Li’l Liza Jane Easy Ukulele Tutorial

Li’l Liza Jane Easy Ukulele Tutorial

Learn a two-chord folk song with this Li’l  Liza Jane easy ukulele tutorial complete with lyrics, chords and tab on screen. Li’l Liza Jane is one of the songs in our upcoming book 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs.

LIL LIZA JANE EASY UKULELE TUTORIAL

With this Lil Liza Jane easy ukulele tutorial, you’ll need only two chords! But Jenny does it in two keys – F and C – so you’ll see a total of four chords. In the key of F, you’ll need F and C7 while in the key of C, you’ll need C and G7. You can learn to play the song in both keys or just choose which key works better for you and stick with that.

For the strumming pattern, Jenny does a D-DU-D-DU repetition (D-down, U-up). But for those that enjoy playing solo ukulele, Jenny also plays the chord melody in the latter part of the video.

If you want to interact with Jenny and learn more about how to play this folk song, join us on Facebook  and tune in on Thursday for Jenny’s Facebook Live Lesson. In case you missed the live session, a video recording will be saved on the videos section of Facebook that you can watch anytime.

In addition, subscribe here to get notifications about new videos every week and receive sheet music of these videos.

SONG HISTORY

As with most folk songs, it is not known when Li’l Liza Jane was first composed. However, a California publishing house first released a sheet music of the song in 1916 citing Countess Ada De Lachau as composer.

Many musicians in different genres have recorded the song. For instance, Earl Fuller and his band released a jazz version in 1917 while Harry C. Browne released a country rendition in 1918. Other notable singers who recorded the song include Bing Crosby, Nina Simone, David Bowie, The Band and Alison Krauss.

Happy strumming!

7 Reasons You Should Buy a Ukulele for Your Kid

7 Reasons You Should Buy a Ukulele for Your Kid

cute-kid listening to music

Music plays an important role in our culture. It is an essential part of every child’s development.Parents instinctively know this. From birth, they use music to soothe their kids, to engage with them and to express their love for them. That’s why we’ll be discussing 7 reasons you should buy a ukulele for your kid in this post. 

Here are 7 beneficial effects of music on a child’s development:

Facilitates Learning Other Subjects

There is strong research to suggest that studying music makes learning other subjects like math and science easier.

Making music involves more than the using the voice to sing or the fingers to play an instrument. That’s because a child learning about music has to tap into multiple skill sets, often at the same time. Learning this ‘brain coordination’ helps them make faster progress when learning other skills.

Improves Social Skills

When kids are learning music in a group setting, they get to interact with each other, help each other, and work together. This greatly improves their social skills.

Inspires Creativity

Music can inspire creativity. A lot of the activity needed to sing or play an instrument such as the ukulele requires some form of creativity or even improvisation. Children learn to tap into their inner creative spirit which can help them be creative in other areas of their lives.

Boosts Confidence

A lot of times kids will perform what they learned in front of their parents, teachers or classmates. Performing helps them develop confidence in front of others. And it’s also a great way to encourage kids to express themselves.

Also, learning music is hard.  When a child masters something that used to be difficult for them they feel more confident tackling a new challenge.

photo showing the words be smartBoosts Their IQ

Studies show that music study can boost a child’s IQ. Kids who took piano lessons consistently for one year saw an IQ bump as high as 3 points- this is according to Jessica Grahn, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Western Ontario.

Improves Memory

When your child plays the ukulele, they learn how to create, store and retrieve memories more efficiently. This is the equivalent of giving their memory a workout. And who couldn’t use a better memory?

Teaches perseverance

No one can become a good musician in a day. At first the new skills your child needs to play ukulele will seem hard. But over time with regular practice they will become easy

The process of learning an instrument teaches kids to persevere and be patient. For many music students, especially those who are quick in school,  playing an instrument is the hardest thing they have ever tried. Through music study they learn the importance of daily effort and also how to manage frustration.

