If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know how to play the ukulele and you’re ready to share the joy with those around you. Learning to play an instrument is a great feeling. Yet, we often find it even more joyous when we can share the experience with those around us. Uku Global values community, and we want to make sure ukulele players feel they have the tools and knowledge to teach themselves and others.
It can certainly be difficult to teach another person how to play an instrument. People who don’t typically play might find it intimating or anxiety-producing to learn an instrument. When you are teaching another, make sure you are compassionate about these factors. Learning music doesn’t come easy to everyone, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn.
Here are some tips for an aspiring ukulele teacher looking to spread happiness:
Don’t Assume Anything
- If a person has never played an instrument before, don’t assume they know all the same terminology you do. Using words and phrases like “chords”, “key”, or “strumming pattern” may seem much more overwhelming to someone who’s never engaged in the music education world.
- Just as you wouldn’t assume a player knows everything, also don’t assume they know nothing. Have a conversation with your friend or student about their musical background. You never know how much they are bringing to the table that could make their ukulele journey easier!
Although your student may want the instant gratification of playing their favorite song ASAP, you’ll be doing them a favor by starting with the basics. Start small with these concepts:
- How to hold your ukulele
- Tuning: why is it important and how do you do it?
- Strumming. We recommend starting without playing a chord. First, learn what parts of the fingers to use and how to strum a steady beat.
- One and two-finger chords are a great place to start. In particular, C, F, and Am are ideal because they all fit in the same key.
- “Spread happiness, grab a ukulele” is a motto at Uku for a reason. When you’re teaching, remember why it is worth it to learn. We want to learn music that makes us feel emotions and connects us with others. When you’re teaching, keep in mind why that individual started playing in the first place.
- Learn a song that your student would like. It’s much more motivating to overcome a challenge like learning a new instrument when something rewarding is on the other side. You can play it together, foster that connection, and help teach them in a way that is fun!