If you’re starting out, just pick one or two ukulele tunings, and then learn the notes by ear, but you do NOT need to go by sheet music. I have not, and do not have a score of songs to memorize; instead, I just use my own notes to study. For me, it’s easier to stick with the original tabular tunings and start with some tunes, like the Tabasco, Cajun, or Cajun country tunes on the Cajun Lydian tabulist and the Cajun Vocalization tune on the French guitar. Then expand from there to other tune types.
Can I learn a tune in my first few days using the tabs?
Technically no, there are a few ways to learn a tune. The most common method is either to practice it on a tuner and then study the notes; or to learn one scale that you know and practice the rest of it until you get it down, then study a tune in it. However, many instructors and teachers find that if all they do is study the notes, and there’s no progression, they are left trying to memorize the scales.
The second option is to listen to and learn the tune from scratch in the open strings, then try and go back to learn other scales (on guitar) from the other instruments like the viola or drums. These two methods do not sound terribly appealing to me but I understand that I’m learning what I like.
Where can I learn some tunes from memory?
Unfortunately, there are no music lessons online that can teach you how to learn anything that the old notation can’t. But there are a couple of tools that help.
You can download some music to play or listen to, and just practice the notes. These are available either through YouTube or other online music sites. My favorite free alternative is TuneIn. Just search for the song you’re going to study, and it will show a playlist of songs to listen to. This list is very comprehensive for some popular songs, although it does not cover every tune. This tool is great to take when learning by ear.
You can also listen to other artists’ recordings on Youtube, which sounds fine to me but you might be better off doing that on your own. You can also use MusicBrainz. It’s free to use and extremely easy to use. It is able to give you a score of the musical notes
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