How to Tune a Guitar

How to Tune a Guitar – Easy Tricks and Pro Tips

How to Tune a Guitar for Beginners

What’s the first thing you should do every time you pick up a guitar? Resist the urge to shred for a moment, and make sure you’re in tune. This guide will teach you exactly how to tune a guitar using different methods like a pro.

If you’re just beginning to play the guitar, an out-of-tune instrument can be incredibly frustrating and make every note sound like a mistake. Knowing how to tune a guitar properly will ensure that you always sound your best when you play.

How to Tune a Guitar

The mechanics of tuning a guitar are simple. To adjust the pitch of a string, turn the string’s corresponding tuning key on the head of the guitar. (Hint: here’s our guide to the parts of a guitar).

Turning the tuning key away from you will tighten the string and raise its pitch. Conversely, turning the tuning key toward you will loosen the string and lower its pitch.

How to Tune a Guitar using Standard Tuning

Most guitarists tune their instruments to “standard tuning.” If you’re just beginning to play and aren’t sure which tuning to use, you should stick with standard tuning for now. As you get more comfortable with your instrument, feel free to experiment with other tunings to keep your practice fresh.

The strings on the guitar are numbered one through six, starting with the highest string.

Guitar Tuning Notes

You’ll commonly name the strings in ascending order, starting with string six: E, A, D, G, B, E. Take a look at this image to see which note each string should be tuned to. Note that your highest and lowest strings are both E, the same note spaced two octaves apart.

Each note corresponds to the pitch your string should produce when played open, without holding down any of the frets. When you’re tuning, it’s best to start with the sixth string and work your way down.

How to Tune Guitar with a Chromatic or Pitch Tuner

When you’re learning how to tune a guitar, it’s very important to have a reliable method of finding the right pitch for each string. Most guitarists either use an electronic tuner, app, or another instrument. Each method comes with pros and cons.

For most beginners, using a tuner is the simplest way to find the right pitch for your guitar. Tuners come in a few different varieties. Chromatic tuners “hear” the note you’re playing and display the pitch your string is currently tuned to. You will be able to see if your guitar is sharp or flat, and also see when you’ve adjusted the string to the correct note. Here’s a video to show what this process looks like-


Pitch tuners play the pitch for each string and you must match each note by ear. You can also get a tuning fork, which you strike to produce the correct pitch for your guitar string. If you happen to be near your computer when the need to tune arises, it’s also easy to find a free online guitar tuner, like this one by Fender.

If you do decide to invest in a tuner or tuning fork, ask yourself if you’re a more visual person or if you’ve developed an “ear” for musical notes and intervals. Visual people and beginning musicians will benefit greatly from the use of a chromatic tuner, and over time may begin to develop a better ear for music by using a tuner as a guide.

If you feel confident in your ability to hear and distinguish pitch (or if you like a challenge), you might be happier with a tuning fork or a tuner that plays pitch.

SEE ALSO: 5 Basic Guitar Chords and 20 Easy Songs for Beginners

How to Tune a Guitar Without a Pitch Tuner

If you find yourself playing solo without a tuner, you can make a guitar sound decent by tuning it “to itself.” Check out this helpful tutorial, or follow the steps below.

Start with your sixth string held down on the fifth fret. You’re now playing an A on your E string. Adjust your fifth string, the A string, until your A string played open matches the pitch of the E string played on the fifth fret. It can be helpful to hum the correct note as you tune your open string, so you can better hear if your string is tuned too tight or loose.

Next, tune your D string to match the pitch of your A string played on the fifth fret. You can continue tuning each string to the fifth fret of the string above it, except for the B string. To tune your B string, hold the G string down on the fourth fret. As long as each string is tuned to the correct interval from the next string, your guitar will still sound fine by itself.

How to Tune a Guitar by Matching Pitch with a Keyboard

If you don’t have a guitar tuner handy, but you do have access to a piano, you can use the piano to find the correct pitch for your guitar. Tuning to a piano or keyboard is a great way to get the right pitch for your guitar, and is especially useful if you will be playing along with a pianist or other instrument.


Just tune your sixth string to the E two octaves below middle C. From there, you can tune your guitar to itself or continue to match each pitch to the right notes as you go up the keyboard.

Alternate Guitar Tunings

What do Joni Mitchell and Black Sabbath have in common? It’s all in the tuning! Both artists often used alternate tunings to get unique sounds from their guitars. Once you have a good idea of how to tune a guitar, it can be lots of fun to experiment with alternate guitar tunings. There are hundreds of possible alternate tunings for the guitar, but two of the most common alternate tunings are Drop D and Open G.

Drop D Tuning

Tuning your guitar to Drop D is pretty simple. Start with your guitar in standard tuning, and just tune your sixth string down a full step from E to D. Famous songs in Drop D tuning include the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”, and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon”.

