Click here for Ukulele lesson fees for 2017.
“Can you play When I’m Cleanin’ Windows?”
This is far and away the most common question I get asked when I tell people I play the ukulele. And while the answer is, of course, “Yes, but I can never remember the words to all the verses”, there is much more to this instrument than knocking out a few amusing George Formby songs.
Back when I had to lug my cello to school every few days, I wished I could play a smaller instrument – the piccolo, perhaps, or the trumpet. I’m not really a wind instrument person, though, so I decided to try my hand at the ukulele. In my opinion, this is one of the most versatile of the ‘smaller’ instruments. You can use it to play songs in most genres, while leaving your mouth free for singing. You can play complex classical fingerpicking pieces on it. You can even plug it into a run of effects pedals and an amp and use it to hammer out some lead guitar riffs! All that in an instrument that you can strap to your back and carry around without even noticing.
The four types of ukulele are as follows:
- Soprano Ukulele – measuring around 20 inches, this is smallest in the ukulele family (ignoring the new sopranissimo size). It is also the most common of the bunch. Tuning: GCEA
- Concert Ukulele – some 3 inches longer than the soprano, this is my personal favourite size as it has a bigger voice than its little sister, more space for my fingers, but it’s still got that little uke look and sound. Tuning: GCEA
- Tenor Ukulele – another 3 inches bigger, this size has become very popular (especially with professional players). The sound is fuller again, but also a little less ‘uke’ish, by which I mean, it sounds slightly more like a guitar. Tuning: GCEA
- Baritone Ukulele – the daddy of the bunch comes in at around 30 inches and looks more like a small guitar than a ukulele, albeit a 4-stringed one. The sound is not only deeper, it’s also tuned a fourth lower. Tuning: DGBE
I teach all sizes of ukulele to beginners of all ages, with the aim of helping my pupils not only to achieve but to exceed their musical goals. To give you an idea of the sort of things that may be covered when taking ukulele lessons with me at the Hall Music Studio, here’s a quick list:
- Practical Technique – developing the necessary skills, dexterity, strength and feel to be able to tackle music up to intermediate level. This will involve scales as well as chords.
- General Musicianship – learning how music works, how songs and pieces are structured, how keys are used and why.
- Reading Music – using both treble clef and ukulele TAB.
- Aural Training – developing your ‘ear’ – your ability to hear, recognise and replicate music, and, if desired, singing.
- Instrument and Equipment – including how to restring your ukulele, keep it clean and in tune, and, if applicable, how to use electric amplification and effects pedals (if you haven’t heard ACDC on a ukulele through a heavy overdrive pedal… that’s fair enough. But it sounds awesome!)
- RGT Grades – popular for both children and adults, and a great way to keep track of progress. However, learning to take exams isn’t the aim – progress is.
- Performance – tackling the various issues involved in getting up and playing in front of other people, whether it be in your own home, around a campfire or at a local ukulele jam.
Lessons take place at the Hall Music Studio in Alton, Hampshire.
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As always, the first lesson is FREE, with no obligation to come back for more.
If you’re interested in starting ukulele lessons, please feel free to contact me using the sidebar or here. I might even show you how to play With my little stick of Blackpool Rock. Maybe…