Here at the Center, we are often asked about music lessons for beginners. One of the more popular questions is “I want my child/myself to start learning an instrument, but I’m not sure which?” While the popular answers (piano, violin, guitar, voice, etc.) are suitable for most, it’s surprising to us that ukulele is not near the top of that list.
Why is the ukulele so popular?
The ukulele is a charming instrument with roots in Hawaii that has garnered much popularity over the past few years. Ukulele has been featured in many popular songs over the years that include artist like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Jason Mraz or Bruno Mars to name a few . The reason for this popularity? There are several factors that play into it! SMMC has compiled this list of 6 reasons to consider the ukulele as either your first or your next instrument to learn.
Learning songs on the ukulele is relatively easy. Most beginners are able to learn to play between 3-4 chords within the first lesson. With this basic knowledge, beginner ukulele students are immediately armed with the ability to strum through popular songs. The soft nylon strings are much gentler on a beginners fingertips as opposed to guitar or violin. The small size makes fingering chords much easier and reduces tension on the wrist. All in all, the ukulele provides a learning experience that is virtually free of discomfort for beginners.
The ukulele comes in 3 sizes: soprano, concert and tenor. The more popular of the family, the soprano, is roughly 20-22 inches in length and weighs about 2lbs. This makes it extremely suitable to take anywhere! The park, the beach, your friend’s or relative’s house or just in the car on long road trips. Literally anywhere! Practicing with an instrument takes on a whole different meaning when it’s not limited to the confines of the home. It takes the boring out of learning and can serve as creative inspiration when your playing music in the great outdoors!
A good ukulele will not cost you an arm and a leg. Most beginner models start between $79-$99. As a matter of fact, most intermediate level ukuleles are only $50-$65 more. At this price point, purchasing a good sounding, reliable and durable instrument is something an aspiring ukulele player can get their hands on easily.
Ukuleles are also low maintenance. With only four strings to worry about, tuning is more easily learned when compared to guitar. When compared to another four stringed instrument, the violin, ukulele wins again as far as maintenance. Not only is ukulele easy to tune by comparison, but you don’t need a bow & rosin to play, you don’t need to worry about fine tuners, and you don’t need to worry about finger tape on the fretboard to play the notes correctly. If any of this info makes your eyes gloss over, just know this: ukulele is less fussy!
4. A “Social” Instrument
The ukulele can be played by ANYONE young and old! It’s inviting, unpretentious, not intimidating and easy. If you need proof, check out this 3 year old playing ukulele, this older gentleman playing ukulele, or any number of celebrities who enjoy playing the instrument: Dwayne Johnson, Taylor Swift, Adam Sandler or Natalia Lafourcade. It’s also not unheard of to have one family member learn to play the instrument and they show others in the family how to play it. The ukulele is truly universal and brings a smile to anyone’s face!
5. Technique Translates
Learning the ukulele will not make you a great piano, guitar or violin player, but it DOES NOT HURT either! In fact, having the experience of learning music predisposes anyone to be able to learn a second instrument more easily than without any training at all. Although instruments have their differences, they all get to the same core and require the same input to learn: patience, persistence, repetition. Having developed these skills while learning ukulele makes it easier to transfer them over to a “harder” instrument and increases the chance of success.
6. Stress Free
Since ukuleles are relatively easy to learn, they are great at reducing stress. There is less stress for making sure practice gets done as kids simply find it fun to play. As an adult, there is less stress about learning and more time to enjoy. In fact, the satisfaction that comes with learning a new skill is likely to reduce your overall stress. Playing ukulele is a win-win situation regardless of the person involved.
There you have it-six indisputable reasons why you should consider learning to play the ukulele for yourself or for your young child. But don’t just read about it, stop by today to check out our ukulele selection and try one out for yourself! In need of lessons? SMMC boasts several teachers who are capable of showing you your way around the ukulele and you will be playing like an expert in no time. Take the time to visit our Mission location and ask our staff about what ukulele might suit you. Or better yet, check out the instruments we have at our online shop and book a lesson while you are at it!