Open G Tuning

If you love Keith Richards’ guitar playing in the Rolling Stones, you’re already a fan of Open G tuning. In Open G, your guitar strings are tuned to the notes of the G chord, so when you strum open you’re already playing a complete chord. Starting from the sixth string, tune to the following notes: D-G-D-G-B-D.

How Often Should I Tune a Guitar?

Guitars are very sensitive instruments. The wood in your guitar expands and contracts slightly due to changes in temperature and humidity, which change the tension in the strings and cause them to go out of tune. You might even notice your guitar going out of tune as you play it, particularly if you tend to play very hard or frequently bend pitches.

Due to the guitar’s sensitivity, it’s best to tune at the start of your practice, and again any time you sense that it doesn’t sound quite right. You will notice even professional musicians occasionally need to take some time during performances to tune a guitar.

How Can I Make My Guitar Stay in Tune Longer?

Keep your guitar in tune longer by changing your strings regularly. Depending on how often you play, you might want to change your strings anywhere from once a month to once a week. When you’re not playing, store your guitar in a hard case in a cool, dry place to avoid changes in heat and humidity.

If you follow these tips but still have issues with your guitar going out of tune, there may be an issue with your instrument’s intonation. Intonation refers to your instrument’s ability to hold pitch. Intonation may be affected by wear and tear as you play your guitar or the way your guitar was manufactured. Visit a local guitar shop and ask them to take a look at your guitar’s intonation and they should be able to help you find the right solution to your tuning woes.

how to tune a guitar infographic

How to Tune a Guitar Step-by-Step:

  • Step 1: Start by tuning the low E String.
  • Step 2: Next, tune the A String.
  • Step 3: Tune the D String.
  • Step 4: Tune the G String.
  • Step 5: Tune the B String.
  • Step 6: Tune the High E String.

Free Online Guitar Tuners

There are a number of great free online guitar tuners you can use to help you tune your guitar. Here are a few of our favorites:

8notes.com – You can use this tuner to hear the correct pitch, or activate your computer’s microphone to enable pitch detection.

JamPlay – This free online guitar tuner from JamPlay also allows you to tune by ear or use your computer’s microphone for pitch detection.

TrueFire – TrueFire makes a great free guitar tuner you can use on your computer in addition to their fantastic Pro Guitar Tuner app.

GuitarTricks – This tuner uses real guitar tones so you can match your instrument to its sounds.

Now that you know how to tune a guitar, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time. Need some more help with basic guitar skills? Check out the online guitar classes for free at TakeLessons Live. You’ll learn how to play different chords, new strumming patterns, and some of your favorite songs!

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Why are music lessons so expensive

Super Easy Ways to Save up for Music Lessons [Infographic]

Why are music lessons so expensive

One common question asked by many aspiring musicians (and oftentimes, their parents) is: “Why are music lessons so expensive?”

There are a few main factors that contribute to the cost of music lessons. In this blog post, we’ll uncover what those factors are and then share 10 clever solutions that make saving up for music lessons easier than you think.

Why are Music Lessons so Expensive?

The average cost of private, in-home music lessons is $31.50 for a 30-minute lesson, according to this nationwide study by TakeLessons.

The average cost of online music lessons is a little more affordable, at $25 per 30-minute lesson. That comes out to $100 a month if you take one lesson per week.

While these rates might seem high at first glance, they make more sense when you take the following factors into consideration.

  • Music teachers are often self employed and don’t have the benefits of a salaried position
  • Many teachers factor in the time and expenses it takes to travel to your home for lessons
  • Music teachers take extra time to prep for each individual student prior to a lesson
  • Some teachers pay for their own studio and additional instruments for students
  • Teachers who are just starting out don’t have enough students to fill up a 9-5 work shift
  • If you live in a bigger city, the cost of lessons will be higher because there is more competition in the market

Now you know some of the reasons why music lessons are expensive. If the dream of becoming a better musician still seems distant because of your financial situation, keep reading for some easy ways to save up!

10 Easy Ways to Save Up for Music Lessons

Save $150 a month brewing at home

Are you an avid coffee drinker? If you find yourself making daily trips to your local cafe, one excellent way to save five dollars a day is to try brewing your coffee at home instead.

Consider it an opportunity to try out some new roasts, and a small sacrifice to have to make on your way to musical success. After just one month, you’ll be able to afford six online music lessons (at $25 per 30-minute lesson).  

Save $300 a month packing a lunch

The cost of eating out adds up quickly. Did you know that waking up just a little bit earlier than normal to prepare a lunch can save you hundreds every month? Or, an even easier option is to make some extra food for dinner the night before your work day!

At $10 a day in savings, you’ll have saved up the equivalent of 12 online music lessons by the end of the month.

Save hundreds on your commute

Driving your own car to work can cost you hundreds of extra dollars per month. Instead, try carpooling with coworkers, or if you live close to the office, try bike riding.

