The Ukulele is a small-sized, four-string instrument that we normally associate with Hawaii. The little instrument is vitally important in the area’s musical culture. It was created in 1880 by immigrants, before that there were no string instruments on the islands. Let’s find out more about this fun instrument.
Unlike the guitar, which has six strings, the ukulele only has four, so it is easier to learn to play it.
Types of Ukulele
The most common to find are: soprano, concerto, tenor and baritone. Others have also been built such as sopraninos (smaller than soprano), low ukuleles and banjoleles. There are even some ukuleles in an electro-acoustic format, known as electric ukuleles. While the “concert” ukulele has a sound with more body and depth, the smaller ones, such as the soprano, better preserve the bright and exotic tone so characteristic of Hawaii.
One fact which may help you to choose which ukulele to play, is that the bigger its size, the more “lower” it sounds.
Ukulele prices depend on many issues, like any other instrument, material, quality and method of production, brand. It helps to try a few out to see which sound you prefer.
Important accessories for your ukulele
It is important to buy a good case to protect the instrument from bumps and knocks and from natural exposure to the sun, air and dust. Some other things that will help you are a capo and a tuner. The capo is placed on the frets and allows you to raise the tone of the song or melody you are playing. The lower you place it the tone will be higher. If the tone is too low for your voice, if you are singing, you can lower it with the capo without problem and the same in reverse, to find the right match.
The tuner is another resource that makes things much easier when playing any instrument, it is inexpensive and easy to get, you can find one in any music shop.
On the internet you can find a lot of information, videos and history that will help you when you decide to start playing your ukulele, as well as practice videos and tutorials.
If you have the instrument and want to start testing yourself you can find a song that you would like to play and practice! You can also do this using the Ukulele-tabs or Ukutabs tabs that you can easily find online.
Besides being easy to learn, one of the best features of this instrument is its diminutive size, you can take it everywhere. It’s so lightweight that you can take it out for dinner at a friends house, or even travel across the world with it stashed safely in your hand luggage! And did we mention it’s easy to learn?! With very few chords you can play many of your favourite songs.
As with any instrument, practice is very important to incorporate sounds and rhythms. As you move forward with your ukulele playing, you can make them more complex.
Famous ukulele musicians
Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole is one of the main references of Hawaiian music, well known worldwide for his versions of the songs Over the rainbow and What a Wonderful World. His incredible voice, along with his skill at combining ukulele playing with jazz and reggae fusions, made him renowned.
Another of the musicians who loved this little instrument was Frank Sinatra, Fly me to the moon is one of his wonderful songs on ukulele.Paul McCartney, meanwhile, often plays the ukulele in his live recitals in his version of Something.
If you are a lover of Pearl Jam, you can not stop listening to the album Ukulele Songs, by Eddie Vedder. It is an unmissable album to always have on your playlist.
If you are interested in taking Ukulele classes, you can contact us as we have great teachers who will help you learn and improve very quickly. In no time you will be playing your favourite songs and composing your own music.
Online learning, with live lessons, like those offered at Shine for many years, has recently grown in popularity due to the current world situation and the need to stay at home due to Covid-19. However this way of learning has great benefits, from the economic, to the flexibility and continuity of classes from anywhere in the world, even if you are not confined or sheltering in your home!
When we take classes from our homes it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside or if traffic to get to our school is jam packed. Attending a class is as easy as switching on a button, sitting down with a cup of coffee or tea, and getting started with your teacher! Just sit back and enjoy a lesson from the comfort of home. Now there is no excuse for being lazy! And what a joy to laugh and smile with a familiar face while enjoying your favourite hobby!
The current disruptions of the Corona Virus don’t have to break your usual way of life, you can continue lessons unhindered with online classes. Being able to carry on with our normal routine means that our situation at home is more stable, which can help alleviate undue stress or anxiety. No complications, no hassle, just an internet connection, and you are ready to go, and this means that you can stay safe both physically and mentally!
