At the moment all ukulele teaching is online, which means you can join in from anywhere in the world! You can join our video only beginner ukulele course here to access via Teachable, and there are also interactive zoom groups starting from September onwards, with a term 2 ‘intermediate’ ukulele group starting then too. Some of these groups are aiming to meet in person once and if it is possible (although we’re being very cautious about when this is!)
Our online beginner’s course is just £24 for our self paced course made up of 28 bitesized playalong videos that you can do in your own time, with all content based on years of experience teaching children ukulele in real life.
For £60 you can join one of our small group Zoom interactive classes – you’ll have access to all the same teaching videos which will form the backbone of the curriculum, but the interactive playalong groups will give a chance for more musicianship, improvisation, singing and composition alongside this. I hope that the classes form a great foundation for learning other instruments (or more formal ukulele classes) further down the line!
What Ukulele should I buy?
For classes whilst we have some ukuleles available, we’d recommend that children do have an instrument of their own to play at home too. To start your ukulele journey, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy instrument to learn the basics, particularly as a young starter’s instrument tends to get a fair bit of bashing about! A soprano ukulele will do the job nicely (although if you’d like a larger instrument for a grown up, a concert or a tenor will have the same tuning but slightly bigger size and sound). In previous terms, lots of beginners have started on a mahalo 2500 (around £20 – amazon link here). My favourite starter instrument is a ‘makala dolphin’ which feels a bit sturdier (around £40 – amazon link here). Most music shops have a good selection- locally South London Music sell them and have knowledgable staff who can give you advise, if you fancy a trip to a specialist shop, the Duke or Uke in East London has a brilliant and huge range, and they’ll be able to give you lots of advice!
Bear in mind that new ukuleles tend to lose their tuning very quickly at first, and take a while to settle – by no means essential, you may wish to invest in an electronic tuner like this. But there are also apps you can use on your phone!
You’ll also need some colourful dot stickers to mark the chord shapes.
What about my 3 or 4 year old?
Back in real life I run a different sort of musicianship class for 3 and 4 year old which uses ukuleles and some basic first steps of playing, alongside lots of other musical instruments, singing and musical stories to do a creative musicianship course. These sessions haven’t yet quite translated into online courses – do keep an eye out here in case they do, and also just as soon as it feels possible, I’ll be running these in person again in SE London! In the meantime I have had some younger children do the online course with great success – it all depends on the children, so you’re really welcome to give it a go, and you can always preview the videos to get a bit of an idea of the tone and speed to see if it’d work for your child. I’d suggest maybe you take the videos at a slower pace than the 10 week outline and they’ll need a bit more parental support! It gets a bit more technically difficult at around the week 7 point when the F chord (which uses 2 fingers) is introduced, so you could always focus on the first half of the course for starters. Do keep an eye out here in case an more specific resources for younger learners are created!
What happens when the schools go back?
When schools go back, the online video courses will continue to operate just the same, so you can continue to learn online. Some of the interactive zoom groups will stay online (and we plan to keep these running as long as there is interest) and some will transfer into classes in SE26 (Sydenham) so do make sure you’re booking for a group that works for you. The Zoom and face to face classes have a maximum of 8 participants, and as well as the chord/song learning, we do a lot of composition, improvisation and movement too.