Ukulele Time!

Martin Ukulele
In February I’m going to learn to play the ukulele. At the end of 2012 I purchased an antique Martin Ukulele made somewhere around 1930. It’s small, but it has great tone and volume. In the time since then I’ve dabbled a little bit, but nothing very substantial. I know many of the basic chords, but can’t switch between most of them very quickly or smoothly.

Target Performance Level:

This is a little harder to define that it was for piano by ear. Learning the “Four Chord Song”, like Josh Kaufman did, would be cool, but perhaps a bit of a low goal. Josh did his performance at the World Domination Summit after only ten hours of practice, and I’m going for 20-30 hours this month. So instead I think I’ll make it a goal to memorize (and perfect?) seven songs:

  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Judy Garland (rather obligatory, if I’m learning ukulele)
  • What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  • La Vie En Rose (In French!) by Edith Piaf
  • Boat Song by JJ Heller
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
  • Moon River by Audrey Hepburn
  • If by Bread

This will give me about three hours per song. Which should be fine, since most are fairly simple, except for La Vie En Rose (not to mention that it’s in French. But the lyrics will be memorized outside of the 20 hours).

Skill Breakdown:

General ukulele has three main facets:

  1. Knowing the chords
  2. Switching chords smoothly
  3. Rhythm/strumming/picking

I have the first part down fairly well already,  but I will have to learn a few more chords for all of those songs, depending on what keys I play them in. The other two will come as I learn the songs.

Resources:

UkuTabs.com has a ton of chord sheets from hundreds of different artists, and I’ve managed to find nearly half of what I need there. Google will help with the rest.

My favorite source for learning chords is Ukulele-Chords.com. They have every kind of chord imaginable, from an A to an G#7sus4. The best part is that they tell you where each finger should go, and even have multiple chord fingering structures!

Conclusion:

I’m already three days into the month, with 2 hours and 25 minutes of practice down. It’s a much simpler skill than piano, but so far, it still looks like it’s going to be pretty fun.

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