There’s no definite answer on how long it would take someone to learn the ukulele. To be honest, it really depends on the amount of time and effort put to learn this musical instrument. Plus, everyone has their own pace of learning. You may have a lot of free time at hand and you’re planning to learn it over a long summer vacation or you may be extremely busy throughout the week but you still wish to learn bit by bit over the weekends. But in any case, learning the ukulele is for sure a comparatively easier option than other tougher musical instruments.
Learning The Ukulele Basics
You cannot jumpstart on playing the ukulele without learning the basics. It’s important to be comfortable with the basics before you even try to cover your songs of choice.
The Ukulele is a mini version of a guitar that certainly weighs lighter and has fewer strings. So your first task should be to learn how to strum those strings. On a ukulele, it doesn’t take much force to strum the strings. You can begin by running your right hand’s index finger with the fingernail side down against the string in a gentle motion.
Next, you move on to using your thumb which will allow you to step into a more complex strum. For this, you should use the back of your thumbnail. Now, try to switch strumming between your index finger and thumb and practice that until you can easily do so.
Now that you know how to strum you can start practicing the most common strumming patterns which are down-down-down-down and down-up-down-up- down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up.
You’ll have to know seven major chords to play the ukulele which are A,B,C,D,E,F, and G. Out of these put the least focus on B since it’s hardly used and the most focus on E as it is the hardest to learn. Start by practicing two chords at a time before you move to the next two. It might be uncomfortable at first since your fingers are not used to work in the specified positions but if you keep practicing you’ll get there soon.
Although fingerpicking doesn’t technically fall under the basics, it’s still a technique that will help you get better at playing the ukulele as it involves a more complex pattern than strumming. Here, you will be able to pick up on more complicated musical sounds and if you get good at this you’ll be able to even cover songs fast.
What Could Slow You Down While Learning The Ukulele
You might be thinking if someone is unable to get the basics right it may slow them down from learning how to play the musical instrument. However, the sole reason (or at least in most of the cases) is the fact that the student has no clue about what they want to learn on the ukulele. In that case, it will make it even harder for teachers to narrow down what or how to teach that particular student.
Therefore, if you are learning how to play the ukulele from an instructor it’s crucial that you lay out what exactly you want to learn. You could also provide them the reason why you chose to learn to play the ukulele over other musical instruments. This way, the lessons will be constructed towards your specific goal regarding the ukulele.
Most importantly, do not refrain from asking questions to your instructor no matter how silly you may think the question is. You must get the basics right before you even dream of covering songs. With that being said, with correct guidance and constant effort you should be able to learn to play the ukulele in just a few months.
How To Learn The Ukulele Faster
Utilize A Metronome
A metronome is a device that produces click sounds that help with the tempo of the instrument you’re learning to play. You can either get the device or choose a similar app on the phone. At first, you should play as per your current strumming pattern and choose a setting on the metronome that matches with it. For example, 60 beats per minute could be a great start. Once, you get good at that pace you can increase the setting on the metronome and practice.
Record Your Strumming and Listen To It
Sometimes you won’t even realize the strumming mistakes unless you listen to them. Therefore, you can record your current skill status and listen to figure out the exact point you’re lagging. Now that you know the errors you’re making, you can consciously put effort to fix them as you practice more.
Select Your Favorite Song
Choosing a favorite song to learn could be a great motivator in learning the ukulele fast. Of course, you can do so only when you’re good at the basics. But it’s still better to choose your favorite song at first as opposed to a popular song that you think everyone likes to play on the ukulele.
This is an obvious suggestion but without consistent practice, there’s no way you can even dream of learning the ukulele fast. It’s important to not leave long breaks even when you have aced the basics. On the other hand, if you’re struggling with the basics, you must be patient and practice a bit every day. You’ll be strumming your merry way one day before you know it.
As you can gather from this article, depending on how much time and energy you put into learning the ukulele, it should take you about two to six months. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule so you may be able to cover songs in the instrument even within a month. All you have to do is be patient and practice regularly.