How Easy Is It To Learn Ukulele? Reasons To Pick Up the Uke and Tips for Beginners

How Easy Is It To Learn Ukulele? Reasons To Pick Up the Uke and Tips for Beginners

is it easy to learn the ukulele

Can you guess what these four songs have in common?

  • “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole
  • “Riptide” by Vance Joy
  • “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train

These are all songs by major recording artists where the main instrument is — you guessed it — the ukulele. These songs are just a sampling! There are so many more songs you can use with the ukulele.

Is it easy to learn the ukulele — that tiny instrument with just four strings that is so fun to listen to? How hard could it really be?

Though playing the ukulele may be easier for some than others, it’s a great instrument for anyone to learn, and we’ve created a list of five reasons to prove it to you. We’ll also give you some tips to make learning the ukulele an enjoyable process and tell you how easy it is to get started with ukulele lessons with Northwest School of Music.

Table of Contents

is it easy to learn ukulele

Is Ukulele Easy To Learn?

It can be easy for some to learn to play the ukulele, but it can also be challenging for others. The ease of learning to play the ukulele depends on a variety of things, like:

  • Prior musical experience
  • Dedication
  • Natural ability
  • Playing another string instrument

No matter how much of an advantage you may have, learning something new is always challenging to some extent. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or you have a bit of a leg up, to learn to play the uke, you’ll need patience, diligence, and plenty of practice.

And you can’t go wrong by taking lessons from an instructor like those at Northwest School of Music. We’ll start with your current level of experience and help you move to the next level, enjoying the process along the way and reaching your goals.

Schedule your first lesson today.

is learning to play the ukulele easy

5 Reasons To Learn To Play the Ukulele

Have you ever watched someone play the ukulele? It just looks plain fun, but there are lots of other reasons to choose to learn to play the ukulele. Here are five reasons we hope will convince you to pick it up and start strumming.

#1: It’s an Easier Instrument To Learn

The ukulele may be an easier instrument to learn. Notice — we didn’t necessarily say it is easy to learn but easier than some other instruments. For example, instruments like the violin, French horn, harp, oboe, and bagpipes can be quite complicated for a variety of reasons. 

As a more simple instrument, the ukulele may be easier because of the following:

  • Soft strings – Ukulele strings are made of nylon, making them softer and easier to press, which makes them gentle on the fingers.
  • Size – The soprano ukulele is only 21 inches long and weighs less than a pound, making it easy to hold and carry — even for the youngest of students. 
  • Four strings – With only four strings, chord shapes are fairly easy to form and remember. Many ukulele songs can be played with just three to five chords, which gives beginners a sense of accomplishment early on.
  • Lots of resources – In addition to taking ukulele lessons, there are many online resources available to give students a vast array of songs to play and tutorials to help with progress.

#2: It’s Affordable

Compared to other instruments (including the guitar), the ukulele is fairly inexpensive, and there are many varieties and name brands to choose from.

An inexpensive ukulele may cost around $100, while a mid-range ukulele may cost from $250 to $300. Of course, you can always start with a more basic uke and upgrade as you progress. 

You also don’t need much equipment to play the ukulele. You may want to purchase a strap and some picks, which can be found at affordable prices.

When shopping for a ukulele, look for some of these popular brands:

  • Leolani
  • Islander
  • Fender
  • Makala
  • Kala
  • Kanilea

#3: It’s Portable

The ukulele is small and easy to carry. It will likely come with a case when you buy it, but you may want a hard case for more stability and security, especially if you’re toting a more expensive instrument.

how easy is it to learn ukulele

#4: It’s Fun To Play

The uke has a unique, fun sound, and it’s fairly easy to learn some basic songs — even ones you can sing along to. 

And if you think ukuleles are only for Hawaiian music — think again! Do you remember the list of songs from the pop artists mentioned above?

In addition to traditional island music, ukuleles can be played in other genres of music, like:

  • Pop
  • Reggae
  • Ballads
  • Jazz
  • Soul
  • Country
  • Blues
  • And more

#5: It’s Easy To Switch Between the Guitar and the Ukulele

Though it’s obvious, the guitar and the ukulele are different instruments. Even so, they share some similarities, and if you already know how to play the guitar, learning to play the ukulele may come a little easier for you.

Even though the guitar has six strings and the uke has four, the chords learned on the guitar can be used on the ukulele. The names and sounds are different, but since the shapes are similar, switching back and forth is pretty straightforward. 

For example, the D chord shape on the guitar is the G chord sound on the ukulele, and the E chord guitar shape produces an A chord sound.

is it easy to learn the ukulele

Start Playing the Ukulele With These 6 Tips

If we’ve convinced you to pick up a ukulele and start playing, here are some tips to get you off to a good start.

#1: Choose a Quality Ukulele

The first thing you need to do is buy a ukulele, or if you want a test run before committing, consider borrowing one to try out first. When buying a uke, choose one with good quality, and make sure it is a genuine ukulele, not one that is a toy. 

