How to Play Ukulele and how long does it take to learn?

No matter the musical instrument, there is a natural learning curve. Mastering the Ukulele is no different, it will take time to familiarize yourself with chords and strumming styles. But do you know how long this process takes? and how to learn the Ukulele in a way so you can have fun while you go through the details of music theory? In this post we will discuss a bit more about these subjects. Let’s start!

What’s the best way to learn how to play Ukulele?

From a musician perspective, it always makes sense to learn as much music theory first, before even trying to strum any instrument. We, musicians, like to learn the intrinsics of every single chord and rhythm, even if we don’t apply the knowledge to our instrument right away.

But for the regular person, this process could be tedious and extremely painful. Some people just want to have fun and learn a few songs that they like. Some other people are into learning how to play the Uke because they want to sing a specific song. So for most of the students, it doesn’t make much sense to learn music theory right of the bat.

This is why we recommend learning the most basic chords and an easy strumming first, so you can start playing songs right away. This way you’ll guarantee that you can keep having fun while you learn new stuff.

What resources are available?

Gladly, we live in an era where information is readily available for any at no cost or at a cost so insignificant that almost anybody can afford it. Thus, there are many different resources available for you that will help you with the learning of a new instrument.

Here are a few of the ones we recommend. Listed, not in order of importance, but in the natural order someone new to the Ukulele world would find them as they go through the learning process:

Head to Youtube

The very first place you can start is Youtube. There are plenty of musicians explaining basic techniques for strumming the Ukulele and playing the basic chords.

If you’re just starting from zero, be sure to pick your battles. You don’t want to jump into videos that are showing you how to strum and play chords at the same time, but pick the ones dedicated to the strumming first, and then a few that only teach chords.

One of the channels that we like the most is Cynthia Lin Music, she has the most wonderful videos for beginners and explains slow, nice and clear, in a way so anybody can kickstart their way into the Ukulele world:

After learning the basic strumming and may be a few chords, the second resource we do recommend is websites dedicated to Songs:

Websites with Songs and Chords

Here are a few of the websites with songs for Ukulele that we like the most:

Once you’ve tried to play a few songs, you’ll have a basic understanding of how chords are used in the songs you like the most, and also which chords in particular are difficult to perform. This will pave the way to our next category of websites:

Online Courses and Lessons

While you learn with Youtube videos and try to play a few songs, you’ll also note that your technique is not as good as it should be, and your strumming sounds rough and too strident or shrill, here’s where you might need expert help.

There are a few sites dedicated to the teaching of Ukulele that you can assist to, whenever you’re ready for polishing your technique. You’ll find a list below of the ones we recommend, some of them paid, some of them free:

These three categories of resources, YouTube (basics), Websites (songs and chords) and Learning Systems (techniques) are, in our opinion, the best formula to start learning the Uke.

How long does it take to learn Ukulele?

In our experience, there are three types of student and the time it takes to learn to master the instrument varies depending of specific attributes each group of students has:

The musician: Eager to learn, wants to study the subject in deep and dedicate many hours a day to the learning of the instrument. This type of person will learn how to play Ukulele in about 2 to 4 weeks tops.

The aficionado: With enough time on his/her hands to dedicate to practicing a few songs, this person likes to learn a bit more than just the basics, and dedicates time to watch videos on how to correctly strum the strings. About an hour a day feels more than enough, or for as long as the task is pleasurable, but no more.

This type of student tends to master the basics and play a few songs in about a month to three months.

The singer: Having one main goal in mind – to sing her/his favourite songs – this person jumps right into how to strum that special song and how to position the fingers so to play the chords. Little time is dedicated to learning the chord names or more details than needed and about half hour a day is sufficient practice.

This person takes a bit longer to master the basics and play a few songs, about 3 months, but afterwards is able to beautifully strum these strings while singing their favourite tunes.

In a nutshell

There’s a clear pattern that, by know if you like math, you might infer in these three referencial student types: It doesn’t matter at what peace you learn, you’ll have to dedicate between 50 to 100 hours to the learning. Doesn’t matter if you do the full 100 hours in a week or if it takes you 3 months or more, the time it takes to learn how to play ukulele is always about the same, 100 hours or around.

In short, learning Ukulele requires a lot of practice, you can spend as much as a few hours a day and get better in just a few weeks or take it easier and practice just a bit every day, but see results in a longer timeframe.

This paints a picture that we hope is clear enough, so you know what to do next and where to go to start the learning of the Ukulele. We sincerely hope you are able to kickstart your learning in the best way possible, and, on top of all, have lots of fun while you learn.