Do You Want to Play Rich and Exciting Ukulele Music?

Do You Want to Play Rich and Exciting Ukulele Music?

One of my great joys in life is being able to pick up my ukulele and play. It’s great to have a portable instrument sitting right by my bed that I can grab. I play it before I sleep or when I wake up in the morning. Playing music that is easy and full sounding puts me in a better mood. The rich and exciting sounds take me to another place and uplift me.

In this article, you’ll learn how to play “up the neck” on your ukulele.

You’ll learn to shift to the higher positions in the song “Yankee Doodle.” It’s pretty easy to play melodies in the first three frets, but when the music goes higher it can get complicated. We’ll show you some principles of left-hand fingering to help you out as you play “up the neck” on your ukulele. 

 

Here is what our customers have to say about our books and the joy they bring to them.

Our church is planning a good ole country gospel Sunday service. I am going to share hymns from my Hymn Kit. I love everything about your new chord melodies. You did an awesome job. 

Bruce kempf

I am almost 66 years old and bought my first ukulele around the end of August right after my mother died. It has helped keep my stress down so much. My husband and I are raising two of our grandchildren. They are 4 and 2 so we are busy, but I make practice time every day. Your music has helped me so much.

Beth Sloan

As you get better at ukulele, it’s fun to try new techniques. Going on YouTube is great but having a guided course with video lessons and a printable .pdf  is even better. If you can play melody tab and three-chord songs, you are ready for the chord melody, which combines the two.

Click here to find out more about our chord melody course. It goes live on November 24. 

     

    Here are some common issues people have as the music gets harder.

    It’s easy to play melodies in the first 5 frets, but when the music goes higher, the fingering is more complicated. In this video, we teach you how to shift so you don’t miss the higher notes. I show how to play “Yankee Doodle” as you move your hand up the A string to play notes in frets 5, 7, and 8.

    There are some common principles that work on all stringed instruments. When you play with your fingering hand right by the tuning pegs, that is called the first position. As you move your hand to get the higher notes, it helps to “anchor” your first finger on a particular fret.

    Principles of Left-Hand Fingering

    • First position-Finger 1 is on the 1st fret
    • Third position-Finger 1 is on the 3rd fret
    • Fifth position-Finger 1 is on the 5th fret
    • Shifting-Moving your hand to put finger 1 on a particular fret

     If these ideas are confusing, watch the video lesson. I explain it all clearly there with pictures of what the music looks like while I’m demonstrating the skill. And, you’ll get to learn “Yankee Doodle!”

     

    Adding Chords to Your Melodies

    If you can play melodies up and down the neck of the ukulele pretty easily, you can start to add chords to your melodies. In this next video lesson, I teach you how to play a C Major scale plus five extra notes to take you up to the 10th fret. You learn about the first, third and  fifth positions for your left hand. You also learn easy chords “up the neck” of your ukulele. Finally, I introduce the concept of “movable chords” with two easy barre chords. Everything  is in the key of C, so you can use your open ukulele strings as much as possible to play chords.

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

    Then you get to put it all together with a simple chord melody of Jingle Bells

    In this arrangement, you play both melody and chords. You’ve learned the techniques you need in the other two video lessons.

    If you like the full sound of Jingle Bells, you’re ready for our course, Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. In this course,  you learn 7 songs with easy full-sounding music. The songs have accompanying video lessons and a pdf. All the songs can be played with either a
    high G tuned ukulele or a low G tuned ukulele. I have lesson and performance videos for each song showing both the high G and low G versions.

    The course is available from Nov. 24-Dec. 15 of 2020. Click here to get your name on a list to receive three free goodies. You’ll get the sheet music to accompany video lessons. In the video lessons, I teach you how to:

    1. Play the C Scale Plus Five Notes with Chords
    2. Learn How to Fingerpick an Arpeggio Study
    3. Jingle Bells Chord Melody

    Then, be sure to buy the course when it goes live. You’ll be glad you did!

    This is a really good course and it helps me to understand music better, as well as improving my left and right-hand co-ordination. I am able to play a lot better now.

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

    Can non-singers enjoy the ukulele?

    Can non-singers enjoy the ukulele?

    I’m a terrible singer. Can I still learn to play the ukulele? What is chord melody? Are there simple versions? Can I learn them?

    Yes, you can learn to play the ukulele if you are a terrible singer.

    One of the greatest ukulele artists around, Jake Shimanbakuro, does not sing. Check out the following video for an example of what chord melody can sound like. Here Jenny plays “Wayfaring Stranger” as a chord melody solo.

    As a beginner, you’re not going to sound great right away.

    But there are steps you can take to learn to play simple chord melodies.

    When learning a new song, first learn to sing and strum the song. All music has three elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. For the ukulele that transfers to:

    1. voice=melody  
    2. chords=harmony 
    3. strumming pattern=rhythm 

    When you’re first beginning you will need to concentrate on one thing at a time.

