The ukulele is one of the most fun instruments to play, and it’s not just a toy, either–serious musicians like George Harrison have championed the small Hawaiian string instrument, and as it’s extremely inexpensive, many hobbyists have picked it up.
Here’s a look at a few tips that can help you practice the ukulele correctly to take your playing to the next level.
1. Make sure you know the basics. Before you sit down to practice with your ukulele, you should make sure that you know the basics of what you’re doing. Hold the ukulele at an angle, so that the neck is pointing past the side of your head, and strum with your fingers, not a pick, for the most authentic ukulele sound possible. Learn the basic major and minor chords before anything else, as they’re the building blocks for everything that you’ll learn on the uke.
2. Work with groups of chords. Many ukulele songs are based on old-time chord progressions, American Songbook standards and things of the like, so rather than practice a chord at a time to get your chops up, work with clusters of 4 to 5 chords that you’ll find in those songs, trying to move through them quickly. When you hear a very good ukulele player, this is often what they’re doing to get that complex but simple sound out of the instrument. There are plenty of websites available that can give you songs and chord clusters to play on your ukulele; search Google for “ukulele songs” to find them.
3. Always use a metronome. Any time that you practice anything with a rhythm, you should be using a metronome. Metronomes enforce your own sense of time and build it up, and allow you to build speed on the ukulele reliably without sacrificing accuracy. You can buy a decent metronome for around $20, or go online to find free metronomes that can accomplish what you need for a practice session. Start a metronome at a slow tempo when practicing a difficult section in a ukulele song, then gradually increase the tempo until you can play it quickly, then slow the metronome back down to enforce the technique and avoid building mistakes into your playing style.
4. Be consistent. You won’t get good at the ukulele or any other instrument if you don’t set aside a regular amount of time every day to practice. It could be as little as twenty minutes a day, but that twenty minutes will do more than marathon 4 hour practice sessions once a month, because you’re ingraining skills, speed, and technique into your ukulele playing by providing consistency to your practice schedule.
Do you have any other tips for practicing the ukulele? Post in our comments section below.