Unlock the Harmonies

This course is your ideal launch pad if you're a new uke player, have recently converted from the guitar or have been strumming for a while but want to improve your technique and develop your musicianship.

I will help you unlock the potential in your uke as, together, we explore some of the rhythmic and harmonious characteristics of this portable, low cost, easy to learn musical instrument.

Discover the dusty end

Despite being closely related to the guitar, the ukulele has its own, very characterful tuning. You will learn how to tune, hold, strum, pick and move your fingers around the whole length of the fingerboard, including the 'dusty end'. You will also learn a good number of chords which will be grouped in keys.

Each lesson is around 10 minutes but - you will need to practise at least double this amount of time each day to get the most from the course.

You should move onto the next lesson between 5 and 7 days after completing the last one. This will ensure you will have plenty of time to practise between lessons.

learn to play the ukulele

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Lesson 1 - Getting started

    • Discussion Board

    • Lesson 1 Video

  • 2

    Lesson 2

    • Lesson 2 Video

  • 3

    Lesson 3

    • Lesson 3 Downloads

    • Lesson 3 Video

  • 4

    Lesson 4

    • Lesson 4 Video

  • 5

    Lesson 5

    • Lesson 5 Video

  • 6

    Lesson 6

    • Lesson 6 Video

  • 7

    Lesson 7

    • Lesson 7 Downloads

    • Lesson 7 Video

  • 8

    Lesson 8

    • Lesson 8 Downloads

    • Lesson 8 Video

  • 9

    Lesson 9

    • Lesson 9 Downloads

    • Lesson 9 Video

  • 10

    Lesson 10

    • Lesson 10 Video

Reviews

5 star rating

Grass may actually be greener on the other side

martin new

I thought I already knew the basics of playing the Ukulele but I now realise I was only fooling myself. Richard's course showed me that my technique was full of holes and going back to basics and filling those gaps is leading me into pastures new.

I thought I already knew the basics of playing the Ukulele but I now realise I was only fooling myself. Richard's course showed me that my technique was full of holes and going back to basics and filling those gaps is leading me into pastures new.

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5 star rating

Ukulele - The Mindful Way

Chikodi Nwaiwu

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and I would highly recommend it to anyone - not just beginners. It's a real wake-up call in terms of honing technique. Richard repeatedly emphasises the importance of body positioning, quality of articulation and...

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I thoroughly enjoyed this course and I would highly recommend it to anyone - not just beginners. It's a real wake-up call in terms of honing technique. Richard repeatedly emphasises the importance of body positioning, quality of articulation and rhythm, clarity of sound. Basically, all the things that it's tempting to skim over in the initial thrill of picking up a new instrument (and, in my own case, for a considerable time after that). It's a quality course that is at once rigorous and demystifying. I have often wondered what methods I could try to speed up my chord changes. The technique points and thoughts offered by Richard on this matter were incredibly helpful. It is an art, and in part requires imagination. I always felt that while Richard imparted tried-and-tested methodology, he was also always giving permission to play and experiment. I think I needed this kind of push. The course also gives plenty of tips for escaping to the dusty end of the fretboard as well as how to escape the dreaded "strummage" trap - an all too common hazard for the ukulele player. There are so many tips that I will take away from this rich ten-session course to directly apply in my playing. I found it to be of enormous value.

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5 star rating

Uke 1

David Robinson

Bloody excellent RD!

Bloody excellent RD!

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5 star rating

Multi layered and rewarding approach to playing the ukulele

Kate Cooper

Really enjoyed this course. I love exploring all aspects of picking and strumming. The middle/index strum was completely new to me. I like the emphasis on mindfulness of everything involved in playing. Fluffing less chords as a consequence. Great...

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Really enjoyed this course. I love exploring all aspects of picking and strumming. The middle/index strum was completely new to me. I like the emphasis on mindfulness of everything involved in playing. Fluffing less chords as a consequence. Great jazz chords!! Launch Pad is still a work in progress and I understand I can keep revisiting. Best tutorial I've come across. Richard is an inspiring teacher. His focus on good technique and planned practice is having a positive effect on the whole of my playing and music making. So glad I found the Academy. THANK YOU

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5 star rating

Very helpful

Liz de Pauley

I wish I’d done this course when I started playing the Uke. It’s changed my approach and given me a structure for improving. Thank you Richard!

