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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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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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