If your child has expressed an interest in learning music, they may not realise how much joy they are about to discover. Playing an instrument is therapeutic in a lot of ways, and music has been shown to improve the minds of children and adults. Deciding on the right instrument to learn first is never easy, and it will require time, money, and private lessons. In Singapore, many opportunities are available for students to discover their hidden talents, but how can you narrow the choice between learning to play the ukulele or the guitar? Here are some important similarities and differences that can help you make the right decision:
Lessons: Ukulele classes in Singapore are quite similar to guitar lessons, and are taught on an individual basis with the teacher and the instructor. Private lessons are an important way to develop good techniques for playing the instrument and will ensure that your child learns as efficiently as possible.
Appearance: Guitars are slightly larger the ukuleles, but they are structurally very similar. Both have a neck with frets and a body with a hole for sound. When you play a note on either instrument, it changes the length of the string which then affect the pitch of the sound. Notes are played by changing where you press down on the string, and both are plucked in nearly identical ways. One of the major differences between guitars and ukuleles are the number of strings. Guitars have six strings and are more complicated to play. Ukuleles only have four strings and are an easy instrument to learn quickly.
Sound: Ukuleles have a distinct tropical characteristic to their sound, and are native to the islands of Hawaii. The strings on a ukulele are usually constructed of nylon, and this helps the melodies sound light, friendly, and happy when you play. Guitars are more versatile, and both instruments can be electric. Nylon guitar strings are available for some types of classical guitars, but typically the strings are made out of metal and create a more powerful tone.
Price: The price of purchasing an instrument for your child can be a deciding factor for many expat families, and there are clear differences between these two instruments. Guitars can be quite expensive, and even beginner models can be far out of the standard price range. Ukuleles are much cheaper, and offer parents a way to support their child’s interests without having to make a significant financial investment. The cost of replacing strings is less for ukuleles than guitars because of the number of strings and the type of material.
Difficulty: Smaller hands have a difficult time reaching around the neck to make chords on guitar necks, and ukuleles are much easier for children to learn. Guitar strings are notorious for causing pain in the fingertips of new students, but the nylon strings on a ukulele, combined with the shorter distance between the string and the fretboard, allows for hours of entertainment before fatigue develops. Guitar players must manage six different strings with their hands, but ukulele players can play the same songs with two fewer strings. With fewer strings to manage, the ukulele is easier to learn, and students can start playing music sooner. The size of the ukulele also makes it less of a burden as you travel back and forth from lessons.
The choice between guitar and ukulele relies heavily on these factors, and there is not a clear answer for everyone. Learning any instrument requires energy and patience, but the rewards far outweigh the costs. If you still aren’t certain about which instrument would be best for your child, take them to a music school in Singapore and let them see for themselves.