The Joy of Christmas Ukulele Songs – Ukulele Sisters

The Joy of Christmas Ukulele Songs – Ukulele Sisters

Do you enjoy playing Christmas ukulele songs? Would you like to share your music with family and friends?

Christmas Music Memories

I remember when Rebecca and I were growing up and taking piano lessons. We had a great big book of Christmas Carols for piano called “The Joy of Christmas.”

In our first few years of lessons, we could play simple two-line songs where we didn’t have to move our hands very much. When we got a little older, we could play some of the harder songs. But it was always fun to play the old songs and see how much progress we had made!

When I was in high school, I could sit down and play the whole book from start to finish. It was such good stress relief. I could also lead sing-alongs and encourage my family members to sing carols around the piano. When I was older, I could make up my own fancier arrangements that fit the mood of the day. It was a wonderful way to engage with my feelings about the holidays and to share them with others.

Now I do that with the ukulele. When I travel to visit family I bring 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas and my soprano ukulele. It’s so much fun to sit on the couch by the fireplace and lead everyone in singing festive carols for the season!

Sharing Holiday Cheer with Christmas Ukulele Songs

How would you like to be able to do that?

Well, here are some suggestions:

Get our Christmas Book, 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas, and learn to sing and strum all the songs.

  1. Once you can sing and strum, move on to finger-picking the melodies. Since the songs are familiar, you’ll find that you can do that even if you don’t read music.
  2. Find friends or relatives to share these songs with. Many of our customers have gotten this book for their children or grandchildren. They love to bond over the joy of music.
  3. Play duets with other people. One of you can strum the chords; someone else can play the melody.

Great book, songs include both fingerpicking and strumming info. My daughter and I will be a hit at our Christmas party, we are planning ukulele duets. Thanks.

Jerry Childers

A few weeks ago, I bought three ukuleles for my granddaughters and myself. I found your Christmas book on Amazon and purchased it. I was looking for something that I could do when I visit with my granddaughters. Learning to play an instrument will help them to develop stronger focus, and will give them a new skill. It will also create a lot of fun memories.

Nancy Stary

21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas Has Won Awards

  1.  We are featured on the blog, Uke Like the Pros, as one of the 11 best Ukulele books on the market.
  2. Amazon recently selected our Christmas book as “Great on Kindle,” a designation they got from customer reviews.
  3. Our Christmas book is listed as one of the top-selling ukulele books of all time. Best Selling Ukulele Books

A More Advanced Option

Once you can play and share with others, consider moving on to chord melody. Chord melody is the art of combining both chords and melody in one musical arrangement. We have a course, Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today, which teaches you the art of playing chord melodies. It uses mainly Christmas music. This course is seasonal. You can buy it for two weeks each year in late November. Click here to find out more and to get your name on the mailing list.

Enjoy “Jingle Bells” in Many Versions

Here’s an example of the progression of “Jingle Bells” from easier to harder versions. When you first learn “Jingle Bells”, try a sing and strum version.

When you’re a little more advanced, try fingerpicking the melody and strumming the chords. This split-screen video shows how these parts might be combined.

If you can play all the melodies and you can sing and strum all the songs in the book, try learning a chord melody version.

What’s next?

I have arranged several more chord melody versions of Christmas Carols. We are always looking at new product ideas. If chord melody versions of Christmas Carols interest you, leave a comment below. We are thinking of offering more chord melodies for sale on our site.

We are also thinking of offering a course in learning to create your own chord melodies. Wouldn’t it be fun to compose and arrange your own music? Let me know if you’re interested in that too.

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

How to Play Greensleeves – Easy Ukulele Folk Song

How to Play Greensleeves – Easy Ukulele Folk Song

So you want to learn how to play Greensleeves on ukulele? Greensleeves is a beautiful old, English folk song dating from the 1500s. It has a haunting melody that reminds me of people dancing in the meadows during the time of King Henry the 8th. He was a musician and composer as well as the King of England.

