I recently purchased the book ‘Ukulele for Kids – A Beginner’s Guide with Step-by-Step Instruction for Ukulele’. I can assure you the book wasn’t written by me, but by a much more accomplished ukulele player/author by the name of Chad Johnson and published by Hal Leonard.
What lessons does the book cover?
- Selecting your ukulele
- Parts of the ukulele
- Holding the ukulele
- Hand position
- The C chord
- The F chord
- Changing chords
- The C7 chord
- The A minor chord
- The G chord
- The note A (finger picking)
- The note B
- The note C
- The note E
- The note F
- The note G
- Note review
- The B flat chord
- The notes C & D
- Three-four time
- The shuffle feel (strumming)
- The G minor chord.
The book uses a range of popular songs to support each of the above lessons. Songs are included by artists such as:
- The Beatles – Yellow Submarine
- Elvis Presley – Love Me Tender
- The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl
- Ray Charles – You Are My Sunshine
- Bob Marley – Three Little Birds.
The book also has a CD with 30 tracks for demonstration to help with the above lessons.
Who Is It Suited For?
The book would be a good starting place for teachers or parents who want to teach not only kids how to play, but themselves too. I’d also recommend it for kids from about 10 years of age who want to teach themselves how to play the ukulele.
What is missing?
The only small complaint I have about the book is that it does not have a contents page. This would make it easier to go to various parts of the book much more quickly.
Is it worth buying, and where can I buy it?
Yes it is. Its list price is US $12.99, and can be bought at various online sites like Amazon and Fishpond (NZ) The book gives ukulele beginners a good grounding in learning how to play the ukulele. Once you know how to play you are on your way to playing a whole range of songs.
A Collection of 50 Ukulele Licks is a resource that has been created by the musician Luca Tomassini also known as Jontom. The resource is is divided into five genres of music; Blues; Pop; Rock; Folk & Hawaiian. Each genre has ten licks, adding up to fifty in total. Some of the licks in each genre are inspired by some famous musicians such Jake Shimabukuro, Muddy Waters & Willie Nelson to name a few, and Jontom shares some licks of his own.
What do you get when you purchase? If you buy the licks for one genre, you get the links to download ten high quality instructional videos each lasting about two minutes. The video tutorials are clearly explained and have the benefit of having two playing views on the same screen, now that’s a nice touch. You’ll also receive PDF Tabs of each of the licks. So Jontom meets the needs of both auditory and visual learning styles.Buy the complete package and you’ll have all fifty instructional videos and PDF Tabs for each lick.
I’ve used some of the easier licks for teaching intermediate level playing kids of eleven to thirteen years of age. I’ve found they can learn them quite quickly when prepared to stick at trying them until they’re playing them. However, if you’re a complete beginner at playing the ukulele, they might not be for you just yet, but they’re worth having for inspiration and working towards playing.
With wide access to the Internet for downloading, I believe Jontom has discovered a niche market. However, just as a note, if you’re in a country that still has data-capped Internet and limited download speed like in New Zealand, it’s worth knowing that the combination of all fifty licks is about 1.3 GB in size.
What makes the resource extremely attractive is the price and the easy access to it. At 2 Euros for each genre or 8 Euros for all you’ve have a resource that you can use at home or on the go with a video playing phone. Go ahead choose all the genres, pay the fee, download, and expand your playing repertoire. You won’t be disappointed!
Learn the three basic chords C, F and G7 and 25 songs with ‘Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids’ by Mike Jackson. This is a super little book to help kids (of all ages) learn how to play ukulele.
The book uses a simple method of adding coloured stickers to the fretboard to allow quick identification of where to place your fingers to play a chord.
With a little assistance from an older person kids as young as five will find it a helpful resource. There is also a play-along CD that comes with the book that allows you to feel the beat and improve your technique. Continue Reading
From early in 2011 I decided to form two ukulele groups at the school that I teach at. The junior group has members aged 5-8 years of age; and the senior group has members aged 9-13 years of age. A key motivator for kids is being able to watch themselves perform. Watching themselves allows kids to see where they’ve played well, and where they could improve. Another motivating factor for kids is having an audience beyond their classroom mates to perform to. As a result we have performed to our local community and hosted performance videos on Youtube to share our playing with a world wide audience.
Please take the time to have a look at the videos, and leave a positive comment. Everybody I know thrives on praise and acknowledgement, so click on the like buttons too. While you’re visiting our Youtube Channel take the time to look at the other videos. Also, look around the ukulele4kids.com website. We look forward to uploading more videos to share with you when the school year begins again in New Zealand.
- Ging Gang Goolie
- On My Ukulele
- Five Foot Two
- Baby Bumble Bee
- Found a Peanut
I recently came across a super resource called ‘Uncle Rod’s, Ukulele Boot Camp,’ that I feel would improve the skills of all kids playing the ukulele, whatever their level of playing. The resource’s focus is for ukulele players to learn the basic skills required to allow you to use the ukulele to make music. This method does NOT require you to read music or to learn Music Theory. The resource focuses on learning chords by name & forming them accurately then moving from chord to chord smoothly while strumming the strings in time with the music.
There are two main parts to the resource.
- Learning about Chord Diagrams and
- Using Practice Sheets
The section on learning about chord diagrams and using the practice sheets is clear and easy to understand. The five practice sheets in the key of C, F, G, A & D are clearly laid out and easy to follow.
Uncle Rod (Rod Higuchi) has kindly given permission to ukulele 4 kids to use his wonderful resource, and host a copy for you to download and use.
In summary, the Ukulele Boot Camp is a simple, challenging idea that will definitely improve your ukulele playing no matter what your level of experience. I’ll be using it to help me teach kids to play the ukulele.
I’d like to start by saying thank you to all the visitors to ukulele4kids.com, there were several thousand. This large number of visitors is great, considering the website only went live in October. The large number of visitors is also very motivating to continue developing the site. I’ve many new ideas to add to the site in 2012 to help it keep growing, and continue to encourage kids of all ages to start or continue playing the ukulele. You may have missed some of the posts, but there are several ways you can keep up to date with the posts of ukulele4kids.com. You could look through the archives, subscribe via email on our home page, follow us through Facebook, or keep up to date via Twitter. Below are the five most viewed posts of ukulele4kids.com during 2011, with Rudolph taking out the number one spot.
What do you get a ukulele player for Christmas that isn’t a ukulele? Answer – a download of ‘Song-sheet Generator’. It’s closely related to the program Chord Pro. I recently came across this super FREE little program that allows you to write down your songs, add chord diagrams, and produce songbooks. It’s available for download for both PC and Mac computers, and makes use of programs like notepad (PC) and TextEdit (Mac) both programs usually come free with your computer.
Song-sheet Generator’s main focus is the guitar but it also offers the facility to add chords for the ukulele too. It has a lot of chord shapes for the guitar already formatted, but for the ukulele you have to custom create your own. It’s not difficult to do, allowing you to create alternative fingering diagrams too. There is a online help guide, but I found it more helpful to copy it into a Word document to print. You can highlight the chorus in songs, and add the chord diagrams to a song-sheet. You can produce your song-sheet in a variety of ways, for instance, plain text or HTML files.
Here are a couple of examples of song sheets made using song-sheet generator:
‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ & ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’.
- Is it worth downloading? – YES
- Is it easy to use? – YES
- Can kids use it? – YES
- Is it free? – YES (But consider paying a small donation)
- Where do I find out more about it? – By clicking here.
Enjoy your Christmas and may Santa and Rudolph bring you the new ukulele you have on your list.