• Jiaxin (The 😁 Intern)

Top Challenges Every Ukulele Beginners Face And How To Solve Them


Learning the ukulele can be very fun, but not being able to progress forward due to the many obstacles faced can be so frustrating. What makes it even harder for self-taught ukulele players is that they may be facing frequent challenges but can't find anyone to advice them on how to solve these challenges.

As a result, we have came up with the top 4 challenges that beginner ukulele players are bound to face and how to solve them!

1. My fingers hurt!

For all ukulele beginners, sore fingers are commonly experienced. This is due to the fact that your fingers are not used to playing the ukulele yet. Your fingers are not used to the pressure that has to be exerted on the ukulele strings when strumming and your hands are not comfortable with the positions it has to make to play the different chords.

Gradually, as a form of defence, you may even start to notice hardened skin forming on your fingers! Those are known as calluses which are very common and normal. Once they are there, you will be more resistant to the pain of playing the ukulele.

How to solve it:

1. Stretch your fingers before you start your ukulele practice. Do some fingers exercise to strengthen your fingers' strength. It will prevent cramps and allow you to practise longer.

2. Practise in shorter sessions but more often. This will provide your fingers the sufficient time it needs to recover.

2. Trouble changing chords

Although you only need to know a few essential chords to play millions of songs which is precisely why the ukulele is the easiest instrument to learn, you will find it hard to change chords. After learning the basic chords, combining them together with a seamless transition seems impossible.

How to solve it:

This may be the time to seek professional help. If you are really struggling to smoothly change your chords, you may sign up for affordable ukulele workshops guided by professionals. Alternatively, the answer is to practise more. There’s always no harm to practising more. After all, practice makes perfect.

3. Mental struggle

You may be doubting yourself when you are not progressing as fast you would like to. It seems that no matter how many times you have practised each individual chord, they don't come to your mind when you want to use all of them to play a full piece. This often results in frustration. You just want to play a whole piece in its full tempo for once, but your fingers are not cooperating with you.

How to solve it:

Instead of practising each chord individually, utilise the interleaved practice to help to improve your focus. By practising a combination of chords at one go, it will build up your muscle memory and each chord pattern will gradually become embedded in your brain.

4. Not being able to sing and play together

Trying to sing and play together can be hard for beginners as your brain is still not able to internalise these 2 actions together. It’s similar to how hard it is to pat your head while rubbing your tummy! A good sense of rhythm is required to do both actions at the same time.

How to solve it:

Learn each task separately first. Make sure that you are able to play all the chords on the ukulele and able to transit between the different chords smoothly too. Then, start by memorising the melody of the songs and humming to it by using a neutral syllable such as ‘La’.

This is to ensure that your brain knows the individual parts so well that it will come to you naturally when you want to do both actions at the same time.

Essentially, practising hard is the cheapest and most effective way of solving all your problems. There are no shortcuts to success, so push forth and play your ukulele with new determination!


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