`Ukulele Strums - Getting Started

The art and craft of strumming – playing rhythm on `Ukulele.

PUBLISHED: Jan 2, 2005 • UPDATED: Jan 24, 2020 • LESSON CODE: UL126 • VISITS: 45

ukulele Subjects: rhythmstrumsbeginner

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`Ukulele Strums - Getting Started

One of the first skills a ukulele player learns is the art and craft of strumming – playing rhythm. This refers to an accompaniment technique suitable for the singer, singer/songwriter or someone who plays a support role for another instrument.

A Strum is the execution of a specific rhythmic pattern, at tempo in a particular style.

Strumming requires a specific set of skills. They are:

  • Memorization of chords
  • The ability to switch chords smoothly and
  • The ability to choose and execute a suitable rhythmic strum

And, most importantly do ALL of this in tempo.

Though strumming looks natural to the casual observer, it is anything but natural to the beginning ukulele player. Even experienced players have difficulty in identifying and executing certain strums or rhythmic patters. Though this is one of those topics that is typically taken for granted, there is much to learn about rhythmic feels, accents, dynamics, strum direction, feel, percussive accents, idiomatic styles and tempo variation.

First and foremost, the subject of strumming is inseparably linked to rhythm. Read that last line again. _**First and foremost, the subject of strumming is inseparably linked to rhythm.**_ Though an ability to read rhythm is helpful, it’s not necessary to profit from these lessons.

A Note Regarding Learning Strums and Rhythm

Many people fall into the trap of mixing up play by ear with learning by ear. Learning by ear is a hit and miss, hunt and peck proposition with more misses than hits.

The goal is to play and perform with the inner ear in control - that is “Playing by Ear”. Learning is better suited with a system and plan of attack.

I've seen it way too many times with my own private students. They insist on trying to learn a specific strumming pattern by their intrinsic stroke directional pattern - the down and up pattern. For only the basic, simplest of strums this might work at times. But, it falls apart for really learning rhythm, which is directly linked to strumming. It is helpful when training the strumming hand to place to emphasis on the downbeats or pulse of music with a down stoke.

Cutting to the Chase - You CAN learn any rhythmic pattern by it's standard music notation and the counting pattern used to recreate the sound of the pattern.

For years, early in my development I had several teachers that tried to teach me the quarter note triple rhythmic pattern by rote. I'd get it in the lesson and 20 minutes after the lesson - at home I wouldn't be able to duplicate what I had learned in the lesson. No fault of the teacher, they just didn't have a system for effectively teaching rhythm and give their students the ability to accurately reproduce any rhythmic pattern on their own without needing a teacher or coach or to even have to hear it first.

Then finally studying with Chuck Anderson the creator of the *Modular Phonetic Rhythm System* I now use. In 30 seconds I could play the quarter note triplet and more importantly reproduce it myself - on-demand when needed. Plus even teach it to others. It's all based on learning any rhythmic pattern by knowing how it relates to the beat and the subdivision of the beat. It's actually that simple. The hard part is getting the hands and fingers to get with the show.

I guarantee, that by using this system – you will have success.

End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

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Related Lessons

Related Lessons for `Ukulele Strums - Getting Started at this time.


`Ukulele Strums and The Modular Phonetic Rhythm System

Rhythm and Strums Level II Rhythmic Pairs - Lesson One

Rhythm and Strums Level II Rhythmic Pairs - Lesson Two

Rhythm and Strums Level II Rhythmic Pairs - Lesson Three

Rhythm and Strums Level II Rhythmic Pairs - Lesson Five

Rhythm and Strums Level II Rhythmic Pairs - Lesson Four

Lesson Books

Related Books for `Ukulele Strums - Getting Started at this time.


A Guide to Ukulele Strums

Learn a variety of strums and rhythmic patterns in wide range of musical styles.

Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm.

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Also known as Bingo Was His Name-O_and _There Was a Farmer Who Had a Dog, is an English language children's song of obscure

Brown Eyed Girl

Written and recorded in 1967 by Van Morrison and produced by Bang Records chief Bert Berns, it was first released in May 1967.

Hey, Good Lookin

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London Bridge

Presented here in two keys. The key of C Major in the open position and the key of D Major in position II.

Oh! Susanna

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Red River Valley

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This Old Man

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Three Blind Mice

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Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for `Ukulele Strums - Getting Started at this time.


Basic Lessons for Getting Started with Ukulele

These are the ukulele lessons that every ukulele player just starting out a bit seasoned should take a look at.

Even seasoned player should take a look at this series of lessons. You'll probally pick up a few things you didn't know or remember that would be very helpful when teaching beginners just get started.

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