    Then you can put them all together.

    It’s important to sing or speak the lyrics when the chords change. otherwise, you will not know where you are in the song. If you hate singing, you can play along with our online lesson videos or check out other YouTube channels. 

    Here is a YouTube channel where you can play along with the artist.

    You are practicing learning the chords and learning to keep the beat. You don’t have to worry about the lyrics and the melody. Check out  Ukeplayalongs

    Not a singer?

    I know many people don’t like to sing. I understand. I get at least one YouTube comment a week that tells me to stop singing!

    Here are some words of encouragement about singing.

    “If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.”

    African Folk Saying

    In teaching music, singing is a necessary part of it. You have to sing to understand the melody component of music.

    Unfortunately, in our culture, we are all encouraged not to sing. Singing has become professionalized. And right now singing in groups is not considered safe, so learning how to play melody on your ukulele is a great idea!

    Steps for learning from Beginning to Advanced

    Beginner

    You will need to sing or speak lyrics at first before you learn to play melody on your ukulele.

    1. Learn basic chord shapes.
    2. Add simple strumming patterns.
    3. Add your voice to complete the song.

    Advanced Beginner

    So, you don’t like to sing?

    Then learn the melody tab. All our books have the melody written out in standard notation with tab underneath. Our video lessons teach you how to play the tab. Since you watch the videos to know how the song goes, you’ll be able to figure out how to play the melody. We teach you how to read the tab in our books.

    Intermediate

    Play a duet with a friend or relative. Here’s what one customer said.

    I ordered 3 Christmas uke books. This one was by far the best. It uses beginner-friendly chords and has a clear tab for the melody. My 10-year-old and I can play duets with the melody and the chords. Now I’m looking at picking up the other books by these authors.

    Advanced Intermediate

    Learn chord melody. Here is an example of a chord melody version of Frere Jacques. As you can see, we’ve kept the chord melody simple. You add the notes of the chord underneath the melody on the first beat of each measure. If you start with simple material like this, you will be able to sound complete without singing soon.

    Later you can go on to more complicated songs where you change chords a lot and you play notes higher up on the neck of the ukulele. But you will be happiest if you start with easier music first.

    Here’s what an Amazon customer said about learning chord melody.

    I was a beginner ukulele player when I bought my first Jenny Peters and Rebecca Bogart 21 Songs in 6 days. It took me a lot longer than that to learn all of it. Then I went to 21 More songs. I am just about done with it. I am learning solo ukulele with chord melodies, what fun and they sound recognizable without someone singing. They recently came out with a folk song book and soon will have a gospel book! I would consider myself an intermediate now🤗

    All our books offer melody, melody tab, chord stamps and a suggested strumming pattern. Many of our books offer chord melodies too. We also offer online live lessons where we talk about learning melody tab and chord melody.

    So, read more to find out more about our products and to sign up for our mailing list. You will be happy that you joined our community!

    How to Play Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

    How to Play Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

    Learn how to play the chord melody of another Christmas song with our Silent Night ukulele chord melody tutorial. If you’re bored with the sing and strum method of playing the ukulele, trying the chord melody method is a great challenge to take.

    Have you watched someone play a ukulele and convey both the melody and accompaniment of a song without actually singing and thinking it was really cool? You can learn to do that too. Or if you simply don’t want to sing and want to play the ukulele to do the singing for you, then playing the chord melody is the best option for you. What is chord melody?  A chord melody combines both the melody and the accompaniment such as strummed chords into a single arrangement that one person can play. The following video tutorial shows Jenny teach how to play Silent Night ukulele chord melody.

    If you’ve missed the videos on Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody, check them out here. You can also subscribe here to receive sheet music and get notifications of new ukulele lessons.

    Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

    To play the Silent Night ukulele chord melody, Jenny demonstrates how to use three techniques – pinch style, single pluck method and standard strum. Learn them all in this ukulele tutorial.

    Chord Melody for the Rest of Us

    You’ve probably watched and admired videos of the ukulele greats playing chord melodies.

    And you thought, “Wow, that is really cool! I wish I could do that but it’s probably too hard for me.” Well, weep no more.

    We’ve created a brand new course to give you everything you need to know to get started playing chord melody at an easy level. If you can play the songs in our books, you can learn easy ukulele chord melody with our new course.

    Learn more and purchase the course here!

    Silent Night – Three Interesting Trivia

    Here are three interesting trivia about the song Silent Night. We think these are also great reasons why you should learn how to play Silent Night ukulele chord melody.

    • most popular Christmas song

    In an article published December 2014, Time declared Silent Night to be the most popular Christmas song ever. According to records from the U.S. Copyright Office from 1978 to 2014, Silent Night has more than 700 copyrighted recordings. In comparison, Joy to the World, which was the next song on the list had nearly 400 recorded versions.

