Great Lakes Ukulele Gathering with Little Rev

Great Lakes Ukulele Gathering with Little Rev

I just got back from the Great Lakes Ukulele Gathering that was held in Milwaukee, WI yesterday. We were at Anondyne Coffee Roasting Company which was a fun venue for this event.

There were ukulele workshops all day, including an early bird sessions about Ukulele Jug Bands, Ukeing the Beatles, Intro to Fingerpicking, Hawaiian strumming and a great sing-along. At the end was a wonderful concert with MC Petey Mack, The Ukulele Kings, Lanialoha Lee, The Sheboygan Hokum Boys w/Lil Rev and Steven Kanahe Espaniola.


Jenny Peters during RAGBRAI 2019
Here’s me with Kevin Mason, a luthier from Illinois.

I had fun with all the workshops. Here’s a short clip of the Ukulele Jug Band mini-session.


There were a lot of beautiful ukuleles for sale. You might want to check our other recommended ukulele products here

Jenny Peters making music on RAGRBRAI 2019



Here’s a clip from the concert at the end of the day..

I had fun and learned some new tricks at the Great Lakes Ukulele Gathering. I also saw old friends and met some new people. It was really fun singing and strumming together. Ukulele Festivals are a great way to do this!

Have you taken your ukulele or other instrument with you on your travels? Have you had fun experiences making music with fellow travelers?  I’d love to hear about it – leave me a comment below! 

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

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How to Read Ukulele Tabs

How to Read Ukulele Tabs

Want to know how to read ukulele tabs? Read on for an explanation of how ukulele tab works.

Each line of the tab staff represents a string on the ukulele. The sounds that are higher in pitch are closer to the top of the page just as they are on the standard music staff. However, the unfortunate result is that standard tab notation places the lines upside down from how they are arranged on the ukulele.


  • The top line of the tab staff is the A string (the string closest to the floor when you’re playing).
  • The line below that is the E string.
  • The line below that is the C string.
  • The bottom line of the tab is the G string, which is the string closest to the ceiling when you are playing.

Lines of tab staff are upside down in comparison to the ukulele strings.

The numbers on the lines of the tab staff tell you which fret to stop with a left-hand finger.

Numbers on the Tab Staff

Stopping (also called fretting) a string means to use a left-hand finger and push down firmly so that the string contacts the fret. Your finger goes between the frets, not on a fret.

For example, a 5 means to put one of your left-hand fingers in the fifth fret and push down on the string as you pluck it with your right hand. A 7 means to stop the string in the 7th fret and pluck it with your right hand. A 4 means to stop the string in the fourth fret and pluck it with your right hand. A 0 means to pluck a string with your right hand without using your left hand at all. We call an unstopped string an open string.

The previous image shows a person fretting the A string. Usually we use finger 1 on the first fret, finger 2 on the second fret, finger 3 on the third fret, and finger 4 on the fourth fret. Having your fingers in this arrangement is referred to as first position.

For practice reading tab, try playing the sounds shown in the parts of the image. Reading from right to left:

  1. Start with finger 4 in the fourth fret and pluck the A string 4 times.
  2. Then use finger 3 in the third fret and pluck the A string 4 times.
  3. Next use finger 2 in the second fret and pluck the A string 4 times.
  4. Next use finger 1 in the first fret and pluck the A string 4 times.
  5. Finally, pluck the open A string 4 times.

Playing the C Major Scale in Tab Notation

We recommend practicing the C major scale while reading the tab notation as the next step to learning how to read ukulele tabs. It will help your brain link the look of the tab staff to the muscular patterns needed to play certain notes. Since most melodies are made from fragments of scales, learning this eye-hand coordination will make it a lot easier for you to read tab melodies.

Putting it Together: How to Read Ukulele Tabs Using a Melody

Here’s an excerpt from a song, “Lovely Evening.” To read the tab, first look at which string line the number is on. Then use your left hand to stop that string in the fret that matches the number shown. Remember that 0 means an open string. We’ve labeled the lines to make it easier to see which line goes with which string.

