Course Summary

Play Ukulele by Ear

Unit 1 - Getting Started

Welcome to this course. Although it is based on ukulele the principles you will gain here can be applied to other instruments, singing, and many types of music. I’ve simplified the chords to make practice easy and enjoyable.

Unit 2 - The Three Chords

Now that you’ve practiced putting some rhythm into your strumming we can add a 3-chord pattern that allows you to play along with a large percentage of popular songs.

Unit 3 - Changing Key

Transposing keys can be a challenging intellectual feat but we really only need to know two different keys to accommodate most singing. That could mean yet another three chords to learn – but you’ve already learned two of those chords! So one more chord and you can cover a full range.

Unit 4 - The Magical Four Chords

The four-chord patterns you’ll learn in this module should bring back many memories. The Roman numeral notation may be confusing at first but you don’t have to really learn it as we’re aiming to play by ear. If you rehearse them enough to make the finger movements second nature you’re well on the way to playing most pop songs by ear.

Unit 5 - Rhythm and Blues

No matter how many chords you learn on a ukulele it can still sound boringly ‘plunk-a-plunk’. So that’s why our very first module emphasised rhythm and strumming. Now we’re ready to rock! This module introduces a pattern you’ve heard in countless lifts and supermarkets – the 12-bar blues.

Unit 6 - The Modern 4-Chord Variant

Over 70,000 new albums are now released – each year!  Four-chord patterns to the rescue. Most of these can be played with the same 4-chord sets we’ve already learned. None of these songs would become hits if they all followed exactly the same pattern but we now only need to recognise the basic pattern to be able to play the countless variations that make up popular music.

Unit 7 - Real Chords

Most ukulele books and web sites have countless chords. You now have a simple system of chord patterns and have rehearsed the basic moves. You only now have to add a finger here and there to get full-sounding chords.

Unit 8 - Play by Ear

The final step in playing by ear just requires confidence. You now have enough simple chords to fake through many songs. Because you know the basic patterns you can skip, hum, or mute your way past any confusing little parts in the middle of a song and quickly get back on track.