Ukulele lessons for beginners and players of various skill levels. Interested in learning to play the ukulele? Have you purchased a ukulele or have been gifted one, and are wondering how to learn to play? Here are some useful tips on how to take Ukulele lessons. You can learn to play ukulele with these video lessons; find lessons on technique, theory, how to solo, how to tune your ukulele, and more!
Table of Contents
- 1 Ukulele Makes a Comeback
- 2 Portable, Easy to Play and Learn
- 3 Things to Be Learnt
- 4 Learning to Play the Ukulele: Useful Tips
- 5 Do You Play Guitar? You Should Try The Ukulele!
- 6 Learn How to Tune a Ukulele
- 7 Best Ukulele Books
- 8 Self Learning Approach
- 9 Learning Resources Available
- 10 Easy Ukulele Songs
- 11 To Conclude
Ukulele Makes a Comeback
In recent times, several folk instruments have made a comeback, including the Ukulele, with several celebrities taking an interest in this wonderful instrument. No wonder, the popularity of ukulele continues to rise.
Fortunately for you, it’s very easy to learn and play the ukulele. You can play the C chord with 1 finger. There’s a lot of one and two finger chords that you can use quickly. Everybody can catch to to that pretty quickly. And when you pick up an instrument and have some instant success just like that, it gives you confidence, you want to play more.
You can even play guitar songs on this instrument. Once you learn to play the Ukulele, it becomes a lot easier to play the guitar/bass. Similarly, even guitar players find it easier to play the Ukulele. The skills learnt are easily transferable to the guitar and vice-versa (even guitar players can easily learn the uke).
But if you have never picked up a musical instrument before, the ukulele is a perfect instrument to get started, you will absolutely love it.
Portable, Easy to Play and Learn
The ukulele is among the easiest musical instruments to play, and you can really become a good player very quickly. As always, you need to be consistent with your learning, maintain the good habits, and you’ll be playing music in no time.
Most schools insist that children learn to play ukulele as these are easy to play (Ukulele has only four strings, compared to the guitar which has six strings).
Besides, the smaller size of the ukulele makes them inexpensive, which means most kids can afford to own one.
Younger students may opt for smaller sized guitars, but even they can be too large for smaller hands, and the quality of the cheaper ones is not so good. That is where the Ukulele comes in a a nice alternative.
Things to Be Learnt
Beginner Ukulele Lessons usually focus on the basics, such as, how to tune, hold, and strum a ukulele, how to switch between a C chord and an F chord, and so on.
Learning to play the Ukulele involves several things. You will need to –
- Learn to hold the ukulele correctly
- Learn the notes and play chords
- Learn to position the fingers correctly
- Learning Strumming / Shuffles
- Read sheet music (and/or tabs)
- Learn to tune the ukulele
Useful tip: While learning, make sure you start with little melodies that use few chords, so that you can play them easily and feel motivated, while still getting used to the instrument. A great habit to inculcate as a beginner student is to practice things slowly. It’s the secret to learn efficiently and also to become a good player. When you first start learning a piece, play it slowly and avoid making a mistake; you can always speed up once you get more confidence.
Get started on the Ukulele with these lessons. Easy chords, strumming and songs!
Learning to Play the Ukulele: Useful Tips
The ukulele is a popular instrument because of its simplicity, light weight and its low cost. Its also fairly easy to learn. Learn the basics of how to play the ukulele and it will soon become a fun instrument to play.
Here are some helpful tips for learning the ukulele.
- Make sure your instrument is in tune: The easiest way to make sure your ukulele is in tune is to use a digital tuner.
- Buy a quality Ukulele: Buy a quality ukulele that sounds better and stays in tune for longer.
- Hold your ukulele correctly: Learn to hold the ukulele correctly so that it becomes easier to play the notes.
- Learn basic chords: Learning the chords C, F and G will allow you to learn play a whole range of songs. Most songs only require these three cords, so you will quickly be able to play popular songs for your own pleasure or for friends and family.