How to Play Greensleeves on Ukulele

The video lessons teach you how to play the rolling lute-like arpeggios.

This first video lesson below shows how to sing and strum the song.

You can also learn to play the melody by reading the melody tab. The video below shows how to do that.

Greensleeves sounds beautiful as chord melody too. If you click here, you can hear a lesson I created on this song at a Facebook Live session.  

I also created a ukulele orchestra arrangement of Greensleeves.

Greensleeves has different words when sung as a Christmas Carol. “What Child is This?” uses the same music but different lyrics. It is in our Christmas book, 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas

If you want to learn Greensleeves, it’s in our book Beginning Ukulele Songs: Five with Five Chords. We write out the fingerpicking so it is easy for you to figure it out.

So, you’re pretty good at 3-chord songs now. You can do simple strumming patterns. You may even know some other chords. You’d like to take your playing to the next level.

Where do you go from here?

Get your Book now

Ukulele Hymns and Carols Are Similar Yet Different

Ukulele Hymns and Carols Are Similar Yet Different

Do you want to play hymns and carols?

Both types of music are spiritual and uplifting. Hymns and carols are similar, yet they are different.

Things are tough right now. You would like a hobby that lifts you up and brings you joy. Having a chance to focus on joy and gratitude with your ukulele, sounds great. You want to play uplifting music on your ukulele. Both hymns and carols will do that for you.

Hymns

Can be played at any time of year-often used for worship

Expresses many different kinds of moods

Many different feelings depending on the text. Can offer a sense of comfort

Carols

Seasonal-associated with Winter and Christmas-not necessarily used for worship

Focus on the joy and festivity of Christmas

Feelings of coziness, warmth and togetherness. Positive, festive, popular

Both hymns and carols are religious songs.

Carols are associated with Christmas and are usually joyful. Some carols are about the Winter. Man of these songs, such as “Jingle Bells,” have become associated with Christmas. They evoke feelings of coziness, warmth and togetherness. They are positive, festive and popular.

We have two products that teach Carols: 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas and Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. If you want to play the simpler carols, try out our Christmas book.

If you want to learn to play Chord Melody, sign up for our email list at Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. Chord Melody is where you play both the melody and the chords at the same time. This course teaches you how to play Christmas songs as Chord Melodies. We offer it for a limited time between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year.

Hymns are for any time of year.

They are religious in nature and are often used for worship. They express many moods and can offer a sense of comfort. In our Hymn Kits, you’ll find something for varied learners from beginners to a little more advanced. You can click here to learn more.

We offer 34 hymns, many in two different keys, so you can choose the one that is easier to play or sing. We also offer fingerpicking and suggested strumming patterns. Finally, we offer 13 chord melodies so you can play both the melody and the chords at the same time. This product is always available. You can find out more here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about Hymns and Carols. But don’t take my word for it. Look at what Randy has to say. Maybe you’ll want to try out both types of music just like he did!

I’ve purchased your Christmas Carol and Hymns books. I ordered your Christmas Carol book after purchasing my first ever ukulele in mid-November (first ever instrument in fact other than playing trumpet in my youth) with a goal of playing Silent Night on Christmas eve.   Turned out I not only played Silent Night, but I was playing through almost all the Carols by the end of the year and moved on to your Hymns book in January.  I’m a 61-year-old man who has been a singer all my life, but I’ve found it a blast to now be able to pick up my uke and play. So, thank you for your great product, it’s been a key to my early success and it’s very rewarding.

Randy Tofteland

Enjoy!

Do you want to play hymns with confidence?

In our Hymn Kits you'll find something for varied learners, from beginners to a little more advanced.

Get your Hymn Kit today!

What Wondrous Love Is This Hymn Ukulele Tutorial

What Wondrous Love Is This Hymn Ukulele Tutorial

Learn how to play a beautiful hymn with our What Wondrous Love Is This ukulele tutorial! In this video, you will see lyrics, chords, strumming pattern and melody tab on the screen. In these trying times, the message of this gospel song gives hope.

