The best ukuleles for beginners

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If you’re looking for a musical instrument that’s fun, versatile, inexpensive and relatively easy to learn then a ukulele just might be the thing for you. Ukuleles can be serious or comical and have been used by comedians and professional musicians with equal success. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of recommendations to help you put fingers to strings.

1. Kala Learn To Play Ukulele Starter Kit

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This great little beginner’s kit comes with a tote bag, a getting started guide and a special tuning kit to help you get the hang of maintaining its proper tones. It comes with a nice wood finish and free lessons through the available app. 

Price: $59.99


2. Martin Smith UK-212

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The Martin Smith UK-212  features some of the finest quality tuning gears that you’re likely to find on a ukulele. The oversized tuning knobs  make the job even easier. It also comes with a carrying case and two months free access to live and local instruction.

Price: $19.99


3. ADM 21

ADM 21

This item is specially designed for ease of play and durability. It comes with a waterproof nylon bag, an electronic LED lit tuner, extra picks and a strap. The body is also handsomely stained with a redwood finish that makes it look like a professional grade ukulele.

Price: $35.99

 



4. Diamond Head DU-150 Soprano Ukulele

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This traditionally shaped ukulele has a full sized body for a nice resonant sound that you don’t get with many others.  It comes with an easy to follow three-chord chart which will kick off your playing quite rapidly and a gig bag that has everything you need to start serenading.

Price: $34.08


5.  Kala KA-15S Mahogany Soprano

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Made entirely from mahogany, this beginner’s ukulele has a professional look and feel that will make you love to play. It features 12 brass frets on the rosewood fingerboard for greater resonance and looks great. The satin finish and geared tuners make this ukulele tough to beat.

Price: $59.99


6. Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele 

Hola!

Choose from an array of handsome color schemes when you select this festive ukulele. Made from maple and rosewood, the Hola! HM-21 Soprano Ukulele  is going to feel as good in your hands as it sounds. 12 nickel frets round out the look and sound of this item nicely.

Price: $32.95


7. Concert Size Ukulele Bundle from Lohanu

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This is a great package for anyone who wants to learn to play and start entertaining as soon as possible. It comes with a case, a strap, a tuning device, three extra picks and one of the finest wood finishes you’re likely to find. It also comes with one of the highest quality stock  carrying cases available. 

Price: $89.99


8. Donner Concert Ukulele

Donner

This traditional concert ukulele is made from mahogany and comes strung with advanced carbon strings for longer lasting play. With its exceptionally fine finish, this ukulele plays smoothly and easily. The 18 brass frets enable you to hit more notes than an ordinary ukulele making it perfect for ambitious players.

Price: $65.00


9. Kala Makala Shark Soprano

Makala

With its lime and wood tone color scheme, the Makala Shark will stand out in any setting. It comes in a range of colors if lime is too much for you and the Agathis top offers the same quality of mahogany for less. It features 12 brass frets, geared tuners and comes with a lightweight nylon carrying bag.

Price: $47.99


10. Trendy Traditional and Painted Economy Hawaiian Soprano Ukulele Starter Pack

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Beautifully made and a great bargain with lots of extras, this is an excellent starter pack for any beginner ukulele player. It features brass frets, finger position markers, chrome plating and a high-quality finish. Choose from a range of colors and stow it in the included carrier gig bag.

Price: Starting from $30.07

Music education non-profits: Who they are, what they do, and how to get involved

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Many music education non-profits are working hard to ensure that the world of music stays alive. It’s crucial that they get the support they need to allow today’s talented young musicians to be free to pursue their gifts.

Ear Candy Charity

Ear Candy Charity is a music organization in Arizona whose primary focus is on music programs for children. This is a very hard thing to find nowadays so it’s amazing to see that there are some non-profits with a clear focus on helping kids discover the many joys of music.

The National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts provides support in a range of creative spheres including music. The simple fact that they want to help children study and learn music in a proper manner is certainly a commendable thing.

VH1 Save The Music

VH1 Save The Music is a very interesting nonprofit, especially since its primary focus is on instrumental music. Its focus is specifically on public schools and the children who attend them who are in dire need of encouragement.

Mr. Holland’s Opus

This foundation does something very special. They collect used instruments, and then they donate them to schools. Nothing is more important than preparing the new generation, and that’s exactly what the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation does.

Fender Music Foundation

The Fender Music Foundation awards instruments to various music education programs across the country including public schools. It’s an incredible operation which has already supplied thousands of kids with access to instruments they may never have otherwise experienced.

Tipitina’s Foundation

Tipitina’s Foundation is a local non-profit focused mostly on the idea of supporting the music community in New Orleans and Louisiana, both of which have distinguished music personalities.

To get involved in any of the great organizations listed above, all you have to do is to check out each and donate as much or as little as you want. You will get to support the artists of the upcoming decades, so it’s a wonderful thing to be a part of!

Advice for new music school graduates: First steps in launching your career

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Congratulations, you’re a graduate. After competing with thousands of others to land a spot at your chosen school, you’ve finally obtained that coveted degree that will help launch your career. But after all the glitter from commencement parties and graduation gifts settle, many music education grads find themselves at a loss over how to start the next phase. It’s a common feeling that overwhelms beginners in pretty much every industry so don’t panic, you’re not alone. Here’s a simple list of helpful tips and advice for new music school graduates to help guide you through the often daunting career search.