I wish I’d done this course when I started playing the Uke. It’s changed my approach and given me a structure for improving. Thank you Richard!

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5 star rating

Excellent Intro & Revision of Technique - Not Just For Beginners

J C Muff

I signed up for the Academy Passport after attending both of Richard's Ukulele Circuit Training Workshops (I & II) at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. I've been playing for about seven years, so am somewhere in the intermediate level, & a...

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I signed up for the Academy Passport after attending both of Richard's Ukulele Circuit Training Workshops (I & II) at the Ukulele Festival of Scotland. I've been playing for about seven years, so am somewhere in the intermediate level, & am always looking at ways to improve my skills. I hadn't attended the Ground Level Workshop & anticipated this course might cover that more basic material, plus a smattering of what was on the other workshops. A few initial items were naturally repeated but most of the material was different & more detailed. I felt this Launch Pad was well worth studying, as it made a good follow-up to the ideas Richard had introduced in person, consolidating the practice notes from those & it has given me several more useful exercises to incorporate into my daily routine. Although useful to beginners, as it would give them an excellent introduction to the instrument & advance their playing with focused practice, it's also ideal for more advanced players, as it explains good technique, giving the chance to break out of any bad habits & really hone skills by using the practice ideas (& adapting, where necessary). The course is taught in Richard's relaxed & informative style, imparting a great deal of technical information without ever being dry, boring or overwhelming, all with his gentle twinkling humour & great enthusiasm for the instrument. The videos are shot clearly, with good sound quality & the information from the handouts displayed on screen wherever you are playing along with an exercise (instead of having to scrabble around to find the right document & open it separately). The content is well-structured and gives one or two ideas to take away & practice after each session. As with his workshop teaching, he spends time at the outset explaining how vital it is to cultivate a good neutral posture with relaxed & efficient hand positions. Instead of then just teaching a couple of basic chords & simple strumming pattern to get you playing easy songs, he leaps in at a far more useful & interesting level, with a two-finger strumming pattern ('strumming with one finger is like being a drummer with only one stick') for a chord sequence; arpeggio fingerpicking patterns; shows you useful chord groupings that will commonly appear together in tunes; gets you moving up & down the fretboard & modifying chord shapes; introduces you to hammer-ons & pull-offs & demonstrates other strengthening & dexterity exercises. Throughout, Richard explains how these techniques are designed to improve your playing & help advance you as a musician by guiding you towards effective ways of personal practicing. You are encouraged to go away & play songs, join a ukulele group, noodle along at home with the chords he's given you etc in addition to just practicing each lesson. The lessons fly by & are very enjoyable. The exercises morph into little tunes to play along; these build nicely &, by the end, you are bringing together elements of several previous lessons to cover more challenging tasks. I would have loved to taken this as a beginner, as I would definitely have progressed much faster! You are left feeling energised & confident that you can continue to use these practical skills to enhance your playing. One clear advantage over many other courses I've seen is that it's taught by somebody with a proper formal musical background, so you are given clear, accurate & helpful information, for example, by being shown musical notation without a big fuss being made of it & introduced to different ways of altering the sounds you can get from the instrument to make your playing more expressive (eg by playing softly, loudly, dampening the chords, emphasising certain beats etc). It's refreshing to have somebody explain the possibilities of this tiny instrument & show it's capable of much more than basic strumming. We often get enquiries to our ukulele group about lessons, especially for beginners, & I will have no hesitation in recommending this course to anyone that wishes to try some online learning. Thanks very much for an enjoyable module! Jeanette People of Lewisham's Ukulele Club (PLUC)

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5 star rating

Beyond the Fourth Fret

Derek Budd

Having hit the wall after six years of basic 'monotone' strum, strum, strum, Richard's course has given me the inspiration I desperately needed to progress Instrumentally. He imparts his many years of professional knowledge in these superb instruc...

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Having hit the wall after six years of basic 'monotone' strum, strum, strum, Richard's course has given me the inspiration I desperately needed to progress Instrumentally. He imparts his many years of professional knowledge in these superb instructional videos and downloads. It gives a new meaning to the term of the "Mighty Uke".

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