After they achieve their goal, say strumming to their favorite tune on the ukulele, they’ll feel a sense of satisfaction and achievement that will ripple through to their other activities.

Why Learn Ukulele?

So out of all the instruments, why the ukulele? There are numerous reasons why the ukulele is a perfect instrument for all ages and you can read our blog here to know all about that.

Today, we are interested in three characteristics that make it perfect for kids.

1. The ukulele is small and portable. A six-year-old child can easily hold a soprano ukulele without straining his or her hands. Kids can easily carry it on school trips and play it for their friends. Kids love the ‘baby guitar’.

2. Another thing that makes the ukulele perfect for your kid is that is easy to learn. The learning curve is not as steep as for the guitar or the piano

It is surprising how fast someone can move from “just starting”  to “sounding pretty good” with regular daily practice. This ensures that kids can quickly begin playing their favorite songs without needing to learn a lot of chords.

3. The ukulele is very affordable, especially compared to a piano.

How to Shop for a Ukulele

So you might be wondering how to go about shopping for the ukulele. No worries, we made a couple of videos just for that purpose.

 

How to Choose What Songs your Kid Should Play

A lot of the time, kids will begin ukulele lessons by learning to play a song. In order to help your child stay focused on learning an instrument, you need to help them pick the right songs to practice.

Here there are 3 general guidelines you can follow:

1. Choose a song that kids know and like

You need to capture your child’s interest.  If they are playing a song they know and like, they are more likely to be willing to work hard to learn it. They will definitely practice more because playing songs they like is exciting, satisfying and fun.

2. Start with songs that have few chords

If the learning curve if too steep, kids tend to back away from a challenge and label the activity as “too hard”.  It is therefore important at first that they stick to songs with only one or two chords. A harder song can always be modified to use fewer chords.

As their skills grow, they can start to play songs with more chords. Everyone learns faster by playing a greater number of easier songs building up gradually to more difficult ones.  Starting with too hard of a song can lead to an abrupt end to music learning!

3. Choose a meaningful song

Select a song that has a meaning and teaches something. Songs are part of our culture. Most songs communicate ideas and messages, some of which may not be beneficial to your child. Learn to listen carefully to the song lyrics.

Choose a song that teaches your kid about history, science, your values or faith or the like. This type of song will not only grow the child’s musical skills, it will also ensure that they learn something beyond music.

In case you didn’t know, we have a great collection of YouTube video tutorials covering popular hits. Your kid could easily follow along. To show you what we mean, below is a video tutorial for Country Roads by John Denver. 

  

Click the button below to subscribe to our YouTube channel and learn many more songs and great ukulele skills.

Let music help your kids’ brains!

Music is a wonderful way for kids to have fun, learn, grow, and develop as human beings. Through music study, your kids will become faster learners, grow their social skills and be inspired to be creative. Studying music can also boost a child’s confidence, memory and patience.

The ukulele is a perfect instrument for children to learn music. Its small size and ease of learning make it an instant hit with the kids.

Carefully choose the songs your kids study. Look for songs your kids like that also communicate a beneficial message.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the nearest store and buy your kid a ukulele. You can have fun watching them grow as they learn.

Happy Strumming!

Morning Has Broken Ukulele Tutorial

Morning Has Broken Ukulele Tutorial

LYRICS & CHORDS SHEET

First of all, “Morning Has Broken” ukulele tutorial includes a copy of the lyrics and chords sheet to make it easy for you to follow the video. Don’t forget to view or download it here.

UKULELE TUTORIAL

Since “Morning Has Broken” has four verses, Jenny played half of it in C major and the other half in G major so you have the option of going with whichever key is more comfortable for your voice. The chords for the C major version are C, D minor, G, F, E minor, A minor, D and G7. On the other hand, the chords for the G major version are G, A minor, D, C, B minor, E minor, A and D7.

