ILP Update #2: Strum Strumming Along

Another week in the books with my ukulele! I continued to work on the chord/strum progression that I posted last week. It’s gotten a lot smoother! I was about to dive into one of the many pop song chord progressions on the internet, when I found something more suited to me and my situation. See, when you learn the chords to a song, you don’t actually learn the melody. The melody has to be supplied by your voice. Singing while playing an instrument is something I’ve never done before, and would take another 8 weeks just to make an attempt.

Enter finger strumming! Finger strumming is a style of ukulele playing where you pluck individual strings to produce individual notes. Using this method, you are able to produce the melody of a song on your uke–no vocals required! That being said, the song doesn’t carry the same depth and richness that a voice and set of chords would. But! I’m liking it a lot. I found five different websites this week that provide ukulele tabs (what the music is written on) as well as tips and guidance. In case anyone is curious, here are the sites:

The tabs are pretty easy to read. Instead of notes, you have numbers that correspond to different frets and strings.

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After digesting all of this information, I spent the rest of the week working on the chord progression I mentioned earlier, and various finger picking songs. Nothing crazy, just your standard Row Row Row Your Boat and Happy Birthday. (Side note, I want to master a cool version of Happy Birthday. I would earn major cool points with all my future elementary kiddos if I could play Happy Birthday to them on the ukulele, would I not??)

I am enjoying learning these simple tabs for songs. Playing the melody is a lot more satisfying! There are some more complex songs that mix in these single notes with chords, and alternate the number of strings you pluck at ones. My goal for the rest of this project is to work on some of these tricker finger picked songs! I’m excited to see how they go. I’ve included two snippets of my practicing hilights from this week, because I feel like it’s a lot easer just to show you than to try and explain it!



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