It's been a real pleasure to see the rise in popularity of the humble little Ukulele. Often described as a “smaller guitar” and left behind in pursuit of other more traditional instruments, the rise of popularity of the Ukulele has been somewhat of an underdog story. What’s made it so popular is its accessibility towards beginners who have no previous experience in music but do have a passion for it. The ukulele is far more accessible compared to a keyboard or a guitar due to its many friendly features.
The rise in popularity has perfectly coincided with the education sector's shift towards technology and media. Music, just like traditional education, has started taking its learning online and it has produced great results. Learning music from skilled professionals has become something we can do from the comfort of our homes. Similarly, online ukulele classes have made learning the uke even easier today.
Many adults feel learning a musical instrument is something to be done in their early years and consider it too late to learn music once they cross the age of 21. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Music, unlike many other skills, does not really require a huge amount of physical fitness. Athletes have their peak during their mid 20’s to their early 30’s and start declining from that point. A musician can be at his peak powers way beyond such an age. There are examples of many musicians that have crossed their 50’s and are still at the top of their game. Thus, it is never too late to start learning, especially an instrument as beginner friendly as the ukulele.
What makes the Uke great?
1) Easy to play:
Compared to a guitar, the ukulele’s smaller size, thinner and shorter neck and also its softer nylon strings make it a lot easier to play compared to a guitar. Especially steel string guitars where a lot of aspiring musicians think that it could be really painful to play and end up moving away from it, the ukulele and its nylon strings and its lighter weight make it a lot more friendly in that nature. Playing chords on the uke is much easier too as the need for unnatural stretching of the fingers is not required due to simpler finger positioning and of course, a smaller gap between the frets.
2) Suitable for online learning:
People learn music online in large numbers today and it is more than possible to do so for most of the instruments. Certain keyboard lessons or guitar lessons may be challenging to conduct and learn online due to the sheer size and minute variations that these instruments have in their sound. The Ukulele on the other hand is a lot simpler and this simplicity eradicates a lot of intricacies that a guitar or other instruments may have. The learning from ukulele classes online is simpler due to fewer variations and options when it comes to notes, finger positioning and sounds.
Ukuleles are generally more affordable compared to other instruments due to its many humble features. Getting a premium guitar or a keyboard costs a lot more and even beginner drum sets are way more expensive than the ukulele. Lesser number of parts and its size and shape makes it more cost friendly and a basic ukulele won't tear a hole through anyone’s pocket.
4) Perfect stepping stone:
The number of people that aspire to learn music and the people who actually end up learning it is drastically different. At an average out of 10 people that want to learn, 7 of them back out due to some reason or the other. The ukulele is a perfect starting point for such unsure beginners. It's traditionally easier to learn and tus can provide a decent challenge to newer learners but not be overwhelming in any way. It will build a certain level of understanding of music, will help loosen the fingers to make them more adaptable for other instruments, and will also encourage them to step further into newer genres or styles of music as well. The ukulele is a great instrument for anyone that is interested in starting but is unsure of taking the plunge. So, eradicate any negative feelings and have a go at it for yourself. Let the experience help you decide.
The popularity of instruments like the ukulele or the marimba has been aided by social media and learning such instruments will provide you with a skill that will last a lifetime. Learning music does not require any qualification and is not restricted to age or gender or any other factor. Young and old can partake in it and enjoy its warmth and beauty. It is a realm open to everyone who has an admiration for the art and is open to learning and being a part of it.