    • fourth best-selling single of all time

    As previously mentioned, Silent Night has over 700 recorded versions. Bing Crosby recorded this very popular Christmas carol in 1935. Crosby’s version is ranked the fourth best-selling single of all time with an estimated sales of 30 million copies.

    • message still resonates two centuries after it was written

    In 1816, an Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr wrote a poem about peace, hope and Christ’s birth. It was written in German and entitled Stille Nachte. Two years later, Franz Xaver Gruber set this poem to music. Silent Night was first sung on Christmas Eve of 1818. More than two centuries later, people all around the world still sing and perform this famous Christmas song. Its simple message resonates to this day and transcends culture and religion.

    Act Quickly-The sign-up window is open for 3 weeks!

    This year our course will be available for three weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. I know you will want your copy of this music and the video lessons that explain everything. So, click on the link below to find out more. We will also send your three free goodies:

    Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get:

     Goodie #1 C Major Scale Study

    Goodie #2 C Major Fingerpicking Study

    Goodie #3 Jingle Bells Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

     

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

    Check out these other popular easy ukulele tutorial videos…

    How to Play Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody

    How to Play Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody

    ​This week, we present a video on Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody tutorial. For those that don’t enjoy singing, playing a chord melody is an entertaining way to share music without having to sing.

    A chord melody combines both the melody and the accompaniment (for example, strummed chords) into a single arrangement that one person can play. With Christmas coming in a few weeks, what better song to try and play a chord melody to than Jingle Bells! In the following video, Jenny demonstrates how to play Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody.

    Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody – Tutorial

    In this video tutorial of Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody, Jenny combines different techniques including “pinch” chords, single pluck and standard strum. However, if you are not comfortable with combining “pinch” and strum, you can play the whole song with your thumb. Jenny also shows this method near the end of the tutorial, so don’t miss that. Check out all the techniques shown by Jenny on the video. You can start with the simpler ones that you’re more comfortable with and add up the more complicated ones later.

     

    Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody – Performance

    After viewing the lesson video tutorial, you might want to check the performance video as well.

     

    Chord Melody for the Rest of Us

    You’ve probably watched and admired videos of the ukulele greats playing chord melodies.

    And you thought, “Wow, that is really cool! I wish I could do that but it’s probably too hard for me.” Well, weep no more.

    We’ve created a brand new course to give you everything you need to know to get started playing chord melody at an easy level. If you can play the songs in our books, you can learn easy ukulele chord melody with our new course.

    Learn more and purchase the course here!

    Jingle Bells – Five Fun Facts

    Here are five fun facts about one of our favorite Christmas song – “Jingle Bells”:

    • first song to be broadcast from space

    On December 16, 1965, two astronauts aboard Gemini 6 played a prank to Mission Control in the spirit of Christmas season. Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, the two Gemini 6 astronauts, sent a report that states the sighting of an object that looks like a satellite. They went on with this troubling report of a flying object and then unexpectedly broadcasted their version of “Jingle Bells”. While Stafford rang tiny bells, Schirra played a harmonica to the tune of “Jingle Bells”.

    • not originally intended for Christmas

    If you notice throughout the song, there is no mention of the word “Christmas” at all. According to some historians, James Lord Pierpont, who wrote the song in the early 1850s, wanted the song for a Thanksgiving service. Nevertheless, “Jingle Bells” is now one of the most famous Christmas song around the world.

    • written by J.P. Morgan’s uncle

     James Lord Pierpont’s sister, Juliet, married financier Junius Spencer Morgan. Their first son, John Pierpont Morgan, founded the banking institution J.P. Morgan & Co.

    • initially named “One Horse Open Sleigh”

    On its initial publication in 1857, the publishing house printed the title of the song as “One Horse Open Sleigh”. However, two years later, the song was published with the revised title that included “Jingle Bells”.

    • complete song includes a chorus and four verses

    Most people, especially kids, are familiar with the chorus and the first verse only. However, the song actually has three more verses aside from the well-known verse that starts with “Dashing through the snow…”

    Act Quickly-The sign-up window is open for 3 weeks!

    This year our course will be available for three weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. I know you will want your copy of this music and the video lessons that explain everything. So, click on the link below to find out more. We will also send your three free goodies:

    Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get:

     Goodie #1 C Major Scale Study

    Goodie #2 C Major Fingerpicking Study

    Goodie #3 Jingle Bells Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

     

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

    Check out these other popular easy ukulele tutorial videos…

    How to Play Easy and Full-Sounding Ukulele Chord Melody

    How to Play Easy and Full-Sounding Ukulele Chord Melody

    Would you like to play rich and sonorous music each day?

    When I get done with a long day of work, I like to play rich and sonorous music on my ukulele. It relieves stress and helps me regain a sense of well-being and balance. I like playing amazing chord melodies. They are simple and easy to play. When I play them for my students and friends, people always ask, “How can I learn how to do this?”

