Thinking about learning to play ukulele this summer? Ukulele teacher Willy M. has 101 reasons why it’s a great idea!
Summer is in full swing so I’m bringing you 101 reasons to learn to play ukulele. I hope you find a reason to start taking ukulele lessons!
1. Playing the ukulele will immediately make you cool.
2. Playing the ukulele (especially with friends) is a really fun activity.
3. You can take a ukulele anywhere, unlike a tuba which is much less portable.
4. Though I can’t seem to find the supporting scientific evidence, I’m sure people who play the ukulele get more dates than those who don’t.
5. What’s a Tiny Tim impression without a ukulele? If you can play the ukulele, your Tiny Tim will be spot on.
6. The ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn how to play.
7. People who play the ukulele often win free tickets to Hawaii (Okay, that might be not really be true, but it would be great if it was).
8. If you do go to Hawaii, you can fight right in by learning a few easy Hawaiian songs on your uke.
9. Playing the ukulele makes a strong impression on people.
10. If you are left handed, playing the ukulele will help you learn how to use your right hand more, and…
11. If you are right handed, playing the ukulele will help your learn how to use your left hand.
12. Be the life of the party! There is always a crowd of people around a uke player.
13. There are a lot of easy songs to learn on the ukulele using only two easy chords. The Joe Cocker classic, “Feeling Alright” only uses C and F.
14. If you want to get ambitious, you can learn a third chord and open up thousands of songs for the ukulele. Most blues songs have three chords. You can be the premiere Robert Johnson of the ukulele!
15. Believe it or not, some early ukulele music featured slide, so you can even play slide on the ukulele.
16. If you are short on cash, you can play your ukulele on the side of the road for tips, whereas other hobbies do not usually pay for themselves.
17. Ukuleles are relatively inexpensive starter instruments. A cheap ukulele can be purchased for under $50, and even expensive well-made ukuleles are not as expensive as some other instruments.
18. It’s a known fact, the ukulele is not as cool as the mandolin, where you have 8 glorious strings to play, but the uke is still a cool instrument. And for those who can’t handle playing 8 strings, the ukulele only has 4, so you should be ok.
19. You can refer to it as a uke by shortening the name, but sadly, if anyone called the mandolin a “mand,” no one would know what you were talking about. And if you shorten guitar down to “guit-“ people in England might get offended.
20. Playing the ukulele has been known to make people taller. So if you’re short, you should definitely start playing the ukulele! I’m basing that on the fact that most of my 10-12 year old students are much taller by the end of the year than when they started taking lessons. I’m sure the ukulele had something to do with it.
21. When you play the ukulele this summer, your listeners will instantly think they are in some tropical locale and will be thankful for it.
22. If you learn to play the ukulele this summer, when winter comes you can throw some sand around in your living room, turn on some bright lights, and pretend you are at the beach. Instant cure for the winter blues!
23. Ukuleles are sturdy instruments, so they handle being near the beach (salt water, sand, sun) better than other less durable instruments like expensive Stradivarius violins.
24. I mean, who would want to take a Stradivarius to the beach anyway!?! Wait a minute that’s not an additional point!
25. Ukulele players are known to be better looking than Stradivarius players. I mean compare Colbie Caillat with Itzhak Perlman or Yehudi Menuhin. I mean Perlman and Menuhin were awesome, but who would you rather have at your next barbecue? I rest my case!
26. Ukuleles make great food trays when you are at the barbecue, so when you are not playing you can use your ukulele to balance your plate of hotdogs and potato salad. If you detune and are not playing… instant cup-holder!
27. Ukuleles are cheap enough that if you happen to be playing one while lounging on your flotation device and someone tips you over, soaking your uke, you can get a replacement without too many tears shed.
28. I mean, the party will definitely be over once the ukulele is out of commission, but certainly by the next weekend you can have another ukulele ready to go.
29. Wait, that wasn’t a separate point either. Well, you get the idea!
30. Ukuleles are great items to have around at summertime carwashes. You can make your friends do all of the hard work, and everyone thinks you’re doing something because you’re busy playing your ukulele for the customers. It’s a win-win situation.
31. Skateboarders should learn to play the ukulele also, because if you are going to the beach and your board breaks you can strap your wheels onto the uke, et voila–instant backup skateboard!
