Ukulele Education Video Series

Video 5: Teaching Tab
Over the years, I have been pretty successful teaching my students how to read tab, but there was always 2 or 3 students that didn't quite "get it." Weren't they listening when I explained it? 

Yes, they were probably listening, but not all students learn the same way. Some students would forget that tab is upside down for them (if they are playing ukulele right-handed). 

Because of these students, I decided to change how I teach tab and now I have an even higher success rate. 

After wanting to come up with a different method to communicate with all of my students, I tried projecting the sheet music and holding the ukulele sideways next to the music so that the students could see the pattern. This system worked BUT the ukulele was too small for all of my students to see the frets clearly. Holding the ukulele up also didn't give me the freedom to use both of my hands at the same time. 

I asked the technology department for a document camera at the end of the school year last year. I explained why I needed it and I told them that the music room entertained about 400 students in a week. The technology department did not know I needed one, so they ordered it and now I use it to teach tab, chords, and much more!

In the past, I used to hand out the music, ask the students to watch me play on the ukulele as I explained tab, and then gave them time to try it out on their own or with friends. 

Then, I would start hearing faint resemblances to the song and I would praise the students who understood how to read tab and encourage them to finish the song on their own. 

Now I use the document camera to explain to my classes how to play their first three songs. I remember reading a marketing statistic that said that potential buyers need to see your ad 7 times in order to remember it. I took this statistic seriously and now I explain tab reading 2 times for each new song I present to the class. Granted, after the first song, students can shout out fret numbers and strings while I present at the document camera.  

Video 4: Chords
1. Shadow Play
2. Hover
3. Strum & Check

1. To shadow play, the students must only move the hand on the fretboard. They will only exercise moving their left hand (for the majority of students). This is to build muscle memory!

2. To hover, students must position their hand to prepare for the next chord. When playing C chord, for example, students must have their middle finger ready for A minor chord.

3. Strum & Check. Students will play ("strum") the strings to play the chord. To "check," the students will check their hand placement and make sure they are not touching adjacent strings.

To see 20 different strumming patterns, click here:
The resource includes:
20 Pages Full color for displaying with the projector/ActivBoard 
20 Pages Black & White for easy printing

Video 3: Common Beginner Mistakes
Hand placement
Finger placement
Centering the thumb in the back

Video 2: Stickers
This video is a tutorial for putting the stickers on the ukulele, including the thumb sticker. Some students want to use their thumbs on the fretboard, so in order to build good habits from the beginning, I put an ukulele on the back of the ukulele where I want the students to put their thumb. 
Get stickers in colors red, green, and blue. If you get other colors with the back, that's great! You can mark other chords like D or C7. 

Video 1: Intro
this is an introduction to the sticker system that I have used for 2 (going on 3) years now. I taught ukulele in middle school for 2 years without these stickers and now I teach elementary using the stickers. My elementary students have accomplished more than the middle school students because of the stickers..

The sticker colors match the bells/boomwhackers. 
  • Chord C - red
  • Chord F - green
  • Chord G - blue


  1. Hi Bernadette,
    What brand of ukulele do you use with your students?

  2. You have been a life saver...I have never played an instrument but have been asked to teach have been a God send. Do you have a program or more websites with tab music sheets? on Teachers pay teachers???

  3. Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog. Thank you for sharing with us,I too always learn something new from your post. slot online


Bernadette Etcheverry. Powered by Blogger.