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Residents playing ukulele's outside with instructor.

The melodious strum of ukuleles can be heard once again at La Costa Glen senior living community in Carlsbad. Back by popular demand, the community has launched two outdoor classes for residents to learn how to play the popular Hawaiian instrument.

For months, classes were put on hold due to the coronavirus. In August, local musician and ukulele enthusiast Gerry Rahill was welcomed back to the community to teach residents the art of the uke. Classes can have up to 10 people participating. They’re designed for residents to keep appropriate distance while staying socially engaged with protective masks.

“People enjoy playing and singing, and ukulele is one of the easier instruments to learn,” Rahill told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s only four strings, and the strings are nylon, so they’re easier on your fingers than a steel-string guitar or some other stringed instruments.”

Musical classes have always been an important part of the culture at La Costa Glen. Over the last few weeks, the La Costa Glen team has been working to launch safe social groups to keep residents engaged and mentally fit.

“Experts say the two best activities for fighting dementia are learning a foreign language and learning how to play a musical instrument,” said La Costa Glen Activities Director Michele Chaffee. “Those are the two best things because each requires new learning and results in mapping new places in the brain.”

La Costa Glen residents say they’re happy to spend time each week working on their skills while enjoying time with their fellow neighbors.

“It’s a big stress relief,” said resident Karl Gronbach. “It’s got my mind on something else other than the pandemic.”

Read more about the classes and benefits in The San Diego Union-Tribune.