There’s something to be said for taking the time to learn an instrument, and about how it helps build responsibility, dedication, and appreciating the value of good hard work. The older we get, the more important it is to develop these values, but it can seem harder and harder as we get more set in our ways. I know that when I was younger, learning to play a musical instrument (the trombone) gave me some of the happiest memories, but also helped put in the foundations for persistence and aiming to be the best. However, not every kid growing up has the chance to explore the right musical instrument – usually, we were stuck playing the recorder until 6th grade. If you want to develop your child’s interest in music in a way that THEY are going to enjoy, consider the humble, dependable ukulele. It may not seem like an important instrument, but looks can be deceiving. Read on to discover why kids should learn the ukulele!The Ukulele is a compact, comfortably-sized instrument
Unlike a lot of other instruments out there – the acoustic guitar, cello, most of the brass family – the ukulele is as comfortable to hold as it gets. Most ukuleles run between 21 and 30 inches in length and are made of sturdy yet flexible woods like Hawaiian koa or walnut. Because of their shorter overall length, size, and weight, ukuleles are ideal for kids to pick up and play when and where they want, and without being tired out from playing as quickly. For kids on the smaller side, the ukulele is a friendly and approachable instrument in the way something like a French horn may not be. It doesn’t hurt that due to their smaller size, ukuleles on average cost less than other instruments like a guitar or violin. For parents looking for an instrument that won’t put a strain on the wallet, the ukulele can be a sigh of relief.The Ukulele has only four strings, making it easier and less complicated to use
The modern guitar carries the nickname ‘six-string' due to its…well, six strings. This can seem less intuitive to play, with a greater learning curve when it comes to learning the notes. By contrast, the ukulele has four strings, which is not only much more comfortable to play with five fingers, but it also makes it a simpler instrument. With few strings comes fewer potential notes to learn. The ukulele is tuned to these four notes: G-C-E-A. While this does mean that the ukulele doesn’t quite have the same dynamic range of potential notes and chords to perform as the guitar, it makes it much friendlier for a kid who is picking up an instrument for the first time.
Because of the ukulele’s smaller size and weight, it stands to reason that it’s not quite as strong as other instruments. Generally, a ukulele uses nylon strings, which are softer and easier on one’s fingers to press down on, and has a standard string tension of between 7 and 13lbs. With less tension comes a softer sound overall, making for a less headache-inducing instrument for your child to practice than, say, the drums. If you’re particularly concerned about high-volume instruments or live in a crowded setting such as an apartment unit, the ukulele may be an ideal instrument for your child to pick up.The Ukulele is a great instrument for on-the-go practice and play
The ukulele’s got an advantage that likely any child is going to figure out after having to pack up and carry an instrument between classes every week – the ukulele is not that heavy! With its smaller sizeand ease of use, the ukulele can be played pretty much everywhere you can carry it. There’s no worry about bulky instrument cases or finding enough car space for the drum set since it can be carried comfortably in one hand.The Ukulele is a great introduction to other string instruments
Learning the ukulele opens up the world of music to kids, especially stringed instruments. When you learn to play one instrument, you gain a host of skills that transfer over to others. Learning through repetition, improving memorization skills, developing our ‘internal clock’ to manage to play to the beat, as well as other skills like reading sheet music and developing fine motor skills. Ukuleles offer a more comfortable path forward to developing these skills, which are needed by other instruments, in particular string instruments like the guitar and violin.Playing the Ukulele can be a great way to help kids relax and de-stress
Music is a wonderful way to take the stresses of the day off our plates, and kids are no exception. It’s been shown that listening to music, especially rhythmic music, has a profound effect on our ability to be clear-headed and focused, much like meditation. The stresses of schoolwork, chores, other hobbies are just as much a big deal to kids as work and bills are to us. The ukulele, with its ‘pick up and play whenever’ quality, is ideal for helping kids refocus away from stress and find a comfortable, creative outlet for managing it.Playing the Ukulele can help them make friends
Even with online gaming, social media, and the enforced togetherness of school to bring kids together and connect, it’s still plenty difficult to make friends. It can be a real benefit, especially for kids who are new to an area or who are shier than their peers to be able to make friends in an existing community – and that is through the ukulele! The ukulele offers kids a way to make friends such as through an orchestra or part of a local community band, as music is a language we all speak, regardless of our backgrounds and upbringings. Don’t underestimate the power of music to bring people together (cliché as the phrase may seem).Playing the Ukulele is a great way to boost creativity and self-confidence
Many kids struggle with self-confidence, especially with social media being such an easy way for us to compare ourselves to others and their achievements. Learning chords, perfecting a song that has been challenging you, learning to improvise, and coming up with a unique interpretation of a song they love all helps kids feel confident and successful in something they care about. While all this applies to many musical instruments, the ukulele’s other advantages help put this sense of accomplishment within reach even at a young age.Learning the Ukulele can help improve grades
Playing the ukulele not only allows kids to better engage with music, but with the world as a whole. With the ukulele, you have access to a large range of musical genres to play. Learning about music and engaging with it has been shown to improve academic performance for students, especially at the elementary school age and when kids stick with it. Learning to perform music can help kids understand how all the parts of a musical composition contribute to the whole of a song or piece.
As you can see, when it comes to answering the question, why should kids learn the ukulele, there are plenty of excellent reasons for it! When you’re looking for top-quality instruments at an affordable price, head on over to ashthorpe.com and browse our selection of expertly-made ukuleles, guitars, drums, and more.