Last term Caitlyn and I had the chance to take part in Ukulele Club at school with Pembrokeshire Springboard. It was great fun and even when it finished for the summer holidays we decided to keep on learning this instrument. The kids have always had ukuleles over the years but this was the first time we actually learnt how to tune them, play the notes and easy chords, put a song together and keep it up. We were looking forward to a new term so Caitlyn could resume lessons and we are trying to get funding to continue the ukulele club (wish us luck).
We are delighted that Smyths Toys have sent us a new First Act Discovery Ukulele to review and also one to give away to our readers. Read on to find out more about the First Act Discovery Ukulele and how one lucky reader can win one:
First Act Discovery Ukulele
At just £14.99 the First Act Discovery Ukulele is an affordable instrument to begin to learn with. It arrived boxed and packaged well so would make a great gift for the child in your life. It’s a real playable instrument that offers your child the chance to enjoy a fun hobby. It’s suitable from age 6 and above.
Tuning Your First Act Discovery Ukulele
When you first strum your ukulele straight from the box it won’t sound great. You need to tune your ukulele. Dave and Rebecca are guitar players and like to tune by ear but as Caitlyn and I are learning we still use an app.
In ukulele club we were taught to tune our strings using a simple song:
“My (G) Dog (C) Has (E) Fleas (A)”
Other people just sing the notes as they tune:
“Ggg Ccc Eee Aaa”
One thing I have noticed since playing the ukulele is the newer the uke, the more quickly they fall out of tune. However the more you play them the longer they begin to remain in tune so make sure you practice lots and always tune your uke before you start playing and as and when it falls out of tune.
Playing the Open Notes
Once tuned you can learn the open string names: G C E A . Again you can use a mnemonic, such as “Good Children Eat Apples” to help you remember- it’s fun to make up your own mnemonic too.
Learning Ukulele Chords
The great thing about learning the ukulele is you only need to learn a couple of chords and you can play whole songs. I think it’s important for children (and adults) to learn songs as soon as they can to give them a sense of satisfaction. I know that I get bored just practising notes and chords but I love playing and singing along to songs.
C Chord on Ukulele
The very first ukulele chord that we learnt was C. To play a C chord take your third finger (ring finger) and hold down the A string at the third fret (between the second and third fret wires). Practice strumming this chord.
F Chord on Ukulele
The second chord that we learnt to play was the F chord. Use your index finger to hold the E string at the first fret.
Use your middle finger to hold the g string at the second fret. Arch your fingers to make sure you leave C and A strings open.
Strum your ukulele!
Songs Using C and F Cord
Now you can play your first songs using just chords C and F, such as Skip to my Lou and You Are My Sunshine. When you’ve learnt more chords you can play an even jazzier version!
Skip to my Lou
Skip, skip, skip to my lou
Skip, skip, skip to my lou
Skip, skip, skip to my lou
Skip to my lou, my darling!
You Are My Sunshine
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
you make me
Happy when skies are
Know, dear, how much I
Please don’t take my
It is such a happy feeling to be able to play and sing these simple songs together. It’s nice for me and Caitlyn to have started this new hobby together, having four kids it’s lovely to have something special to share with each child. Once you’re confident with each set of chords, learn some more. We’re not perfect by any means (I still need lots of “strumming practice” I’ve definitely not a “natural”) but it’s all good fun. Anyone can learn the ukulele and should give it a go!
Caitlyn loves playing her favourite songs by George Ezra, such as Paradise and Shotgun, and songs from the Greatest Showman- Right Here Right now sounds great! I like playing songs by “The Beautiful South”, my favourite to play is “Don’t Marry Her”. We have bought a couple of ukulele books but you can find everything you need online whether you prefer to learn a song from sheet music, tabs or from a Youtube video.
The First Act Discovery Ukulele sounds great and is a great starter instrument. Caitlyn has the Black with Blue Stars edition and it is also available in White with Blue Butterflies. It’s an ideal size for Caitlyn to practice on and also to teach her younger sister how to play. As your child grows and you know that this is going to be a lifetime hobby then you could invest in a more expensive ukulele (in addition to guitars if they follow our kids!). I love watching the kids learning, practising and playing new songs. It’s such a worthwhile hobby and useful skill too (my own regret is not learning to play an instrument well as a child or teen).
See Caitlyn playing “Skip To My Lou” below. Sorry in advance for my loud singing voice. Caitlyn asked me to sing at the last minute which wasn’t the best idea with my voice and being so close to the camera mic! Oops!
