You have had it lying in the corner of your room since forever; you’ve learned to take a quick glance at it with a pinch of guilt for putting off its learning process for so long. Now, it is the time to walk to that dimmed corner and salvage that lonely ukulele, wipe off that pile of dust on top, because you’re just about to start playing it. Here are all the essential and basic steps for you to master this heavenly-sounding instrument.
Do Not Stress Out
One key advice you should keep in your mind is “It’s okay to not perfect this the first time around”, get over the fear of failure and let this possibly intimidating experience turn into an enjoyable one. Being stressed out will affect your playing since your hands need to be relaxed, otherwise, your index finger might get stuck between the strings if you’re going too hard on your ukulele. Remember, your natural learning process should be gradual where you build experience upon trials and knowledge.
Find a Comfortable Position
As a starter, place your ukulele against your abdominal area with your left hand wrapped around the ukulele’s neck and your right forearm holding the instrument steady and close to you. If this position seems unnatural to you, feel comfortable to adjust it to your preference as long as you’ll be able to easily play your ukulele.
Alright, let’s get into the basics!
Tune your Ukulele
If your ukulele is new, the strings will be tuned down, meaning they will be relaxed with low tension. To make your instrument match the standard tuning, use the ukulele’s tuner (the turning keys at the top of the neck) to get a G for the first string, C for the second, followed by E and A for the third and fourth ones. Make sure that your notes are neither too high nor too low since this might create an unpleasant sound for you and your audience. For ultimate perfection throughout your whole performance, keep checking your tuning approximately every fifteen minutes to ensure nothing went out of place.
Start Playing Your Ukulele
After tuning your instrument, take your index finger with your nail facing the strings and stroke them in the direction of the ground, this process is called “up strum” while playing the strings with the opposite direction is named ”down strum”. This simple movement is the base for playing the instrument. Now that you know it, go ahead and move those strings to produce that magical voice with your ukulele, and remember to move your wrist rather your whole hand.
Just like the old proverb says “practice makes perfect”, having a daily or even weekly schedule for you to follow might help you with your practice. Being constantly accompanied by your ukulele will help you explore it more and customize it to your preference. You’ll also start recognizing slight differences between tunes like low and high ones, which in return will help you compose your outstanding work of art.
Most importantly, don’t forget to be confident, calm and persistent, and you’ll eventually reach your dream, cover your favorite songs with your beloved ukulele, and hopefully we’ll see you on The Late Late Show really soon.