Its summer time now in Colorado Springs. And it can get hotter than you expect. For my part not too many instruments sound like summer the way a ukulele does. I for one was somewhat ignorant of the depth and ability of the ukulele, mostly thinking of artists such as Vance Joy, IZ, or Jason Maraz. But, I have also recently, discovered great players like Jake Shimabukuro, whose jazz influenced playing has great harmonic depth and melodic content have completely changed my perception of what a ukulele can do. I also highly recommend checking out Sophie Madeleine who shows exactly how the ukulele can be used as a great songwriting instrument. And if you need more proof of the flexibility of the instrument here is a massive list of brilliant players.
Needless to say there are many playing styles of ukulele and great ways to incorporate it’s sound into your musical experience. And now here are a few reasons why you should take some Ukulele lessons. You can also join us Saturday June 16th at 4pm for a ukulele workshop. Click here for more details.
I know some guitar players might scoff at the size of a ukulele but that is really one of it’s greatest strengths. The size of a ukulele means it is easy to hold standing or sitting. It might be small but it can pack a great sound. And it’s easy to pack. Most ukuleles weigh in right around one pound. That’s significantly easier than traveling with a guitar. This is Colorado, and packing a guitar on a camping trip is a massive undertaking. However, a ukulele is lightweight and easy to carry. Light enough that even if you enjoy backpacking in the Colorado mountains you can take it with you.
Great first instrument
If you’ve never had any experience with a music lessons or any musical instrument you may find that a ukulele gets you up and playing faster than just about anything else.
Ukulele is great starter instrument in part because the chords are easy to learn. Many ukulele chords only require one or two fingers in the open position. Most songs can be adapted easily for Ukulele. A lot of popular songs use about four chords and this means these can be easy to play and memorize. It also means that once you have just a little bit of music theory you can transpose any song to make it easier to play.
Easy on the Fingers
Ukuleles are strung with nylon strings which can make it easier to play and press down the strings. This means it is easier to adapt to and less painful to get started with than perhaps a guitar. This is coming from a guitar player who has been playing a long time. Easy on the fingers helps most people to get started and enjoy playing.
But it’s not just the strings that make a difference. Because the instrument is smaller, it is easier to place the fingers on the fretboard. For younger hands and smaller hands the ukulele is a natural starting point.
The ukulele isn’t just for small hands though. If you have big hands it can make playing difficult passages easier. Big hands can create some really interesting chords and also make big stretches. This means that playing certain scale passages can be both easy and fun.
There are several places here in Colorado Springs that sell ukuleles. Both Meeker Music and Graner Music sell good quality instruments at reasonable prices. A solid wood ukulele starts at only about $79. While that might seem like a lot consider that a laminate wood guitar is about $150 to start and won’t sound half as good.
Ukuleles under a hundred dollars can be a great place to start as they sound great and are inexpensive. However, buyer beware. You may find a ukulele that only cost $20 online somewhere. Chances are these won’t stay in tune and may sound comparatively bad. But for about $40 or so you can get a decent starter instrument. Most of these will sound good and hold their tuning. If you are willing to spend over hundred dollars you will find that you can have a great sounding instrument that will be with you for life.
Great for your health
Okay so this last reason isn’t specific to the ukulele. However, the dulcet tones of a ukulele can transport anyone to a calm relaxing island. I have written before about the health benefits of learning a instrument.
There has been a lot of research done on how music can help improve memory and even help prevent degenerative diseases like alzheimer’s. Regular practice, playing or even music lessons can lower blood pressure as well. For more info on the health benefits and music here are a few great resources to check out this article from Harvard Medical Journal as well as this piece from USA Today.
It’s time to give the ukulele a chance if you have’t before. This great little instrument packs a punch and a portable one at that. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. It sounds great, it’s fun to play and there is so much you can explore with it. Come by and if you are interested in music lessons we can make it happen for you.