Another great idea that will also save you money on parking is to use public transportation, such as a bus or train. Any one of these options will save you hundreds in gas money per month, which you can gladly put toward music lessons instead.

Save $100 a month cutting cable

Many people who have cable find that they don’t actually use it enough to warrant the high monthly cost. If that sounds like you, consider cancelling cable and spending more of your free time on your hobbies.  

With $100 in monthly savings, you’ll be able to afford weekly music lessons after cancelling a cable subscription.     

Save $50 a month skipping the gym

No, we’re not giving you an excuse to stop exercising. Staying in shape is extremely important to your overall health. But instead of spending money on a gym membership, try going for a run or riding a bike at your local park instead.

With all the workout routines available on the internet, it’s easy to get in shape in the comfort of your own home, too! An average $50 monthly gym membership fee equates to two music lessons per month.

Save hundreds more with a rewards card

If you have a credit card that allows you to accrue rewards points with every purchase you make, why not redeem those points as cash and apply them to music lessons?

Rack up the points by using your credit card to pay for groceries, gas, and bills. Many credit cards don’t have a limit to how many points you can accrue or an expiration date on your points.

SEE ALSO: Private Lessons Don’t Need to be Expensive – Here’s How to Save

Save $100 a month staying sober

For some aspiring musicians, this saving strategy might seem like a lot to ask. But just like eating out, the cost of alcoholic beverages can add up very quickly.

Drinking a bottle of wine each week for example, can end up costing you around $100 a month. If you simply cross wine off of your shopping list, you’d be able to afford weekly online music lessons.

Save $50 a month doing your nails

For the ladies, getting a monthly manicure and pedicure will cost you a minimum of $50 a month. Do your own nails instead, or go au naturel, and you’ll be able to afford two additional online music lessons every month.

If you’re learning an instrument like guitar or violin, having short nails will help you hold down the strings much easier anyway!

Bundle up to save even more!

See if you can join a family plan if you currently just have a single line. Reevaluating your cell phone plan is an easy way to save money on your monthly bills.

If joining a plan with relatives isn’t an option, consider getting a group of friends together on the same plan instead. Splitting the cost of a plan with unlimited data is much more affordable than paying for it all on your own.

Pass on name brands

Every grocery store has its own line of products, and they’re usually cheaper than the big name brands we all recognize. A lot of times the ingredients in these products are exactly the same.

Skip name brand items at the grocery store to save up more money every week for music lessons. You can also apply this tip to shopping for clothes – every little bit helps.

Save the infographic below as a visual reminder and watch your savings add up!

 

Why are music lessons so expensive

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With the right tips and tricks, anyone can afford music lessons. Yes, music lessons can be expensive. But don’t let money stand in the way of you reaching your goals and dreams. If you put your mind to it, anything is possible!

Want one more way to make music lessons even more affordable? Start out with online group classes, as opposed to private lessons.

At just $19.95 a month for new students, TakeLessons Live offers group classes in many instruments and skills, from ukulele to music theory. Plus, you’ll get a whole month’s worth of classes for free when you sign up. Try it today!

 

hawaiian ukulele songs

Strum Patterns You’ll Need to Play Hawaiian Ukulele Songs

hawaiian ukulele songs

Get your uke and start strumming! Music teacher Christopher S. shares how to play five common ukulele strumming patterns

In order to play any stringed instrument, such as the guitar, mandolin, or ukulele, you have to learn how to strum it. Strumming is an essential part to playing the ukulele, which gives it that true Hawaiian-Island sound.

In this article, I will discuss the different types of strum patterns used when learning to play Hawaiian ukulele songs and also the positioning of the hand to achieve these different strum patterns.

There are many different ways to start learning basic strumming on the ukulele. You will also see that, by looking at other ukulele players, everybody has their own style. Eventually, with proper practice, you will take suggestions and patterns and develop your own techniques and styles, as well.

To get you started, here are my suggestions to begin learning the common techniques and practices of strumming the ukulele.

Strumming Technique

First, start off with a simple chord (for example, a C chord), and practice your strumming technique with just that chord. The most common and traditional way of strumming the ukulele is by using your index finger. With your right hand just over the sound hole of the instrument, strum down with the index finger, hitting the strings with your nail. When you strum up, just bring your index finger back up into the palm of your hand, and the strings will make contact with the flesh of your finger.

Another popular strumming method is to put your thumb and index finger together to form a semi-two-sided pick. That way you strum down with the nail of your index finger and up with the nail of your thumb.

In any case, it is always important to strum with your wrist and not your whole hand when strumming. Using your entire hand and arm to strum can get tiring quickly and you will loose control much more easily.

Basic Strum Patterns

Now that you have the basics in strumming technique, let’s take a look at some basic strum patterns which you can use to play your favorite Hawaiian ukulele songs!

To help notate these patterns, I will use a “D” indicating a down strum and a “U” indicating an up strum. A “-” means that there is a pause or a missed strum.

