Children as young as four or five can begin learning to play the ukulele, because much of the chords and notes are very simple to produce. In doing, they’ll experience an increase in self-confidence and motivation.
The earlier they begin, the better and it doesn’t have to be on a serious level, just an easy schedule with short, fun lessons.
I’m a nanny to V, a five-year-old, who began uke lessons a few months ago. She is excited to share with you what she is learning.
My cousin, Angelia (a faith-based journalist at By the Way...), has been teaching beginner uke lessons to littles (as young as 4) and adults for about four years. A short while back, she loaned me one of her ukes, to help enhance the fun during V's practice sessions. Our schedule is five to ten minutes, four days a week.
I purposely mess up. Her response is, “Dee, let’s try again.” The collaboration has helped.
Below is Blackfish, the uke my cousin has on loan to me. It's a concert-sized, carbon-fibre uke from Makala's Waterman Series.
It isn't susceptible to humidity change. It can be played in the rain, or under water. Her students love it, and she enhanced it with special decoration from Canada's Sunshine Coast, where Orcas are prevalent.
Blackfish is a hit with my cousin's students because of its fun and interesting design. It's a hit with parents (and older students) because it's quite tough and tolerates bumps, bangs and rain to a degree traditional, wooden ukes can't. It's well-made but inexpensive. The cost (last I checked) is usually under $55 and it comes with it's own, wearable gig-bag.
Our collaboration has increased her patience.
During a recent lesson, she came running to me, hollering, “Dee! Come and listen!”
Mr. Nick had her choose a story book to use in her lesson. She played her uke as he read the story. High-key excitement ensued. She loved it!
She also loves to make up silly songs to play on her uke as well as playing famous little songs. Here’s a list of them, in event you’d like to check back for yourself or your youngster, should lessons begin at your house.
☙ Rain Rain Go Away
☙ Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
☙ Hot Cross Buns
☙ Bounce the Ball to Shiloh
Most ukulele songs are easy to learn. The little songs also help further develop children’s language skills and increase their vocabulary.
Because the ukulele requires discipline and consistency to improve playing skill, it can be a stepping stone to learn more challenging musical instruments, such as other types of guitars, violin, keyboard or percussion instruments.
Below is my short list of at least seven reasons ukes make great starter instruments...
1. Unlike many other instruments, the ukulele (pronounced oo-koo-lay-lay) can be easily affordable, with brand new ones ranging from under $50 USD and up. String replacements are equally affordable, as are most of the other hardware that may need replaced or upgraded over time.
2. Ukes are small enough (the soprano and concert sizes) for little hands to easily manipulate. Because they are so small, kids can easily carry them without issue, and gig bags to pack them are also easily affordable. Ukes come in four sizes total. They’re named accordingly as soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. There is also a bass ukulele that is similar in size to the baritone.
3. One of the best reasons to start your kiddo in ukulele lessons is because the fun nature of this instrument and the ease of learning how to play it, makes it an instant hit with kids (and grown-ups too)! It’s an humble, beginner instrument with wonderful sounds that gets them hooked quickly and they can easily develop their skill in playing it right away.
4. Ukuleles teach kids about music and music theory. Through lessons, kids young as four and five learn about beat, harmony, melody, rhythm, and tempo.
5. Playing a uke develops eye-hand coordination as well as independent movement of their fingers. It helps improve their attention span and increases their ability to focus. Today’s youth frequently suffer from small attention spans due to the increased use of smartphones, tablets, and video games. It takes time and attention to be able to learn the basics.
6. Playing the ukulele promotes good posture; it requires good posture to be able to play it correctly.
7. Bonus for parents the ukulele has a soft mellow sound that can’t be heard through the whole house.
I encourage you to please consider investing in an ukulele and below are some links that will help you get familiar with pricing, manufacturers and styles that are in the lower-cost range.
Of these, Ebay and Walmart are my favorite sites for purchasing ukes for beginners.
The following are good brand suggestions to consider when purchasing a beginner uke, and there are many more not listed to choose from.
Oscar Schmidt and Kala and are my favorites on the list, and there are many other makers to choose from beyond these suggestions. Shopping for ukes can be addictive, so consider yourself warned...
Thanks for the visit and if you decide to join the ever-increasing #UkeNation, please visit again and leave me a comment here! I’d love to personally welcome you to one of the most fun communities you can belong to, globally!
Last, they make great birthday and Christmas presents. Just sayin’...