To be honest, this question does not have a direct answer. But one thing is certain, learning any musical instrument is a lifetime journey, and not the way people graduate from high school.
In fact, you don’t graduate from it; you learn every now and then to get better and better. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.
However, if you ask me how long it takes for dummies to learn to play the ukulele, I would say “5 minutes.” But it depends if the sound you will be making in that 5 minutes would make sense or not. Obviously not!
There is no short cut to success but if you do things right, the reward will reflect in your performances. Now let’s look at some few tips to help you learn a little bit faster.
Learning the Ukulele basics
It does not take long for you to learn the basics. Let’s assume you have the best ukulele for beginners, which we said does not necessarily mean an expensive uke.
There are great beginner ukuleles you can find without breaking the bank or going broke. I usually advise beginners not to spend too much to buy their first ukulele.
As you advance in playing the ukulele, you may decide to go for highly priced models.
Now back to learning the basics. Like we said, it doesn’t take long to learn the ukulele. 5 minutes is enough to do so. You will learn about the different parts of the ukulele, how to tune the ukulele, chord formation, and strumming.
In fact, the last two things I mentioned here are the two main things you need to know or learn to play the ukulele.
What Hinders Beginners from Learning How To Play Ukulele
I spoke with a great ukulele teacher, Mr. Peter, on the most difficult aspect of being a teacher and the hardest things new students face.
Their challenges may not be the same but almost similar if you ask me. I was once a student so I have firsthand experience on what new students go through.
According to Mr. Peter, he said, one of the most challenging parts of being a teacher is when you come across new students who can’t narrow down what they really want to learn in playing the ukulele.
There are many things about the ukulele students can learn to play but not being direct about it would make it even difficult for the teacher to help.
He said, sometimes, some newbie who know what they want will walk up to him, and ask him to teach them ‘Flake’ by Jackson Johnson.
Of course, that’s very simple and direct he already knows what they want and what to teach them.
On the other hand, a student can walk up to the teacher and say “I am interested in learning the ukulele.” That’s a great idea but when asked what exactly he or she wants to learn, the student says “I really don’t know.”
The teacher needs to know what you really want to learn to play on the ukulele. Not having any clue will not be helpful in any way. The teacher needs to know the reason you decided to play the ukulele and not other instruments.
Of course, we have other instruments like the guitar, saxophone, mandolin and the rest. So what really about the ukulele grabbed your attention? Or what particular song do you like? This will help the teacher decide what he or she would be teaching you.
Learning To Play The Ukulele – How The Music Teacher Can Assist You
If you listen to different musicians play, you will discover that majority of them uses different playing techniques. Is strumming the thing about the ukulele that really perked your ears when you first made attempt to learn the instrument or the fingerstyle of a player?
Are you fascinated by the chord forms? Or is the person inspiring you to play someone who uses simple chords or complex chords? Or is he or she just a lead player?
As simple as these questions are, they can help the teacher not to not only teach you how to play the ukulele but rate your success level.
The teacher will be able to get you to the point where you can play the ukulele comfortably and be proud of yourself. Individuals differ in the way they learn and adapt to new things.
What you may learn in 1 week, others might take 4 weeks to learn that same thing. Knowing what you want to learn, an experienced teacher can help you achieve your goals easily.
There are people who took years of music lessons but became disappointed because, at the end of the day, they never could play what they wanted. Many of us who are professional players today had the same experience.
In fact, being unable to play the things you wanted to play can make you give up or lose interest in playing the ukulele.
The answer to the question “how long will a beginner take to learn the ukulele?” depends on what the person in question really wants to achieve.
If you only want to strum few songs, then you don’t need much time, but if you want to play like the famous Jake Shimabukuro, then you are going to need more time and consistent practice.
And remember, learning the ukulele is a lifelong thing. The day you stop learning or practicing, you stop progressing.