This is one of the first questions that I had when I first sat down to learn the ukulele, just like I’m sure you did. Before I even bought my uke I wanted to know if it was possible for me to get good at it with my limited free time. I spent a long time developing what I thought would be the perfect practice schedule, and have used it to develop my skills as well as friends for a long time now.
As a general rule, you should practice ukulele five days per week to see drastic improvement in your playing ability. Of course the time you practice depends on your goals – and the difficulty of your goals may require even less frequency to get good enough to suit your dreams.
How Often Should I Practice Ukulele?
The number of times that you practice in a typical week really depends on your goals and your current plaing ability – there are many variables that come into play when you’re actually trying to figure out how often you’ll need to practice, and you won’t really know them that well until you spend time doing it.
As a beginner, practicing 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week is going to give you a great improvement in your baseline uke playing ability, and you’ll probably find that you enjoy playing it so much that you spend more than just 15 minutes playing.
As you master basic chord changes, learning to sing and play, ear training, strumming and more, your beginner ukulele skills will improve quickly and you’ll get a lot of joy from the uke.
In order to figure out how much time you need to spend practicing, or how often you should spend practicing, you need to set a goal, whether it’s to learn a song or to be able to play along with friends, it’s best to set a specific measureable goal.
The more time or frequency you incorporate into your practice in the beginning, especially, the more your skills quickly develop and improve.
If you’re a more intermediate player, you might have a specific skill that you’re wanting to practice, like scales, soloing, difficult chord transitions, difficult songs, etc.
Once you have the material you want to learn, you’ll need to see how long it takes you to develop the muscle memory or the ability to play those skills without thinking – that duration of time can help you plan for the future, because it might just get harder from here!
As you become more advanced, you’ll begin needing to practice a whole different set of skills, that might take lots more time – perfecting a set list, how to perform, singing and playing in front of a crowd.
If you need to learn 15 new songs for a set list, and it takes you 2 hours to perfect one of those songs, you know you’ll need at least 30 hours to practice for a set list.
So yes, that is a really long winded way to say “it depends” but for a beginner my answer remains the same:
Beginners should play 5 days per week, for at least 15 minutes, and they’ll get a good handle on how to play the ukulele very quickly.
How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Ukulele?
Ukulele is one of those instruments that has a reputation as being one of the easiest to start with, and that reputation is well earned. I’ve played many different stringed instruments in my life and the ukulele is one of the easiest that I’ve spent time learning.
Although it takes a lifetime to master the ukulele, it takes 3-6 months playing consistently to get good at ukulele. In just 2-3 months playing the uke sticking to the rules I already mentioned, 5 days per week for a minimum of 15 minutes, the average player can learn most basic chords, as well as master some easy songs.
Of course these numbers are going to be variable – if you miss days, or don’t TRY to improve, you probably won’t flourish. In my opinion it’s always better to have accountability or a curriculum that is provided by a competent teacher.
There are countless skills that you need to practice to become a real master of the ukulele, and it will take years of dedication to become amazing at the instrument-but it’s one of the quickest ones to pick up and be able to enjoy.
How Can I Practice Ukulele Everyday?
In my experience, practicing ukulele often is by far the fastest way to get to the point that you’re comfortable picking it up and playing easy music without much effort. The best way to develop a habit to practice ukulele everyday is to intentionally schedule some time every day.
When I’m practicing a new skill and need uninterrupted time to really work on it, I start setting my alarm a bit earlier. I’m an early bird so I like to get up, get some caffeine and focus before the day’s distractions set in.
If you look at your daily schedule you likely can find a small block of time where you’ll be able to intentionally sit down and practice your instrument.
Another big tip I have about facilitating daily practice is to create less barriers to getting the practice done.
For example, don’t negelect your ukulele in it’s case in the closet – everytime you have an inkling to play it you’ll need to dig through dirty clothes, get it out of the case, tune it up, find your music and then play – you might have lost 10 minutes of your practice time just getting ready.
Instead, get a wall hanger or a floor stand so your uke can be out and available throughout the day.
If you keep your uke in a common area of your home, you can grab it everytime you sit down, and spend a few minutes practicing chord shapes or your current favorite song.
I bought a wall hanger that you can see here that lets me keep my uke handy and I have the tuner close by so I can tune it easily and quickly – it doesn’t go out of tune much if you keep it tuned regularly.
Everyone’s ukulele journey is different, and what’s most important to you in regard to what you’re learning can dictate how often you’ll need to play and practice to get to the level you feel “good” but don’t forget that you’ll never get a certificate showing that you’re now “good”.
You need to set your own goals and pursue them, enjoy the learning and always enjoy the journey.