Welcome to my first post of the adventure of me learning to play the ukulele!
These past couple of weeks have been really great for refreshing old and developing new ukulele skills. Some skills and knowledge I have learnt thus far include memorizing the strings, G, C, E, and A; vocabulary such as frets, strings, and chords; and some basic technical skills for playing the ukulele, such as strumming and holding the instrument.
I realized that when I self-taught myself a couple of years ago that I learnt how to strum incorrectly! I always used my thumb and strummed over the “sound hole”, when in fact you are supposed to use your forefinger and strum just over the last fret. For my first practice, I followed along to JustinGuitar’s introductory video on Youtube
I have learnt the following songs: “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, “You are My Sunshine” by Ele, and “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder
through using the following chords: C, A minor, F, G, D7, G7, and E7
This song didn’t use a strumming pattern, so it was a really good song to start off with to become more accustomed to holding the instrument correctly and accurately playing the chords. It was fairly easy to learn right off the bat, and I found it only got easier with further practice.
Although this song used the same chords I have already learnt with the last song, it did introduce a strumming pattern for the first time. Overall, this song was fairly easy for me to learn, although I did set a goal to try to work on not looking at the instrument so much while strumming. Through practice, I now feel very confident in my ability to play this song.
Three of these notes were new to me: G7, D7, and E7, and I struggled the most with E7. G7 and D7 weren’t too difficult to learn, but I am still having a bit of a hard time at transitioning smoothly from F to E7. I think this is because this chord requires you to align two fingers on one fret, on separate strings, which I am not yet used to.The strumming pattern was also difficult for me to grasp as it has a very subtle difference from the other one I am used to (D DU UDU) and I have found myself accidentally switching to the other one out of habit mid-song. I have found that humming or singing has helped a lot with this – this was actually a surprise to me, as I thought that multi-tasking would be much more difficult. As such, I have begun humming and singing as I am learning and playing most of my songs, as it helps me keep my place in the song and to maintain my rhythm and tempo (although I am in no way a talented singer).
So far, I have been able to memorize the names of the strings and play certain basic notes from memory, including C, F, A minor, G, D7, and G7. I feel very competent in my ability to play “Just the Way You Are” and “You Are My Sunshine” and now plan to work on being able to play these songs from memory, and to continue working on mastering “Isn’t She Lovely”. I would also like to focus on learning some new chords while continuing to memorize the ones I have recently learnt, and to explore more strumming patterns.
I have chosen to include my progress video for this blog post of me playing “You Are My Sunshine” by Ele:
Also, here is a progress picture of some notes I’ve taken down so far! Mostly just including a few things I have felt necessary to jot down as I look through online resources and videos: