If you want to learn to play the ukulele, there are plenty of ukulele lessons for beginners out there. Whether you just want a casual introduction to the instrument or want to become a specialist in a genre of your choice, there's something out there for you.
Today, we'll be taking a look at Rocket Ukulele, a 30-day program that claims to be able to take you from knowing nothing about the ukulele to playing your favorite songs in 30 days. In our Rocket Ukulele review, we hope to help you decide whether or not this is the right program for you.
Things to Consider Before Signing Up for an Online Ukulele Course
Whether you're an experienced ukulele player or you're looking to become one, it's a good idea to carefully consider different ukulele programs before you get started. Before you make your selection, here are some things you may want to ask yourself.
Features and Benefits
Now, we'll take a deep dive into all the features that Rocket Ukulele has to offer:
Often, ukulele sites we visit make an effort to create a well-designed site. That doesn't seem to be the case with this one -- at first glance, Rocket Ukulele looks a bit like a scam site. (You can get a quick visual overview of the site in this video review.)
Once we did some digging, we discovered that the site isn't a scam, but the homepage seems to oversell the course without doing any explanation as to why it works the way it does. A good bit of the homepage is dedicated to telling potential students how they'll be the center of attention once they learn the uke, which seems like a heavy-handed marketing ploy.
On the site's homepage, you can watch a video outlining how the course works. While the video claims that Rocket Ukulele is based on scientific research into music learning, it doesn't elaborate at all. We looked around on the site for any explanation of the science behind it and found nothing.
The video focuses mostly on emphasizing how Rocket Ukulele can make you play like a superstar in 30 days without practicing much at all. And while we don't doubt that you can make serious progress in that time, we think promising you'll play like a superstar is unrealistic.
It's also worth noting that a lot of the ukulele, guitar, and piano learning sites we review have an active social media presence of some kind. In particular, most of them have active YouTube channels where they post sample lessons, song tutorials, and other interesting videos. We looked for any sign of a Rocket Ukulele social media presence and didn't find one.
All in all, the initial appearance of the site and the unrealistic promises it makes made us think that Rocket Ukulele might be a gimmick. However, as we continued to dig, we discovered that this learning site does have its merits.
It's difficult to determine the thought behind Rocket Ukulele's lessons. Unlike most uke sites we've reviewed, they include no information about their instructors. For comparison's sake, Ukulele Buddy lessons are taught by JP Allen, who has been a professional music instructor and performer for more than 20 years. Uke Like the Pros is designed and taught by Terry Carter, a ukulele player, and guitarist who has worked with some of the world's most famous musicians and bands.
Obviously, just about every music learning site with accomplished instructors likes to say something about those instructors on their website. It's a great way to draw in students, and it lends some credibility to the site. It's a little concerning that Rocket Ukulele says nothing at all about its instructors.
This isn't to say that you need a highly accomplished instructor to teach you ukulele, but we think it's at least good for a site to introduce you to their instructors. One part of the site says that, if you need help, you have access to dozens of ukulele teachers, but that's the extent of the information given.
However, the Rocket Ukulele site does offer some explanation as to what you'll be learning. The site's lessons appear to be divided into four different programs:
Learn Ukulele in 30 days program. The 30-day courses made up of step-by-step lessons that take you through basic notes and chords. You'll also practice chords strumming ballads, classics, and a few contemporary hits.
This is a great course for the casual player. While the Rocket Ukulele homepage says you'll be playing like a pro in 30 days, we think this course likely won't get you to that point. But it will give you a solid foundation on the ukulele.
- 2Become a better ukulele player program. This one is meant to be the next step from the 30-day beginner course. According to the Rocket Ukulele website, this is a course that's designed to begin shaping you into an artist. The site says that the course will have you playing "complicated, fast and impressive songs" within weeks, but it doesn't add much more detail than that.
- 3Being a ukulele master. This course is designed for players who want to take their playing to the next level. Rocket Ukulele notes that you can skip this course if you simply want to play for friends and family. And while we don't doubt that this third course will improve your playing, we think that the site's promise -- "By the end of this program you will be a true professional of the highest standard. Bands will line up for your services" -- is a little over-the-top.
- 4Play ukulele by ear. Ukulele players and just about every other type of musician want to learn how to play by ear, but if you aren't familiar with ear training, this can be difficult to achieve on your own. This last course is designed to teach you to play by ear within 30 days. This seems like a fairly short time, but we think it's definitely possible. If you want to see what it looks like to start learning to play the ukulele by ear, check out this sample ukulele lesson.
