The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music

songs for boys

I am teaching myself guitar using the ToneWay method. I teach a lively class of homeschooled boys ages 7-12 once a week and would like to incorporate folk music into our weekly classes. I'm looking for opinions on some of the CORE songs that boys that age would really enjoy (probably not into the ones about “gals” just yet), and if so, if there are instrumental versions on the CDs that we can use to accompany us until I get up to speed in my playing? Also, has anyone tried starting a youth workshop using this method?


Good Evening Kara,

I looked at your post on Friday and have given it alot of thought. I believe that it is fantastic that you are using the ToneWay method to teach yourself the guitar.

I also think that teaching a class to boys in that age range is also incredible. I would like to suggest using the songs listed on page 36 of the ToneWay Music Method book. You can use the MP3 clips on the CDs or on the website to assist you in learning and singing the songs.

I am willing to say that if you were to use this method to teach the youth, not only will they pick up on it and possibly surpass you in their learning.

Please let us know how it works with you and please remember, you have alot of support from all of us “Tonations.” :-)


Hi Kara!

It’s great to hear you’re using playing music with the kids and using the Toneway method! Thanks for writing!

I’m a little unclear if the boys are just singing or are they playing instruments too? If they’re going to be learning to play string instruments, I would suggest that learning to play a ukulele, guitalele, or guitar to accompany singing these traditional songs is the optimal way to go. Which one a child chooses would depend on interest, hand size, and budget.

If kids are learning to play an instrument, it would be much less important which songs they play. Songs with the 'Sun' icon are the most straightforward and most are upbeat. Anyway, here are some thoughts…

The ToneWay method is really set up to help adults approach music more intuitively as a child naturally would. One of our focuses was to pave the way for parents to learn music, which opens the door to a family playing music together. Importantly, the musical expertise of a parent is irrelevant. Kids simply need a role model and a conducive setting.

Luke taught string instruments to kids in the age range you're dealing with and found they needed practically no ToneWay 'theory'… just showing them what to do by example works. As you are just now learning, you will find many of your students quickly surpassing you, I'd predict. Your role would be more of bandleader, cheerleader, organizer, and of course, fellow jammer.

If you are just planning have a singing folk song class, but wish to consider teaching instruments too, check out the book. Ukulele is perfect for small hands, and a beginning intro to guitar. Open tuned, it is also a beginning into to banjo. Guitalele is essentially just a small and easier to play guitar.

Perhaps this is more than you were asking and maybe didn't answer what you wanted…but we thought we'd put that out there. You might even ask the kids what songs they like. Our kids sang them all.

Best wishes, Carl and Leslie Abbott


Hi Again Kara,

You did ask about songs that might be fun that don't have girl heart ache.

Cluck Old Hen, Hot Corn. Long Journey Home, New River Train, Pig in a Pen, Rabbit in a log, Reubens Train, Crawdad Song, Uncle Ned…and on and one.
But…I'll say that when I was little, my dad taught me all kinds of songs like Careless love and St. James Infirmary, The subject matter didn't matter at all to me. I was just happy playing and singing with him! And we've told you about music with our sons…we played all of these songs.

Let us know how it goes! Best wishes, Leslie


Thanks for the great info Leslie! I just picked up a banjo that my son and I are learning to play. What did you mean when you said about a ukulele “Open tuned, it is also a beginning intro to banjo.”?

I don't know anything about ukuleles and was thinking about getting one along with your uke and guitalele book. It looks like there are some great songs in there. Are ukuleles tuned like banjos so that chord shapes would be the same?

Thanks again, Dave


My son, when he was young, grandson and children in the neighborhood enjoy “Dead Skunk in the MIddle of the Road”. Not a Tone Way tune but entertaining for all.


Hi Dave!
Thank you for your post Dave! Banjos are already open tuned to G, as you know. You can also play a ukulele open tuned. The Standard uke's strings are G-C- E- A. If you tune the A down to a G…the uke will be open tuned to C, so if you strum the strings with nothing held down, you're playing in C. And you're right. The chord shapes are the same except there is no 5th sting like a banjo, of course. I made a little video a while back showing about open tuning. . Fast forward if needed.

Ukuleles are wonderful! I hope you'll play one!

Best, Leslie

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