The most common time in all music is the 4/4 (“four-four”) time signature. This means that, in one bar of music, you can count “1, 2, 3, 4,” and it fits right into one complete strum pattern.

Pattern One

This first pattern is a very common one and is very easy to do once you have the feel for it. My suggestion to learning this pattern is to try to play it slow. Do it once, and then stop the strings, and then do it again the same way. Once you feel comfortable with the finger motion, try repeating it but keeping it at a slow tempo. Lastly, play it at a faster tempo so that it sounds like music! This pattern is very common and can even be used in the song “Hey Ya!” by Outkast.

Strumming Pattern 1: D – D U – U D –

Pattern Two

This second pattern is very similar to strumming pattern 1, although it has another “up” strum at the end to really connect the repetitions. This makes it seem a little harder; however, once you start using it, it may seem even more natural to do. You can use this pattern in the song “High Hopes” by Paolo Nutini.

Strumming Pattern 2: D – D U – U D U

Pattern Three

This next strumming pattern is a really straight-forward one and is very easy to do. You can play this pattern in the song “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys, and you will instantly hear it.

Strumming Pattern 3: D – D U D U D U

Pattern Four

Now, lets look at what is known as “Half-Bar Patterns.” Just like the name implies, these are patterns which only make up two beats of the 4/4 (“four-four”) measure. These patterns are good to use on songs where the chords change quickly. This pattern can be used to play the “Sesame Street” theme song. Of course, like all patterns, this one gets repeated, so make sure you practice changing chords on every repeat.

Strumming Pattern 4: D – D U

Pattern Five

This last pattern will use a new technique. When reading strumming notation, you may see an “x.” This is to indicate that you make a percussive sound, rather than a harmonic sound, when you strum. To do this, you simply relax the left-hand fingers, so they are touching the strings but not applying pressure. Then, when you strum with the right hand, you get a kind of “chink” sound. This next pattern uses that “chink” sound which you can hear in a song like “Betrayed by Bones” by Hellogoodbye.

Strumming Pattern 5: D U x U

Knowing basic strumming patterns is a great first step to learning how to play Hawaiian ukulele songs. Be sure to spend some time practicing the patterns above to change up your practice and improve your technique. These patterns can be applied to other genres, as well.

Lastly, be sure to work with a ukulele instructor to really fine tune your uke-playing skills! A teacher can show you what you are doing well, or need to improve on, and will make your ukulele practice more effective and enjoyable.

Photo by aaron gilson

Christopher S.Post Author: Christopher S.
Christopher S. teaches online ukulele, guitar, and bass guitar lessons. He lived abroad in Seville, Spain for two years, where he studied classical and flamenco guitar. He is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Guitar Performance, and has been teaching students since 2004. Learn more about Christopher here!

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How long does it take to learn a language

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language? Find Out Here.

How long does it take to learn a language

These days, almost everyone has an excellent reason to learn a language. International business, cross-cultural friendships, and multi-country travel have made language proficiency a common goal.

Many people on the path to fluency find themselves asking, “How long does it take to learn a language?” In this blog post, we’ll share some interesting statistics, but also a few reasons why there might not be a clear-cut answer.

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Language?

What the Experts Say

First, let’s take a look at the statistics. The U.S. Foreign Service Institute conducted a study to determine the answer. The result: the key factor in determining how long it will take you to learn is how different your target language is from your native language.

For languages like French, Spanish, and Italian, which are among the most similar to English, it will take between 575-600 hours to achieve a level of “General professional proficiency.” On the other end of the spectrum, languages like Arabic and Japanese will take around 2,200 hours.

While these numbers might seem intimidating, they are actually completely within reach with the right tools, plan, and some determination!

Factors that Affect Language Learning

While the statistics above are helpful references, the fact is that the speed of your language acquisition is affected by a number of factors. Language learning is highly personal based on your previous knowledge, your learning style, your preferences (group classes, individual lessons, online, or in-person), and more.

Here are some of the main factors that will affect how long it takes you to learn a language.

Your Learning Style

Some students learn quicker than others, either because they’re on a timeline or, they might just be better at striking up conversations with native speakers. Other students prefer to study at a slower pace, attending weekly classes and completing homework in between. And of course, every student’s level of motivation and determination is different.

Your Experience With Languages

Are you already bilingual? If so, you’re probably already familiar with how to study a new language, and it will come more naturally to you. Bonus points if you’re learning a language that’s in the same “family” or category of languages.

For example, if you already know Spanish, then French and Italian will be easier for you. If you already know Hebrew, then Arabic will be much more familiar.

Method of Learning

For as many reasons as there are to learn a language, there are easily as many ways to learn a language. Language learning methods are exponentially growing, and that’s a good thing!

The method you choose can greatly affect your pace of learning. If you choose an in-person, intensive course, you’ll make rapid progress. On the other hand, less frequent group classes or simply using a language learning app will likely take longer to yield the same result.

