Ukulele Quick Start For Mums & Dads
Are you ready to start a fantastic adventure with your child? It really is a TON of fun and some of my happiest moments with my daughter are of making music together. She's only 4 (2020) but starting learning chords and loves strumming while I play the chords (you can try this too when you know the chords).
There are thousands of Ukuleles around - so which one is for you? The main 4 types all use the same chord shapes - Soprano, Concert and Tenor ukuleles using the same tuning, but Baritones (biggest ones) use a lower tuning but the same chord shapes.
Holding Your Ukulele
Either rest it on your leg - probably easiest for most beginners - or hold it with your forearm! Easiest to see this in the video :)
Tuning Your Ukelele
The standard tuning for a ukulele is G C E A from the top string (String 4, closest to your face) to the bottom string (String 1, closest to the ground). My recommendation is to get a Clip-On Tuner, but I have a free tuner in my guitar lesson app too!
Snark SN5X: Super popular clip-on tuner at a very reasonable price!
My Beginner Guitar Course App (available for iOS and Android) has a free tuner you can use for ukulele.
Basic Ukulele Chords
You can play the vast majority of children's songs with just 4 chords: C F G and Am. The string on the right is the one nearest the ground and the one on the left will be closest to your face. Dots show where to put your fingers and they are numbered 1- index, 2- middle, 3- ring and 4- pinky (but we won't be using your little finger for a while!).
C Chord is super easy and doesn't need a cheat - just finger 3 on string 1 and you're done!
F Chord is not too tricky but there is a great cheat you might like to try :)
Fadd9 - just lift off yout 2nd finger and it becomes super easy and often sounds cooler than regular F!
The hardest of the most basic chords but it's not as hard as it'll feel the first few times you try it! But again there is a cheat :)
G7 is a great substitute for the standard G, finger 3 stays on the same string from the C (a common change) and finger 1 stays down if changing to an F - and it sounds cool.
G6 is also a good substitute and if you accidentally mute String 2 it's not really a big deal and it will sound fine!
A minor is a pretty easy chord - but there is a really cool hack for this one too - the easiest chord on the ukulele...
Yep - no fingers down at all gives us an Am7 chord (or you could call is C6 if you wanna be clever!).
Use either your thumb or your first finger - both are fine and have advantages and disadvantages!
All down strums on the beat.
All down strums on the beat but add an up strum between each one!
Just like Patterns 2 but add an accent (play louder) on beats 2 and 4!
If you dig my free lessons then I'd be much obliged if you check out my Children's Songs For Mums And Dads ebook - a collection of 101 fun and easy songs your kids will love to play and sing!
Keeping the rhythm going on just one chord is an important thing to learn to do - so you can communicate with your child - discuss what animal comes next in Old MacDonald or helping them remember the words - if you start to lose your child attention -
Memorize The Songs
Looks for chord patterns and try to learn the songs - it's a lot easier than having to read the chords and the words and give attention to your loved one!
Most important thing about all this is to enjoy it - your kids will FEEL that and love that you are spending time with them and enjoying making music - hopefully, inspire them to get into music themselves - by which time you'll know enough to help them get started :)
Wishing you all the best!
- LESSON STEPS -