In this video, I share one of my very favorite folk songs, Li’l Liza Jane. It can be played as a one-chord song, and its beautiful melody and playful lyrics make it a really fun one to play and sing. One-chord songs are great for beginning ukulele players who are still getting comfortable making chord shapes, strumming, and singing at the same time, but they're also great if you're working on a new skill such as a more complex strumming pattern, fingerpicking pattern, or riff.
O, Come All Ye Faithful is about 300 years old. Did you catch that? THREE. HUNDRED. YEARS. OLD. Its melody is beautiful and feels like a precursor to the songs that came out of Appalachia (one of the places of origin for modern American music). Perhaps that’s the reason why I tend to prefer more stripped down interpretations of this song and/or have a country twang to them. Whatever the reason, it’s a fun one to sing and strum. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this video, please consider buying my Christmas songbook or my how-to book, Let’s Play! The Ukulele Handbook for Beginners (both are available in digital download and paperback formats). Your support makes it possible for me to share high-value content for uke players for free here on the blog. Thank you, and happy strumming!
True facts: I once dressed up as Elvis for Halloween (in my early 20s), I once road-tripped to Graceland by myself (also in my 20s), and I even had an Elvis lunch box once upon a time. You might say I’m a fan of his (you’d be right). In this video I contain my impulse to do an Elvis impersation as I sing his hit, Blue Christmas. I’ve paired it here with a strum that incorporates rests (down-rest-down-up-rest-up-down-up). If that strum’s not in your toolbox yet, just strum down-up-down-up.
If you’ve been watching the other Christmas videos I’ve posted, you may notice that these songs have something in common: they’re all arranged in the key of C. If you were performing for an audience, you probably wouldn’t want to play your entire set in one key because things would start to sound a little repetitive but for hobbyists, spending time with one key can make a lot of sense. The more you play in the key of C (or any key, for that matter), you’ll start to notice that some chords keep appearing over and over, revealing some of the patterns in popular music. You’ll also train your ear to hear the relationship of the chords within a song, and that helps you lay the groundwork for playing songs by ear. The key of C is the easiest key to play on the uke, so it’s the friendliest key for beginner’s to start playing in. My ukulele handbook for beginners and my Christmas songbook include guides for transposing songs into different keys.
Related link: How to Figure Out the Key of a Song
As we get closer and closer to Christmas, I am sharing some play-along videos of songs included in my new book, Oh, What Fun! Christmas Songs for Ukulele. Yesterday I shared the upbeat, jaunty tune of Jingle Bells, and tonight I’m sharing a dreamy waltz: Away in a Manger. Away in a Manger is in 3/4 time signature. and that means we have to strum (and count) in sets of three. You may find that you’re so familiar with this song that the rhythm comes naturally to you, but if it doesn’t these video posts can help explain things:
If you enjoyed this video, please give it a like and subscribe to my Youtube channel. And please consider buying my Christmas songbook (available as a digital download and paperback). Your support makes it possible for me to share high-value content for uke players for free here on the blog. Thank you, and happy strumming!
Did you know I wrote a Christmas songbook? It’s called Oh, What Fun! and it includes the chords and lyrics for thirteen popular holiday songs. I’m currently working on recording, editing, and uploading play-along videos for every song in the book, and thought I’d share some of the videos here on the blog on the days leading up to Christmas. All of these play-along videos are formatted with the chords and strum pattern shown at the beginning of the video, and as I play you’ll see the chords and lyrics big and bright on the right-hand side of the video.
Jingle Bells is a song almost everyone knows, and that makes it an ideal song to strum and sing with others! Play along with me, won’t you?
PS: You can adjust the speed of the video by clicking on the Settings icon, then clicking on Speed. If you’re a beginning uke player, you may want to slow it down to .75 or .5 speed. Happy strumming!