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5 Juicy tips for finding joy in building ukulele skills


What’s the ONE thing that you want to be able to do on the ukulele by summer’s end?


It can be hard to identify any one thing. The clues lay in what you love to do — and what stops you from doing it.


An easier way to learn to play the ukulele

For me, The Summer of the E Chord came about when I realized that the finger-tangling E chord was exactly what I needed to express the emotional angst in “Folsom Prison Blues,” not the easier E7 chord. It’s a subtle difference, but I needed to hear the specific tones of that E chord!


The love of the emotion in the song was my incentive to tackle it. By the end of the summer, I had it.


What had stopped me initially? Thinking that I would have to spend hours and hours on it. And being convinced that I was just not a good enough player to ever get it.


I discovered that the secret was simply this: Pay attention.


  1. Spend a few minutes on That One Thing when you pick up your uke. Spend those minutes well so you can move on to more fun stuff.

  2. How does it feel — Is it flowing? Uncomfortable? How does it sound? Is it a timing issue? Is there a different way of positioning your hand or fingers that will help?

  3. Break it down to its components. Which parts are NOT working? Why? Is it your chord or strumming pattern transition? What can you do differently to make it easier for you to play it? Ask ALLLLL the questions!

  4. Record yourself so you can evaluate your playing without the mortification of an audience.

  5. Readjust, retry, reiterate, then redirect to easier stuff … meaning DO it, then let it go until next time. You’ll get there at YOUR pace. When you end your workout, your reptile brain will hang onto every word and deed. It’ll feed you its results when you return.


There is no single way of doing anything, so try everything!


Keep showing up! Keep paying attention! Keep reminding yourself of why you’re on this path. HINT: It’s the one your beautiful, adventurous heart lead you to.


I’d love to know what you’re working on. Feel free to email me at ukuleleclare@gmail.com. Let's talk!

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