The ukulele is by no means a new instrument, but it has massively grown in popularity throughout the world in recent years.
This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge
The ukulele originated in the 19th century in Hawaii and is a member of the guitar family. It’s a smaller body instrument that is typically strung with four nylon strings. Ukuleles vary in size and come in four main sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone.
In recent years, many top selling artists have turned to the modest instrument as a way of further expressing themselves. Now it’s your turn. Let’s look at 5 reasons why the ukulele is the instrument to learn in 2020.
Rockschool Launch Ukulele Grades
Rockschool are about to release a brand-new series of graded exam books for the ukulele. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to play ukulele, or you already play and want to take your skills further, watch this space.
The Rockschool ukulele grades will run up to grade 8 as with all their popular graded exam study books, and will cover everything from basic chords, strumming and theory to more advanced performance pieces and listening tests.
If you’ve never touched a ukulele before, or you want to take your playing to the next level, the Rockschool ukulele grades will take you where you need to be. It might be a small instrument, but it can keep up with its bigger relatives!
The Ukulele is Great for All Ages
The ukulele can be a fantastic platform for anyone to get into the world of stringed instruments. The skills you learn in the Rockschool ukulele grades will be transferrable to guitar, bass and other similar instruments. These graded exams will give you all the skills, theory and tips and tricks you need to pick up any stringed instrument and create some magic.
Many younger players enjoy playing ukulele for its simplicity and smaller size, this especially benefits anyone with smaller hands who may find some larger stretches on guitar somewhat tricky. Adults and youngsters can enjoy this fun instrument and, with the materials set out in the books, you can take your playing all the way to the top.
The ukulele is growing in popularity as an instrument in its own regard. Many once considered this humble relative of the acoustic guitar to be a child only instrument but many artists are unlocking the potential of this simple yet dynamic stringed instrument.
Some Incredible Artists Play The Ukulele
Don’t let the small size of the ukulele put you off. You can do a lot with 4 small strings. Here are some popular ukulele songs that have been heard by millions.
Tyler Joseph of rock sensations Twenty One Pilots is getting in on the uke action with his blistering cover of Elvis’ tender ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’.
Another famous ukulele song is Riptide by Vance Joy. This upbeat summertime singalong is a great introduction to the world of ukulele playing.
You Can Adapt Popular Songs to Ukulele
Sure, it’s smaller and sounds different but you can still use the ukulele to play songs that everyone knows and loves. You can convert any song you want to a ukulele version.
Check out this platinum selling cover of ‘Over the Rainbow’ by Hawaii’s finest ukulele export, Israel Kamakawiwko’ole. This shows the small but mighty instrument can stand alone.
This is proof that a ukulele can not only sound amazing, but it can shift some records!
The Ukulele is Fun
Plain and simple, it’s a fun instrument to play. Who can’t have a good time strumming along on such a happy sounding instrument? It brings joy to even the bleakest day and it will give you years of fun and enjoyment. They are inexpensive, easy to get started with and they prevent you from taking yourself too seriously and putting pressure on yourself to be the best.
Grab your ukulele and smile! It’s 2020 – it’s time to shine.
About the Author:
This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge, a professional guitarist, tutor and journalist from Wales in the UK. He has been working in the music industry for over 10 years as a touring and studio musician with various artists, guitar tutor and writer for many high profile guitar publications. Read more of Leigh's pieces relating to Rockschool here...