C major scales on ukulele

Do you really need to learn scales on ukulele?

Lots of questions coming in about learning scales on ukulele–is it worth bothering with?

This little series will walk you through the reasons learning scales on ukulele is important, and then coach you on some of the basics, so you can get the magic into your fingertips.

I like these quotes from the Street Musician blog, because my journey into scales on ukulele was similar to this guy’s (on guitar):

  1. Avoid learning scales on ukulele at all costs
  2. Begrudgingly accept that scales maybe could possibly help with some understanding of music
  3. Grow to quite enjoy them

Source: Why Learn Scales ? : The Maths Of Music « Street Musician – Guitar Blog

‘Why do I need to learn scales on ukulele and what are their practical application in music?’

Scales are like the maths of music, the main reason to learn them is to give your self a basic understanding of the structure and the way a piece of music works to enable you create and understand your own pieces, and allow you to integrate with other musicians.

When musicians jam, it’s knowing what key to play in and what type or style of music is being played that helps them work out the best musical paths to take i.e what chords, riffs or licks to play and what notes will sound best to improvise and solo over.

This goes for all musicians and instruments from bass guitars to pianos, harmonicas, violins, and trumpets. It doesn’t matter what you play, if you know a bit of music theory and a few scales you can connect to others through the universal language of music.

Music theory is not a fixed code that you have to follow strictly, but knowing the building blocks of a piece of music and why it sounds like it does will allow you to integrate and deviate from the norm and create your own compositions and style.

Understanding scales and music theory will give you a freedom to express yourself in which ever way you feel as you learn how to express your thoughts and emotions through your fingers.

The one thing you must ensure is that you don’t get too obsessed with scales and following strict musical guidelines. It is those musicians who use theory to enhance their music but are not afraid to play ‘out of the box’ and experiment with new techniques and methods that really make the most out of knowing a few scales.


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