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Ukulele Tips for Beginners

by Jonathan Logtenberg

A decent, good-sounding Ukulele can inspire you to reach excellent musical skills. But in as much as getting a ukulele that stays in tune is essential, practicing is also key to getting the most out of the instrument. Here, therefore, are some tips for novice ukulele players: How to get the most out of each practice session?

Buy a Decent Ukulele

The best ukulele instrument will stay in tune during each strum. Getting a decent ukulele is a key to enjoying each playing session. Otherwise, frustrations abound and bang goes any fond hopes of jamming some sweet sounds with your buddies.

The Ukulele comes in various sizes, such as the Tenor Ukulele, Concert Ukulele, and the Baritone Ukulele. For kids, the small soprano ukulele is the best gift. The baritone ukulele is not a popular choice, but the Tenor and concert Ukulele are suitable for everyone. You can get a decent ukulele in the $100 price range; Be sure that if it comes cheaper than that, it won’t stay in tune. Before paying up for it, try it out in the local music shop near you.

Keep Your Ukulele in Tune

Whether you get your mitts on the concert, baritone, tenor, or soprano Ukulele, keeping it in tune is a must for optimal functioning. You can tune the ukulele strings using a ukulele tuner such as the Snark SN6 Clip-On Ukulele Tuner.

Hold Your Ukulele the Right Way

You can play your Ukulele while sitting or standing. When sitting, position the Ukulele such that its body rests on your legs and your strumming arm on top of it. When standing, hold the Ukulele against your chest, keeping it there using your strumming arm. All this will take practice, but learning how to hold your Ukulele is key to having fun with it, with time, you will be comfortable to pick it up and play it while walking around without the need for those bulky straps.

Commit to Short Practice Sessions

Short and sweet is the way to go. Commit to some brief but regular practice sessions. So instead of picking up your Ukulele and strumming it for three hours in one session, then skipping practice for a week or two, veteran ukulele players recommend much smaller sessions that are more frequent: say 20 minutes a day there to four times a week.

Have a Goal for Each Session

Set a goal for each session. It doesn’t matter how small it is; it could be just to master a specific fingerpicking. A goal in mind will guide you, keep your practice session from veering off, and getting lost in all the strumming.

Expert’s Advice for the Best Practice Routines for Beginners?

Here’s what veteran ukulele players say helped them reach excellent musical skills. Split your daily 20-minutes practice session into four minor sections:

  • Spend 5 minutes mastering those chord changes: To get the most out of chord changes practice, focus on the ones you are weak at. For example, chord C and G are coming up frequently in the song you want to learn, and you are having trouble switching from C to G, then focus on pure chord changes, spending an extra minute playing a C to a G. Do that a few times a week.
  • Spend the next 5 minutes working on strumming patterns. You can eliminate chords from this session. The advice here is not to lock your strumming finger, keep it bent and relaxed. The other tip is to attack the strings clean, strum down with the bottom part of the finger, and up with the upper part of the finger, just grazing the top part of your nail and not burying the finger in too dip. If you want more volume, tilt your finger and use more nail instead of the upper and bottom parts of the finger.
  • Work on fingerpicking. You can choose to work on patterns you are struggling with or just a general pattern. You can lock out the chords or choose to work with a specific chord, lock the pattern down, then throw a change of chord in at some point in fingerpicking, you are going to have to change the chord.
  • Work on some songs during the last 5 minutes and have fun! Try playing as much from memory as you can, so the songs and patterns stick in your brain. But don’t be afraid to peep at the chord sheet if you are struggling. Remember that one or two songs are enough.

The take-home, practice does make perfect; it’s always good to take notes and focus on where you are weak. UkuleleHunt advises that you record your playing sessions for later listening. That is because it’s hard to listen to yourself while strumming, changing chords and patterns, listening to yourself later helps you make the right changes. You also get comfortable playing in front of the mic.

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