Our house is filled with music lovers of all types. I grew up playing the piano and frequently would sit down and play to work through my thoughts. I love that my boys have favorite songs to sing over and over again, and I enjoy learning to play them on the piano.
Learning A New Instrument
When I was in junior high band I learned to play the clarinet quite easily and picked up the saxophone a year later. I figured knowing how to read music was basically all you needed to know, the rest was just where each key was on the new instrument. Until I met the guitar. I mistakenly thought it was going to be so easy, but I just couldn’t get my hands to hold those stings down, my fingers just didn’t bend that way. Lately I have heard a few songs I liked and have seen ‘kids’ playing the ukulele and I was tempted to try a string instrument again. My oldest son, Jett, wanted to learn as well so I began to search.
Qualities in a Ukulele
I admit, my first criteria was looks. Because if I could get pink, or floral, or something cool looking that would be my first choice. I reached out to friends on facebook asking advice and recommendations for quality vs price. Everyone who really played suggested investing in a quality instrument rather than a toy quality instrument. I found a beautiful looking guitar and once I saw the features I was sold. My top choice of ukulele was a brand called Populele.
The populele is a beautiful instrument, but the technology behind it is what interested me the most. The ukulele connects via bluetooth to your phone, and an app has instruction videos, games to play, and a library of songs to learn. When you choose a song or lesson there are lights to indicate where to place your fingers. The instructions were simple and very easy to follow – including how to position your fingers, hold the instrument, and strumming.
The Populele App
The populele app is equally as exciting as the ukulele itself. The games remind me of guitar hero with the same fun and building up in skill levels. The app has a tuner, cord sheets, and a library of songs updated for the seasons. Its the perfect combination of fun to learn and helpful. The promise is true- you will be playing a song within 15 minutes.
I like that there are high tech tools to teach, but without any of those tools the ukulele still functions as a typical instrument. The app is really well done, and the library had a lot of popular songs I wanted to learn on the ukulele already. I feel confident enough to branch out on my own to try new songs. My son liked learning the instrument, but enjoyed playing the games more than learning a new song. Maybe its being timid about branching out on his own, but for now its a fun activity I don’t have to force him to do, which I consider a win.
Jett figuring out the app and learning to hold the Populele.
This is what the lights are indicating where to place your fingers (a visual reminder as you learn).