Teach Kids Ukulele
Published on September 22nd, 2012 | by Frances Kerfoot
The small size of the ukulele 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! So here’s our little guide for getting you going if you want to teach your child to play the ukulele.
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:
- Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids
- Jiminy Kokopo’s Ukulele Sing and Strum Fun Book
- Mel Bay presents Children’s Ukulele Method Book/CD Set by Drew Andrews
- Play Ukulele Today!The Quick Start Guide For Everyone
- Starting Ukulele
- Ukulele for Kids – Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Series BK/CD
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. This book is great for kids five and up. It is great for small kids because it has coloured stickers that you can add to the fretboard so the kids know where to put their fingers for each chord. Ukulele for Kids – The Hal Leonard Ukulele Method also has some great reviews. This book is for a slightly older child 10 plus who are intrested in teaching themselves how to play.
Since we are looking for a book for a parent with not really any musical background the book we are choosing as the best bet to go with is Uke’n Play Ukulele for Kids (Book & CD). This is a pretty fun method for kids that includes a play along CD.
The Best Ukulele DVD/Course for Kids
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, When the Saints Go Marching In, She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain and that kind of stuff.
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.
- Ukulele Lesson for Kids this guy goes over how to tune the uke and how to play the c chord.