In addition, Jenny also illustrates three different strumming patterns in the video. First, we have the simple all down strums with 3 beats per measure.  Second, there is the down (1 beat), down (1 beat), up-down (1 beat) flow. Finally, Jenny shows a plucking method which would be a hit with those who love playing solo ukulele.

New! Learn Ukulele in group or solo..

Lessons begin with 1- chord songs
FREE! Practice Studio
Multi-screen video lessons
Play-along audio recordings
Downloadable audio recordings
…and more

 

BUNESSAN TUNE

The melody of “Morning Has Broken” was based on a Gaelic tune called “Bunessan”. Bunessan is a small Scottish village located in the island of Mull. However, “Morning Has Broken” was not the first song to be based on the Bunessan tune. A Christmas carol written in the 19th century entitled Leanabh an Aigh (translated into English as “Child in the Manger”) was also set in the Bunessan tune.

LYRICS BY ELEANOR FARJEON

“Morning Has Broken” is a blissful and well-loved Christian hymn which was published in 1931. Eleanor Farjeon, a famous writer of children’s tales and poems, wrote its beautiful lyrics. Because Eleanor’s father was a novelist and her grandfather was an actor, she had been exposed to literary and dramatic arts since she was a child.

“Pan Worship,” “Nursery Rhymes of London Town,” “Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard,” and “Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field” are some of Eleanor’s popular books. Also, she has written plays for children as well as for adults in collaboration with her brother.

Because of the success and popularity of her work, the compilers of a widely used English hymnal called the Songs of Praise requested Eleanor to work on a gratitude poem that fits the Bunessan tune. Consequently, Eleanor came up with the hymn “Morning Has Broken”. The Songs of Praise hymnal creators included the song in the second edition of the hymnal. Today, this feel-good hymn is Eleanor’s best known work.

CAT STEVENS VERSION

While “Morning Has Broken” was already popular in England since its release in 1931, the song’s reach has widened when Cat Stevens included it on his Teaser and the Firecat album. The recording was released in 1971 and gained popularity outside of the UK. It placed sixth on the 1972 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and even made number one in the Billboard Adult Contemporary list. The song also ranked on the top ten of 1972 music charts in several countries like Australia, Canada, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

 

    The Path of Stroke Recovery Through Ukulele

    The Path of Stroke Recovery Through Ukulele

     Stroke Recovery Through the Ukulele

     The ukulele can play a vital role in stroke recovery. Read what one reader had to say about stroke recovery through the ukulele: 

     

    “Thanks, girls! This is wonderful.

    I had a stroke that weakened my left side. I have been trying to learn guitar but without much success. I have two guitars and a guitarlele, which is getting more airtime lately. Your approach to the ukulele and your enthusiasm has improved my life and my activity somewhat.

    You have also sparked some enthusiasm in my fiancée. We will marry next year and move to a place near where she lives (about 2000 miles from where I am now) so at that time we will join a ukulele orchestra and we are hoping that all this left-hand exercise will help to rehabilitate my left arm. 

    Thanks, heaps!”

    What Is a Stroke?

    A stroke is a sort of ‘brain attack’ that occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off. When this happens, the brain cells are deprived of oxygen and consequently begin to die.

    A stroke can happen to anyone at any time. This makes it the fifth leading cause of death in the US.

    Stroke Recovery

    After the unfortunate event of a stroke comes a painful journey of recovery and rehabilitation.This process will involve making changes in physical, social and emotional aspects of the victim. It is normal for survivors to feel anxious, discouraged, depressed or even angry.

    Enter Music.

    Re-activates the Brain

    Music, in general, extensively activates the human brain. For stroke survivors, this excitement causes increased blood flow to the brain, helping it recover by restoring blood vessels and synaptic connections damaged by the stroke. Experiencing music requires a large portion of the brain, scientists, therefore, believe that music is able to bypass the damaged area of the brain and form new neural pathways.