  • First note: don’t do anything with your left hand and pluck the C string with your right hand.
  • Second note: stop the C string in the second fret.
  • Third note: don’t do anything with your left hand and pluck the E string with your right hand.
  • Fourth note: don’t do anything with your left hand and pluck the C string with your right hand.
  • Fifth note: stop the E string in the first fret.

Now that you’ve worked your way through the scale and a brief melody, you know a lot more about how to read ukulele tabs.

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

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You can get more practice with how to read ukulele tabs with these other posts…

How to Choose a Strumming Pattern – Learning 5 Basic Patterns

How to Choose a Strumming Pattern – Learning 5 Basic Patterns

Here are some tips on how to choose a strumming pattern. So, there you are trying to learn a ukulele song. And you think, what strumming pattern should I use?

Tips on How to Choose a Strumming Pattern

How do I choose a strumming pattern? That’s a really good question with many steps. You will need to determine if the song is in duple or triple meter. You will also need to decide if the rhythms are swung or straight. This post will deal with basic go-to strums in 4/4 time, both swung and straight. 

It’s also a great idea to listen to a recording of the song to get an idea of what the accompanying instruments are doing. Ask yourself the following questions: 

Duple or Triple Meter

Is the song in duple meter or triple meter? (This means, does it feel like a waltz, or does it feel like a march and/or something you can walk to?) If you have sheet music you can look at the time signature at the beginning to answer this question. (4/4 and 2/4 are examples of duple meter. ¾ is an example of triple meter.) The reason you want to know the meter is that it will help you to know when to change chords. Chords tend to change on the first or third beat of a 4/4 measure and on the first beat of a ¾ measure. You will eventually accent (play slightly louder) on the first beat of each measure, so understanding the meter of the song helps you to learn the song and choose a strumming pattern. Also, strumming patterns for triple meter are quite different than for duple meter.

Straight or Swung Rhythm?

Is the rhythm of the song “straight” or “swung”? Straight subdivisions of the beat sound like this “ap-ple, ap-ple, ap-ple, ap-ple” Swung subdivisions sound like this: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.” A straight song will use even down-up strums. A swung song will uneven down-up strums. The down strum will be slightly longer than the up strum for swung music.

Whether the song is swung or straight will only matter on your up strums, because your down strums are all on the beat. The beat is steady, like your heart beat.  Like your heart beat, the beat in music is steady. The beat can go faster or slower, but will do that gradually depending on what you are doing. If you are sleeping, your heart beat is slow. If you are running, your heart beat is fast. Whatever rhythm you put within a beat can be fast or slow, but it will relate to that steady beat or pulse of the music.

Three Basic Strumming Patterns:

In this video, I’m going to teach you the three basic strumming patterns from which more complicated strums can be built.

Jenny’s Go-To Strum for Folk Music

For more folksy types of music, my go-to strum is: 

If you want to have a more rhythmic feel, you might add chunking on beats 2 and 4. Watch the video below to get a better idea. Follow along with your ukulele so you can practice learning this strumming pattern. I give lots of practice opportunities within the video and have a metronome going to help keep a steady beat. 


Jenny’s Go-To Strum for Everything Else

My go-to strum for almost everything else is:

You hear this strum EVERYWHERE! Watch the video below as I teach Rebecca this strum in the opening of “Over the Rainbow.” This strum takes some time to learn, but once you have it, you can use it almost everywhere. I have heard this strum referred to as “The Camp Strum” or “the Island Strum.”  It also sounds good with chunking.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post on learning 5 basic strumming patterns in duple time. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

If you want to play the latest hits, you need to learn essential skills first. 21 MORE Songs in 6 Days will teach you these skills.

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Beginning Ukulele Book Reviews

Beginning Ukulele Book Reviews

Beginning Ukulele Books Reviews for 7 Popular Books

7 Beginner Ukulele BooksSo, you want to learn how to play the ukulele. Where do you start? How do you get the basics under your belt so you can choose the music you want to play and eventually teach yourself? If you are wondering about these questions then collection of beginning ukulele book reviews is for you.

