Mid Semester Ukelele

It’s been a few weeks and I have been able to practice the ukulele to achieve my overall goal of playing Vance Joy’s song Riptide while singing. Firstly, I learned that the grade 4’s ukulele’s are tuned higher to A,D,F,B whereas a regular tuning is G,C,E,A. So I had to do a bit of research on my own to see which cords are which. The information that I originally had from my grade 4 student was inaccurate for me with regular tuning. For example a Bm (B minor) in their tune of A,D,F,B is actually an A in the tune of G,C,E,A.

I felt passionate about learning so I bought my own ukulele off amazon and seem to be tuning it very often. I have read online that the first while of playing requires lots of tuning while the new strings stretch out. I have tried many different tuning apps but my favourite one is “GuitarTuna.”

The first time I picked up the ukulele I had no idea where any of the cords were. I worked with a friend that showed me the cords I needed to play riptide and away I went. The reason I picked riptide was because it is one of the easier songs to learn on ukulele and for my first song I wanted something that I could learn quick so I could pair singing with the cords. The three main cords needed for this song are Am, G, and C. I got the hang of the rhythm pretty fast but when I started singing my fingers forgot where to go next and my strumming pattern stopped. It took a few days but I finally got the rhythm and figured out which words go on the down strums. Even today, I play the song a bit slower because I am still fairly new to the experience. However, I am practicing a bit every day and can see the results. Below is a video of me playing Riptide while singing. It is meant as a midway point to me being able to play this song without errors and faster.

Below is a video of my mid semester progress for Riptide

The password is: Education

During this process I originally thought that I could pick up the ukulele a few days before and learn to play the song. Although that may have still worked it would have been a lot more worked crammed into a shorter period of time. Likewise, once I actually picked up the ukeklele for the first time I realized it was a lot harder then I had thought. Personally, in this process I found I am a quick learner. Once I learned which cords to use I could easily remember them. One great thing that I had not anticipated was that I knew most of the words from Riptide already from listening to it on the radio. It worked out very well because I found that having the words memorized helped a lot when trying to match the strumming pattered to them. Most importantly though I learned that practice makes perfect!

Now that I have a more realistic idea of what I can achieve and what I need to work on, my goals for the weeks to come are most specific. I plan to not need to look down at my hands as I change cords, play continuously through the whole song with no stutters, and speed up the song.

I will do this by practicing a little every day. By doing this my speed will increase as will my skill for playing the ukelele. For the cords, I will practice having my fingers in place already for the next cord so I do not stutter or have to look. I am very proud of what I have achieved thus far and am looking forward to what I can do with this skill in the future!

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