    Improvement of Speech and Motor Functions

    Perhaps the immediate evidence of a re-activated brain is the improvement of speech and motor functions.

    A strange thing happened in Sweden in 1763. A young man with brain-damage was unable to speak but astounded townspeople when he was able to sing hymns in church. When music therapy is used,  it has been observed that the speech of some patients with expressive aphasia — the significantly decreased ability to use language, often because of a stroke — had noticeably improved, both in the clarity of words and also the increased ability to get the words out.

    Music also goes a long way to help regain motor functions of stroke survivors. This is due to changes in the sensorimotor cortex. Musical activities require patients to coordinate their movement in terms of temporal and spatial organization, which stimulates greater change in the brain than rehabilitation alone.

    Boosts Mood and Motivation

    Uplifting music is a source of pleasure. When we focus on a favorite song, we combat de-motivating brain signals associated with fatigue and boredom. When you feel good and motivated, you are more inclined to continue rehabilitation.

    A study done in 2008 in Finland found that if stroke patients listened to music for a couple of hours a day, their verbal memory and focused attention recovered better and they had a more positive mood than patients who did not listen to anything.

    Music Relieves Stress

    As said earlier, stroke survivors tend to be worried about a lot of things. They are thinking about work, their relationships and are anxious to get better sooner. This anxiety ultimately leads to stress. Music helps to reduce stress by increasing sense of enjoyment and relaxation.In addition, calming music has been found to steady emotions of stroke survivors.

    Why the Ukulele?

    So we see music, in general, is a great way to help stroke survivors rehabilitate. There are hundreds of instruments to choose from, so why is ukulele a special one for this particular job?

    It is Easy to Learn

    One of the biggest sell points of the ukulele is that it is easy to learn. It is completely unintimidating. Anyone, old or young, can take it up and before long is able to play some tunes with it. It is important that in the rehabilitation phase, you don’t take up activities that will frustrate you more. Having an instrument that you can quickly learn and master in your music therapy is important. The ukulele, while being a serious musical instrument is extremely easy for beginners to learn. This makes it the perfect instrument for stroke survivors to try out.

    It is portable

    The ukulele is a relatively small instrument. Furthermore, it is light and can be carried around easily. Stroke survivors will be comfortable lifting it and walking about with it. This provides adequate motor functions stimulation without being too much of an exertion. They can also carry it to places where other instruments like the piano would present a challenge.

    It Sounds Majestic

    Those four strings of this little instrument produce a gentle, calming and majestic sound that cannot be matched. This helps to relax and calm the nerves.

    How to Start

    21 Songs in 6 DaysSo how exactly do you kick-off a stroke recovery program through the ukulele? Start out slow, and don’t be too hard to yourself if you can’t play something on your first try. Our book, 21 Songs in 6 Days, offers a beginner-friendly introduction to playing the ukulele. It starts with one chord songs and the simplest possible strumming patterns. New chords are introduced one at a time to make learning very gradual and easy.

    Consequently, 21 Songs in 6 Days can be a comfortable guide in the rehabilitation process. Jenny even has colleagues who have had tremendous success teaching developmentally disabled students using the 21 Songs pedagogy.

    Conclusion

    Recovering from a stroke is a painful and tasking experience. It requires physical, mental and emotional exertions on the victims part in order to be successful. Any assistance towards this goal is invaluable. Music, as we have seen, is a perfect help for stroke survivors’ rehabilitation. The ukulele, in particular, is an ideal instrument to help with stroke recovery. 

    If you are recovering from a stroke or know someone who is, encourage them to take up playing the ukulele and singing along as they play.

    Happy Strumming!

    How to Find Your Strumming Speed

    How to Find Your Strumming Speed

    strumming speedWhen you’re playing the ukulele, your strumming creates the beat of the music. Strumming isn’t that easy to learn and many beginners struggle with it. Maybe you are wondering how to find your strumming speed too!