More About The First Act Discovery Ukulele
“Get strumming with this Ukelele Black with Blue Stars. It’s ready to take anywhere you need to go. Guitar-style tuning gears let you tune up and stay in tune. Nylon strings for that traditional uke sound.
- Black with Blue Stars design
- Soprano Ukulele
- Traditional soprano-sized body with great sound.
- Easy to play nylon strings
- Tuneable, with guitar-style tuning gears
- Designed for kids to sound great!
- Contents: Ukelele Black with Blue Stars
- Batteries Not Required”
Win a First Act Discovery Ukulele
For a chance to win a First Act Discovery Ukulele enter the Rafflecopter below. Remember to read the terms and conditions. Good luck!
Thank you to Smyths Toys for supplying us and one of our readers with a First Act Discovery Ukulele for the purposes of this review and competition. If you’re a brand that would like to work with us please get in touch!
Many thanks to the following Competition Promoters:
– Find the best UK Competitions brought together all in one spot. It’s free and updated daily!
Life in a Breakdown
My daughter would love to learn Jingle Bells in time for Christmas
My daughter would love to learn jingle bells
You Are My Sunshine would be at the top of the list but there are some lovely oldies that I want to try, too.
Bryan Adams – Summer of 69!
I’d play Clementine!
if I can dream by elvis presley
Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton.
Great article! Love how you got your daugther into playing ukelele!
You are my sunshine, as that’s what I sing to my kids 🙂
Over the rainbow
Hey Jude! Thanks for the chance lovely looking ukulele x
I’d like to play Daisy!
I’d love to play Over the Rainbow
Twinkle twinkle little star – it’s getting close to Christmas!!
When I’m cleaning windows
Londons Burning just like the recorder
My daughter is learning the ukulele at school and this would be wonderful to treat her to her own. I think I would love her to learn You are my sunshine but would be glad for her to play any song.
id love to learn mcfly – love is easy! 🙂
Old MacDonald had a farm
I think it would have to be twinkle twinkle little star
My son thinks Jingle Bells would be a good one to learn for Christmas.
I’d love to learn you are my sunshine x
Will love to play let it be. Awesome prize
A little Stick Of Blackpool Rock
Leaning on a lamp post!
Creep by Radiohead
My grandson would love to play twinkle twinkle little star
my son is learning at school so Jingle Bells would be a good one
Jingle Bells – ready for Christmas!
When I’m cleaning windows
Somewhere over the rainbow – my dad loves to play 🙂
let it go – frozen my little one’s favourite
My nephew loves the song Thunder by Imagine Dragons, so he would love to be able to play it himself.
somewhere over the rainbow <3 would be fab
O Holy Night in time for Christmas because it’s such a great melody – I wonder how it would sound on the ukulele.
Despacito by Luis Fonsi
Stay with me – Sam Smith
Let it go from frozen
For me it would be Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over class tune and would sound amazing played on this baby so thank you for the chance,
twinkle twinkle little star! keep it simple lol
This old house by Shakin Stevens, wouldn’t be a pretty sound
When i’m cleaning windows x
Aww for me I would love to play something like ‘raindrops keep raining on my head’ I think it would sound lovely on. Ukulele!
My son would love to play ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at my sister’s New Year wedding.
she will be loved by maroon 5
I think i’d start with something a bit simple like twinkle twinkle little star
I would play Jingle Bells it’s the easiest to learn and the kids would love it with it being christmassy x
You are my sunshine sounds fun to play
upside down by jack johnson
Leaning on a Lamp Post
True Love by Pink
I would love to play twinkle twinkle little star.
I’d probably start off with some nursery rhymes before I get too complicated!
My son played Jesse Glynn in his years six leavers concert but they weren’t allowed to keep the ukelele, which was a shame. I’d love him to play me Frosty the Snowman for Christmas. Thanks
When I’m Cleaning Windows – George Formby
My daughter can play eye of the tiger on the ukulele she learnt it at school 💚
I’d love to play Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles.
my granddaughter would like to play a Christmas song
my granddaughter would like to play a Christmas song, ie;- Jingle bells
Definitely you are my sunshine my dad used to play this
I would like to try and play the Game of Thrones theme on it.
tiptoe through the tulips by tiny tim 🙂
Wild Thing 🙂
My daughter would love this for christmas