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Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

So you’ve just gotten yourself a ukulele and can’t wait to start playing it? Completing a full-fledged course seems too long a wait? Don’t worry, as we will help you learn the basics and start playing your ukulele within 15 minutes. Once you master these basic steps, you have all the freedom to learn more and get creative with your ukulele. Liven up the party with a happy tune or just enjoy some peaceful time connecting with your happiest self.

1. Know your Soprano from your Baritone.

It is always a good idea to start by knowing the different types of ukulele there are, and which type is yours. There are four different types. The smallest is the Soprano ukulele, which is 21 inches long and has 12 to 15 frets. It produces some really lively, jangly sounds owing to its small size and narrow frets.

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The next one is called the Alto or Concert ukulele. It is 23 inches long and has 15 to 20 frets. Not only does it produce a fuller sound than the Sopranos, but it is also easier for beginner players as the frets are spaced further apart.

The Tenor ukulele is 26 inches long and perfect for a stage performance as it produces an even fuller sound, and a higher number of frets let’s you hit higher notes.

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The largest ukulele out there is the aptly named Baritone. Thirty inches long with over 19 frets produces rich and deep notes perfect for sprightly, festive songs.

2. Get those strings right on tune.

The strings of a new ukulele are most likely not well tuned yet and you have to tune them first to produce the right sounds. It’s a good idea to use a tuner, or you can tune it with the help of another well-tuned instrument. Make sure you tune it to a GCEA tuning. This means that when you’re holding it right, the uppermost string or the one closest to your face must be tuned to a G and the farthest one must be tuned to A. Doing it is actually simpler than reading about it. Go on, try.

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3. Now to the fun part — get strumming.

There are a few different ways to strum a ukulele, and you are free to try out different combinations. For starters, go for a loose fist with your index finger pointing towards your chest. Now slide this finger up and down the strings, so your nail touches the strings going down and the fleshy tip of the finger touches them while coming up. Now you can practice different patterns like: Down Down Down Down or Down up, Down up, Down up, Down up. That’s it, really. It’s that simple. Just get started.

Once you get a good hang of it, you can even explore different regions on the strings to strum until you hit what is called the sweet spot, which is where the strings produce the best sound. Different ukuleles can be a little different in this premise, but in general, it is the point where the ukulele’s neck meets its body.

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4. You’re all set now; go crazy

While learning chords and practicing strumming patterns or learning more about your ukulele may be the conventional wisdom, the quicker and a lot more enjoyable way of doing this is to start with a few simple songs. “You Are My Sunshine” by Johny Cash and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole would be a good choice here. You can find entire lists of beginner songs to choose from. Do, however, try to finish and master one song first before moving on to another, as tempting as it may be to try out as many as you can.

In the end though, just remember that a ukulele is an extremely fun and sprightly little musical instrument that can be the center of attraction at social gatherings or a perfect companion during some me-time by the sea. Just sit back and enjoy playing your favorite chords.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adriano_guerra via flickr.com

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Step-By-Step Guide to Learning Ukulele in Less Than 15 Minutes

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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