    One of our customers asked the question below:

    About to give up. I have your books (three) and still don’t understand how you determine how fast you strum on a song when you want to sing along. It looks to me like if you change your strum speed you would change chords faster. If you do that you would have to sing faster. I know that’s not right. So how do you decide strum speed?

    Jenny’s Answer

    You have asked a great question, one for which there is both a simpler answer as well as a more complex answer. I’ll give the simpler explanation first and then move on to the more complicated one. (The complex terminology is more accurate, so that is why it is used by professional musicians.) I’ve also created a video to help demonstrate what I mean.

    Putting It Simply

    The speed at which you strum depends on how many strums you do per beat.

    The easiest strumming pattern is one down strum per beat. Use this pattern when you are first learning a song. Practicing this way helps you know when to change chords. It also helps you get your left hand coordinated with the words and melody without being distracted by your right hand.

    When you can play and sing the song with one down strum per beat you are ready to add a fancier strumming pattern to your song. By ‘fancier’ I mean a pattern with more than one strum per beat.

    The more complicated answer

    There are different types of musical beats and rhythms.

    The beat of any song is the underlying pulse. Pulse is what you might clap or march to if you were trying to keep time.

    Moving at a different speed than the basic pulse is something called harmonic rhythm. Harmonic rhythm is how often the chords change in relation to the rhythmic pulse. Most songs will have many pulses per chord.

    According to Wikipedia, ‘harmonic rhythm, also known as harmonic tempo is the rate at which the chords change (or progress) in a musical composition in relation to the rate of notes.’

    When strumming you can have one strum per pulse, two strums per pulse, four strums per pulse or any other combination that you choose. These different combinations of strums per beat are our strumming patterns.

    So, you can speed up your strumming a lot without changing the harmonic rhythm of the song. In other words, you can have lots of fast strumming going on without affecting the speed at which the chords change.

    As long as you change chords at the correct time in relation to the melody, your strumming can be as fast or slow as you would like.

    This concept is relatively complex; I did not learn the terminology I used in my answer until I was taking college music theory.

    Here’s an example: Hush Little Baby

    Learn this song first with four down strums per measure. Do one downstrumming speed: metronome strum for each beat of the song. Once you are comfortable playing and singing with all down strums,  you can change to a faster strum. One option would be to double-time your strumming using a down up pattern for each beat. When performing the song with two strums per beat you would have 8 strums per measure. In spite of the faster strumming speed, you would be changing chords and singing words at the same speed you did when doing all down strums.

    I put the sheet music to “Hush Little Baby” here, so you could refer to it.

    You can download the sheet music using the link below.

    Download Hush-Little-Baby-in-F-Melody

    There are four beats in each measure because of the two numbers 4/4 at the beginning of the song. So you can learn the song first strumming four F chords, eight C7 chords and then 4 F chords for each line of music. When you are good at that, do a down-up strum that is twice as fast. When doing the down-up strum you will strum 8 F chords, 16 C7 chords and then 8 F Chords.

    The following video illustrates my point.

    For more video tutorials, please subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking on the link below.

    Finally

    I hope this post helps to reduce some of the frustrations you have been having with strumming speed. Please visit Struggling with Strumming? How to Develop a Sense of Beat on Ukulele to learn more about strumming.

    I’d love to hear your comments and questions below.

    Happy Strumming!

    Jenny

    How To Choose The Perfect Ukulele Size

    How To Choose The Perfect Ukulele Size

    If you’re just starting, you probably don’t know  much about ukulele. And ukuleles come in many different shapes and four main sizes: Soprano, Concert, Tenor and Baritone. So there’s a lot to choose from, and it can be hard to know how to choose the perfect size ukulele for you. 

    Understanding the pros and cons of each can be quite a project. It’s worth the work though to find the size that’s right for you.

    In this post, we take you through the different sizes of the ukulele to help you make your pick.

