The diminutive ukulele, born of a marriage in Hawaii in 1879, is currently in its third wave of worldwide popularity. It's a charming, friendly instrument and ultimately easy to play. But there are treasures hidden in its depths.
If you want to learn how to play ukulele, in this course an aficionado of the ukulele for 50 years and teacher of it for 20, will hold your hand as you learn to play ukulele, learn its parts, its lore, its tuning, and show you how to steer it into the world of harmony, melody, rhythm and song.
Written lectures are often backed up with video presentations. And the instructor is available via email. This course is appropriate for absolute beginners trying to learn how to play ukulele, guitar players who wish to migrate to the ukulele, and accomplished ukulele players looking for new challenges.</p>
Meet the ukulele and get to know its parts.
A brief overview of how to tune your ukulele. Even if you have a silicon ear (electronic tuner) to help you tune up it's still a good idea to know how the ukulele is tuned within itself. What's important is that YOUR ear is pleased and that you allow the ukulele to help you train your hearing ability.
Tips on taking care of your ukulele, repairing it, traveling with it, selecting it.
Start playing right now! Introducing the 1, 2 and 3-finger chords, also known as C, F and G7, you will begin strumming and chording the uke and be making music by the end of the lecture.
In this lesson we learn two new chords, play a tune and get our feet wet with a bit of music theory. By the end you should have a pretty good idea what the job of playing the ukulele is all about. Except for providing avenues of discovery, my job is over. Now it's up to you to explore and flesh out your own playing style and techniques. That task never ends.
Jam along on this two chord song (C and G7) to practice your strums and doo-dads. Use it to give yourself the freedom to horse around while still keeping the beat. You might want to download the pdf file of the words and chords first so you have them in front of you to reinforce your efforts. The task isn't so much to learn the song but to use the song to hone your skills and build up your ukulele toolbox.
A play-along close-up video of Ain't She Sweet including a lead-in riff, vocal in the key of C, and instrumental in the key of F. This is a "gateway" tune that can lead to hundreds of other songs with a similar chord pattern and feel.
Three basic chord patterns in the key of C that can be used for practicing and that just might give you insight into how thousands of songs are constructed. This lecture will also introduce to musiican's shorthand when descibing how a song goes.
Sixteen chord diagrams for all 12 keys: the root major, major 7, 7th, 6th and 9th; the root minor, minor 7th, minor 6th, suspended 4th, add 9; dimished, augmented, a 7th augmented, augmented/diminished 5th, 4/9 and 6/9 chords. Each sheet has three groups in rows that coincide with the video chord groups in this chapter. Print the last page for easy reference. These charts are as boring as a dictionary, but hopefully just as useful. In another chapter we will look at chords in a completely different context. I suggest you print these out for easy reference when not at your computer.
Each group of chords in this lecture has a corresponding video in this chapter. The aim of the videos is primarily to help you find your way to make the various chords, But some of the videos add a tidbit or two of useful information that might interest you or facilitate your voyage through the world of ukulele epressed music. If you're having trouble making a chord, visit the video and see if it helps. If that doesn't help, send me a note and I'll do what I can. (updated 6/22)
A brief discussion to help you discover your own ukulele strums. A prelude to an upcoming series of short videos on a variety of strums and strumming considerations.
A demonstration of how to play and pulse the trill on the ukulele and a couple of tips on working it into your songs.
The roll strum is a fanning of the fingers across the strings, four fingers, one at a time in one beat. Some of the many ways to use this technique are explored.
Explore the sort of gathering pluck that is a reverse roll. Lern to sneak parts of it into your favorite strum.
This video focuses on picking and plucking individual strings as part of a strumming pattern. It is Part 1 of a lecture that leads to my own favorite strum, a movement I've come to call "plicking" since it seems to be a mixture of picking and plucking. Hopefully you will find a similar manner that suits your goals as a ukulele player. I learned this one 50 years ago from a dormmate in college. His strum was different than what I wound up doing, and yours, too, will probably be different. But, so what? It's all good.
The thumb and index finger join forces to make an energetic strum that is both a pick and a pluck with an occasional swipe and pinch added. A challenge, but worth it. We also look at the figure eight stroke and triplets.
A double-sided single page brochure on strumming that fits in most ukulele cases, and that recaps the video strumming lesson in the previous lecture.
A variety of techniques to add to your ukulele tool box so you can pepper your playing with injections here and there of flavor and personality.
This diagram is a study aid to help in understanding the Circle of Fifths and is a companion to the video lecture on the same subject. Understanding the Circle is one of the best ways to help alert your music ear to a song's movement. The goal is to take some of the mystery out it and thus improve our playing by helping us to anticipate the next chord.
This is a simple two chord song called Two Chord Song. There are versions of it in four different keys, C, G, D and F. Play along with it many times to increase you're familiarity with the chord changes. If you play it often enough--even to the point of boredom--you may find yourself creating strums, picks and "do-dads" that make your playing more interesting and fulfilling.
To really learn to love the ukulele, it's best to know its history and lore. The more you know, the more you want to play, the more you want to play, the more you do, the more you do, the better you get, the better you get, the better you feel, the better you feel, the better the world is. That's how it works. Uke on, fellow pluckers!
An observation and opinion on the future of the ukulele. Perhaps balderdash.
A ukulele performer since 1961, Scanlan returned the ukulele to its ancestral home of Madeira Island, Portugal in 1998 in the historic Father and Son Reunion, a project that reunited the ukulele with the rajão and braguinha and united Madeiran and American players in performance, including a live telecast from the Lisbon World's Fair. For the past 11 years Scanlan has been teaching a weekly ukulele class that doubles as a performance group that performs at least once a week at fairs, schools, hospitals, retirement and convalescent homes. The group, the Strum Bums, received a standing ovation at the second annual New York Ukulele Festival. They performed at the Santa Cruz CA Ukulele Festival, and the Honolulu International Ukulele Festival.
Before he started the Strum Bums, Scanlan led the Vokuleles ukulele group in Chico CA, for the last seven of its 37 years. He is scheduled for a third appearance at the Honolulu festival July 2013 with the Strum Bums.
Scanlan's ukulele workshops and performances have been highly acclaimed at festivals at the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum, Santa Cruz, Southern California, Tahoe Area, New York, Auburn CA, and the Liverpool, Nova Scotia, International Ukulele Ceilidh, where he serves as emcee. In 2008 he gave the initial ukulele workhop in Dublin, Ireland, to a group that became Ukuhooley, Ireland's largest ukulele group and presenter of the annual Ukuhooley Ukulele Festival.
Scanlan's ukulele has supported the efforts of Cindy Sheehan, Julia Butterfly Hill, U. Utah Phillips, Judi Bari, Daniel Ellsberg and other peace and justice activists. He and his ukulele have fronted several bands, including Flathead, the Self-Righteous Brothers, Jukolin, Top Quark, and Cool Hand Uke and the Enablers.
"Dan Scanlan has more talent in his little finger than he has in the wholoe rest of his body." — Utah Phillips