    So, we developed an online course to teach the easy chord melodies that I love to play! The level is intermediate, so if you can read the melody tab and play three-chord songs, you will be able to play these chord melodies. You’ll develop the amazing skill of playing rich and sonorous music on your ukulele.

     

    Here is an example of what the sheet music looks like.

    Here is an example of an easy chord melody version of  “Oh, When the Saints.”

    The format of the music is easy to follow:

    • The top line of music is the vocal line. That way you can sing and strum a verse easily by reading the lyrics and strumming the chords. There is a suggested strumming pattern, so you know what strumming pattern will work with the song.
    • The second line of music is the chord melody version. Both the sing and strum version and the chord melody are on one page. That way you can sing a couple verses, and then play the chord melody as an instrumental interlude.
    • The melody is notated as single notes underneath the vocal notes.
    • The chords are the vertical stacks of notes that have the squiggly lines next to them. Those lines show that you should strum those chords.

    Here is an example of  the various notation styles I use when notating chord melody.

    The numbers on the lines of the tab staff give you the melody of the song. The vertical numbers on the tab staff show you how to play the chords. 

    Notation Specific to chord melody

    I use different playing techniques with both my right and my left hand to play chord melody. In the course there are:

    1. Six introductory videos to give folks a chance to understand all the different techniques I use when I play chord melody.

    2. At least four different videos for each song: a performance video for both Low G and High G tuning and a lesson video for both the Low G and High G version of the song.

    3. A downloadable .pdf of all the sheet music along with written explanations on how to play the songs.

    4. A total of over 30 videos that feature closeups of my hands and sheet music pictured in the frame to help you learn better. Check out the video below to see an example.

     

     

     

    Enjoy this video showing how to read the notation specific for chord melody.

    Act Quickly-The sign-up window is open for 3 weeks!

    This year our course will be available for three weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. I know you will want your copy of this music and the video lessons that explain everything. So, click on the link below to find out more. We will also send your three free goodies:

    Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get:

     Goodie #1 C Major Scale Study

    Goodie #2 C Major Fingerpicking Study

    Goodie #3 Jingle Bells Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

     

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

    You can get more practice with ukulele chord melody with these other posts. 

    Writing More Readable Ukulele Tab: Evolution of Sakura Chord Melody

    Writing More Readable Ukulele Tab: Evolution of Sakura Chord Melody

    I really enjoy (and so do many of our fans) playing both the melody and the chords of a song on the ukulele AT THE SAME TIME. This process is called “chord melody.”

    When you first start learning chord melody, it seems almost impossible. And, when you go looking for ukulele chord melody arrangements, many of them are difficult. As a ukulele teacher, I enjoy both playing and teaching chord melody arrangements that are accessible.

    By accessible, I mean arrangements that use lots of open strings, stay fairly low on the fretboard, and don’t use many barre chords. I love creating such arrangements, because they sound so cool!

    The challenge comes in notating the arrangements.

    Recently I posted my arrangement of “Sakura” on FaceBook. One eagle-eyed reader pointed out:

    “The tab doesn’t match the staff notation and doesn’t have the rhythm.”

    I was thrilled to get a response from someone who could challenge me to create something even better. He and I went back and forth about the best way to write out my arrangement of “Sakura”. He went so far as to even create an arrangement with his own software that used the notes I had written, but made everything easier to read.

    Let me show you this evolution.

    Here’s my first version:

    Jenny Peters during RAGBRAI 2019

    As you can see, there is no rhythm indicated with the tab notation.

    Here is Version 2, inspired by the person who commented on my Facebook post. By researching my music notation software, I was able to add rhythmic notation to the tab staff. The top staff of music remains as a sing-and-strum version of the song.

    Version 3 has both musical staves with the same notes, but there are no more lyrics. It is an instrumental version only. The notes shown on the music staff are the same as the notes shown in the tab. 

    Jenny Peters making music on RAGRBRAI 2019

    Version 4 has the lyrics, but the top line is not a sing and strum line. The notes on the staff are the same as the notes in the tab. 

    So, now my question for you is: which version do you like best, and why? I’d love it if you let me know in the comments below. 

    We are always looking for ways to make our products better, to help you to have fun learning ukulele YOUR way.  The more we know about what you like the better!

    Thanks so much!

    Our chord melody course will be open for 3 weeks, starting November 24.

    This year our chord melody course will be available for three weeks from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. I know you will want your copy of this music and the video lessons that explain everything. So, click on the link below to find out more. We will also send your three free goodies:

    Here’s a quick look at what you’ll get:

     Goodie #1 C Major Scale Study

    Goodie #2 C Major Fingerpicking Study

    Goodie #3 Jingle Bells Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

     

    Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today