Uke is a beautiful instrument - that super calming vibe you get when singing la vie en rose at night on a terrace, you only get that from a ukelele. If you're fond of indie music or just like shredding out cool country tunes, a ukulele will have your back! The best part about these little stringed wizards? You can expose your child to this instrument in their childhood and as they grow up with YouTube in their hands, they'll end up becoming masters of these cool instruments by the time they hit puberty with absolutely little-to-no investment on their lessons! In this article, we've put together a list of the best ukuleles for kids only - and we've tried to zero in on some that are just as good to be opted for by beginner adults as well! Although, keep in mind that there will always be an obvious difference between a toy ukulele and a professional one.
So, it's fair for you to consider the following ukuleles as budget purchases for beginners and ideal for your kids:
Kids grow up listening to different types of melodies - from squishy toys and rhymes to cartoons and poems! Music is one of the easiest ways to engage kids so why not let them have a hand at strumming a tune themselves? Read the guide below to know why a ukulele is a perfect choice for your child!
What Is A Ukulele?
A ukulele is a small, wooden, four-stringed musical instrument resembling a classical guitar. At first glance, a ukulele may seem like a toy guitar with its small size (it is half the height of a full-size guitar!), lightweight build, and nylon strings. However, it has four strings rather than six and uses a different tuning to a guitar.
A ukulele, pronounced 'ju-ke-lei-li', is the perfect choice to start kids off on learning music as their little hands can easily handle the size and weight of the instrument - it can also handle light hits if your kid gets a little too excited! The best part about a ukulele's four strings is that several chords can be played with one finger only.
Also known as uke, the biggest advantage of strumming on the instrument is its strings are made of nylon which presses on the soft pads of your child's fingers softly and does not hurt. They also are less tense allowing children to work on them easily.
The musical instrument is one of the easiest instruments to master - even as kids! The quick progression helps kids build their self-esteem, channel their creative energies, and experience art in its best form.
Things To Consider When Buying A Ukulele For Kids
Purchasing your child's first uke can feel like a grab-and-go deal but there are a few things you need to keep in mind so your child can experience the world of music in the best way possible.
Size Of The Uke
There are various types/sizes of ukuleles available for young learners and we have briefed each of them below to help you make a purchase suited to your child's needs.
The smallest of the bunch - a Soprano ukulele measures around 51 centimeters only and its toy size and light weight make it perfect for little children to handle.
Only a few inches bigger than a Soprano, a Concert ukulele has a longer neck for improved fretwork and a tighter strings' span for increased volume. Though it is heavier than a Soprano, children over 7 can easily play the Concert uke because of the larger frets
As your kid reaches teen age and starts to strum a uke professionally, consider purchasing a Tenor uke. Nearly identical to a classical guitar, a Tenor measures around 66 centimeters, has excellent playability, and sounds better.
Measuring around 76 centimeters, Baritone ukes are quite large and difficult to handle even by professional musicians so it is best to skip over getting a Baritone for kids or even teenagers.
One of the most essential elements of a stringed instrument is its ability to be tuned and offer quality sound, also known as intonation of the instrument. The main factor in producing good quality is the space between the body and the strings of a uke, also known as an action.
Quality of intonation is decreased by 'low action' while playability is reduced due to 'high action'. Proper tuning and high levels of precise intonation are offered by good quality ukulele models which is why it is always better to choose a basic uke model even for kids since toy-like ukuleles cannot be tuned.
Build Of The Uke
Choosing the right build material of your child's uke can help them play the instrument better and strum to songs they like effortlessly. Some of the commonly used materials are:
Ukuleles made of spruce are bright toned, cost-effective and offer a decent solution for beginners to start their musical journeys.
Ukuleles made of mahogany project decent treble sounds, improved tone and have an excellent finish on the surface.
One of the best materials for ukuleles, Koa offers perfect playability and an effortless rhythm - though it is on the high-end spectrum.
How Much Do Beginner Ukuleles Usually Cost?
Ukuleles come in a wide variety of price ranges starting from $19 up to $400. Most beginner ukuleles, you'll find, are very cost-friendly but besides their creative construction, there is not much it would provide in terms of quality, durability and tonality.
It is always worth the extra penny to get a better quality beginner ukulele that offers strong fretwork, durable strings, and an improved tone. You can find these in a price range of $35 to $55.
A: Standard-sized ukuleles, also named Soprano, are foolproof choices for beginners - especially children under 10. Its small size, narrow neck, and easy playability allow little hands to explore the instrument comfortably. You could look into a Concert, which is bigger than the Soprano, as your child grows older.
Q: At what age is it best for my child to start lessons?
A: Generally, children over 5 can start ukulele lessons - though it definitely depends on your child's readiness. Learning music develops their fine motor skills so it is best to take it slow and let your child step into the world of music at their own pace. Music enrichment sessions, usually of 15 minutes, are also a great way for kids to learn the basics of tone and rhythm!
Q: What are the modes of teaching available for learning ukulele?
A: Ukulele lessons are provided in-person, online and in a pre-recorded format. Each mode of teaching has its own benefits and choosing one for your child depends on their attention span, learning abilities and readiness to learn music. In-person teaching is perfect for all ages, online modes work well for focused tweens while pre-recorded courses are easy choices for motivated young learners.
Within the city limits of NOLA, you may find Camilla hammering away on her 88, playing anything from old jazz to modern country music. Camilla's goal is to one day open a piano studio in New Orleans where she can teach the black and whites and other common jazz instruments to enthusiastic students. Ms. Haywood hopes to bring instruments to old and new musicians alike, reviewing pianos, orchestral instruments, and other products that make her tap her fingers to the beats.