When people first take up the uke they often ask (and worry) about strumming and so I’m putting down my (and I emphasise my) personal opinions on this topic. Others may feel differently and are welcome to comment with their views.
For me, strumming is the part of music that comes from the soul, heart, or whatever you want to label ‘within’, that is, it’s a heart-, not head-action. The chords, lyrics and melody are head-actions and set by someone else. And aren’t these 3 things enough for any beginner to be grappling with without adding “do I strum up or down on this beat”?
I don’t want my head anywhere near my strumming as, for me, the strum is personal and is what allows me to put me into a piece of music for me. I would hope the strumming of others is what puts them into a piece of music for them. When I’m asked how I strum a particular piece I have no idea…and if I try to analyse I totally lose the plot!
So my advice (for what it’s worth) is to just relax about strumming and try not over think it. Just try to maintain the rhythm. If it’s too fast, strum every 2nd beat (just as Bruce Springsteen’s wife often does on stage…and he’s as proud as Punch of her!). As you progress, I’m sure you’ll find strumming comes quite naturally anyway.
Having said all this, if anyone does want strumming advice, there is a legion of websites with instruction for strumming. I just googled “how to strum a ukulele” which returned “about 454,000 results”. “About 159,000 results” came from the same search at YouTube.
Also, members can practise strumming at home by accessing the practice audio files on our Yahoo website (Files>mp3 Recordings). These are just recordings of us jamming on Monday nights…not too specky but a helpful resource when practising alone.
Like I said…my opinions only. Others are welcome to disagree…or simply ignore…but debate is good! And if you want to debate, click on ‘COMMENTS’ above.