Category Archives: Playing Help – Sites & Resources

PLUC Weekend Workout

Colour-coded musical notes: uke fretboard, tab & musical stave

Rainbow Music Ukulele Map

People learn ukulele & music theory differently, so I was interested to find the Rainbow Music site, which offers free on-line music lessons, basing learning round colour-coded musical notes.

Although you need to register to access the members’ area, once you’ve done so there is plenty to see & practice without needing to buy their paid-for resources:

  • You can be guided through a number of daily music lessons for a basic week’s course.
  • They explain notes, scales, chords & keys in a simple way & have some easy to use interactive features that let you try these out.
  • The colour-coding is a nice visual aid to help those new to learning music.
  • I found the way everything is counted in half-note intervals might confuse folk used to conventional music notation – but if you’re just starting off it’s a good way to get going, as they seem to be showing the ‘proper’ numbering alongside their own teaching numbers.
  • The interactive uke fretboard has a number of pleasing features – you can click on any note on the fretboard to find out its name; click on any note name to find all instances of that wherever it appears; build up chords by clicking on the notes they contain (eg for C major – click on C, E & G to see where those notes are & work out the many ways you can play the same chord up the neck of the uke); build up scales in a similar way.
  • As we’ve been discussing movable chords recently in our club nights, this might help folk piece that together if they don’t quite understand the theory yet.

Certainly a site worth playing around with to boost your music theory knowledge, especially if you’ve been struggling with some of the other, more formal, sites.

Other PLUC music theory postings.

Other quizzes.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Southbank Chorus Festival 31 Mar – 6 Apr 2014

Now in it’s sixth year, the Southbank Chorus Festival is the place to be this week for anyone who enjoys singing or would like the chance to improve their voice.

There are lots of opportunities to take part, with free Voicelab warm-up, drop-in and song-sharing sessions held alongside a diverse programme of performances by different choirs. See the website for more details & my review from last year’s festival to find out more.




Tags: , , , , , , , ,

PLUC Weekend Workout

Yet another free courses website is ALISON. There are over 300 courses available, including an Introduction To Music Theory.

The course introduces the basic concepts and terms needed to discuss melody and harmony. Concepts covered include interval, major and minor keys and scales, triads, chords and beginning harmonic analysis. It’s suitable for adults with no background in music theory but some familiarity with reading common notation and playing an instrument (or singing).

Upon completion of this course you will understand where octaves come from; you will know how to name a particular octave and how to divide octaves into a scale. You will know enharmonic spelling of notes such as sharp, flat or natural. You will be able to identify the pitch of a note, chromatic scales, whole steps, whole tone scales and intervals. You will understand how to classify intervals including perfect, major, minor, augmented and diminished intervals. You will know about ear training and relative pitch, tuning, playing chords by ear, improvisation, recognising intervals, writing music and much more.

(Note – the courses on the ALISON site are free but they charge if you want to have a certificate from them – so don’t bother about getting the certificate!)

Other PLUC music theory postings.

Other quizzes.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Playing Help – Sites & Resources


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

PLUCking Ukes – Ten Minute Practice Tips

Chris has spotted an interesting series of YouTubes from Phil Doleman, whom he describes as ‘half of the erstwhile Re-entrants, fantastic player and teacher and all round really top bloke’.

Phil is producing a number of Two Minute Tips aimed at beginners. So that gives you time to watch & also to practice his suggestions in your ten minutes.

Here’s number eight - Watch Your Tempo! (NB WordPress seems to keep blocking this since Phil has moved his YouTube channel, so if the video doesn’t play, go directly to it).




Tags: , , , , , , ,

PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – The Results

Well, it’s been an exciting & entertaining couple of weeks, with a varied selection of sites & songs submitted by our club members. And some friendly, competitive voting right up until the last-minute!

Many of the nominees got in touch when they saw they’ve been mentioned; they were all very charming & thanked us, which is nice given we’re just a small site (& much farther down the top uke website rankings than most of them).

Our poll has been featured on a number of different sites, from blogs to newsletters, from Facebook to Twitter & we’ve had a good influx of new visitors from them. Plus the usual curious folk who happen by at this time of year because they’ve just received a ukulele for Xmas or are thinking of purchasing one to learn to play in the new year.

  • The winner of our Member’s Choice website of 2013 is Ukulele Hunt, which narrowly pipped Got A Ukulele to the post by just two votes.
  • And the Member’s Choice song is a 1994 number, covered in 2013 by the  pUKEs, Because You’re Young, with a resounding victory over Joe Brown’s rendition of the PLUC favourite from 1982, Ain’t No Pleasing You. Selected tunes were composed between 1878 – 1994, showing our eclectic tastes in the group.

Click on the images below to see more detailed results:

1) Best Ukulele Website Of 2013 - Results

1) Best Ukulele Website Of 2013 – Results

2) Best Ukulele Song Of 2013 - Results

2) Best Ukulele Song Of 2013 – Results


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Uke For Xmas?

English: A Kohala Seminary student poses with ...

English: A Kohala Seminary student poses with her ukulele in this 1912 photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, if you’ve just received a new ukulele for Christmas, check out last year’s tips for handy resources, beginners’ sites & local groups (or come & join our free weekly sessions if you’re in London, Kent or Surrey).

If you’re looking to buy a uke, see our guide to good starter instruments. And do check round this site for plenty of articles on playing tips and other useful free websites.

And if you just want to enjoy a bit of uke fun, try out the Ukulele Hunt’s annual Xmas Quiz.

We’re back strumming at the Lewis Club on Tue 7 Jan 2014.



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Darren

I like George Elmes (he’s Irish) because he learns most of the stuff from watching videos. I struggle with it on a piece of paper in front of me.

Check out his video of Roy Smeck’s arrangement of Anton Rubinstein’s Melody In F on YouTube below.

Also, I do not use any sites (all selling something), but the best buy uke-related item this year has been an app called UChord.(for those with smart phones). Very simple to use: if you want a different voicing for a chord, you simply press C, D, G or whatever; next 6th,7th, 9ths, sharps and flats. It will then give you four variations of the chord you picked to add a little spice to your playing and also understand the fretboard a little better.

Coming up the neck is invaluable and, once you get the feel for barred chords, more simple than first position chords, and all with the ease of just moving up 1 – 2 frets, keeping the same finger position – or might just be the case of moving one finger and so on. Just watch Rufus!



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Jos

I think my favourite site has to be Doctor Uke. Not for any special reason or that I think it’s great or anything. Just because it was one of the first I ever came across, it has hundreds of songs on it and it is VERY easy to use and understand.

A favourite tune is a tricky one because I like so many different tunes of different styles for so many different reasons, so I think I’ll abstain from that one if that’s allowed!

All the best.



Tags: , , , ,

PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Tina

I have a few and one of them is my son’s favourite. I wonder if you will be able to guess which one that is?

I cannot pretend that I am fluent in playing any one of them but they are where my aspirations lie.  Maybe when I can play them well, my singing will improve too (SMILE).



V has done a stunning cover version of this one:


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PLUC Member’s Choice 2013 – Katrin

Bentley and my uke.

Bentley and uke. (Photo credit: ohthecuteness)

I don’t really have a ‘favourite’ yet, but I’ve recently discovered Ukulele Underground and its forums. I’m a sucker for message boards and can easily waste my whole day on them, so I’m resisting jumping right into the community, and just lightly lurking for a while so I remember I still have a life. Looks like some fun and valuable stuff on there, though!

And if anyone in the group is also into knitting or crochet, Ravelry has a few uke-related forums.



Tags: , , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 106 other followers