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:
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