Instrument Challenge

Music educators are expected to teach music from diverse cultures which includes not only being familiar with the music, but the instruments as well. 

West African drumming is one of the most popular genres of music with both teachers and students, yet many still find it challenging to name instruments by sight and sound.

Below are the names of common West African drums and percussion instruments. Can you match them with the photos in the below PDF?

Let us know how you did. Or better yet, brag about it on FB or Twitter and invote your friends to take the challenge!

Match these names with the letter for each instrument, then click the link below to see how well you did.

Download the PDF

1. Djembe

2. Dundunba

3. Seke seke

4. Sangban

5. Balafon

6. Ken Ken

7. Kenkeni

8. Krin

9. Kese Kese or Ksing Ksing

Click here to see how you did!

A Guide to Orff Mallets - Fiberglass vs Birch Shafts

Peripole, Inc. is pleased to offer soprano (blue), alto (yellow) and bass (red) Orff Instrument mallets in two shaft materials, fiberglass, which comes as standard equipment with instruments, and birch hardwood. We are often asked which material we recommend and the truth is that each has advantages and disadvantages. We offer the following to help with your selection: Fiberglass is extremely durable and break resistant. It also has a heavier head balance, which creates a feeling like “bouncing a ball” when playing. Many teachers and clinicians prefer and recommend this kind of balance. If shafts are struck against each other or the edge of the keys or other objects, the protective coating on the shafts will eventually chip and expose the fiberglass which can splinter. Mallets must be repaired by covering or refinishing the damaged portion, or they should be replaced. Birch Hardwood is a thicker, lighter material and creates a larger more ergonomic grip and balanced feel. If the shaft material is damaged by striking each other or sharp objects, resulting imperfections are easier to see, and can be easily repaired by sanding and paint, or by covering. Birch hardwood, though quite durable with normal use, might be broken if stepped on or otherwise severely abused. Nylon is a splinter-free plastic, and remains so, even after extended use. It is more flexible than desired for longer mallets, but is optimal for shorter ones. We now use nylon for all Glockenspiel mallets.


Sing, Say, Dance, and Play - Even in 2014. (PDF)

Cak Marshall

Peripole at AOSA 2014

Staring this off with a bang and a boom at the opening drum circle.

Kalani and friends providing the drumming inspiration for an evening dance jam.

Peripole drumming session AOSA, ORFF 2014

This pajama dancer ets into the groove!

Peripole drumming AOSA instruments.

Dr. Rene Boyer revs up the spirit with Gospel music for the closing session.

Dr. Rene Boyer AOSA 2014

Look for Peripole at music education conference throughout the year and come say hello!

Holiday Songs

Cak brings you these Holiday songs to use for FREE!


Peace Song 

Session Notes amd Chanukah Songs