- Regular practice: Regular practice will help you to progress quicker.
The ukulele is much lighter than the guitar, which makes it a popular instrument among the young learners (children). Its also easier to learn compared to the guitar because a Ukulele only has 4 strings (guitar has 6).
Do You Play Guitar? You Should Try The Ukulele!
If you can play the guitar, you can easily play the ukulele as well.
Some feel the ukulele is a good starting point, for example for kids, and they eventually graduate to playing the guitar. However, the ukulele is a great instrument to play for any aspiring guitar player. In fact, some even say they improved their guitar playing once they started incorporating the ukulele in their practice.
As you probably know, the ukulele has only 4 strings. While this may seem a setback to some guitarists, the lack of 2 strings can help you understand chord structure better. You are forced to think of ways to make beautiful sounds on the ukulele through 4-string chord arrangements and this can only help expand your knowledge and understand of how chords work.
Unlike typical guitar chords which are mostly in an up/down, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 type pattern, ukulele playing requires more emphasis on specific techniques like syncopated rhythms.
While the ukulele may not get a lot of press, compared to the guitar or bass anyway, many great musicians play or played the ukulele. Guitarists such as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, even Jimi Hendrix all played the ukulele!
Learn How to Tune a Ukulele
If you’re learning to play the ukulele, you should also learn how to tune your ukulele. Tuning a stringed instrument is an important regular activity that needs to be performed, but then many are not sure how to tune a ukulele. There are various methods to tune the uke, and tuning instructions are easily available for beginners.
Here we will learn about the Standard Ukulele Tuning and the other Tunings that are frequently used.
Why is Tuning Important?
It is important for the instrument to be tuned correctly because otherwise it is going to sound awful to your listeners. That is the reason all the experienced players make sure that their instrument is tuned up correctly, before they start playing it. Besides, depending on the strings, some ukuleles may hold their tuning better whereas some may not. That is why it’s always a good idea to check it every time, before you play.
An important part of learning to play the Ukulele is to tune it properly, else the notes that you play are not going to sound correct. For beginners, getting the ukulele in tune can be a tricky task. Although there are several ways in which you can tune the Ukulele, using a quality tuner (such as the one available from Snark) is the easiest way.
As most string instrument players would agree, there is nothing worse than playing an out of tune musical instrument, unless you are trying to record some effects.
The good thing, however, is that it is quite easy to learn how to tune a ukulele.
There are several videos on YouTube that teach you about the different parts of the ukulele, and how to tune a Ukulele (uses the standard GCEA tuning). You also need to learn how to take care of your ukulele. Develop the habit of wiping your ukulele with a cleaning cloth, after every practice, before storing in the bag.
Standard Ukulele Tuning
This is the most common ukulele tuning, and here’s how it is done:
Most Soprano, concert, and tenor ukuleles are tuned in standard tuning. It is also referred to, at times, as the “C tuning”.
Click here to checkout Snark Ukulele Tuners
Using an Electronic Tuner
This is actually the easiest way to tune your Ukulele; just keep adjust the string until you get the sound right (the tuner will tell you when its right).
Here’s how to use the electronic/chromatic tuner:
- Turn ON the tuner, and select the instrument (most tuners can tune different kinds of instruments)
- Clip the device at the head of your ukulele
- Strum each string, the pin on the device moves as you strum a string. If the pin stays in the middle when you play a string, its fine else adjust again.
How to Tune Your Ukulele
There are a couple of ways that you can do this: By ear or by using a Chromatic Tuner. The easiest way of course is using the Chromatic Tuner, unless you are an experienced musician with great ears.
Here’s a video that shows how to tune Ukulele:
Best Ukulele Books
Good method book for learning.
Nice introduction to fingerstyle playing on the Uke
Self Learning Approach
How quickly you learn will depend on how much time you can spare.
The easiest is for children who learn in school, as they have lessons on designated days and time and the course is structured in a way such that every lesson builds up on the earlier lessons.
