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.

Red River Valley is one of the songs in our classic book, 21 Songs in 6 Days!

Click the button link below if you don't have this beginner ukulele book yet.

Ukulele Hymns in a Time of Pandemic

Ukulele Hymns in a Time of 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.  We have also 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. 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. We can have smaller groups or sit further apart. We can continue our music remotely until it is safe to meet in person. We can listen to live music with the audience sitting far apart. We can think about partitions between musicians.

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.”

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. 

Red River Valley is one of the songs in our classic book, 21 Songs in 6 Days!

Click the button link below if you don't have this beginner ukulele book yet.

Ukulele Hymns Coming Soon

Ukulele Hymns Coming Soon

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

There are 15 ukulele hymns on this playlist.

  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.”

Background Information on each hymn

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.

 

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.

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. 

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.

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.”

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

Red River Valley is one of the songs in our classic book, 21 Songs in 6 Days!

Click the button link below if you don't have this beginner ukulele book yet.

Quarantine Ukulele-How to Make the Best of a Difficult Situation

Quarantine Ukulele-How to Make the Best of a Difficult Situation

The novelty of being at home is wearing off

Now that most of the world is sheltering in place during the outbreak of Covid 19, the novelty of being home is wearing off. Some places are beginning to re-open here in the United States, but none of us know when we will go back to “normal” and if the “new-normal” will look anything like how we were living before. There is a sense of loss and grief that all of us are experiencing and that is for those of us who are lucky enough to simply be stuck at home.

Ukulele hymns offer light and hope

In this time of crisis, we need something that offers us light and hope. What better than easy ukulele hymns? The lyrics are uplifting to your spirits. The songs are easy to play and can either be sung, or simply played. Many of the songs are presented in two different keys so you can choose the key that is best for your voice or is easier to play. Some of the songs with more complicated strumming patterns have the strumming pattern written underneath the melody so you can easily figure out how to fit the strumming pattern with the melody. Each song comes with a suggested strumming pattern and melody tab underneath so you can play the melody even if you don’t read music.

Our songs are beautiful to look at:

1. Each hymn has the chords used at the top of the song.

2. Each hymn has a suggested strumming pattern.

3. Each hymn has melody tab underneath the lyrics.

4. Each hymn has many verses.

What is included?

So, now you’re probably wondering what hymns are included. There are several options available. If you simply purchase the book, you will get 22 hymns.

If you decide to get one of the online hymn kits, you’ll get online video lessons, instruction on how to move from one song to another using tags and turnarounds, and thirteen chord melody versions of the hymns. You also get either six or twelve extra songs depending on which kit you get.

We are planning on having our hymnbook and hymn kits ready sometime in May, so we hope you will keep a lookout for it. Here are the hymns in our book and online hymn kit.

What songs are in the hymn book?

  • Simple Gifts
  • What a Friend We have in Jesus
  • Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
  • Church in the Wildwood
  • Shall We Gather at the River?
  • Nearer My God to Thee
  • Fairest Lord Jesus
  • Jesus Loves Me
  • Give Me That Old Time Religion
  • Blest Be the Tie That Binds
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Rock of Ages
  • This Little Light of Mine
  • I Come to the Garden Alone
  • For the Beauty of the Earth
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • The Doxology
  • Amazing Grace
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful
  • Be Still My Soul-Finlandia
  • A Mighty Fortress

Hymn Kits include:

  1. Online video lessons
  2. Thirteen chord melody versions of the hymns.
  3. Six or twelve extra songs depending on which kit you get.
  4. Instruction on how to move from one song to another using tags and turnarounds.

 

 

21 Easy Ukulele Hymns Available in May

We are planning on having our hymnbook and hymn kits ready sometime in May, so keep a lookout for it.

Extra songs in the Hymn Kits:

  • Chatter With the Angels
  • He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
  • Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In 
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 
  • Michael Row the Boat Ashore 
  • Kumbaya
  • Beautiful Robes So White
  • We Shall Overcome
  • In My Heart There Rings a Melody
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • Wondrous Love
  • Eternal Father Strong to Save

 13 Chord Melodies included in Hymn Kits:

  1. Simple Gifts
  2. What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  3. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee- 2 Key
  4. Shall We Gather at the River?
  5. Nearer My God to Thee
  6. Jesus Loves Me-2 keys
  7. Amazing Grace
  8. A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  9. Fairest Lord Jesus
  10. Prayer of Thanksgiving
  11. Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
  12. Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In
  13. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Red River Valley is one of the songs in our classic book, 21 Songs in 6 Days!