32. The same goes for lifesavers. If you are on a summer cruise and your ship suddenly springs a leak, you can flip your ukulele over really quick into the water, creating a vacuum seal between the water and the sound hole of the uke. Instant flotation device! (Actually this might not work, but you know, it sounds good in theory!)
33. And everyone knows that ukulele players are just heroes waiting to happen anyway, so if you have a ukulele, everyone will look to you for advice when the ship goes down. Playing the ukulele gives you instant respect.
34. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t true, but if the boat captain is nice and you don’t have any other musicians on board, he might hire you to entertain the guests. At least you’ll be able to afford a phone call when you wash up on shore after the ship sinks.
35. Which brings me to the next point. Let’s say the ship is going down, but there is a life raft on board. Ukuleles make great paddles in any emergency situation.
36. Ukulele’s have such a sweet tone that everyone loves to hear them played. They bring an instant smile on everyone’s face. The only other instrument to do that is the banjo according to Steve Martin, although there are a few people out there who were freaked out by the movie Deliverance so they don’t like banjos. No one has made a ukulele movie that freaks people out, so you’re gold!
37. Ukuleles also make great pizza oven paddles, however, make sure you remove the strings before inserting into the oven or they will melt and make your pizza yucky!
38. Speaking of pizza, if you are at a party, and they run out of plates, just like ukuleles make great food trays, they make good plates too. Just slap that pizza onto the back of the uke and you’re ready to go!
39. Make sure you wipe off the grease before you start playing or your ukulele will stain your favorite Hawaiian shirt.
40. On a more serious note, ukuleles practice is supposed to increase manual dexterity in the fingers, giving you increased ability to do anything you need to do with your fingers, like typing.
41. Playing the ukulele exercises both sides of your brain. For those of you who are more analytical, it will increase brain function related to the artistic side of your brain.
42. Likewise, for those of you who are more creative, not only does it give you an outlet for self-expression, it also helps develop some of your reasoning skills.
43. Learning how to read ukulele tablature helps you develop reasoning skills too. And gives you an extra cool thing to put on job resumes!
44. Ukuleles are so cheap, they also make great presents for your friends. You can start buying everyone you know a ukulele and get a ukulele orchestra together!
45. Martin actually makes a ukulele (the Martin 3K) that sells for around $2,000. It’s made of Hawaiian Koa wood, with Grover tuners, a neck truss rod, and a bone nut and saddle. So when you get really good at the ukulele this summer, next summer you have lots of room to upgrade!
46. Martin ukuleles DO NOT make good boat paddles or food trays. Unless you’re Bill Gates, then you can do whatever you want with your uke!
47. Learning how to play the ukulele will give you a good excuse to wear a Hawaiian shirt.
48. And once you have your ukulele and Hawaiian shirt, it will give you a good reason to grow a mustache and wear a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. Might as well go and buy a couple seasons of Magnum P.I. on DVD while you’re at it and then you’ll be all set.
49. If you learn how to play the ukulele and can find yourself a fire breathing or flame juggling friend, you can host your own luau in and you’ll save a lot of money on the entertainment.
50. If you play the ukulele people will start inviting you to play at all of their luaus, and if you play it right, you won’t have to cook for yourself at all this summer!
51. Most people aren’t aware of this little fact, but ukulele players make better companions than non-uke players. Think about it. Whenever anyone is feeling down, a ukulele player whips out the ukulele, and instant sunshine!
52. Which brings up my next point, though I don’t have the science to back it up, I’m sure that the friends of ukulele players are less depressed than the friends of non-ukulele players. So if you take up the ukulele, your friends and family will benefit from it, thus making you a humanitarian.
53. You might even win the Nobel peace prize if you keep up playing the ukulele.
54. Just imagine ___________________ (insert your name here), humanitarian of the year for their great contribution to society due to playing their ukulele. It’s a surefire way to impress the neighbors.
55. Or if you are a politician, you might be the only one who people actually do like and admire if you play the ukulele.
56. The ukulele can be tuned to several different tunings, so if you master one, you can challenge yourself by learning other tunings as well.
57. Playing the ukulele will give you a good excuse to wear that grass skirt you have hanging in your closet!
58. You can ask people “Aside from being famous actors, what do Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel and William H. Macy all have in common?” They all play ukulele according to Wikipedia. You could throw John Lennon and George Harrison in there for fun as well.
