Here is an inspirational story. Matthew was born with a left hand that had three stubs, a half finger and a thumb. At four years of age his toe was transplanted to his hand, and he had bone from his hip transplanted into his half finger to make it straighter. He didn’t let this get in the way of learning to play a ukulele.
What does Matthew say. “When I heard my teacher Mr. Madge was starting up a ukulele orchestra, I thought it would be fun to give it a try even though I thought I would never be able to play it because of my hand. I like playing the ukulele and I think it is fun. If you want an easy instrument to play, you should give the ukulele a go and remember, even when it gets hard to shift from chord to chord, keep trying and never give up.”
I consider him an inspiration to all – go Matthew! Below watch Matthew play the Beach Boys classic Surfin’ USA.
Got a Twitter account? If so, you now have another way of keeping up to date with the postings on Ukulele 4 Kids. To follow Ukulele 4 Kids either click the button below
or click the same button in the side bar.
A new page was added to the site today called ‘chords’. On this page you will find all the basic ukulele chords that you should need to play almost every song. They have been listed in alphabetical order so that they are easier to follow for kids of any age. You are more than welcome to download, adapt the chord chart and share with others. Please let others know where you got the chart from, and come back and visit the site regularly.
A school production is a great place to share a school ukulele group’s playing abilities. Recently, Kapiti Primary School held their school production and the school’s junior and senior ukulele groups both performed. Members of the junior ukulele group range in age from 5 to 8 year old. They have been playing for five months.
The junior ukulele group led by Richard Bamlett played:
Row Your Boat
Found a Peanut
Five Little Monkeys
They played great – good job! Watch their performance below:
So you’ve been playing your cheaper Makala Dolphin ukulele for a while now and you’re wondering what type of ukulele to buy next. The Kala KA-15s ukulele is a great next purchase. Kody made the step up to this ukulele and it cost him a reasonable $99 NZ.
Kody shares the differences between his new ukulele and his old ukulele: “My new ukulele which is a Kala, model KA-15s is a lot lighter then my Makala Dolphin. It feels like it is made of a different wood and has a lot more room inside of it. The wood is also thinner compared to my other one. It has very different strings (quality Aquila strings, article to come soon), which along with the fact that inside it there is much more room, it makes my ukulele a lot louder as well as sounding nicer in general. I also find that it goes out of tune a lot less then my old ukulele. Overall I think that anyone who is an avid ukulele player and is willing to get a new ukulele should get this one because it is amazingly lighter, sounds better, and is much easier to tune.”
Without doubt, to get better at anything you need to practise. To begin with, a little and often is the best way to start. Practise for twenty to thirty minutes a day, everyday if you can. This is better than practising one day a week for a few hours.
Regular practise will also allow the strings on your ukulele to break in a lot quicker, so that you don’t have to keep tuning your ukulele all the time.
Just don’t take my word for it.Ruby says, “I’m getting better with practise.” Ruby has improved from playing basic one and two chord songs, to playing Beach Boy classics like Surfin’ USA.
Tristain says, “I practice for twenty minutes a day, and I’ve got way better.” He now plays a wide range of songs and can be heard practicing during his spare time at school. His favourite song to play is ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by Train.
What size ukulele should I buy? Ukuleles come in four different sizes:
Soprano – this is the smallest size ukulele and is a great starting ukulele size for kids. The Makala Dolphin ukulele I recommend for kids are this size.
Concert – this is the next biggest sized ukulele, and the size I prefer to play myself because it offers a bit more space on the fretboard for bigger fingers.
Tenor – this is a great size for finger picking, and usually has a deeper sound than the soprano and concert ukuleles.
Baritone – the biggest of the lot, and not one I’d buy until your competent playing either of the above sized ukuleles.
A point to note is, the soprano, concert and tenor sized ukuleles are all tuned the same way, i.e. GCEA. This is an important consideration when buying a ukulele, as most ukulele sheet music is written with the tuning GCEA in mind. While baritone ukuleles are tuned the same as the top four strings of a guitar.
The Makala Dolphin is a soprano sized ukulele and a great place to start for kids and adults alike.