Once you have learned to hold your ukulele properly, do a correct strum, and play some basic chords, you can start thinking about about how you are hitting the strings and exactly where you are touching the frets. So here is my ukulele for beginners tip: Relax. Not only will you be able to play better, but you will also be able to practice longer and you’ll have more fun.
Recently, I have been learning to play “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars. It uses a more difficult type of strum than I had practiced previously. Basically, you only press the chords when you strum and then you let go. When I first started learning, I would get tired very soon and the sound wasn’t that great.
The person who was teaching me, told me that if I hit the strings too hard the sound wasn’t as good as a more relaxed strum. Since I was so tight I couldn’t relax my hand, or play from the wrist as I should. It also caused me to move my arm too much.
However, he said that I played much better, when I wasn’t serious and wasn’t focused on the ukulele (like when I was strumming while talking to someone). I stopped caring about trying to get it right and let my hands take over. I couldn’t focus on the ukulele because I was focused on talking with someone else.
Once I realized this I was able to relax and just go with the rhythm. My hand really started loosening up and I have been able to play longer without getting tired.
So today’s ukulele for beginners tip is practice sometimes when you are doing something else. Talk to someone, watch tv, or go for a walk while playing. It will take your mind of the ukulele and let your hands do the work.
I had an ukulele lesson today, and was able to learn some things I thought were very important. Since I had mostly been playing and learning the ukulele by myself (and struggling), the things that I learned were pretty helpful.
So here they are:
1. Play slow.
When you are first learning a new song you don’t necessarily have to play at the same tempo as the song. Trying to do so, while also learning the chords and singing the song, was really difficult. It was much easier to sing and play together when you slow it down. However, it is actually harder to play slow and keep a constant beat.
2. Take baby steps.
If you are like me and are having trouble singing and playing at the same time, then work on mastering sections rather than trying to do the entire song. If I can focus on just a small section then I can do it over and over again in rapid succession. This makes it easier to get good and also makes the following sections much easier.
This also goes for playing and singing together. If you learn to play confidently first, then singing along will be easier.
3. Learn the beat.
Learning just the chords isn’t enough if you don’t know where they go and the beat of the song. Play them as if you are playing the song in your head. Just playing through the chords is helpful, but it is much better to match them to the specific number of beats they need to be played.
4. Have fun.
This is something that should seem obvious, but make sure not to get too serious. Take breaks and realize that learning the ukulele doesn’t just happen over night. Learning the ukulele takes time. But if you stay with it, it does get easier. The more fun you have the longer you will want to play.