In terms of genre, the lessons on Rocket Ukulele cover a wide span. Of course, since this site takes more of a generalist approach, you won't get a chance to delve deep into any particular genre. But new ukulele players will get a chance to try out a whole range of musical styles before choosing one or more to focus on. Here are some of the genres you can choose from:
In terms of device compatibility, Rocket Ukulele lessons are very versatile. You can view the site's hundreds of video lessons on PC or Mac, and their lessons are also compatible with smartphones and tablets, too. New video lessons are added each week, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to grow.
More and more online courses seem to be offering bonus features if you sign up. Often, these come in the form of toolkits, PDFs, and even extra video lessons. Rocket Ukulele has one of the more impressive bonus feature collections we've seen. Here's what you can expect if you sign up:
Famous song tutorials.
For many people learning an instrument, discovering how to play their favorite songs is a primary motivator. Luckily, Rocket Ukulele has an impressive library of contemporary songs that you can learn to play. Here's a sampling of some of the songs on the list:
We like that the song tutorials on Rocket Ukulele are step-by-step videos -- you aren't just stuck with audio and a few chord diagrams.
Ukulele Learning Forums.
Learning an instrument online is convenient, and it lets you progress at your own pace. However, one of its downsides is the fact that it can be somewhat isolating. Rocket Ukulele has a learning forum for all members to join. On the forum, you can ask questions for other members to answer. The forum is a great place to ask for advice on buying a new uke or getting past a sticking point. Plus, if you have a technical question or one that other learners can't answer, one of Rocket Ukulele's consultants can answer for you.
Even a quick look at the forum shows us that it's used pretty often. Here are some of the main topics you can find:
Tools, Software, and Resources.
This is a useful feature, especially because it lets you practice important skills and concepts even when you're away from your ukulele. Here's what's included in this bundle:
Thousands of Music Sheets, Tabs, and Audio Files
We mentioned Rocket Ukulele's impressive song library earlier, but you can also access the site database of tabs, sheets, and audio demos. This is a great way to teach yourself songs you love once you've got a little more experience playing. For newer players, it's a good idea to first try some guided tutorials that can show you the techniques you need to play certain songs. However, once you know more strumming techniques, you'll easily be able to listen to an audio file, look at the tab, and play. If you want to see what ukulele covers of popular songs might sound like, check out this cover of the Jason Mraz song "I'm Yours."
Pricing and Membership Options
Some beginners may not care about the price of online lessons as long as they work. But for most people, the cost is a concern. Rocket Ukulele only offers a lifetime membership option, so you can't pay for a monthly membership. However, the site's rates are some of the most affordable we've found. Rocket Ukulele's regular rate is $79.97 for a lifetime membership. However, based on our research, it looks like they offer a near-continuous promotion where you get a lifetime membership for $27.
Though we do have our reservations about lesson quality and instructor quality on this site, we do think this is one of the best deals you'll be able to find. If you catch the site during promotion, we think that $27 is a great price to start learning this instrument.However, you don't really need to worry if your investment is worthwhile -- Rocket Ukulele offers a generous 60-day money-back guarantee. If you find that you don't like the lessons or that they don't live up to your expectations for any reason, all you have to do is contact customer service and ask for a refund. As long as you make your request within 60 days, you'll get a prompt refund. If you still aren't sure whether this is the site for you, check out this video review.
Social Proof of the Course
Taking ukulele lessons online has a lot of benefits -- namely, you can save a significant amount of money by avoiding the fees associated with traditional lessons. However, one downside is that you don't often get a preview of the lessons you want to take before signing up.
Instead, it's a good idea to look for reviews of any ukulele lessons you want to take. We've scoured the web for reviews of Rocket Ukulele and found some that are somewhat positive. As a side note, we were unable to find any in-depth reviews of Rocket Ukulele from reputable sites, and the reviews we did find were posted on the Rocket Ukulele site itself.
This reviewer was very impressed with the site -- like most reviewers we found, she was able to learn how to play well in 30 days.
For this player, ukulele lessons led to local fame and an opportunity to perform professionally. While not all players aspire to play professionally, it's heartening to hear that one player made his dream a reality.
For this player, ukulele lessons helped him plan the proposal of his dreams. Like other Rocket Ukulele review writers we found, he was very happy with the progress he made over 30 days.
If you're looking for an affordable way to begin learning to play the ukulele, then we think Rocket Ukulele might be right for you. However, this course isn't as widely known as many other options, and it doesn't offer you any information on who designed the courses (or who is teaching them). That said, if you can get a membership during one of the site promotions, we think it's worth a shot.If you're looking for easy to follow ukulele lessons for beginners that have been developed by professionals, we recommend checking out Uke Like the Pros While it's a little more expensive than Rocket Ukulele, it's a comprehensive resource for everyone from the ukulele beginner to the experienced player.