Uke Can Do It!

July 20, 2012 | Monika

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Ukulele the world's friendliest instrument        The ukulele a visual history Rev. & expanded ed      Make Your Own Ukulele.  The Essential Guide to Building, Tuning, and Learning to Play the Uke.

You’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument, but it was too expensive, or time-consuming, or scary? That’s how I felt, until I bought my first ukulele.

The little instrument with a big following is easy to learn. Without too much investment in money or time, you’ll be strumming and singing lots of your favourite songs.  Toronto Public Library has added many songbooks and how-to books to the collection recently, and has some great CDs and DVDs to inspire budding ukesters.



You might want to start by watching The Mighty Uke. It traces the history of the ukulele, and highlights some of the great groups and individual musicians who are playing today, including Canada’s own James Hill.


Don’t feel too bad if your playing isn’t quite up to James’s skill – he started playing uke in public school. Give yourself a couple of years to catch up!!

Here are some CDs to inspire you.


Ukulele Songs by Eddie Vedder
Ukulele Songs

A very non-traditional album by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam!


True Love Don't Weep. James Hill
True Love Don't Weep

Canadian James Hill, such an exciting and original performer.


Somewhere over the rainbow
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Last but not least, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Izzy),  the man who helped to re-start the ukulele craze!


Learn to Play the Ukulele.  A Simple and Fun Guide for Complete Beginners.        Ukulele for dummies        Ukulele method. [book 1]

And of course, some how-to books to get you started playing today.


The daily ukulele  365 songs for better living        Jumpin' Jim's '60s uke-in        Uke 'an play rock  25 great rock songs arranged for ukulele 
Once you've mastered a few techniques, check out these great songbooks!

No tiptoe-ing through the tulips required – the ukulele repertoire has come a long way since the days of Tiny Tim!

For those of us who like to play with friends and fellow learners, here in Toronto we are lucky to have some great ukulele group opportunities. Check out the legendery Corktown Ukulele Jam, and the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music for their special events, regular classes and jams.

Many of the greatest pop and rock musicians have included the uke in their repertoire. George Harrison was a huge ukulele fan, and said that everyone should play one. Who are we to argue?


Go ahead, release your inner musician, pick up a uke, and start strumming! You know you want to.

Did you know that the Arts Department on the 5th Floor of the Toronto Reference Library has a large collection of scores and songbooks that you can use here, and in many cases borrow? There is a song index, but you can also browse through the catalogue looking for songs, musicals and instrumental music.  There are 3 photocopiers on the floor but don’t forget to add money to your copy card/library card on the Main Floor .