Stuck in a rut and looking for some help to keep you improving? Here are 36 ways to become a better ukulele player. Get back on track with your learning and become a ukulele master…
Stop playing things you already know
Focus on what you don’t know and can’t do in your practice sessions and you’ll develop faster.
Switch from high G to low G or vice versa
The change will force you to learn a new way to play.
Learn a new technique
Never tried clawhammer before? What about incorporating some percussion on your playing?
Turn the metronome on
Try practicing with a metronome for a while, you should see your timing improve hugely. This is a great way to get faster at playing ukulele too.
Try a new musical genre
Pick a genre that you’re not familiar with, there are lots of different techniques used in different genres.
Put some percussion into your playin
Give your uke a few slaps and see if you can emulate a drumbeat.
Move up the neck
Get away from the first 3 positions and start playing further up the neck.
Learn the chords in different positions
Chord inversions will make you a more versatile player and your music will sound more interesting for it.
Grab yourself a backing track (Youtube has plenty) and improvise over the top of it.
Stop looking at tab
Use your ears to learn songs rather than your eyes.
Play with less strings
Playing with fewer strings forces you to be a little bit more creative.
Take a ukulele course
Ukulele courses are a great way to maintain progress as you’re following a structured path.
Switch it up
Switch songs from strumming to fingerpicking and vice versa.
Play with someone else
Not only will you pickup some new tricks but you’ll start to create better arrangements. try using my clubs map to find a local ukulele club near you.
There’s nothing to consolidate your knowledge quite like teaching.
Get On Stage
The thing with getting on stage is that it forces you to learn, it’s like having a deadline to work to.
Practice fingerpicking without your uke
You can develop your finger independence by simply tapping out patterns onto your thumb.
Train your ears
Grab yourself an ear training app and develop your note recognition.
Learn to play and recognise scales.
Don’t use your index finger
By fretting open chords without using your index finger you’re making the transition to barre chords much simpler.
Heard an annoying advert jingle? Try and copy it. Tv theme tunes are also good to try and copy.
If you tend to play sitting down, try standing up. It will change the way you hold the uke.
Pick a single chord song and try and play it keeping it interesting throughout.
Ever played with a capo? It can really mix your playing up when you start to experiment with a capo.
Learn every note up to the 12th fret.
Don’t look down
Try not to look at your uke as you play, feel your way around your ukulele. This will improve your understanding of the fretboard and at the same time your ears will develop.
Tension gets in the way of fluid playing and leads to mistakes, learn to relax your hands and arms. Try and be aware when you’re becoming tense.
Tap tap tap
Improve your timing by taping your foot on each beat (this made a huge difference to my playing)
Work on your musical theory
I played for years without any real knowledge of music theory but it definitely helped me to get to grips with even some basic theory.
Set specific time aside to practice and stick to that time like glue – try and get yourself a practice routine to maximise your time.
Play with the dynamics when you’re playing and your performances will sound so much more professional.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, fear is a big block to progress so just go for it.
Yeah it sounds really obvious but too many people play without really listening.
Cut the distractions
When its time to practice, it’s time to practice. No TV, no laptop, no distractions. Just you and your uke. A small period of dedicated focus is better than a longer period with a lack of focus.
Take some lessons
The right teacher can bring your playing on leaps and bounds. If you’re completely stuck in a rut, find yourself a great ukulele teacher.
Youtube is great but it’s very disjointed and the lessons are mainly just one-offs. Books have a natural progression to work to which will help you to progress.
Visit a ukulele festival
You’ll get chance to meet other players and artists that will inspire you.
If you have any suggestions to add to this list then please drop them in the comments below, I’d love to make the list even longer!