Teach Kids Ukulele
The small size of the ukulele (or the ‘uke’ as those in the know like to call it) makes it the perfect instrument for children to develop their musical abilities. They aren’t very hard to learn, are relatively inexpensive and are super FUN! Also who doesn’t want to be the parent with the kids who can wow friends and foes with their mad ukulele playing skills? Right? So here’s our little guide for getting you going if you want to teach your kids to play the uke.
- What is a good Ukulele for Kids?
If you haven’t chosen a ukulele yet you might want to start on a soprano uke, soprano ukes are a classic ukulele and are the smallest. A lot of people who teach ukulele to kids recommend this one from Kala, people like them because they are built well, are reasonably priced and sound really good. If you are looking for something a bit more unique, in terms of pure awesomeness you can’t beat these Soprano Pineapple Ukuleles.
There are some fantastic resources if you want to learn more about teaching kids ukulele. Great places to start are these websites:
- Ukulele 4 Kids has a ton of resources for kids who are learning or thinking about learning to play the ukulele. It has great info on how to do A,C,F and G chords. The site also has reviews on Ukulele Software, books, DVDs an links for songs and videos.
- Ukulele in the Classroom this site is primarily for music teachers but it does have really good free, supplementary materials and teaching aids for classroom use that can also be used at home if you are really keen.
The Best Ukulele Books for Teaching Kids
There are quite a few books that are great for teaching kids Ukulele. A few that we looked at were:
This is a tough one to research what is the best book because there aren’t really a lot of reviews around for these books. The books that have the most reviews (not just on Amazon) are Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids (Book & CD) and Jiminy Kokopo’s Ukulele Sing and Strum Fun Book. The reviews on Amazon are mostly music teachers and people with musical backgrounds nitpicking about methodology. Ukulele 4Kids gave a good review to Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids (Book & CD) saying about this book “This is a super little book to help kids (of all ages) learn how to play ukulele. The book uses a simple method of adding coloured stickers to the fretboard to allow quick identification of where to place your fingers to play a chord. With a little assistance from an older person kids as young as five will find it a helpful resource.” They also gave a good review to Ukulele for Kids – The Hal Leonard Ukulele Method saying “The book would be a good starting place for teachers or parents who want to teach not only kids how to play, but themselves too. I’d also recommend it for kids from about 10 years of age who want to teach themselves how to play the ukulele.”
If you are looking for a DVD to help teach some Ukulele to the kids we found three that looked promising, they are:
- Kid’s Ukulele Course 1: The Easiest Ukulele Method Ever! (Book, CD & DVD) (Alfred’s Kid’s Ukulele Course)
- The Complete Ukulele Course for Kids
- Ukulele For Kids #1
Ukulele for Kid #1 is okay as far as what it teaches but could really use an update since it was made in 1993 and seems a little dated. Our four year old kid tester watched for a bit and quickly lost interest. While researching Kid’s Ukulele Course 1: The Easiest Ukulele Method Ever! we could only find a few mediocre reviews and not much excitement about this DVD.
The DVD that we are choosing as your best bet based on reviews and comments is The Complete Ukulele Course for Kids. This DVD has lessons, including tuning, strumming and rhythm, playing in four different keys (C,F,A and G), 4/4 and 3/4 time and more. Also 15 songs are taught, including “He’s got the Whole World in his Hands,” “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain,” “When the Saints Go Marching In”.The reason we are choosing Complete Ukulele Course for Kids is because the reviews are all overwhelmingly good. A review on RuggedReview said about this DVD “Shaw, an enthusiastic, pleasantly goofy, and expert instructor uses simple children’s songs to teach strumming with rhythm, singing and smooth chord changes. ” and “These lesson kits are superb for anyone who wants to learn uke — even kids.”
Free Online Ukulele Lessons for Kids
If you aren’t quite up for the books or DVDs there are some great free online lessons for kids.
- Motleumuse this is great little series of lessons for ukulele from a school music teacher.
- Madeline’s Ukulele Class talks about the parts of the uke, how to tune it with an electronic tuner, how to play in the fret, the c chord and how to strum.
- Victor Johnson Uke Lessons has a whole list of videos that will help you learn tuning, chords and a few songs.
- Ukulele Lesson for Kids this guy goes over how to tune the uke and how to play the c chord.