Updated: Nov 23, 2022
One finger chords have been around for a long time. They are nothing new. Why use them when beginners need to learn how to use all of their fingers?
Simply answered, young beginners ages 4-6 don't have complete control over finger movements or strength yet and learning to even hold the Ukulele can be tough. Wrapping little fingers around the neck of the Ukulele while also holding it can be even more challenging. Beginners need to have quick wins to stay motivated in learning a new skill.
I focus on 1 finger chords in the beginning stages for 2 reasons:
Finger Dexterity: Just like in learning the piano, students must learn finger control, accuracy and flexibility. The same can be said for learning the Ukulele. There are only 4 strings but the mechanics of wrapping your hand around the Ukulele then pushing only 1 finger, let alone 2-3 fingers on the strings takes a lot of finger muscle control and brain power. 1 finger chords help solve this issue by allowing young students to focus on pushing down only one finger while holding the Ukulele and then strumming the Ukulele. Using that one finger gives them quick success and puts an instant smile on their faces! Learning to strum the Ukulele while holding it with only 1 finger can make the whole process so much easier for young students.
Setting up for Success Later: The second reason I use 1 finger chords, is to set them up for success later once they have built up that finger dexterity. 1 finger chords are only smaller versions of the full 2-4 finger chords and give them the first note of the full chord. The chord still sounds nice with only 1 finger but allows them to know the fingering to the full chord down the road with the foundation having already been set. This sets up your students for quick success now and in the future.
To help you get started with teaching 1 finger chords, I am including this free, 1 finger chord chart for you to download and use with your students now! Have fun teaching your students these easy chords so they can get strumming their favorite tunes right away!