Click the button link below if you don't have this beginner ukulele book yet.

Why 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns?

Why 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns?

21 Easy Ukulele Hymns available April 2020!

Finally! After much delay we are getting ready to launch our new book 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns in April 2020. This book will have songs ranging from 2 to 7 chords and will include many of your favorites. Each hymn will have a suggested strumming pattern with melody tab underneath. The book also comes with a FREE video course.

Many of the hymns are presented in two keys, so you can more easily play with musicians on other instruments or with a pianist in your congregation.

What are the 21 Ukulele Hymns?

Simple Gifts
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Church in the Wildwood
Shall We Gather at the River?
Fairest Lord Jesus
Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
Nearer My God to Thee
Jesus Loves Me
This Little Light of Mine
Give Me That Old Time Religion
Blest Be the Tie That Binds
How Great Thou Art
Rock of Ages
I Come to the Garden Alone
For the Beauty of the Earth
Be Thou My Vision
The Doxology
Amazing Grace (extra value song because it is in other books)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Be Still My Soul-Finlandia
A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Three Versions Available:

1. Ebook: two ways to buy the ebook.

  • From Amazon.

From ukulele.io. You’ll get

  • the ebook in three formats ((ePub, pdf and .mobi file)
  • chord melody versions of 10 hymns not in the Amazon version.

2. Paperback book from Amazon

3. The Hymn Kit which includes:

  • eBook in three formats (ePub, pdf and .mobi file)
  • Digital Book which you can print. Includes chord melody versions of 10 hymns not in the Amazon version.
  • Bonus pdf with 12 bonus songs
    • Wayfarin’ Stranger
    • He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
    • When the Saints Go Marching In
    • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
    • Michael Row the Boat Ashore
    • Chatter With the Angels
    • We Shall Overcome
    • Kumbaya
    • In My Heart There Rings a Melody
    • Wondrous Love
    • Eternal Father Strong to Save
    • Beautiful Robe So White

Why 21 Ukulele Hymns?

I’ve thought a lot about this question. What are some of the uses of a book of hymns for ukulele? Who will enjoy this music?

What comes to mind, is that many churches close as older members die off and newer, younger people do not join congregations. To counteract this trend, there is a need for music that will unite and excite people.  Ukulele music will bring people to church buildings to sing and to play with a joyful noise. What better than a group of hymns for the ukulele?  This music builds community by bringing together people of all ages. Churches can have ukulele choirs combining children and adults.

Folks can also use the ukulele to sing to the youngest children or to visit the elderly. Familiar hymns can make people feel connected with their community. 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns can also be used at summer music festivals and camps as a source of traditional music reimagined for the ukulele.

Do you enjoy playing and singing hymns? If so, what are some of your favorites? Do you play ukulele in your church or in a ukulele choir? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Music and The Church: A Wonderful New Podcast

Music and The Church: A Wonderful New Podcast

My Research Uncovers a Treasure

As I research ideas for our new book, 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns, I am looking for ways to meet church musicians. Church musicians will be interested in using our book to promote community in their churches. A ukulele choir or people playing ukulele will bring together people of different ages.

In the course of my research, I found a wonderful podcast called “Music in the Church.” The host Sarah Bereza presents many thoughtful ideas about music and worship.

The Role of the Hymnal

One of my favorite episodes talks about the role of the hymnal. Sarah has served as a church musician in many denominations. She grew up in a Conservative Protestant tradition but has served in liberal churches as well. I found it very refreshing to hear that concerns about the role of music in worship exist among all faiths and are similar across denominational lines.

What is the role of music in worship? Is it simply textual, or are there emotionally deeper roles as well? What role does the hymnal serve? As the times change, do we “modernize” lyrics to represent our currently more sensitive use of language? When we modernize a lyric, do we destroy its poetry? What is the role of the choir in worship? What is the role of a praise band?

Co-host Crawford Wiley Brings a Fresh Perspective

Dr. Sarah Bereza addresses all of these questions and more as she discusses her favorite hymnals with her co-host Crawford Wiley. He has served in the Catholic Church, so he brings a fresh pair of eyes to this topic. Together they delve into the choice of music, lyrics, indexes and how a church musician or congregation uses a hymnal to plan congregational worship.

I was so excited to learn more about music, text, and worship as Rebecca and I get ready to add our contribution to this genre with the publication of 21 Easy Ukulele Hymns. I fervently hope our book will bring together communities of young and old to build connections and to serve communities. After all, together we spread love and joy with each other by raising our voices in songs of praise.