3 Indispensable Tips For Learning To Play Ukulele

3 Indispensable Tips For Learning To Play Ukulele

These three points are essential for making quick and steady progress when learning to play the ukulele.

  1. Build Your Repertoire
  2. Slow Down When Practising
  3. Break Songs Down Into Smaller Chunks

1. Build Your Repertoire

When playing the ukulele – or any instrument – the most fundamental element is building your repertoire.

What Is Repertoire?

Your repertoire is the songs you can play. You may also call this your song-list.

The most effective and most interesting way to develop your skills on any instrument is to build your repertoire. With the ukulele this usually means learning chord progressions for songs. Each song you learn and memorise is a stepping stone to more complex and challenging songs.

Consider a ukulele classic such as “I’m Yours”. This uses the chord progression known as I – V – ii – IV ( or 1 – 5 – 2 – 4 ). This could be then used as a transition to a song such as “Hey Soul Sister” which uses the I – V – ii – IV ( or 1 – 5 – 2 – 4 ) during the verse, but does something different in the chorus.

A new song you may undertake learning may be in a different key, which will enable you to learn more chord shapes.

2. Slow Down When Practising

“To go fast – you must go slow”

This statement is one of those mystical statements I heard many years ago. I adopted it immediately and have been using the principle ever since.

It’s the same principle as illustrated in the story of the “Hare and the Tortoise”. This is the most fundamental and important technique to adopt whenever learning to play a musical instrument. The thing to remember is that practice DOES NOT make perfect. It’s PERFECT PRACTICE THAT MAKES PERFECT. 

Learning A Musical Instrument Is Brain Training

Consider that learning to play a musical instrument is brain training. Everything comes down to building brain connections. If you take things too quickly, then you are bound to make mistakes. These mistakes are then programed into your brain and you can’t delete them. They remain. You have to then make new brain connections that become stronger and override the older, incorrect ones.

3. Break Songs Down Into Smaller Chunks

When learning a new song, this strategy will make it quicker to remember and be able to play the piece. Firstly, break the song up into the various sections, for example learn the verse, chorus and middle eight (or bridge) all as separate pieces. Only after you have learned the various sections do you put all the parts together to make up the whole song.

This is a fundamental of life as well as a strategy for learning music.

Any problem we encounter in our lives can be broken down into smaller bits that are more manageable. Once we solve these smaller problems, the larger overall problem becomes less overwhelming.


3 Indispensable Tips For Learning To Play Ukulele


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