There are different types of ukuleles, including:

  • Soprano 
  • Concert 
  • Tenor 
  • Baritone 

Most beginners start learning on a soprano ukulele.

Ukuleles can be made of wood, plastic, other materials, or a mixture of these. 

When shopping for a ukulele, look for one that:

  • Has a good sound
  • Is comfortable in your hands and fingers
  • Fits your style, skill level, and musical goals
  • Is affordable 
  • Is in good condition

While in the store, try out several ukuleles to choose the one that suits you best.

#2: Learn the Basics

I can hear Julie Andrews now:

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…

When learning anything new, you need to start at the beginning and learn the basics. The same is true with the ukulele. 

Here are some “first things” to conquer when starting to learn the ukulele:

  • How to hold the instrument
  • How to tune it
  • How to take care of and maintain it
  • The names of the strings
  • The parts of the instrument

#3: Focus on Strumming

If you’ve never played a string instrument, strumming can seem awkward and counterintuitive. With practice, though, you’ll be strumming like a pro in no time.

To get started, practice strumming without forming any chords. Start slow, then add chord shapes and speed up as you improve.

Strumming patterns vary, so start with a simple pattern — like down, up, down, up — and move to a more complex pattern — like down, down, up, up, down, up — as you progress.

#4: Start With Basic Chords and Progressions

After you’ve tried your hand at strumming, learn some basic chords, like:

  • C
  • G
  • A
  • F
  • Am
  • Em
  • D

Finding a chord chart online should be easy. Practice making the shapes with your hands and practice strumming, one chord at a time. When you feel comfortable with these beginner chords, start putting them together with some simple chord progressions, like:

  • C, G, Am, F
  • G, D, Em, C

Though it might seem monotonous at first, practicing these chord progressions over and over will develop muscle memory and help when you start learning songs.

#5: Make Practice Fun

Practice is required to learn anything new, but practicing never needs to be overly tiresome. 

To make practice time effective, begin each practice session by doing some strumming and chord progression drills. These drills may not seem “fun,” but they will help make playing easier down the road.

Though there will be times when learning a new technique or chord progression may be tedious and repetitive at first, finding ways to make practice fun will help you stick it out for the long haul.

Once you’ve learned the basics, make practice fun by learning songs you enjoy playing. Here are some fun songs you can learn to play fairly easily:

  • “You Are My Sunshine”
  • “Riptide”
  • “I’m Yours”
  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”

#6: Learn With a Ukulele Instructor

Learning the ukulele by taking lessons with an instructor delivers lots of valuable benefits, like:

  • Learning the basics (correctly)
  • Receiving support and encouragement
  • Helping to teach new songs
  • Teaching helpful tips and techniques
  • Gaining music theory instruction

When looking for an instructor, search for someone with ukulele experience as well as other general music knowledge. Also, look for someone whose personality clicks with yours.

You’ll find all that and more when you choose the team at Northwest School of Music for your ukulele lessons. Register today and get your first session free.

is learning to play the ukulele easy

FAQs About Learning To Play the Ukulele

How Long Does It Take To Learn Ukulele?

The time it takes to learn the ukulele will vary from person to person, depending on previous music experience, natural talent, and other factors. However, with steady practice, learning a simple song could take as little as two weeks.

Everything doesn’t come all at once, so to continue to improve, you’ll need to be patient. Practicing regularly — 10 to 15 minutes a day — can make a difference, even if you don’t see immediate progress. Keep at it, and your hard work will pay off.

Is Ukulele Easier Than Guitar?

In general, yes, the uke may be easier to play than the guitar because it’s a smaller instrument with only four nylon strings, which should make for easier chord formation. 

The guitar is much bigger and has six steel strings. This means chord patterns may be a little more complex, and the steel strings can be rough on the fingers until you form calluses.

Can I Teach Myself To Play the Ukulele?

With the numerous videos and other resources online, it’s possible to pick up the basics of the ukulele on your own. If you want to learn well from the start, taking lessons from an experienced instructor is the way to go. 

Ukulele instructors can help you learn proper technique off the bat and help you avoid bad playing habits that will be hard to break later. Even with the online resources available, nothing beats the in-person benefits that a seasoned teacher can provide.

Ready To Start Learning To Play the Ukulele? Get Started Today at Northwest School of Music

When you take lessons at Northwest School of Music, your priorities are our priorities. We design our private lessons around your goals, and our desire is for music-making to be a fun endeavor.

With four seasoned and experienced ukulele instructors on our team, you’ll find one that fits your personality and schedule. 

We offer month-to-month lessons, so there are no contracts to sign or commitments to tie you down — though we hope you’ll love your lessons enough to keep coming back.

In addition to regular lessons, you’ll have a chance to showcase your talent and progress in periodic performances and recitals.

If the ukulele isn’t your chosen instrument, we offer lessons for over 15 instruments, so you’re sure to find one that will spark an interest.

Contact us today and start your musical journey with Northwest School of Music. When you register, you’ll get a free session.

is learning to play the ukulele easy
is it easy to learn the ukulele
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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA

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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

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503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

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