If you visit our blog page, you will see many other videos and tutorials of easy ukulele songs. Sign up here to receive free sheet music and video lessons in your inbox every week.

WHAT WONDROUS LOVE IS THIS UKULELE TUTORIAL

As Jenny shows in the What Wondrous Love Is This ukulele tutorial video, you’ll need five chords: Dm, C, Am, F and G. These are fairly easy chords, C and Am are one-finger chords. You’ll probably need to practice more on just one chord which is the D minor chord (Dm).

In the video, Jenny shows two ways you can play the song. First, she plays sing and strum version. Then she shows how to do a  melody tab version.

 

SONG HISTORY

“What a Wondrous Love Is This” is a sentimental hymn which speaks about the sacrificial love of Jesus. He who “laid aside His crown to bear the dreadful curse” and save His people. The song’s history goes as far back as the early 1800’s. Because it’s a very old song, historians don’t know precisely who wrote the song. Some hymnologists suggest that the song may have been written by James Christopher. But there’s not enough evidence to prove this. Some scholars also attribute the song to a professor named Alexander Means (1801-1883). However, this is also doubtful considering that the first publication of “What a Wondrous Love Is This” was in 1811 and Alexander Means would have been only ten years old then.

Although the author is still unknown, scholars have found that the lyrics of the hymn had been printed in 1811, in two different books. One book was a collection of hymns by Stith Mead called “General Selection of the Newest and Most Admired Hymns and Spiritual Songs Now in Use”. The other book, which featured slightly different text of the hymn, was titled “Hymns and Spirtiual Songs, Original and Selected” by Starke Dupuy.

Do you want to play hymns with confidence?

In our Hymn Kits you'll find something for varied learners, from beginners to a little more advanced.

Get your Hymn Kit today!

If you enjoyed this post about “What Wondrous Love Is This,” you’ll enjoy these related posts:

These posts will show you how to play other hymns on the ukulele.

Ukulele Hymns Help Us Get Through This Pandemic

Ukulele Hymns Help Us Get Through This Pandemic

During these trying times, we find that ukulele hymns help us get through this pandemic. We’re in a time of social distancing which means that work, pleasure, and even worship is happening at home. This past week I had the opportunity to lead a hymn for my congregation from a Zoom call. I opened the service with a  hymn on ukulele. I used many of the skills that are in our book and hymn kits: changing strumming patterns and using chord melody. It was a beautiful way to begin the service.

Singing is praying twice, but right now we’re praying from home.

Our religious institutions are closed, so Zoom worship is where it’s at. People are experiencing fear and anxiety. Worship participation is up across religious faiths in the United States.

Many states and countries are starting to open up, but there is a sense of caution.

We have heard about the choir practices where members of a choir got Covid 19 following a rehearsal. Also, we have heard about indoor sporting events where athletes got sick after the game. We want to get back together, but we also want to be safe. Bottom line is we want to know the best way to balance these competing ideas.

When we sing or take part in athletics inside, there is more spread of aerosol droplets from our breath. At first, some doctors recommended canceling ALL sports and music in schools until there is widespread immunity to Covid 19.  But, there are ways to make these activities safe. It is important to look at these ideas.

Singing and playing instruments are a huge part of the human condition.

There has to be a middle ground. We need to be able to express our emotions through music. To do this, we can have smaller groups or sit further apart. We can listen to live music with the audience sitting far apart. Also, we can think about partitions between musicians. Or we can continue our music remotely until it is safe to meet in person. 

How do we make music participation safe?

Some questions include: How big of a group can you have? How far apart do you have to sit? Can you sing? Can you play an instrument? How do you find music that is adaptable to your situation?

Many scientists are researching how to make music participation safe.

All the national music education organizations are joining together to address these questions. They are writing new music for smaller groups. They are researching ways to clean instruments or place partitions between performers.