    Scale Length

    First of all, before we dive into the different ukulele sizes, we need to understand what scale length is in ukulele terms. When someone says the scale of a ukulele, they are referring to the length of the playing string, from the nut to the saddle.Consequently, each different type of ukulele will have a unique scale length which is the primary distinguishing factor of ukuleles.

    Scale length determines the spacing of the frets, but it also affects how the strings sound and how they feel to play.  Short scale length ukuleles such as the soprano and concert have very little room to maneuver between the frets, and the shorter strings tend to be strung with less tension. As a result, many ukulele players find that longer scale sized ukuleles such as the tenor much easier to finger pick.

    Shorter strings also have less length to allow the overtones to speak, which tends to create a softer, thicker sounding tone. Longer strings will have more room for overtones to speak which will create a clearer and more ringing tone.

    And now, here’s more information to show you how to choose the perfect size ukulele for you.

    Soprano

    ukulele size-sopranoThe soprano ukulele is the smallest of them all. This is the traditional size of the uke and is what most people think about when they imagine a ukulele. It is the most common type and produces the trademark classic ukulele sound. The soprano ukulele measures about 20 inches.

    This ukulele has also the tightest fret spacing. Its small size means it has a brighter, softer tone with less projection than a larger sized ukulele. It is tuned to the standard GCEA tuning.

    This uke is suitable for players of any skill level. Young players and those with smaller hands will find this size perfect for them. Kids will almost exclusively choose the soprano ukulele.

    Concert

    ukulele size-concertUp next is the concert ukulele. It is roughly 23 inches.The concert uke has a bigger body and slightly longer neck allowing more room for the frets. This makes is easier to handle.

    Like the soprano, it has the typical and classic ukulele sound albeit a bit louder. It is also tuned in the standard GCEA tuning.

    The concert ukulele is great for players at any skill level but is especially suited to those with slightly larger hands or fingers. The larger size gives the concert a fuller sound and warmer tone than the soprano ukulele.

     

    Learn more about our ukulele hymn kits here.

    Tenor

    ukulele size-tenorThe tenor ukulele comes next in size after the concert. It measures around 26 inches. The scale for the tenor is a little longer than the concert thus allowing for more frets with wider spacing between them.

    Like the soprano and concert ukuleles, it is also tuned to GCEA.

    The larger size gives the tenor a deeper, fuller sound with a deep, bass tone. It is also well suited for finger-picking. The tenor also projects better than the concert, making the volume a bit louder.

    The tenor ukulele is most popular among professional musicians. Ukulele players with larger hands will find this size very comfortable.

    Jenny and Rebecca both play tenor ukuleles with low G tuning.

    Baritone

    ukulele size-baritoneFinally, the biggest ukulele of all is the baritone. It measures about 30 inches, almost the size of the guitar. It also sounds like a classical nylon stringed guitar due to its deep tone. In addition, the baritone ukulele has the longest scale with the widest fret spacing hence making it ideal for finger-picking.

    The baritone tuning is DGBE, similar to the 4 highest strings of the guitar.While this quality makes it easier for guitar players, it probably explains why this ukulele size is least popular.

    Almost all song tutorials will be on a ukulele tuned to GCEA. However, you can turn the DGBE tuning of the baritone ukulele to the conventional GCEA by placing a capo on the 5th fret of your baritone ukulele. Read more on capos in Ukulele Capos post.

    Check out the video to hear the different ukulele sizes in action. And why not subscribe to our YouTube channel for more ukulele videos?

     Final Thoughts on how to choose the perfect ukulele size

    ukulele sizeNow that you know all about ukulele sizes, it’s time to choose the perfect ukulele size for you. Therefore, go to a ukulele store and try out the different sizes. Place the ukulele in a playing position, pluck a few strings, listen to the sound and try carrying the ukulele around. Choose the size that you like and are comfortable with, not what is most popular.

    We hope this post will help you choose the best ukulele size for you.

    Happy Strumming!