Well, you can tune your ukulele by ear, but that’s a skill to learn in itself, and not one I’d recommend if you’re new to learning to play an instrument. You’ll want to be able to tune your ukulele quickly so that you can keep playing in tune. I’d recommend using an electronic clip on tuner. I use a Kala Ukulele tuner and so do the kids in my ukulele groups. It’s inexpensive costing about $29 NZ, and can tune just about any other stringed instrument too. It works by clipping onto the end of your ukulele and detects the notes your ukulele strings are tuned to by detecting vibrations. The other great advantage of a clip on tuner is that if you’re playing in a group you can tune correctly without the noise of other ukuleles interfering with your ukulele while it’s being tuned. Once kids can use a clip on tuner, most can tune their ukulele within 30 seconds.
There are other similar clip on tuners that do the same job. If you don’t have an electronic clip on tuner go and buy one. You’ll be glad you did.
Which ukulele do you buy your kid when they want to to learn to play a ukulele? Well, there are a huge number you can buy, ranging from very cheap to very expensive. Start at the cheap end first, but not too cheap though! The Makala Dolphin ukulele, named so because of the dolphin bridge is an excellent ukulele to begin with for all ages. It comes in a range of colours that will appeal to kids and mums and dads too. The ukulele holds the notes well, but as with any new ukulele, it will go out of tune fairly quickly as the strings break themselves in. The more often you play and tune the ukulele the more quickly it will hold its tune, this is usually about two weeks. Where can you buy the Makala Dolphin ukulele? Just about all good music shops will be selling them. They usually sell for about $48 NZ. My first ukulele was a green Makala Dolphin and I’ve still got it. My young son ‘plays’ with it now, but I still strum on it just about everyday when I walk past it wherever he has left it.
At Kapiti Primary School we also have a Junior Ukulele Group. They range in age from 5 to 8 years of age. They are all beginners too, but I’m sure you’ll agree they do a good job of the song ‘Found a Peanut’. Watch them perform it by viewing the video below.
The Kapiti Primary School Senior Ukulele group are learning how to play the ukulele. Their second Youtube performance was playing ‘Ging Gang Goolie’. Take a look and leave a positive comment.
The Kapiti Primary School Senior Ukulele group have been learning how to play the ukulele. Their first Youtube performance was playing ‘On My Ukulele’. Take a look and leave a positive comment.