I designed the Rainbow Ukulele Bead System with student motivation and teacher flexibility in mind! It was one of my favorite tools to use when teaching ukulele.

A picture of a teacher standing next to a student who is holding a ukulele. The words on the image read "Rainbow Ukulele: Fun & Flexible Bead Motivation System"

Why use the Rainbow Ukulele Bead Motivation System in your classroom?

  • Ability to customize system to your students and classroom
  • Motivates students to practice
  • Affordable & budget friendly
  • Visual way to share progress with families

While implementing this system is absolutely not required to use Rainbow Ukulele, I found my students were really are motivated by adding beads to their keychain.

A picture that says "Materials Needed" with a picture of white lanyard attached to a silver keychain and a bag of multicolored pony beads

Materials Needed to Implement the Rainbow Ukulele Bead Motivation System:

  • Pony Beads (3 different types: clear, opaque in various colors, and a specialty bead of your choice)
  • Plastic Lanyard Lacing
  • Keychain

Teacher Tip: How to Keep Beads in Place

Show students how to loop the plastic lanyard lace through the final bead to secure the beads in place. This will prevent beads from spilling out of the keychain. See video at the bottom for more information.

Types of Beads: Responsibility Beads

Responsibility beads are clear and students have a chance to earn them every class period by bringing their materials. I required students to bring their Rainbow Ukulele folder to music class. If they did, they earned one clear responsibility bead.

Option to customize: students can earn responsibility beads for whatever you require them to bring to class (i.e. pencil, tuner, ukulele case, felt picks).

Types of Beads: Task Beads

Task beads are opaque and students earn these by accomplishing milestones in the Rainbow Ukulele program. I try to keep it simple and full of chances to earn. Students can earn beads for holding the uke, playing a chord, tuning the uke, and accomplishing specific songs.

Option to customize: I use a different colored bead for each task, but if you are overwhelmed by the thought of this, you can edit the number of colors. Both the digital student and teacher Rainbow Ukulele sets come with an editable task bead file.

Types of Beads: Behavior Beads

A picture that says "Behavior Beads" with a picture underneath of glow-in-the-dark and multicolored glitter pony beads

Behavior beads are specialty beads(such as glow-in-the-dark or glitter beads) and students have a chance to earn them by displaying positive behavior. I gave out a music award at the end of each class called the Big Hand Award. While my K-3 students loved the certificate, my 4th and 5th graders kind of knew it’s just a piece of paper. So they also now get a special bead to add to their keychain.

Sometimes I would randomly hand out behavior beads to students who helped out in class, did a random act of kindness, or just to reward students doing a good job in class that day.

Option to customize: If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of beads, this is one type of bead you can easily eliminate or change to fit your school’s behavior management system

Teacher Tip: Assessing Students & Handing Out Beads

Use Student HelpersIncorporate TechnologyDon’t Forget About Classtime

Students can help with passing out beads at the beginning or end of class. I had a student pass out responsibility beads for me while we did our composer of the month listening.
Use a website or app for students to record for their task beads. You might consider using PadletFlipGrid, or Google Classroom your school has access to that.

Bonus: students have a great portfolio of their playing at the end of the year!
Use some classtime for students to practice and for you to conduct a few quick assessments. Centers are also a great way to assess a few students at a time

Have you ever used a motivation system to help students learn ukulele? What do you think of the Rainbow Ukulele Bead System? Let me know in the comments below!

picture of Shelley Tomich

I'm busy mom of three and music educator in Atlanta, GA. My passion is helping busy music teachers deliver time saving, engaging lessons so you have more time to enjoy your life! Click my photo to learn more! Teach music. Love life.

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  1. Tracy Woodall

    I can’t wait to start ukulele again. I just got a class set and the kids are PUMPED!! I have dolphin beads that I will use for other special tasks or if they can play a more challenging song. The dolphin is our mascot.

    • Pitch Publications

      Yay!!!! Love the dolphin bead idea! Hope you are doing well!! 🙂

  2. Amy

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea. I am always looking for ways to motivate my musicians, and I know they will love Rainbow Bead Ukulele. I look forward to trying this when school resumes. Thank you for faithfully updating your blog, as the ideas you have shared are amazing. I can’t wait to explore more.

    • Pitch Publications

      You are very welcome Amy! I’m glad we can help you out!!! =)


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