First `Ukulele Lesson

This is a scan of a typical first lesson that ALL students new to the ukulele might get in one of my private one-on-one lessons.

Published: 08 Mar 2016 Updated: 17 Jun 2024Visits: 154Code: UL01

INSTRUMENTS: Basics Main: Basics Others: Ukulele
Subjects: Chords • Rhythm • Beginner • Intermediate • Technique • Fingerboard • Lessons

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First `Ukulele Lesson


This is a scan of a typical first lesson that ALL students new to the ukulele might get in one of my private one-on-one lessons. View the full lesson for my notes and my comments on what doesn't make it on every the sheet. There's a lot that goes on in an individual private lesson and is different from student to student.

After asking a new student what their music goals are and what they expect to get out of lessons, we dive right into how the ukulele works, what the role of the mind, hands, and ear is, etc.

The assignments, at least the first three, are based on knowing the ukulele fingerboard and technique. You’ll never be any better than your actual ability to execute with your hands, your inner ear, and your mind.

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Let's take a journey with our hypothetical student, the ukulele player in the Uke Groove Trio and tag along for his first few lessons. His name is Bernard or Barney and is just starting out has a goal of getting better and developing a more in-depth understanding of how music works and how to apply it to the ukulele.

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard

This is the first item in EVERY lesson—it's that important and really pays off down the road. It is one of the few things you can practice where you don't actually need the ukulele. It also has one of the biggest returns on investment, or ROI, as they say in the corporate world. You actually memorize the notes on the fingerboard well before you actually get the full benefit of all the effort. It takes a while to memorize the fingerboard, so we start right out of the box with lesson one.

It turns out we are never going to be any better than our technical ability to get the music out. And that all starts with developing both hands. The second and third lesson lesson assignments are totally for developing efficient technique.

Sports have the same requirement. Think baseball — if you can't catch and throw the ball very well, you probably not going to be very good at it.

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First `Ukulele Lesson…

Single Note Picking

The thumb is most efficient when picking DOWN, and the fingers are most efficient when picking UP. Lesson one as well as the first few lessons focus on using the thumb and index finger.

Down Stroke

Up Stroke

Developing Finger Independence and Strength

These second and their third lesson assignment are totally for developing efficient technique.

Chords & Chord Progression

We start off with the famous C chord. The first a majority of new players learn as their first chord and probably the most common chord. A great one to start with as it only requires one finger. And,

The Principles of Music

The first lesson will also cover the very basic starting point of Music Theory. The seven letters of the music alphabet A B C D E F G , whole steps and half steps , and the Chromatic Scale .

Four or five topics to cover are typically for students to start with. We'll adjust as we go along with Barney. It all depends on Barney putting in the work between the lesson and what he actually wants to cover. It is, after all, his goals and his lesson.


LearningUkulele.com Lessons Referenced in a Typical First Lesson

Depending on whether the student has a 30 minute or one hour lesson, more or less can be covered. It actually on the amount of work YOU do at home, between lessons.

So Barney, it's now on you to Get To Work!!!

We'll probably have to keep reminding Barney to get that thumb behind the neck in its support role.Curt

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End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

Related Lessons, Videos, Lesson Series, Songs, Books & Reference Charts, Resources & Assets, Workshops are below.

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Chord Shapes and Learning `Ukulele Chords

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Pick up any chord dictionary, and one thought that should go through your mind is - TOO MANY CHORDS There is now way to memorize all those shapes. It would be better off learning how they came up with all those shapes. Most chord dictionaries are also just like pages transposed to all possible keys.

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Learning the `Ukulele Fingerboard (Finally!!!)

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Most players struggle with learning the names of the notes of the ukulele fingerboard. There doesn't seem to a pattern and notes repeat. There is an easy way and "it's easier that you think." Most players know the names of the open strings for their favorite tuning.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for First `Ukulele Lesson.

Before You Pick Up Your Uke, Getting Started Basics

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These ukulele lessons are essential for both beginners who are just starting out and seasoned players who have already gained some experience. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned player, exploring this series of lessons can still be highly beneficial. You are likely to discover new insights and perhaps even be reminded of valuable information that can greatly assist you when teaching beginners or further enhancing your own skills.

Basic Ukulele Chords Charts

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Not so much a series - but the basic chords ALL ukulele players should know.

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Rhythm are in-separately linked to strums. Using the Modular Phonetic Rhythm System developed by Chuck Anderson this series of lessons start with the core four strums all ukulele players use and throughly digs in to the many variations possible.

Music Basics

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Lessons in the General Music series. The principles of how music works.

Ukulele Strums - Getting Started

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Strums are in-separately linked to rhythm. Using the Modular Phonetic Rhythm System developed by Chuck Anderson this series of lessons starts with the core four strums all ukulele players use, need to know and throughly digs into the many variations possible.

Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons

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The aim of this series of lessons is to provide comprehensive guidance for beginners embarking on their ukulele journey.

Related Songs

Related Songs for First `Ukulele Lesson.

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Any Song Will Do

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This is not really a song, but simply saying that for the purposes of a lot of the lessons and lesson series on this site ANY song will do for exploring the lesson's material and concepts presented in the lesson.

Related Books & Charts

Related Books for First `Ukulele Lesson.

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Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard

Updated: 15 Oct 2005

Learning the ukulele fingerboard will finally get the names of the pesky notes under control. Covers C, G, and D tuning.

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Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard - C Tuning

Updated: 18 Jan 2023

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard. Learning the notes of your instrument allows you the flexibility of not having to remember so many shapes. There are simply way too many chords, scale and notes patterns, and shapes to remember. It all comes down the notes.

A Selection of Books & Reference Charts that are recommended for creating a solid foundation with your chosen instrument and music in general.

Books

Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard – C Tuning

Finally, learn the names of the notes of the fingerboard.

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard. Fingering is one of the most universal topics.

Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution

Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition.

Ukulele – Reading Music Series – Primer

Learn to read single note melodies in the first/open position is a lot easier than you might think.

Daily Practice Material for the Contemporary Ukulele

An organized collection of daily practice and reference material for the contemporary ukulele player for developing the vocabulary and knowledge necessary for single note playing.

Checkout the Books for ALL available books.

Reference Charts

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G - G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G – G C E A

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High A – D G B E

Key Signatures — Circle of Fourths and Fifths – ANSI A & A4 sizes

A handy reference chart of all 15 major and relative minor key signatures. US Letter 8.5 x 11 sized (ANSI-A) , A4

Checkout the Books for additional Handy, Dandy Reference Charts.

Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for First `Ukulele Lesson.

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A chart of the most common ukulele chords in the most common keys of C, G, D, A, and E.

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Fingerpicking Basic Warmup Exercise - t i m r

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A great little warmup drill to get the right hand fingers going for fingerpicking.

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Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G

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Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G. Shows natural, sharp and flat notes for the ukulele fingerboard. This tuning can be used on a soprano, concert, tenor and baritone ukuleles.

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