Back in January 2014, at the ripe old age of 46, I decide to learn to play ukulele. I’d read that learning a musical instrument could help ward off dementia, and with my short-term memory fading quickly, I went to the music shop and bought a little concert ukulele, and within a few hours, I was hooked. Seriously hooked. I quickly graduated to the warmer tones of a tenor ukulele, and a few months later, a baritone.
I rarely play anything other than baritone these days, and while I’m not sure it’s helped my failing memory, it has made me a much happier person. As I am completely self-taught, there is a great satisfaction in having learned something by myself with only my own enthusiasm and the love of the instrument to keep me going.
The first thing I did was teach myself six chords – G, C, Am, F, Em, and D. You’d be surprised how many songs you can play with these. I then downloaded a program called iRehearse which – and I say this without hyperbole – changed my life. iRehearse allows you to slow a song down so you can play along at a pace that feels comfortable, but, by some magic, it doesn’t make the song sound weird. Playing along helped me to learn to make smooth chord changes, and it’s also pushed me to learn new chords.
For song chords, I usually go to ultimateguitar.com. They have song chords for just about any song you can think of, and they’re nicely laid out so you can easily play along. If you can sing a song in your head, you can play. It really is that easy – with practice, of course.
A friend of mine suggested that I start linking up songs and chord charts for anyone who wants to practice or just play along. Today, I’m playing the song below. I like this cover because it’s particularly acoustic-friendly.
Chords: Ever Fallen in Love
Tune: (just press play!)
This one isn’t difficult, but it’s a bit quick. Hope you enjoy it!