59. Conversely, you could ask what all of the Beatles had in common. They all could play ukulele! Well, except for Ringo, but drummers aren’t really musicians at all are they?!? (Just kidding!)
60. If you learn the ukulele, you can tell people that “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” was written on the ukulele. And then you can play it for them.
61. Old time Uke player, and friend of Beatle George Harrison, Joe Brown had this to say about the ukulele – “You can pick up a ukulele and anybody can learn to play a couple of tunes in a day or even a few hours. And if you want to get good at it, there’s no end to what you can do.”
62. George Harrison himself had this to say: “Everyone should have and play a uke. It’s so simple to carry with you, and it’s one instrument you can’t play and not laugh!”
63. Aside from Beatles music, the ukulele is perfect for playing surf music. Learn a few Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and even Dick Dale songs and you’re the star of the luau!
64. If you want to get really ambitious, you can start learning Pearl Jam songs on the ukulele, and play like Eddie Vedder, who is also an accomplished ukulele player!
65. If you learn how to play the ukulele, then you can start going to local jam sessions, open mic nights and acoustic clubs, and have something to offer.
66. Once you start playing your ukulele in front of people, you will be able to see what types of music people like. They will request songs, and it will give you more material that you can learn.
67. When you play cover songs in front of people, their reaction might inspire you to start writing your own music, and that could be the start of your personal ukulele career!
68. If you start learning to play the ukulele this summer, by the end of the summer, you will have learned all the necessary chords needed to play most of the songs that you might want to learn.
69. By starting to play the ukulele this year, you can guarantee that you will be invited to everyone’s pool parties and barbecues next year as well!
70. Ukulele is a great instrument for people of all ages to learn to play, so you can share your uke with anyone and everyone in your family.
71. If you are ever attacked on the high seas by pirates, your life will be spared because it is a well-known historical fact that pirates loved music and often employed musicians as part of their crew. An accomplished ukulele player would fit right in with pirates, and would be a welcomed part of the crew!
72. Speaking of pirates, what secret treasure could be more enriching than learning to play the ukulele this summer!
73. Anyone who has learned how to drive a car can learn how to play the ukulele. In fact, learning how to play the ukulele is far easier than learning how to drive a car, so if you want to play music, learn the ukulele and your musical dreams will be fulfilled.
74. Speaking of fulfillment, everyone has a musical dream, but a lot of people are shy. Learning how to play the ukulele will help build your self-confidence and inspire you to break out of your shell.
75. Learning the ukulele will give you one more impressive skill that makes you a unique and interesting person.
76. And since you are well on your way to becoming a unique person (Does that even make sense? Aren’t we all unique persons? I digress!), how many people do you know drive around with a ukulele in their car? Not too many, so you might as well become the first in your neighborhood to have a ukulele in their car for all that time spent in line at the bank!
77. And furthermore, is there anything more attractive than a beautiful person wearing beach attire, wind-blown hair swept back by the breeze, and strumming a beautiful Koa wood ukulele? I didn’t think so either, so if you’re looking for that special someone, what better way to impress them than being the above mentioned person.
78. But you live in Nome, Alaska, you say? No worries, what better way to make people feel summery than walking around dressed like you live in Florida? Or they might just think you’re crazy, but that’s ok too. Most of the best uke players were a little off! Just take a look at Tiny Tim.
79. Which brings up another interesting point. Playing the ukulele gives you an immediate excuse to sing in a high falsetto, without anyone looking down on you! So for those times when you just need to break into a high nasal, vibrato-laden falsetto, the ukulele is your friend.
80. The ukulele provides excuses for other bizarre tasks as well. Planning on robbing a bank? Tell the cops the ukulele made you do it. Insanity plea. You’re off the hook!
81. Strange urge to walk around the town wearing only swimming trunks? Afraid no one will let you into their place of business because of the “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” sign? Bring your ukulele. Suddenly, it’s all okay.
82. Playing the ukulele also makes it okay to walk around wearing flip-flops. Typically most people look twice at anyone over 20 wearing flip-flops. Not so with a ukulele. Consider this: next time you go to work – Suit, tie, designer sunglasses, flip-flops. Just doesn’t work. Now consider this: you, work, suit, tie, designer sunglasses, flip-flops AND ukulele. Much better. Your boss won’t even notice.