SEE ALSO: How to Make Learning a Language Easier and Faster

Amount of Time Spent

Language learning takes practice. The more time you’re able to dedicate to it, the quicker you’ll learn. Keep in mind that language learning doesn’t only occur in the classroom. You’ll also need time for practice exercises or homework, listening to audio recordings or music, watching videos, and interacting with speakers of the language through immersion or travel.

The Language You’re Learning

As noted above, the language you’re learning can be the difference between 24 weeks and 88 weeks of language instruction to reach the same level of proficiency. While it’s not the only thing you should take into consideration, it’s an important fact to consider when choosing a language to learn.

Now, Here’s the Fastest Way to Learn a Language…

Now that you know approximately how long it will take you to learn a language, here are a few tips to further minimize the time you’ll spend on the path to fluency. We’ll also share some things to avoid that will actually prolong your language learning.

Tips & Tricks to Learn Faster

  • Be Consistent – Create a regular schedule for study time, and stick to it! Languages require constant reinforcement, so to progress faster, don’t let your study time slide.
  • Find the Right Teacher – Choosing a teacher who understands your unique learning style makes a big difference.
  • Stay Motivated – Remind yourself why you’re learning the language often, and keep it in your mind as you work toward your goal.
  • Have Some Variety – Instead of just sticking to your textbook, embrace the variety of opportunities there are to practice your language – including movies, music, and apps!
  • Plan Ahead – With a clear plan right from the get-go, you’ll be able to avoid distraction or forgetfulness in your study sessions.

What NOT To Do

  • On and Off Language Learning – Many language learners lose momentum in their learning because they start and stop too often. Don’t let that be you! Commit to your language study and you won’t regret it.
  • Neglecting Homework or Practice – Lessons or classes will greatly aid your learning, but don’t forget to do your homework! Regular practice outside of class is essential to make quicker progress.
  • Getting Stuck in Beginner’s Land – Hesitation is a common feeling among beginners, but in order to advance, you can’t be afraid to strike up conversations with native speakers, speak up in class, or look for other opportunities to engage in your target language.

Language learning is a unique journey for everyone, but by following these suggestions, you should be able to learn faster. The best way to get started today is with the guidance of an experienced language teacher. Learning on your own can yield some progress, but without someone to listen to and correct you, you’ll be making errors you can’t identify on your own.

A competent, qualified teacher can guide you in the right direction and introduce concepts, vocabulary, and grammar at just the right time for you. Check out TakeLessons Live for free online classes. Get started today and you’ll be speaking your target language before you know it!

Joan BPost Author: Joan B.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Learn more about Joan here!
Top 10 Essential Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Top 10 Essential & Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Top 10 Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersLooking for easy ukulele songs for beginners? You can’t go wrong with any of the tunes on this list by ukulele teacher Willy M.! Although each of these hits are easy uke songs for beginners, they might require you to learn a new chord or two.

10 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Learning to play the ukulele comes with a whole catalog of fun songs. To help you out on your budding career as a ukulele player, here are the top 10 essential easy uke songs to play. Keep scrolling for videos of each.

  • I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura
  • Riptide – Vance Joy
  • Mele Kalikimaka – Robert Alex Anderson
  • Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
  • Upside Down – Jack Johnson
  • Tonight You Belong to Me – Prudence and Patience
  • Hey Soul Sister – Train
  • I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  • I Do/Falling For You – Colbie Caillat
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

10. Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

In 1993, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole brought us his interpretation of two classic songs that have been inscribed into the American consciousness – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World.”

This track was featured on Iz’s album Facing Future, and since has gone on to be a staple in many movies. It was featured in Meet Joe Black, Finding Forester, 50 First Dates, Son of the Mask, and several other popular movies. Fun fact: the album Facing Future holds the record for the bestselling album by a Hawaiian national to date.

There are eight chords in this song, but they are not particularly difficult chords to play: C, G, F, Am – typical chords for the key of C, with E7, D, Dm7, and Em thrown into the mix for fun. I chose this song as #10 since it will probably require the most work, but it will definitely be appreciated by your audience.

9. I Do/Falling For You – Colbie Caillat

Next up on this list of easy ukulele songs is a combo of “I Do” and “Falling for You” by Colbie Caillat. Both Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz were at the head of the modern ukulele movement. Caillat has many songs that are great for the ukulele. I recommend learning both of these songs and playing them as a medley.

“Falling for You” isn’t necessarily a ukulele song, but it works great with “I Do.” “Falling for You” is in the key of D using D, A, Em, and G. “I Do” is in the key of G and uses the chords G, D, C, D7, Em, Am, B7, and Cm. The Cm might give you a bit of a challenge, but if you can tackle “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World,” I know you can handle this song as well!

8. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

I probably wouldn’t be writing articles about the ukulele if you hadn’t heard the song “I’m Yours.” The fact is, Jason Mraz took a simple ukulele line and married it to a tremendously catchy tune giving us this song that once is in your head, it just won’t go away. The cool thing for you budding uke players out there, is that it’s a really simple song to play, from the basic lead intro to the shuffling strumming pattern.

This song uses chords known as the “oldies progression” because they are common to a lot of popular songs from the 50s. These chords are really just C, Am, F, and G. Jason also throws in a D for the turnaround section to build a bit more tension. Give yourself a few hours of practice and you’ll have this song in the bag.

7. Hey Soul Sister – Train

After Jason and Colbie hit the charts, 90s wonder band Train came back with a Jason Mraz sounding groove entitled “Hey Soul Sister.” The song is very similar in structure to “I’m Yours.” Now I’m not saying Train copied Jason Mraz, well, maybe I am. I think the legal term is “heavily influenced by. ”

If you check out the chord structure, “Hey Soul Sister” is basically the same song as “I’m Yours,” but with different lyrics and a different pattern to the chorus. Essentially, if you can learn “I’m Yours” and transpose it to the key of G, you’ll have this song down. In G, the chord progression will be G, Em, C, and D.

6. Upside Down – Jack Johnson

One of my all time favorite songs to play is “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson from the movie Curious George. “Upside Down” only has 5 chords (E, F#m, A, B, and G#m), and the lead lick is very simple to play.

I personally like to play this song in the key of G (G, Am, C, D, and Bm). Like I suggested for Colbie’s songs, feel free to segue some of Jack’s songs together to create a good medley!

5. Tonight You Belong to Me – Prudence and Patience

At some point in your ukulele career you are going to be asked to play this song, made popular by Steve Martin’s rendition in the movie The Jerk. This is a fun little song, originally done by a girl band called “Prudence and Patience.”

If you have a coronet player to play with you, it’s even more fun! This is one of the most basic ukulele songs too, using only the chords A, D, G, and E with a Dm and an Eb thrown in for good measure. Have fun with this sweet, romantic tune!

4. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton

A song that you probably didn’t expect to see on this list is “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. This beautiful song, which was written after he tragically lost his son Conner, is one that has brought tears and healing to countless people after their own losses. It is definitely a great song to have in your repertoire.

It’s not a very difficult song to play, but the bridge might take some extra attention. The main chords in the song are A, E, F#m, and D with a C#m thrown in. But in the bridge Clapton goes into the key of G for a minute, throwing in the G and C as well.

It might sound like a bit of a challenge, but it will be worth it to learn this meaningful tune.

3. Mele Kalikimaka – Robert Alex Anderson

When you play the ukulele, you won’t always be playing around a campfire or on the beach. Sometime you will be asked to play holiday music, and “Mele Kalikimaka” is one easy uke song you should have in your songbook.

“Mele Kalikimaka” was popularized by Bing Crosby but unlike most crooner songs, this one is pretty simple to play. G, D7, E, C, A7, and Am should get you through most of the song. It’s immediately recognizable and if you can croon a bit, you’ll really wow your audience!

2. Riptide – Vance Joy

I found this little gem on YouTube one day. The original song sounds to me like someone playing a classical guitar with a capo. However, this young lady does a killer rendition on the ukulele.

This fun ukulele song only has Am, G, and C chords, so even the most brand new uke players should be able to handle it.

1. I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura

The final song I want to include on this list of easy uke songs for beginners is one of my favorite good time songs – “I Make My Own Sunshine” by Alyssa Bonagura. This song features the ukulele and is infectiously catchy!

The uke chords are simple: G, D, Em, and C. I think Alyssa tunes down a half step in the original song, but you’ll be fine using these chords! Did you notice the oldies progression keeps cropping up again and again on this list?

Well, there you have it – the top 10 easy ukulele songs every beginner should learn. Practicing these songs until you master them is an excellent way to challenge yourself to get better at the ukulele. Need some extra help advancing your skills? Search for a ukulele teacher today and you’ll be playing all of these songs in no time!

Willy M

Author: Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80’s. Learn more about Willy here!

 

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Mother's Day Poems in Spanish

5 Beautiful Mother’s Day Poems in Spanish

Mother's Day Poems in Spanish

Mothers love a genuine and creative gift. Writing a poem, or even simply reciting a poem, is a great addition to any Mother’s Day present or greeting card. If you’re learning Spanish or have a Spanish-speaking mother, here are five Mother’s Day poems in Spanish that will melt her heart!

5 Beautiful Mother’s Day Poems in Spanish

“A mi madre”

Mamá

Eres una mujer muy fuerte

Traes bendiciones y buena suerte

Me ayudaste a crecer como una mariposa

Y esta es la razón por la que te estoy dando más de una rosa

Feliz dia de las madres a la mejor mamá

Te amo

Translation:

Mother

You are a strong woman

You bring blessings and good luck

You helped me grow like a butterfly

And that is the reason why I am giving you more than a rose

Happy Mother’s day to the best mom

I love you

This is a beautiful poem for a strong mother who truly helped shape you into the person you are today. If you choose to read this poem to your mom, I’d suggest also giving her some roses as the poem suggests, and maybe even some chocolates too!

