Since I started to learn the ukulele, one of the most common things I hear is “I would love to learn the ukulele, but I am not talented at music” or “I don’t have any natural ability”. As if those who can play are born with some kind of gift. People always tend to ignore the countless hours that people put in to learn. It’s true that some people learn quicker than others, but the bottom line is that everyone has to put in the work.
I think this is especially true when playing the ukulele for beginners. There is a lot for your hands, mind, and mouth have to coordinate. If just one of them is out of sync the song won’t quite work.
When you first start learning the ukulele there are two things to consider about your practice schedule; length and frequency. They are both important. If you don’t put in enough hours each week, then you won’t gain the muscle skills and flexibility that you need to play well. However, if you only practice once a week, even for several hours, your body will forget a lot of what you have learned by the next time you play. It’s always kind of like two steps forward, one step back.
I am still pretty new at the ukulele (this is ukulele for beginners), but I think at least 30 minutes to hour is necessary. I find that it usually takes me that long to start feeling comfortable with my ukulele and to get my fingers start working well. So, an hour or more everyday.
Having said that however, if you can’t spare an hour, it is always best to pick up the ukulele for even five minutes and play.
When I am learning a new song on the ukulele, I will learn the chords and then I can practice anywhere. When I am talking to someone on the phone, when I am watching TV, etc. The more I practice the less I have to think about it.
One trick I have found is to leave my ukulele out in the open. If I leave it in it’s bag or put it out of the way, I am much less likely to think about it. If you leave your ukulele out in the open, it’s much easier to pick up and play at any time.
Just remember that learning comes down to hard (but fun) work and not just natural talent.