Playing the ukulele can give you hours of enjoyment singing and strumming your favorite songs. It can also give you heaps of frustration if you’re just starting to figure your way around the instrument. It can seem like there are hundreds of things you need to know, from notes and chords and scales to strumming patterns and transpositions.
It’s important for beginners to take things one at a time and learn at their own pace. It’s recommended to start slow – get to know your ukulele first, then learn to hold it properly. If you don’t have a ukulele yet, there are plenty of beginner-friendly models you can check out here.
It’s also completely fine to admit you’re finding it hard to memorize chords. Total chord memorization is something that doesn’t happen overnight. It can, however, happen over a series of nights (or days) when you put your mind into it. Don’t be too overwhelmed when you see all those chords you need to learn.
To help you out, we’re sharing some of the techniques you can do to know those ukulele chords by heart. Try them out to see which one works best for you!
The most often employed method of memorizing ukulele chords is repetition. When practicing a chord, play it at least 20 times before taking a break and playing it again 20 more times. During the first run, do your best to listen how the chord sounds and feels – don’t just look at it. Memorizing chords relies heavily on all of your senses.
Taking breaks is also important because it gives time for your muscle memory and aural memory to work. This way, the next time you play the chord, you won’t have to look at the fretboard and place your fingers one by one – your fingers will know where to go because they would already remember the shape of the chord. Your ears will also know if you’re on the wrong fret or hit a wrong note so you can correct your finger position.
Playing a simple song
Many people learn chords by playing a song right away because they can better hear them in relation to other chords. They learn to identify chords as they are used in songs they are already familiar with. To see if this method works for you, try it out!
Start by choosing a beginner ukulele song, one that has three or four chords such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “I’m Yours.” There are hundreds of songs you can choose from with instructions on how to play them.
Playing simple songs allows you to memorize chords in a more practical way and well, it also gives you the benefit of being able to play right away. You can then practice other songs that use the same chords. When you play the songs over and over, you memorize not only the chords but the songs as well. When you’ve mastered those three or four chords, expand your repertoire by learning songs that use other chords.
Visualize the chords
If you’re more of a visual learner with a good photographic memory, this method is for you. As a beginner, you probably look at the fretboard often to see where you need to place your fingers. Use your visual memory skills to remember how your fingers look like on the fretboard when forming chords. When you close your eyes, you can still probably see your fingers there as you play.
When you’re trying to memorize ukulele chords, visualize them and imagine playing them in your head. You’ll find that your fingers will soon follow naturally. Because you already have a mental picture in your head of how a chord looks like when played, you’ll have an easier time playing it in reality.
This is also good method to follow when you’re learning songs. Visualize playing the next chord so you don’t fumble when it’s time to play it.
Those are just some of the best chord memorization techniques you can utilize when you’re learning to play ukulele. Let us know which ones you’ve tried and which works best for you. Have fun!