Perhaps you are only discovering the benefits of online learning now, during the “shelter at home” movements, but Shine has been touting the benefits of online study for almost a decade. Ask any of our long-time online students; having the flexibility to continue lessons after a work transfer or move, mean that we can maintain our musical progress. A number of our students came to Barcelona to study an intensive course, and now continue their lessons from their homes, extending and advancing their studies. We continue to cultivate our teacher-student connection. No need to hunt for new teachers or lessons. Online lessons have just made our life easier!
Online classes can be more intensive and focused. Classes through platforms such as Skype, Zoom, among others, create a space of full attention. Without the distractions that may happen in a school environment, because of this students often see great and rapid advances in learning.
Distance means nothing! No matter what country in the world we live or where we move, we can continue taking classes with the teacher we like from anywhere. Classes are not only a source of knowledge for many students but also an enjoyable way to pass the time, and learning online means that you can continue with your hobby from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows a continuity that would not be possible in any other way. Many students take advantage of virtual classes so as not to lose any headway in their studies, when traveling for work or long vacations.
Further benefits to online study include better time management. Many people these days have busy schedules, filled with work requirements, or family life and extra-murals. We tend to rush about and often find little time to practice our instrument. With an online lesson, you don’t have to use your time to move from one place to another. Rather you can make time for practice or being well rested for your class. So much time and energy can be saved, and undoubtedly, the efficiency created by e-learning provides greater comfort and a better quality of life.
Economically speaking, money can be saved on transport, and perhaps these savings can be put towards buying a dreamt of instrument or indeed investing in further learning. Often online lessons are also cheaper for many people, as rates for classes are more competitive.
If you haven’t experienced music lessons online, now may be a good time to encourage yourself to try. Take advantage of the advances in technology to improve your quality of life, manage our own time, save money, and be able to continue with your favourite teacher from anywhere on the planet at any time of the year.
We invite you to try this wonderful experience of learning an instrument from the comfort of your home.
A true master of the arts, Prof Sajin is the original founder of Shine Music School in South Africa, Germany and Serbia.
Professor Sajin was one of the principal motivators of the proliferation and development of classical guitar throughout former Yugoslavia during the second half of the twentieth century.
The Barcelona branch of the Shine School of Music was founded by Professor Sajin’s son Milos. It started out as The Shine School of Guitar in 2008 with the primary goal of providing quality guitar education and was the first specialised guitar school in Barcelona to offer Guitar Classes in all styles of guitar with a qualified and experienced guitar teacher in English, Spanish and Catalan.
Because both schools operated on different continents, it was not long before they both began to offer online classes, as a way to connect students in both Europe and Africa with a wider range of teachers. These days, Prof Sajin teaches a wide array of instruments with and spends his time sharing his profound knowledge and experience between the Shine Music School in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Shine School of Music in Barcelona, Spain.
In 2009, Shine was one of the first music schools in the world to start teaching on Skype and, now with more than 10 years of experience, we have ensured that the medium works smoothly. Currently, teachers at Shine bring music into the homes of students around the world in 23 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Shine School of Music has been instrumental in modernising teaching methods and promoting the use of telecommunication technologies in the classroom. As Internet speeds have improved and video conferencing technologies became more accessible, it has become ever-easier to communicate over large distances, and the proportion of students choosing to attend music classes online continues to grow.
Over the last few years, private music classes over Skype* have become increasingly commonplace practice here at Shine as an ever-growing number of our students are actively taking advantage of continued music education across large distances with our online music lessons.
Shine School of Music Online offers live online music lessons with qualified and experienced music teachers in guitar, piano, keyboard, bass, ukulele, cello, violin, saxophone, clarinet, flute, singing, accordion, trumpet, trombone and a range of range of other instruments and music subjects.
Musical statues or musical chairs is an excellent game for developing auditory discrimination. Children have to listen carefully to the difference between sound and silence and engage their entire bodies during play. You can play musical statues only with your child, but musical chairs are best played with at least 3 or 4 family members or friends. They both work different motor skills, so you should try them out. Musical statues are great for developing body control and strengthening your body in the “freeze” positions. Musical chairs, on the other hand, teach children to move through things and get a feel for their position in space as they run around trying to find a chair to sit on, without hitting others.
