After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Nursing Home, Rehabilitation Center, Senior Center
Ben Hassenger is a Michigan State University graduate with a degree in Elementary and Special Education.
Ben works as a music facilitator with Special Education children, teaches ukulele to students and teachers in Michigan school systems, seniors at Prime Time Senior Center in East Lansing, as well as group and individual ukulele lessons at Elderly Instruments, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Michigan State University’s Community Music School.
He plays guitar and ukulele in the bands Blue Jello and The Ukulele Kings and is the co-founder of the Lansing (MI) Area Ukulele Group and the organizer of the Mighty Uke Day festival, Interlochen’s Uketoberfest, the Upper Peninsula’s Yooper Uke Week, and the Midwest Uke Camp in Olivet. He has traveled across North America and various Asian countries, teaching ukulele and English as a Second Language at various festivals and schools.
He is also a prolific songwriter, with two of his songs about the Detroit Tigers enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
The ukulele is the perfect instrument to help older adults make music together. The nylon strings are easier to play than the steel strings on a guitar and since there are only four of them, chords are less complicated also. This makes it more simple to play for those with arthritic or other-wise less dexterous fingers and the smaller size is more comfortable for most. Two or three chords can be learned in an hour or so, which opens up a world of songs to strum and sing together in a group.