83. In fact, playing the ukulele is a great stress reliever. If your boss complains, offer to buy him or her a ukulele and teach them what you already know. Then everyone can come to work in flip-flops!
84. Learning to play an instrument is fun, but playing in a band is more fun. Since ukuleles are so affordable, you can buy all of your friends a ukulele (as well as your boss) and start a ukulele band. Who knows how much fun you’ll be able to generate.
85. Playing the ukulele is a great legal activity in most countries. There are a couple unhappy countries where playing the ukulele is illegal, but then again everything else fun is illegal there as well. We’ll have a moment of silence for those sad ukulele-less places before we move onto number 86…
86. Anyway, be thankful you can learn to play the ukulele. Some people in other countries are forced to eat their ukuleles. It’s not a pretty picture. At least that’s what I tell my kids when they won’t eat their peas.
87. Ukulele is a perfect instrument in case you are riding your bike to the pool. Most ukuleles come with some sort of backpack style gig bag or you can get one. You just throw it on your back and away you go. Imagine trying to do that with a cello? Or a baby grand piano? The ukulele is much more portable.
88. Another little known fact: ukuleles make great soup ladles. Suppose you’re at a backyard seafood boil, the soup is on, but the ladle falls into the pot. You’re minding your own business playing your ukulele, and the host grabs it, serves the soup, wipes it all clean, and you’re back to jamming!
89. Worse-case scenario, ukuleles can also be used as ice-cream scoops. Thus making you the hero of little kids everywhere.
90. If you are camping in the woods, and your strings break, ukuleles also make great popcorn cookers. Just throw some popcorn and butter into the hole of the ukulele and roast gently over the fire. You won’t have a ukulele when it’s all said and done, but the popcorn would be worth it, AND it will give you an excuse to upgrade to that Martin ukulele we talked about in point number 45.
91. Since you’re camping in the woods, let’s look at another scenario. The ukulele is an excellent survival tool. The nylon strings are perfect for fishing, tying up a lean-to, or even stitching leaves, leather or other materials together to make useful camping items.
92. The ukulele box can be used to make a small animal trap. I saw Survivor Man use a guitar this way one time. I know it can be done.
93. Also, the frets of the ukulele neck can be pried up and turned into fishing hooks. So if you get lost in the woods, you’ll thank me for talking you into taking ukulele lessons!
94. When you’re a ukulele player, people will worship you wherever you go. This can become a problem, as you will develop so many groupies you won’t know what to do with them all. But think of all the perks that come with fame, like free hamburgers, trips to Hawaii, new cars, and all that other cool stuff.
95. Learning to tune the ukulele is an art and a science that you will master as well when you start to play the ukulele, and it will help you refine your ear to distinguish between two notes.
96. Playing the ukulele is a very useful skill for people in many types of jobs. People who work with children find that playing the ukulele soothes the kids, people who work with elderly people find that the ukulele soothes older people, and people who work with animals find that playing the ukulele soothes the animals.
97. When you play the ukulele every possible dream you could ever have will come true. Want to be the president? Done! Every single president could play the ukulele. Okay, that’s not entirely true, but they could have if they had had me for a teacher!
98. Okay, so actually that last one was simply not true, but you’ve read this far! Anyway, playing the ukulele will make some of your dreams come true. It will make your dream of playing the ukulele come true, and really when it comes down to it, are there any other dreams that are as valuable?
99. If you learn how to play the ukulele you will make your friends happy as they sing along to songs by Train, Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Tiny Tim and of course the Beatles. And you will be well liked.
100. When you learn to play the ukulele you get to say cool words like “cowabunga,” “gnarley,” “righteous,” “aloha” and “mahalo,” and of course everyone’s favorite “radical,” and no one thinks you’re a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
101. Learning to play ukulele is easier than you think, because TakeLessons can help you find a teacher in your own neighborhood, or even find you a quality ukulele teacher through online lessons!
So those are my 101 reasons for learning to play the ukulele this summer. I hope you get a uke today and find a good teacher that can teach you how to play the ukulele, so you too can be as incredibly awesome as I am!
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.