How to play musical statues:
Play music on a CD player or cell phone. While the music plays, everyone dances around the room. One person in charge of the game stops the music every now and then and everyone should freeze in the exact position they were dancing in when the music stopped.
If you move, you are “out”. For young children, it’s a lot of fun to keep freezing without anyone “going out.”
How to Play Musical Chairs:
Place chairs around the room (one for each player). Play music on a CD player or cell phone. As the music plays, everyone dances around the room. Again the person in charge should remove a chair while everyone dances, then they stop the music every now and then and everyone should run and sit in one of the chairs. Whoever did not get to the chair on time is “out”.
Repeat, removing one chair at a time until two people remain and the one who sits first in the remaining chair is the winner
2. Pass the parcel
Traditionally played at birthday parties, this game is not new. Play at home and you will make your children move and listen carefully. It can be played in two (going back and forth), but if there are 3 or more players, you can pass the parcel around from one to the next in a circle formation.
How to play Pass the pack:
Wrap any object in many layers of newspaper or wrapping paper. You could back cookies and wrap them in the center, get the kids to help wrap, or even to help to make the paper by decorating the newspaper with paint beforehand. Make the layers easy to remove. Play music on a CD player or cell phone. The package is passed clockwise (teach your child this word while doing so!) When the music stops, the person holding the package can remove a wrap layer. When the music continues, the packet continues to be passed along, until the music stops again and another layer is removed.
The person who removes the final layer of wrapping to reveal the package is the winner.
Change direction for each new round (clockwise to counterclockwise).
Make sure the package is received with both hands and passed to the next person with both hands (to make sure you cross the middle line, which is a good exercising technique )
3. A little elephant
In this game, you will teach your children to count and understand how numbers increase in value by 1 each time, and will also practice the important ability to balance and walk in a straight line.
These are the lyrics:
A small elephant swinging
step by step on a piece of string.
I thought it was tremendous fun.
(Insert name) called another elephant to come.
Two little elephants …
Three little elephants …
Five little elephants swinging
Step by Step. a piece of string
Then the rope broke and everyone fell. ¡
No more little elephants!
How to Play A Little Elephant:
Put a piece of string on the floor. Start the game by being the first elephant to walk the length of the rope and use your arms to balance yourself. Sing the song together. Choose a child to join the second verse and continue until all the players walk step by step on the rope. For the last verse, the rope breaks and everyone collapses on the floor
4. How many instruments can you hear?
In this game, the objective is to listen and identify different instruments. Your child must have had some exposure to the instruments and recognize the basics. But if not, it’s a fun way to learn about the different instruments.
We have included some videos you can play.
How to play How many instruments?
Play a song on a CD player or cell phone. Any Song with various instruments will do (try the song below or search YouTube for the instrumental version of songs) You and your child each have a piece of paper and you must draw the instruments you hear. At the end of the song, compare drawings and see who heard the most amount of different instruments.
Here is a song you can use to identify various instruments:
5. Match the Sounds
For this activity you will need a variety of basic instruments (or even handmade or improvised instruments). The goal is to listen to the music and try to find the right instruments that match or blend well with the sound. Play a song and use your instruments to play along.
Hitting a triangle (or two pieces of cutlery together) for small, loud sounds. Hitting the drums or a box for a slow deep voice. Bang the cymbals together (or pot lids) for a loud, high sound. Shake or rattle bells or a tambourine for fast music. There are no rules here. Demonstrate a song first by making suggestions about what elements might match the sounds and ask for your child’s input. Then play songs and let your child freely play their choices with music.
6. Draw the music
In this activity, children literally draw music as they listen to it. Provide pieces of paper and pencils or wax crayons and ask your child to draw what he hears.
They could draw:
How the music makes them feel. Draw wavy lines or zig-zags to represent slow, flowing music or fast, choppy music. Draw the rhythms they hear (for example, drawing short and long lines for short and long sounds)
Allow your child to surprise you with the way he interprets and draws music. Draw your own performance at the same time and see how your images differ.