Know (roughly) what you want 

The trick to kick-starting your career is honing in on what exactly where you think you may want to begin. After four years in a specialized school, chances are you have a pretty good idea what makes you tick by now. Focus on your skills but don’t ignore the things you dislike – it’s better to identify any potential problems in a career path before venturing down the wrong one.

Don’t know what you want? Don’t panic! 

There’s a lot to be said for trial and error. You may have started school with the intention of launching your own band or act and left sold on the notion of teaching. The great news about studying anything to do with music is that it’s mostly all connected and skills can be easily transferred. Be brave enough to explore an option that may never have crossed your mind before. It may end up becoming the thing you love  most and could lead to a long and successful career.

Seek advice

Talking to as many people as possible can be one of the most valuable ways to form a decision, so don’t be shy to ask for advice from anyone you feel could be qualified to give it. Don’t limit this to just the music industry, but seek expertise from anyone you think might be able to shed light on your search. The more you listen the more you learn about a variety of careers. Don’t be frightened if one person doesn’t give you the answer you were hoping for – not everyone’s experience is the same.

Pick a place 

Picking a city, state, country or even continent is a great place to start. Maybe you can’t find your dream job  straight away but honing in on one spot could help you lay the groundwork for the beginning of your career. If you narrow your search to a place where there is a good enough range of opportunities, you may find yourself having more success. Be sure to do your research and don’t look for possibilities where they don’t exist.

Plan ahead 

The trick to landing a job to move on to straight after graduation depends on how prepared you are. The most organized students will start looking for opportunities a year before commencement. This can feel like a daunting task when coupled with the mountainous workload expected of you in your final year, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do both at once. After all, one job done well is better than two that are barely finished.

Internships and apprenticeships are often a great way to line up real opportunities for after graduation. If you’ve had a good experience somewhere on a more casual basis, ask if there are any role vacancies or spots to fill around the time you’re due to leave. Often these more casual roles turn into a permanent position if it’s a good fit.

Be honest 

If you land yourself a job interview or audition (yay!), don’t be tempted to bluff your way through it. Sure, there are moments when a little optimistic up-selling is needed, but it’s important to know the difference between having confidence in your ability to adapt to a role and having genuine concerns that its requirements may be beyond you. If something feels like it’s beyond your reach, think about the skills you may need to handle it and if your experience matches up. If not, is there a way you can get yourself there? If all else fails, honesty is always the best policy.

Have a little faith 

You’ve come this far, what else can you achieve now? It’s daunting to leave a world of funded programs with dedicated tutors and constant support. Believe in your talents, whatever they are, and try to embrace the new normal. Being able to transform your passion and talent into a career is something many people only ever dream of. Be grateful to have found what it is that you love and persevere in the knowledge that you’ll soon figure out where you need to be and how to get there.

As Stephen Henderson, the 2017 Juilliard commencement speaker told his wide-eyed audience this year: ‘The ecstatic exhilaration shared with everyone who believes in you back then is back again.’

Mental benefits of a music education: Big benefits for the brain!

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Music is more than just a combination of notes and lyrics.  For a lot of people, it’s a way of life, a livelihood and for some it’s a form of therapy. With an abundance of research proving the cognitive and emotional benefits it can also bring, more and more parents are looking to music education to help boost their child’s development. As this article will discuss, there are several mental benefits of a music education, both for children and adults.

Music education facilitates learning other subjects

Studies have shown that a child who studies music will also find it easier to learn other things as well. Singing, listening and moving during music classes will also make it easier for children to experience and enjoy regular classes and it also helps boost their confidence.

It opens up your child’s attention to new things

Yes, music education broadens your child’s perspective. It makes things more interesting and appealing. At the same time, it boosts your child’s focus, and it helps re-wire the brain. If they show a knack for it, it can become a stimulating pastime that can easily turn into a lifelong passion or career.

Language development

It’s no coincidence the alphabet and colours of the rainbow are taught by song. From a pre-school age, children absorb language effortlessly through music. It’s a learning skill that can be carried through their entire school years. Plus, growing up in an environment that is musically rich can easily pay off. Your child will also be able to celebrate and reinforce the inborn capacities in a natural manner.

More focus and attention

By subscribing to music education, your child becomes more focused and dedicated to the matter at hand. The discipline teaches them to attention to detail and encourages a higher level of commitment to other facets of their child and adult lives.

Music education boosts brain chemicals

By listening to music or creating it, your body will generate more dopamine. As a result, this motivational molecule increases your state of well-being. This is why every child that opts for music education is a lot happier and often more determined than their peers. It’s a unique benefit which is difficult to find in other extra-curricular subjects.

Better fine motor skills

Music education in younger children has shown an improvement of the fine motor skills.

Increased creativity

Some of the world’s best musicians also hailed as pioneering creatives. Honing a child’s creative senses from a young age can help set them on a path of lifelong stimulation in music and other creative ventures which they may otherwise never have been exposed to.

So, music education can be incredible for any child regardless of if they show natural aptitude for any one instrument or genre. It provides a plethora of both short and long-term benefits as well as improving mental health and self-esteem.