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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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