“Ella”

Me dio vida

Amoroso honesto

La mejor mamá

Translation:

Gave me life

Loving, honest

The best mom

This simple yet elegant poem is a haiku when written or recited in Spanish. It’s perfect for the artsy and creative mother who prefers something short and sweet.

“El Mejor”

Eres la mamá más graciosa

Me haces reir todo el dia

Eres la mamá más fabulosa

Desfruto tu compania

Feliz día de la madre

Translation:

You are the funniest mom

You make me laugh all day

You are the most fabulous mom

I enjoy your company

Happy Mother’s Day

If your mom is silly or a jokester, then she’ll love this poem. Think outside of the box with how you share this poem with her. Maybe you can get it written on a cake!

SEE ALSO- Mother’s Day Music: 5 Guitar Songs to Play for Mom

“De Mamá a Abuela”

Tú me muestras amor, Me muestras fuerzas

Me enseñaste todo lo que sé

Y ahora tengo mi propio bebé

Mis hijos dicen feliz día de madres para mí

Siempre te diré feliz día de madres a ti, la mujer que empezó todo

Translation:

You show me love, You show me strength

You taught me everything I know

And now I have my own baby

My children say Happy Mother’s Day to me

I will always say Happy Mother’s Day to you, the woman who started everything

If this doesn’t make her tear up, we don’t know what else will! This is a great poem for a mother to write to her own mom. Any grandmother would love it because it acknowledges her as the woman who started it all!

“Como tú”

Cuando crezca quiero ser como tú, una gran mujer

Eres honesto y verdadero

Eres inteligente y creativo

Eres cariñoso y amable

No más que decir excepto tener un fabuloso día de madres

Translation:

When I grow up, I want to be just like you, a great woman

You are honest and true

You are intelligent and creative

You are loving and kind

There is nothing more to say except have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

This poem is ideal for a young girl who admires her mother and all of her virtues. Recite this poem to your mom and she will surely appreciate that she’s your most cherished role model.
Any of these poems would make your mother smile on her special day. If you want to use one of these poems, feel free to change some of the adjectives to make it more personal for your mom. You can also frame and decorate the poems to add that personal touch!  

Breeana D.Post Author: Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

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easy ukulele songs for beginners

Flower Power: 4 Easy Ukulele Songs from the 60s

easy ukulele songs for beginners

Ready for a time warp? Ukulele teacher Willy M. has five classic tunes from the 60s that are perfect for your ukulele!

There was something about the music of the 1960s that has remained popular year after year. The nice thing about this for the beginning ukulele player is that 60s songs make great tunes to learn on the ukulele, simply because they’re relatively easy to play. Here are five easy ukulele songs for beginners that come from the swinging 60s.

1. “Up Around the Bend”

The first song I want to point out to you is the classic Credence Clearwater Revival song written by John Fogarty called “Up Around the Bend.” This fun little tune has a verse chorus structure, so there are only two parts of the song to learn. The verse couldn’t be easier – there’s only two simple chords, the D chord and the A chord. You can also make the A chord an A7 when you are transitioning back to the D chord; but really it is as easy as just playing the D for a line, and then the A for a line.

In the chorus the song adds some depth by adding the G chord, but both lines of the chorus are simply a G chord to a D chord, and then finally ending on the A chord.

2. “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”

What 1960s collection of songs would be complete without including something from the late great Otis Redding? “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” was the last song Redding recorded before his tragic death in a plane crash at the tender age of 26 years old. Though his life was short, the gospel-turned-R&B singer left a brilliant catalog of hits, and in my opinion, this is one of his finest. “Dock of the Bay” is a great song for the ukulele, and it will challenge you to move out of your three chord frame of mind.

Unlike “Up around the Bend,” “Dock of the Bay” has three parts that you’ll have to learn, and several chords. However, all of the chords are simple chords that you can barre across the fret board to create. If you’re having trouble, you can tune your ukulele to Open G tuning to make it even easier, tuning it G B D G.

This song is in the key of G, but typical to a lot of 50s and 60s gospel music, it includes a few borrowed chords: A, E, B and F. To a new player, it will almost seem as if Otis couldn’t decide if he wanted to be in the key of G, C or A. But, what he’s really doing is borrowing chords from other keys to make the song sound more restless. It works well, and this song has remained popular ever since it was recorded.

Make sure you watch for the only F chord in the song when you get to the bridge. It provides the tension needed to get back to the more simple verse structure.

