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Thread: Can a complete novice learn a song or two in four months?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Default Can a complete novice learn a song or two in four months?

    Hi there!

    I guess the point of my post is in the title but I'll give a little context:

    I'm from England and my fiancee and I are going to Hawaii to get married. I have zero musical background and do not play any instruments but I got really taken by the idea of learning a song or two on the ukulele to play (and sing) for her when we have a picnic after the ceremony. It will just be the two of us and although I know that it's a bit corny I think that she'll love it, especially if it's a surprise.

    From the massive range of experience on this site I was wondering if people could give me an idea if this is at all feasible or if I'm dreaming. I've found some tabs and good tutorials for the songs that I'd like to play and I'm disciplined and commited enough to see it through but I honestly have no idea of how hard it would be.

    I should be clear that I'm not looking to be great, I just want to play a couple of simple songs sung in a simple understated way. Think campfire performance rather than stage performance!!

    If anyone has any input, advice or suggestions then I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Cleveland Ohio


    A lot of this will depend on the target songs.
    I have dragged a half dozen newbies through the startup stages of uke playing. I picked songs that were all cords/strumming based rather than tabs/finger picking based.
    We have had great success putting on Christmas shows for the family, in a similar informal environment to what you describe.

    Not saying that a more advanced song is out of reach. Just that a sensible first step and then building is good.

    What songs are you looking to play? Do you have links to the tabs?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Blaine, Washington


    Welcome to the forum. Of course you can learn a song or two in 4 months. The big thing about learning to play is to have an instrument that is set up right and playable. I have a cheap $29.99 Dolphin set up properly that I play more than a couple much more expensive ones I still need to work on.

    Thousands of songs have two chords; some only have one. Iko Iko, is one with two chords. If you can't learn a two chord song in 4 months; perhaps you should rethink getting married lol. Congrats on your future marriage. And, congrats on finding an instrument you'll be able to play a song or two in four months.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    Well, you could sing a song along to just strumming the open strings, depends on what you want.

    I find it (very) difficult to remember tunes, others find it easy enough - how's your memory.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    Very much depend on which songs you want to play, and how high your ambitions are.
    And how much time and flair for music playing you have.

    You can definately learn to play some songs, but not necessarily the excact song in the excact key with the excact solo you wanted to play. Unless you chose something fortunate :-)

    Tell us which songs you are contemplating and be sure to get plenty of advice here!

    PS, I played ukulele for my wife at our wedding too. She didnt notice me sneaking my ukulele to the place... A hassle that you can only practice that song when she is not around. I hope you have a safe place to practice.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    West Midlands GB


    You have chosen the nom-de-plume "Tonedef" (or something similar). If that is a true assessment of your musical aptitude I would say, "Forget it".

    I have met some people who could do what you propose in four days - and some who could not manage it if they tried for four years. If you can memorize and sing a simple tune, accurately, and have normal hand/eye coordination, then, yes. It is very doable.

    John Colter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Woodstock NY USA


    I remember, to the amazement of my husband, strumming AND singing Clementine after 2 weeks of learning from nothing. Now, he is no longer amazed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Capital District, New York


    Quote Originally Posted by Martinlover View Post
    I remember, to the amazement of my husband, strumming AND singing Clementine after 2 weeks of learning from nothing. Now, he is no longer amazed.
    And you play very nicely, too! (Don't forget the upcoming Spring Into Uke in Voorheesville, in May!)
    {watch this space} Magic Fluke Timber Bass * Ohana CK450QEL * Ohana CK-65D * Ken Timms Soprano
    Moku MS-90S * Waterman * National Triolian Reso * Bugsgear Aqualele * Donaldson Concert
    Rosewood Vita Uke * Waverly Street #38 * Ko'Aloha Sceptre Tenor * Ohana Vita Uke
    Fluke FireFly * Epiphone Les Paul Ukulele * Republic Concert * Fluke Tenor M22
    Kala KA-KTG-CT * Cordoba 20TM * 1950s Harmony soprano *1920s Stella banjo uke

    Am I done?


    My YouTube Channel

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    on a sunny FL beach


    tonedef, you can absolutely do it! Lots of great easy songs. Do a little browsing thru song charts and find something that appeals to you. Don’t pick something too hard, just a few simple chords. If you are looking for something easy to remember w/o a chart in front of you, just find a song that just follows a regular progression like C, Am, F, G, repeating for the whole song and you will have an easier time. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Seattle, WA


    with a short time frame, I would encourage you to find someone or a group to help you.
    you will need to do it on the sly, but if there are ukulele players around, i think that would
    be my advice. I think you would make the most progress that way.

    again, you will need to be able to sing already and be willing to learn to play the uke (that one
    seems to be covered already! )

    good luck! and Congratulations!

    a very worthy goal and a very nice gift for your Bride!
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( )

    Ukulele Boot Camp, FREE Songbook, Holiday, Hawaiian & More:
    Crazy G tutorial on YouTube ( uncle rod crazy g )
    pdf file for Crazy G:

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