Learning the Ukulele
The ukulele is a very user-friendly instrument due to it’s smaller size, simple configuration, and ease of playing. It’s not uncommon for students to be able to play simple melodies or complete songs after a few lessons. I have also found that the Ukulele is an excellent instrument for students ages 5-8 who might struggle learning guitar due to strength or fine-motor limitations.
Additionally, Ukuleles are generally very affordable when compared to other instruments. This gives students a low-cost opportunity to jump into lessons, providing families the opportunity to gauge their students level of commitment and interest before making further investment in lessons.
Topics of Instruction
Whether using a pick or fingers we will study the common rhythm patterns found in traditional and contemporary music forms. This aspect of the ukulele is very interesting since there is no lack of different ways to approach strumming and rhythm figures. Much of this depends upon the individual artist and the specific genre of music they are working within.
It takes a little bit of time to get comfortable playing notes with the left hand while also plucking or strumming strings with the right hand. So, I work with my students on exercises and music scales to help them develop their strength and coordination. I also will utilize popular single-note songs to accomplish this as well.
The ukulele is a very flexible instrument when it comes to learning songs. While generally associated with traditional Hawaiian music the ukulele can be used to play songs of any style or era. It’s not uncommon for my students to start learning simple songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and then move onto music that best reflects their current interests. I really encourage students to provide me a list of songs and artists that they most enjoy learning. There is no limitations on what can be played on the Ukulele. I often teach guitar based songs on the Ukulele in addition to some of the more traditional music forms. Quite recently I’ve taught songs by Queen, Yes, Train and Jason Mraz.