3. “Brown Eyed Girl”

“Brown Eyed Girl” is a very interesting, yet incredibly simple song to play. I can’t really call it a verse chorus type structure, because it’s really just a long verse with a repeated ending at the end of each verse. It has a refrain, but it’s more like a bridge that sets up the verse again. Regardless of the complexity of the song structure, it is really easy to play and learn.

“Brown Eyed Girl” is another song in the key of G with only the G, C and D chords, chords you probably already know as a beginning ukulele player. So, tackling this song should be second nature. And, once you get all your friends joining in on the la, ti, da’s at the end, you’ll feel like the master campfire ukulele player!

4. “Love Me Do”

No anthology of the 1960s would be complete without two bands who dominated the early 60s Billboard charts with catchy, easy to play love songs: The Beatles and The Beach Boys. So, to conclude our little foray into these 1960s easy ukulele songs for beginners, we are going to look at a couple of these bands’ songs. First, let’s take a look at The Beatles. “Love Me Do” is one of the easier songs The Beatles wrote. It is also in the key of G, with only the three main chords G, C and D for the bulk of the song. The Beatles get a little tricky and throw in that F chord to give it some spice on the bridge, but now that you’ve mastered “Dock of the Bay,” you know how to play it and can throw it into this song as well.

You need to be a little careful when you attempt to play these types of Beatles songs, though, because when it comes to doing the little head shake thing, people have been known to get whiplash! Just kidding. Next time you’re sitting at your next backyard barbecue, throw in a little Beatles, and you’ll have everyone singing in no time! See the chords and lyrics here.

I hope you have a great time as you give these easy ukulele songs for beginners a try at your next luau or 60s dance – or whatever fun party you’re going to have this summer! These five easy ukulele songs are sure to get your friends doing the mashed potato or surfer’s stomp in no time!

Learn more ukulele songs and techniques by studying with a private ukulele instructor. Find your ukulele teacher now!

Willy M

Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston Salem, NC. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80s. Learn more about Willy here!

 

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Most unique instruments to learn

Top 10 Most Unique Instruments to Learn

Unique instruments to learn

Tired of fitting into the status quo? Want to impress and surprise your friends with something different? If piano and guitar seem boring to you, then you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading as we share 10 of the most unique instruments to learn from across the globe.

Top 10 Unique Instruments to Learn

Bagpipes

Fun Facts About Bagpipes 

  • The bagpipe is a wind instrument that has been played for an entire millennium.
  • Although commonly believed to have originated in Scotland, historians believe it was first played in ancient Rome and Persia.

Finger Cymbals

Fun Facts About Finger Cymbals

  • Finger cymbals are also known as “zills.”
  • This set of four small, metallic cymbals is often used in belly dancing performances.

Banjo

unique instruments to learn - the banjo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts About Banjos

  • Not all banjos are alike – the instruments can have anywhere from four to six strings.
  • It’s now associated with country music, but the banjo was initially designed by the first African Americans.

Harmonica

Fun Facts About Harmonicas

  • The harmonica is also known as a French harp or mouth organ.
  • There are several different types of harmonicas, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and bass.
  • Because playing the harmonica helps promote deep breathing, it’s often used in physical therapy programs for pulmonary rehabilitation.

SEE ALSO: The 5 Easiest Instruments Perfect for Adult Learners

Accordion

Fun Facts About Accordions

  • An accordionist performs by expanding the instrument’s bellows while pressing down keys with both their right and left hands to play the melody and accompaniment.
  • The accordion is commonly used in Brazilian pop music.

Harp

Unique instruments to learn - the harp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts About Harps

  • The use of harps can be traced all the way back to 3,500 BC, but they gained popularity during the middle ages and renaissance period in Europe.
  • Harps vary in size – some are small enough to be played on your lap!

Oboe

Fun Facts About Oboes

  • Oboe is pronounced “oh-boh” and it stems from the French word “hautbois.”
  • This woodwind instrument is most commonly played in concert bands and orchestras.

Ukulele

Fun Facts About Ukuleles

  • One of the most popular unique instruments to learn, the ukulele originated in Hawaii before making its way to the mainland.
  • Multiple celebrities have picked up the easy-to-learn instrument, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ryan Gosling.

SEE ALSO: 15 Awesome Musical Instruments You Can Make At Home

Bassoon

unique instruments to learn - bassoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts About Bassoons

  • Like the oboe, this woodwind instrument is common in orchestras and concert bands.
  • The bassoon is known for its wide range and its sound is comparable to a male baritone voice.

Mandolin

Fun Facts About Mandolins

  • The most commonly played mandolin has eight strings and was first designed in Italy.
  • Considered an easier instrument to learn, the mandolin can be heard in country, folk, and bluegrass music.

Learn any one of these instruments and you’re sure to stand out from the crowd. With the right teacher, becoming a pro at banjo or mandolin is easy. Need help finding a music teacher who is experienced in an unusual instrument? You can easily search for a qualified music teacher here.

If you know of any more unique instruments to learn, leave a comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

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