We know that music has gotten many of us through this time of the pandemic.

Every day performers are streaming live music from living rooms across the country. People are flocking to online lessons and YouTube channels. People now have time to learn ukulele. One person calls it his “Corona Improvement Project.”

Ukulele hymns help us get through this pandemic – here’s our ukulele hymn kits!

Our new book and hymn kits will give you the opportunity to learn music YOUR way. Do you need to play something by yourself without singing? Then, learn one of the 13 chord melodies where you combine melody and accompaniment at the same time.

Do you want to lead singing through a Zoom call or in person? Then sing and strum the song. You can vary the strumming patterns for each verse and add a little fingerpicking to the mix as well. Do you want to create a duet for one? Then experiment with some of the fun apps such as Acapella that let you do that.

The hymn kits include 13 chord melodies and 34 hymns.

They also include a video course to teach you all these songs. All the hymns have melody tab. You can create duets for one, or duets with another person. Or, you can record one part and play the other if you are sheltering in place. 

Do you want to play hymns with confidence?

In our Hymn Kits you'll find something for varied learners, from beginners to a little more advanced.

Get your Hymn Kit today!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy these related posts:

These posts will show you how to play hymns on the ukulele.

Ukulele Hymns Coming Soon – Ukulele Hymns Playlist on YouTube

Ukulele Hymns Coming Soon – Ukulele Hymns Playlist on YouTube

Our long-awaited ukulele hymn book and course will be coming out soon. To get you excited, we’re sharing our ukulele hymns playlist on YouTube that includes videos that teach hymns. Here is the playlist.

Songs on the Ukulele Hymns Playlist on YouTube

  1. Amazing Grace
  2. Nearer My God to Thee
  3. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
  4. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
  5. Morning Has Broken
  6. Prayer of Thanksgiving
  7. Chatter With the Angels
  8. This Little Light of Mine
  9. We Shall Overcome
  10. Wayfaring Stranger
  11. Kumbaya
  12. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  13. Church in the Wildwood
  14. Shall We Gather at the River?
  15. Give Me That Old Time Religion

Many, but not all, of these hymns are in our book and hymn kits that will be available for sale on www.ukulele.io.

In our books and courses, we always level songs from easiest to hardest. We also give you historical background about each song.

As our gift to you, we are giving you the sheet music to “Nearer My God to Thee.” So, you not only get our ukulele hymns playlist on YouTube, you also get a free sheet music! 

To download “Nearer My God to Thee,” click on the button below.

Background Information of the Songs on the Ukulele Hymns Playlist on YouTube

John Newton (1725-1807) published Amazing Grace in 1779. On his voyage home to England he awoke to find the ship filling with water during a violent storm. As he called out to God for mercy the cargo shifted enough to stop the leak, and he was saved from drowning. He later wrote that his spiritual conversion began at this moment. As he grew more committed to his Christian faith, he came to believe that the slave trade was wrong. Later, He became a prominent abolitionist and evangelical religious leader. He was influential in Britain’s abolition of slavery in 1807.

Not a great deal is known about the origin of  Nearer My God to Thee. The lyrics were a poem by Sarah Flower Adams, who died in 1848. Her sister Eliza set it to music. She based the text on the Biblical reference to Jacob’s dream. Wallace Hartley, the bandleader on the Titanic, played “Nearer My God to Thee” on his violin. He played it to comfort the passengers as the ship went down.

More About the Songs on the Ukulele Hymns Playlist on YouTube

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) wrote the words to Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee in 1907. The melody of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” comes from the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. At the first performance of the symphony, Beethoven was completely deaf. A legend says the soloists had to turn him around so he could see the applause from the audience.

Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen is a composition thought of as a secular hymn. Cohen started with an astonishing eighty verses of lyrics for Hallelujah. He cut this to a final four-verse recording which was released in 1984. Cohen wrote brilliant lyrical narratives about Biblical characters. These include the story of King David and Bathsheba. With the lyrics about despair, dejection, and love, these stories come to life in this song.