We take a close look at 7 popular ways to begin your ukulele journey. We’ll give you a lot of information about what’s in each book and explain who each of these methods is best for.

There is a lot to learn in music. In some ways learning music is like learning a language with a whole new alphabet, grammar, vocabulary and sounds. You also need to know what skills you must master in order to progress in music such as how to practice. Finally, you also have to learn how to tune your instrument and take care of it.

What to Expect in a Beginning Ukulele Book

Each author of a “how to play ukulele” book writes with a certain type of beginner in mind. The pace of the book and what comes first depends on the type of beginner the author is imagining. Authors might be writing for a person with little or no music background. Or they might imagine a person who already plays several instruments and is adding ukulele to their bag of tricks. They might write their book for someone who reads music well or for someone who does not. They might also question if a beginning player wants to learn to read music or whether this skill is really necessary for a ukulele player.

You, the learner, want to find a book that fits your learning style and background, and teaches you the ukulele skills you would like to know, such as singing and strumming chords, fingerpicking melodies, reading ukulele tablature, and/or standard music notation. You also want to find an approach that you will enjoy with music that you want to play and/or sing.

In these beginning ukulele book reviews I’ll describe how various method books approach the best way to learn all of this material.

Music Basics When Beginning Ukulele

Learning tends to progress faster if you master one small thing at a time. But even the simplest music contains three main elements, which are

  1. melody (the tune, what someone would sing)
  2. harmony (the chords)
  3. rhythm (the beat)

For the best results, it seems as if the author of a beginning music book would need to decide which of the three to focus on first. However, the choice ends up being pretty straight forward.  All music has some sort of rhythm, otherwise, it sounds random. Therefore our hypothetical author needs to cover rhythm first.

In terms of ukulele music, strumming chords cover two elements – harmony and rhythm. Fingerpicking melodies one note at a time also covers two elements – melody and rhythm.

What Criteria Did We Use in These 7 Beginning Ukulele Book Reviews?

We will answer the following questions for each book in our beginning ukulele book reviews: 

  • How does it teach chords?
  • How does it teach reading melodies?
  • Are there a lot of pictures that help the learner?
  • How quickly does the book progress?
  • Are there online lessons or a video course? Are there audio tracks?
  • Who is this book best suited for?

How Do We Write Down Music in a Beginning Ukulele Book?

In order to communicate how a song goes in a book, there needs to be some way of writing down sounds.

With that being said, on ukulele and other fretted stringed instruments such as guitar, there are shortcuts that are unique to these instruments. For example, songwriters will often write only lyrics and chord letter symbols to express a song. In fact, John Lennon and Paul McCartney worked this way. They felt that if they could not remember the melody the next day, then it must not have been a very good melody and did not deserve to be a song.

However, most of us are not as talented as they were. So we use a variety of symbols to write down the details of how a song goes.

Different Symbols to Write Down Music

  • Chord stamps (symbols) to show where to put our fingers on the ukulele to create the desired chord. Examples of chord stamps are shown below. chord symbols
  • Standard 5 line music staff to show the rise and fall of the melody. The standard music staff is a widely accepted way of showing pitch in music. It can take quite a lot of time to master.example of music notation
  • Ukulele tablature is sometimes used instead of or in addition to the standard music staff to show the melody. Tab can be helpful for beginners because it shows you where to put your left-hand fingers on your ukulele in order to play the pitches of the song. Tab is a lot simpler to learn to read than standard music notation, and once you get the idea of it you can improve quickly. example of ukulele tab staff
  • Standard rhythmic notation to show how fast or slow notes or strums should be in relation to each other. music notes no staff
  • Tempo markings to show how fast the song should go. Sometimes the speed of the music is described with a word (“Moderate”) and sometimes it is shown with a number which is called the metronome marking. The metronome marking below is saying there should be 158 beats per minute.

