My ukulele musical growth has been full of new and exciting discoveries and developments over the past few weeks. Here are a few of them:

  1. Playing the ukulele is extremely fun and addicting!
  2. My ukulele (the orange one pictured below) was sounding off so I enlisted the help of a musically inclined neighbor who informed me that my ukulele was not only too small, but it could never truly be in tune due to the frets being damaged from years of being tossed around by my children. This was a positive discovery for me because I wasn’t sure if the instrument was off or if it was just my novice playing that sounded pretty awful. This led me to…
  3. Buying a NEW ukulele! I have never bought a musical instrument for myself before. We have a pretty impressive collection of random instruments for the kids to mess around on but this was exciting because it was just for me. A new ukulele came with its own challenges though (turns out you have to stretch the strings and tune, tune, tune-constantly). I worked out the kinks with the help of YouTube tutorials and many hours of playing around.

2 ukuleles4: Learning chords is one thing but strumming patterns can be extremely difficult. I have been practicing a pattern of: down, down, up, up, down, up for the song ‘Over the Rainbow’ and I really struggled with it in the beginning but now my muscle memory is starting to take over. It still doesn’t sound quite right because there needs to be an emphasis on the second down and last up for it to resemble to famous uke song, but I am working on it. I am also still trying to find my groove with which finger to strum with. Some people use their thumb, index, or middle finger. Using my middle finger was working best for me until I started to get a huge cuticle blister. I have since been practicing with my index finger but it doesn’t quite feel natural yet. 

5: YouTube is the best. Seriously though, everything you need to know is right there. I was very nervous about learning the ukulele self-directed but YouTube has been an ally in my process. One of my favorite videos at the moment is the one below. She focusses on the strumming pattern first which I find very helpful and then moves into the chords. I have been watching this video a few times a day and following along.


What’s Next?

Over the next few weeks I am hopeful to continue practicing strumming and chord progressions. I am finding that practicing for short time periods but frequently really is the key to progressing my skills. I will keep up with the YouTube tutorials and check back in on the Music Play site to get more comfortable with the ukulele.