The melody of Morning Has Broken is based on a Gaelic tune called “Bunessan”. Bunessan is a small Scottish village located on the island of Mull. Eleanor Farjeon wrote the lyrics of “Morning Has Broken” in 1931. “Morning Has Broken” was already popular in England since its release in 1931. The song’s reach widened when Cat Stevens included it on his Teaser and the Firecat album. The song ranked in the top ten of the 1972 music charts in several countries.

European 16th-century religious strife is the source of Prayer of Thanksgiving. Theodore Baker, an American music scholar, found the hymn’s German translation in Leipzig in the 1870s. In 1894 Baker translated the hymn into English and named it “Prayer of Thanksgiving”. Starting in the early 1900s, Christian denominations included it in their hymnbooks. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis chose Prayer of Thanksgiving as the processional hymn for her funeral. In 1994, and it was also featured in an episode of The West Wing.

Several Hymns Come from the African American tradition.

Chatter with the Angels is an African American work song. The singer is dreaming about a time when she/he would be with the angels rather than working in the fields as a slave.

This Little Light of Mine is a gospel song that became an anthem in the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was composed by Harry Dixon Loes in the 1920’s as a children’s song. Many artists have covered this song, including Ray Charles and the Everly Brothers. Because the lyrics are so simple, it’s fun to create your own verses, as we did with the third verse.

We Shall Overcome is a gospel song that became a protest song. It is often associated with the United States’ Civil Rights movement.

Wayfaring Stranger is a plaintive gospel song telling the story of a soul’s journey through life. Many artists have covered it, including Burl Ives and Johnny Cash.

Kumbaya means “come by here.” The person singing it is pleading for the Spirit of God to bring peace and harmony to everyone. The song is associated with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. 

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot depicts the story of the prophet Elijah being taken to heaven by a chariot. (2 Kings 2:11) The song became popular during the Civil Rights. Joan Baez sang it at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.

Give Me That Old Time Religion

Give Me That Old Time Religion is an African American spiritual first published in 1872 in Jubilee Songs as Sung By the Fisk Jubilee Singers. Charles Davis Tillman, who made a name for himself popularizing and publishing gospel songs, copyrighted it in 1891. Tillman clearly did not write this song, although he did bring it popularity with white Southerners with slight changes to the lyrics. The song is known by a variety of titles including “That Old Time Religion” and “Old Time Religion.”

Church in the Wildwood

The Church in the Wildwood was composed in 1857 by a young music teacher named William S. Pitts. During a trip to visit his fiancée, the stagecoach stopped in Bradford, Iowa. Pitts took a stroll and came to a beautiful spot in a valley. An image formed in his mind of a brown church. It stuck in his mind once he returned home, and he wrote a poem about the image which he later set to music. During the winter of 1863-64 Pitts taught “Church in the Wildwood” to a singing class at the Bradford Academy. The class performed the song at the dedication of the new church in 1864. The song lapsed into obscurity for decades until it became the trademark song of the Weatherwax Brothers Quintet in the 1920’s and 30’s. The Carter Family recorded the song in 1932. 

Shall We Gather at the River

Robert Lowry (1826-1899) collaborated with William H. Doane to produce some of the most popular Sunday school song collections of his day. Shall We Gather at the River? has appeared in many movies, including the 1985 Academy Award-winning film, The Trip to Bountiful. Charles Ives and Aaron Copland, two famous American composers arranged this hymn. The United States Army Chorus sang it at the funeral of Associate Justice William O. Douglas in the National Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., in 1980.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this ukulele hymns playlist on YouTube, along with free sheet music and background information about the songs!

Do you want to play hymns with confidence?

In our Hymn Kits you'll find something for varied learners, from beginners to a little more advanced.

Get your Hymn Kit today!

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy these related posts:

These posts will show you how to play other hymns on the ukulele.