And here they are! The 7 Beginning Ukulele Book Reviews

The authors intended each of these books for a different type of ukulele beginner. We have ordered our beginning ukulele book reviews from easiest to hardest.

  1. 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele the Easy Way
  2. Ukulele For All
  3. Alfred’s Basic Ukulele Method
  4. Hal Leonard-Ukulele Book 1
  5. Essential Elements for Ukulele
  6. Ukulele Primer by Bert Casey
  7. Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Tips and Tunes

1. 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele the Easy Way

This method has a lot of written introductory material and is encouraging to the learner. There are online videos to teach the songs and all the concepts presented.

This method begins with one-chord songs and simple strumming patterns. The authors delay the changing of chords until students can sing and strum a steady beat at the same time. When two-chord songs are introduced, there are thirteen two-chord songs, so students can really get the hang of the change from F to C7.

The authors teach the reading of melodies using ukulele tablature alongside the singing and strumming of songs for some (but not all) of the songs. There are visuals that show how the alignment of the ukulele strings relates to the horizontal alignment of the lines on the tab staff.

Chords presented in this method are C, A Minor, F, C7 and G7. 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele the Easy Way is the first book of a series which includes: Easy Ukulele Songs: Five with Five Chords, 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas, 21 MORE Easy Ukulele Songs: Learn Intermediate Ukulele the Easy Way, and 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs.

What to Look Out For:

These books teach the chords with both an upright and sideways presentation of the chord symbol. This visualization of the chord stamps is unique to this method.

While the upright presentation is the standard way for showing chord stamps, the sideways presentation is how the strings and fingers look when you are actually holding your ukulele. There is also a picture of a hand making the chord shape for each chord taught.

There is both a musical terms glossary and a chord glossary in each book. Strumming patterns remain simple with only four basic strums covered.

This book is best for someone who is new to playing an instrument, and who does not read music. Its progression is slow and steady. There are online video lessons for each song and for the concepts (including tuning) presented in the book.

There is also a YouTube channel that teaches a lot of the information in the books.

Are you struggling with strumming?

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2. Ukulele For All

This book starts with singing and strumming each song. There are four introductory pages that present how to hold the ukulele, how to put fingers on the strings to make chords, how to strum and how to read tab.

Ukulele for All also teaches chord stamps by presenting the diagram sideways and with a picture of a person’s hand.

The teaching of tab reading is also unique in that it shows how the horizontal strings of the ukulele relate to the lines of the tab staff. Students are easily able to visualize where to put their fingers on the strings of the ukulele.

The book starts with one-chord songs and has a chapter for each of three beginning chords (C, A Minor, and F.) Songs that change chords are delayed until the fourth chapter.

What to Look Out For:

The authors teach tab notation alongside the singing of melodies and strumming of chords. They also keep the strumming patterns simple throughout the book. Finger-picking of accompaniments is presented in Chapter 8. Students are also encouraged to sing rounds to create harmonies within a one chord song.

There is also a chapter on the 12-bar blues where students are encouraged to improvise their own solos over a bass line.

The book comes with proprietary software that includes video lessons for each song and for the concepts (including tuning) presented in the book. The software also includes audio for the songs that can be slowed down for practicing. Students can also record themselves and submit recordings to their teacher.

The book is intended for either classroom use or for private instruction. If a student prefers melodies, the student can work on that. If a student likes to sing and strum chords, the student can work on that, since both versions are presented with each song. There is a Teachers’ Edition of the book available with detailed suggestions on how to work with groups of students at different levels.

Chords presented in this method are C, A minor, F, C7 and G7.

This book is best for someone who is new to playing an instrument, and who does not read music. Its progression is slow and steady. It includes video lessons.

3.  Alfred’s Basic Ukulele Method

This method book claims to be the most popular standard ukulele method and upon looking through it, I can see why. There are 8 introductory pages showing the parts of the ukulele, how to hold the ukulele, how to strum and how to place your left-hand fingers on the strings to make chords.

Strumming and singing songs is delayed 16 pages until the basic reading of single notes on the tab staff is solid for the student. There is a tab staff underneath the standard musical notation to help you find the melody notes more easily.

