As summer vacation is fast approaching, and international and national restrictions lift, holidays are looming, and even perhaps a little bit of travel if you can! Perhaps you have already planned your first trip! You can start dreaming again of sand between your toes on a beach in Ibiza, or the Canary Islands. Perhaps even a secret cove in Mallorca. Close your eyes and think of the mountain hike you can go on in the Pyranees. The birds singing in the trees, the sound of a softly trickling stream. Suddenly you realize something is missing. What could possibly make this moment even more magical? Yes! Music! What if you had an ukulele or guitalele right next to you?
Traveling with an instrument is difficult!
Most guitar players that travel are worried about their precious guitar getting damaged on the plane. Imagine turbulence as you descend over the Pyrenees bumps and scratches your favourite guitar! And you didn’t insure it! Even worse, you are forced to stow it in the luggage bay, or pay for an extra seat to accommodate your instrument. Then the baggage handlers loose your luggage, including your guitar! A nightmare for musicians! This is why finding other options than traveling with your guitar can be a smart idea.
Here are some benefits of choosing an ukelele or guitalele as your travel instrument of choice:
1# Size and weight: The ukulele and guitalele are small enough for taking inside the airplane and are easy to transport, making them the perfect instruments for travel. Extremely lightweight and easy to transport, they fit perfectly in the overhead luggage compartment in an airplane. Small and easy to carry, but offering a similar sound to the original guitar.
2# To socialize: Because of their small size and weight, both instruments become a great way to make friends and meet people. The great thing about them is you can take them everywhere! You can easily play the ukulele or guitalele on Barceloneta beach, perform on Barcelona streets or jam in the most popular pubs and bars around town. The joyful sound of both instruments easily attracts peoples attention and you will often find yourself surrounded by smiley faces. People love singing along to today’s favourites played on a cheerful little instrument.
3# Price: You can get any of these two instruments at a very reasonable price and not worry if they get damaged. While traveling it’s easy for your instrument to get damaged by the sun, bumps or too much use. So better not take your expensive guitar on the road! You can easily rent or buy an ukelele or guitalele and not worry so much if something happens to your little buddy.
So why not give it a try?
Our teacher Sebastian Pan regularly plays his electric guitalele, you can get a lesson with him if you like!
If you in Barcelona and want to try an ukelele or guitalele, please contact shinemusicrental.com for more details.
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.
It’s the start of a new school year here in Spain, and at the Shine School of Music in Barcelona we are offering a fresh new group courses in music! After a long summer, now’s your chance for a new beginning! If you ever wanted to start singing or playing an instrument, don’t let “later” becomes “never”, start your musical journey now!
Group lessons are beneficial in that they provide a chance to those who may find shelling out for the private music lessons a bit of an economic burden. Besides being a great way to learn music in a fun environment, group lessons are also a super way to make new friends, all the while learning a new skill!
Shine Music School is running group lessons in the following:
All of these lessons are 4 hours a month, in 4 one hour classes, 1 class each week. You can check out our schedule for the time slots. Each of the lessons is facilitated by a professional music teacher. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the school to find out more!
Besides these fixed group lessons, the Shine Music School also provides the option to arrange your own private group lessons. So if you and bunch of your friends or family would like to get together to learn an instrument or to sing, we can provide a flexible schedule, a talented teacher and great prices!
Let your musical journey begin!
If you don´t have your own instrument, not to worry, we can provide one for your first lesson and we also sell and rent both guitars and ukuleles!
Shine School of Music is now offering group classes for the Ukulele.
One of the most popular instruments today, and easy to master, we are hosting group ukulele lessons with a professional ukulele teacher, right here in Barcelona. Group lessons are a wonderful way to make friends through music and learn something new! They are also affordable! Lessons are for all ages!
Has the ukulele just caught your attention? Are you considering taking lessons to learn the basic chords of the trending instrument? Do you want to be the fun friend who starts the happy-go-lucky sing-alongs at parties? First you’ll need to know which one to buy.
There are four main ukulele sizes, but the smallest, the soprano, is the most iconic. The soprano is the size that most people associate with the ukulele. A few practice strums will immediately produce that classic ukulele sound and bring a smile to your face.
Sopranos can feel very small to many adults, however, with their traditional tininess making them a bit trickier to play than concerts or tenors. A concert or tenor size uke are good middle-of-the-road sizes that work well for beginners and give off a warmer, more resonant sound than the sopranos.
Try not to obsess about choosing the right size. Chances are you’ll find yourself starting a collection and owning ukes of every size before long.
There are a ton of different woods used to craft ukuleles. The most common is koa, a type of wood from Hawaii. Thus, most ukuleles that come from their birthplace are made from koa. It has a beautiful grain and generates a very warm sound, but note that koa is used on more expensive ukuleles. If you’re not looking to break the bank, but still want a uke that will stay tuned, you’re probably going to get one made of mahogany. A mahogany ukulele sounds a little bit softer than one made of koa, but it’s still a good wood choice.
There’s a bewildering range of ukulele brands available today. The brand you choose really depends on what your local music store has to offer, and your personal preferences and budget. Some brands that come to mind are:
Ashbury—good quality, entry-level ukes from a UK company
Kala—hugely popular in the islands and elsewhere, but generally with a big price tag
Kamaka—the oldest surviving ukulele maker, family-owned and Hawaii-based
When it opened in 2008, the Barcelona branch of the Shine School of Music was the first specialised guitar school in the city, offering classes in all styles of guitar—from classic to flamenco to electric—with qualified and experienced teachers in English, Spanish and Catalan. Today, they continue to provide guitar lessons to all ages and levels, but have also begun training students on a variety of other instruments including piano, ukulele, cavaquinho, accordion, clarinet, saxophone and more. Understanding that most people study music for enjoyment, as a hobby, the school delivers a simultaneously structured, creative and fun approach to learning an instrument. At Shine, people feel comfortable socialising, collaborating with other musicians and showcasing their progress.
Shine is also one of two music schools in Barcelona that offer intensive flamenco/guitar/piano courses to tourists looking for an educational holiday, along with being one of the few music schools worldwide to give private online music classes in a coherent and organised fashion for you tech-savvy musicians out there.
When it comes to the ukulele, Shine is keeping up with that trend, too. Not only can their teachers melt your heart with a few joyous chords and teach you how to delight friends and family with some melodies of your own, but the school in Gràcia sells ukes, as well. They sell mostly sopranos because “it’s the most popular,” said Shine’s owner Miloš. “The soprano is what everyone plays, what’s all over YouTube these days.” You can also rent a dynamic ukulele from Shine for 30 euros a month.
Once you’ve bought your first (or maybe your tenth!) ukulele, go to our list of top 12 ukulele songs to play, some time-honoured classics but others you may not have previously associated with the uke.