You definitely need to practice at home, but you don’t have to worry about what to learn, as the teacher does that for you.
Adults, on the other hand, may not be able to follow this approach. Some may prefer to learn a little bit at a time, or some may want lot of things together (they are after flexibility).
You can always follow the Self Learning approach.
Besides the flexibility, one good thing about this approach is that each new thing that you study is the next logical step, and doesn’t have to be really based on what you have learned so far.
And you can always take advantage of the materials and learning resources that are available online, including some really cool videos.
You can learn to play the ukulele free of charge by watching the video lessons that are taught and performed by several ukulele players.
Learning Resources Available
When learning to play the Ukulele, it’s important to do it the correct way. You will be using the fingers of your left hand to press the strings of the Ukulele, and you may use your right hand thumb or use a pick to pluck the notes. But then there’s much more to do. Thankfully, there are tons of videos, learning materiel and resources available on the internet which should guide you well.
But the problem with going through all those instructions, music sheets, chord sheets, YouTube videos, is that it can overwhelm (and also dishearten) beginners. So you may need the help of a teacher for correct guidance.
You could even use a Ukulele learning software, if you are looking for a structured approach and don’t have the time to take lessons from a teacher. Several Ukulele instructional books are also available (that come with accompanying CD) that teach the basics on ukulele playing.
Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele, Complete Starter Pack
This starter pack includes a high-quality ‘Firebrand’ wood ukulele with nylon strings, & useful accessories including a custom-fit lightweight gig bag with carrying handle, an extra set of nylon ukulele strings, and the best-selling Alfred’s Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele Course (Book, CD, and DVD), suitable for beginners of all ages.
Easy Ukulele Songs
Here are easy ukulele songs for beginners (and even experienced players) that they can practice on this instrument. There’s a large collection of ukulele songs, performed by various artists, and materials on chords and tabs available online.
Why Memorize Songs?
The moment people around you know that you can play a musical instrument, you’ll be requested to do the honors of performing for the small audience.
And most likely you’ll be requested to play something that is:
And that is why it makes sense to learn some of these songs (you should always grab such opportunities).
List of Ukulele Songs
Here’s a list of all the ukulele songs. (Please feel free to suggest any song that I may’ve missed).
Tonight You Belong to Me
Written by: Billy Rose and Lee David in 1926.
Essential version: Lyle Ritz, Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Written by: Harold Arlen and Yip Harbury in 1939
Essential version: Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
When I’m Cleaning Windows
Written by: George Formby, Harry Gifford and Frederick E. Cliffe in 1936
Essential version: George Formby.
Written by: Gus Kahn and Richard Whiting in 1925.
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Written by: Gus Kahn and Isham Jones in 1924
Essential version: Joe Brown at the George Harrison Memorial Concert
Tip-Toe Through the Tulips
Written by: Joe Burke and Al Dubin in 1929
Essential version: Tiny Tim
Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Girl?)
Written by: Joe Young, Sam Lewis, Ray Henderson
Ain’t She Sweet
Written by: Milton Ager and Jack Yellen in 1927
Written by: Queen Lili’uokalani in 1877.
Written by: Jason Mraz
Some More Songs
Here are some more songs that you may add to your repertoire.
If you ever wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, you should definitely give the Ukulele a try. Its easy to play and there are several resources out there that you can access.
There are certain songs, riffs, licks that are forever associated with a musical instrument, and the same goes for ukes as well. It could have been originally written for that instrument, or probably it may have been performed so memorably on the Uke, that it is always thought of as a ukulele song. The list of ukulele songs mentioned here is something that ukers will always be asked to perform.
It is best to devote around an hour or two every day and learn these lessons. Move on to the next lesson only if you’re sure you understand the one that you are working on. Gradually, you can build on the technique part & learn more theory as part of your ukulele lessons. It’s important to practice the Ukulele regularly and also to set yourself small goals (applies for all musical instruments), in order to see good progress. Remember, all the fun starts once you know how to play the Ukulele, as you can play for bands and entertain at local parties and festivals.