The pictures are large and well-spaced. The presentation on tab reading has good visuals.

What to Look Out For:

The first song with chord changes is “Good Night Ladies.” This song uses two chords F and C7 which is an easy 2 chord pattern. The book progresses slowly and steadily, eventually teaching the student seven chords (C, F, C7, G, D7, and G7.)

The author introduced strumming patterns independently of reading melodies and progress from basic to more complicated. The strumming patterns remain pretty simple.

The book ends with “Over the Rainbow” in a slightly simplified version using the chords that have been taught in this book.

This book is best for someone who is new to playing an instrument, and who does not read music. Its progression is slow and steady, and it includes both a DVD and online video lessons.

4. Hal Leonard Ukulele Method Book 1

This book by Lil’ Rev is a solid beginning ukulele method. It starts with reading tab melodies. When chords are introduced, several pages in, the student learns C, F, and G7 all at once. There is a little bit of time to learn basic strumming patterns before applying chords to a song, but the first song uses all three chords. From there, new chords are introduced fairly quickly.

Chords taught in this book are: C, F, G7, E Minor, D7, G, Bb, A Minor, B7, D Minor,  A7 and A.

What to Look Out For:

There are lots of wonderful pictures on how to hold the ukulele and how to strum. Lil’ Rev teaches some really cool strumming techniques, such as tremolo, single roll stroke, finger and thumb strum and the index finger strum. He explains these techniques well with pictures, arrows and counting.

The book is nicely laid out and there is a basic chord glossary at the end. There are no audio or video lessons that I could find, but Lil’ Rev has a website and YouTube channel where he teaches a lot of the strumming techniques he uses in this book. He has workshops and YouTube videos and is a great teacher! (I’m planning on learning some of these techniques now that I’ve been playing for many years.)

When I was first learning ukulele I worked through this book. I didn’t have trouble with the left-hand chord changes, but found the many different strumming patterns difficult. This book might be best for someone with fretted instrument background such as the guitar or mandolin.

5. Essential Elements for the Ukulele

Marty Gross does a great job of teaching the ukulele in this book. Students learn to read music well. They learn the following chords: C, G7, F, Am, D7 (Hawaiian style) C7, Bb, Dm, F7, A7, Em, E7 and G#+. There is even a section on movable barre chords!

From my point of view, this book progresses quickly. Students are expected to read notes rather than the tab staff. Also, the first two chord song uses C to G7. G7 is a three finger chord and is hard for a lot of beginning players to master.

What to Look Out For:

The songs in this book are pretty awesome, for example: The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Octopus’s Garden, La Bamba, The Rainbow Connection and Marianne. There are audio demonstration tracks on an audio CD, which is probably helpful because not all the songs have suggested strumming patterns printed. There is a strumming chart and a chord glossary at the end of the book

This book would work well in a private lesson setting or with older students in a small group setting. It would also work well with someone who has played many other instruments before.

The book comes with an audio CD.

6. Ukulele Primer For Beginners: Book and DVD

Bert Casey does a great job at teaching singing and strumming the ukulele. The book is nicely laid out. There are great pictures showing how to hold your ukulele, how to strum and how to place your left-hand fingers on the strings. He has a unique way of showing the songs by having two staves: one for the melody line and one for the strumming pattern. This is really helpful when the strumming patterns get more complicated and don’t easily match up with the rhythm of the  melody.

The book comes with a DVD. There is also access to online video lessons.

This book assumes you will either know the songs, watch the videos to learn them or that you can read music so you can “hear” the songs in your head before you add the strumming pattern. There is no tab for the melodies.

What to Look Out For:

The author presents many strumming patterns which move sequentially from easier to more complicated. The patterns are easy to read and understand. When the book gets to more complicated patterns, there is a good base upon which to build. Bert shows the student a lot of muted strums, a technique called “chunking.” His presentation is clear, so it is easy to figure out how to go about learning this technique. In my experience, a student can sound quite polished when they learn these kinds of strumming patterns. I will probably go back and practice all of these and the patterns in Lil’ Rev’s book to add to my own repertoire of strumming techniques.

