As part of Special Olympics Arizona’s (SOAZ) newest program, Unified Arts, SOAZ has partnered with Korg USA to develop the Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum. The curriculum is launching within schools and communities across the state beginning in January 2018. 

Korg and Tanglewood Guitars have provided 110 ukulele bundles for the Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum. The bundles include a brand-new ukulele, colored strings, tuner and gig bag. The bundle also includes adaptive curriculum for all individuals to successfully learn how to play the ukulele in an inclusive and accepted environment. 

“Korg and Tanglewood are extremely pleased to be a part of this new initiative with Special Olympics Arizona to provide a musical outlet to their already impressive collection of Unified programs,” said Tiffany Stalker, Sr. Manager of Education for Korg USA.  “We are proud of the efforts SOAZ are making to include even more individuals and hope that we can help schools and community groups across the country encourage more music making no matter the age, ability, or learning level.”

Guitars in the Classroom is providing necessary training for coaches and school personnel to successfully launch the program. A special education specialist will also be in attendance to learn various teaching strategies, techniques and methods for different ability needs. To ensure the Ukulele Curriculum is truly all inclusive, the SOAZ athletes or unified partners who cannot physically hold a ukulele will be provided with hand shakers and other musical items.

“The Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum is paving the way for Special Olympics Arizona to develop new methods of inclusion,” said Special Olympics Arizona CEO Tim Martin. “Our vision is expanding, and we see amazing opportunities to showcase the many talents of the inspiring members of our organization by providing access to the arts.”

The purpose of the Unified Music Ukulele Curriculum is to offer a program that is simple to implement for any school, team or community group interested in introducing music to their athletes and unified partners, while making it easily attainable through donations, sponsorships and support. As more people start to show off their musical talents and abilities, Unified Music is expected to grow across the state. 

Special Olympics Arizona’s Unified Arts program launched in Fall 2017 with the goal to empower people of all ages, with and without intellectual disabilities, to develop their creative and artistic skills while forming lifelong friendships within their community. Unified Arts with Special Olympics Arizona is different from every other free art program in the state as it is housed both within schools and in communities, and is open to all ages, abilities and levels of art knowledge. Along with music, Unified Arts will incorporate three other unified aspects of the arts this upcoming year including photography, art contests and gardening.