Finally, there is great information in the appendix on how the guitar relates to the ukulele, some music theory, a chord library and a strumming pattern library.

This book is probably best for someone who has background on other fretted string instruments such as guitar. The opening material is going to be difficult if you are a complete ukulele beginner. The strumming patterns, while cool, are going to be difficult to coordinate with the songs until you have more experience singing and strumming.

The book does come with both a DVD and online videos. The online videos are good with close-ups on the player’s hands so you can see and hear what to do.

7. Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Tips and Tunes

This was the book I used to teach myself the ukulele. It is recommended by Dr. Uke. The book is nicely laid out and is small, so it can easily fit into a ukulele case. It has a folksy feeling.

As with all of Jim Beloff’s materials, it gets right into playing the songs after only a couple of pages of introductory material. He covers a lot of music theory in two pages, which a beginner might or might not understand depending on their background.

The first song uses a C to the G7 chord progression, which can be a difficult one for many beginners. There is no tab for the songs, so the author assumes you can read music to figure out how the melodies sound. Tab can be helpful for beginners because it shows you where to put your left-hand fingers on your ukulele in order to get the pitch of the song. The author presents the strumming patterns above the notes, so it is not too difficult to figure out how to do them.

What to Look Out For:

The book progresses through many key signatures and teaches you the following chords: C, G7,Cmaj7, C6, C7, Am, F, G#7, D7, Gdim, Gmaj7, Em7, A7, Edim, Em, etc. (This book had more chords than any of the others I reviewed.) Jim does give you the option of leaving chords out by putting them in parentheses. This was helpful because I found keeping the flow of the singing, strumming and so many chord changes difficult as a beginner. Also, there are no video lessons.

I was able to learn a lot with this book, but I did not become a fluent strummer until I worked with simpler material. This book is probably best for someone with a lot of music background, but not necessarily fretted string instruments.

I have played piano and violin most of my life, so I found the left-hand coordination and music theory in this book straight-forward. At first, I found the right hand strumming more difficult. I play about 10 stringed instruments in my job as an orchestra teacher and I find that the right hand’s job (bowing, strumming, picking) differs more from instrument to instrument than the left hand’s does.

To become fluent with my ukulele skills, I needed to work more with the kinds of things Bert Casey and Lil’ Rev teach. I also knew that my students who are new to instruments generally would need a slower and more gradual approach which is why I wrote my books the way I did.

Summing Up the 7 Beginning Ukulele Book Reviews

All of these ukulele books have their strengths. They are all well thought out and sequential. The best course of action for you, the ukulele beginner, is to discover what kind of learner you are. Then choose the beginning ukulele book that suit you best after reading our beginning ukulele book reviews.

Of course I am biased, but I think if you are a complete beginner with music your best bet would be to buy one of my books, either 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele the Easy Way or Ukulele for All.  Alfred’s Basic Ukulele Method would also work well for you.

If you have experience with guitar, you might prefer one of the more difficult books such as Essential Elements, Bert Casey’s Ukulele Primer, or Jumpin’ Jim’s Ukulele Tips and Tunes.

In my own musical journey, I have often worked through several books at once to work on different kinds of skills. I hope after reading these beginning ukulele book reviews that you will be able to find the book or books that work best for you!

Here are links to purchase each of the books on Amazon. (full disclosure: I’m paid a small commission when you click these links  but it does not affect the price you pay.)

If you still haven’t quite found a ukulele book you like from these, check out other recommended books here. Or check this for ukuleles and this for ukulele accessories.

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.


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.


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!

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!

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.

Boosts Their IQ

photo showing the words be smart

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.


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.


We’ve given you 7 reasons you should buy a ukulele for your kid. And also why you should choose the ukulele out of many musical instruments. 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.



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.


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. Here’s our recommended ukuleles and accessories for kids

Happy strumming!

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