Performing ukulele as a soloist is a great feeling.
One way to be a solo ukulele player is by fingerpicking the ukulele. There are many ways to fingerpick the ukulele. One beautiful way is to fingerpick arpeggio-based pieces.
Arpeggio pieces can be original compositions, like the one you learn in this lesson, or they can be based on Spanish and classical guitar pieces that have been arranged for ukulele. Arpeggio pieces feature a rhythmic and melodic intricate sound.
Today, for Ukulele Tricks email readers only, I’m not only giving you the sheet music and ukulele tab to learn how to play an original arpeggio composition Arpeggio Study in A Minor, but I’m giving you two additional private video lessons breaking down how to fingerpick the arpeggio pattern and how to learn this piece (please don’t publicly share this page!).
To start, first, take a listen to a performance of Arpeggio Study in A Minor – a piece based entirely around a repeating arpeggio picking pattern that you learn to play in this lesson.
Let’s learn how to play this piece!
Note: This lesson is for ukulele players beyond the basics. If you’re brand new to ukulele, I recommend starting the Strumming Tricks online video lesson course to build a strong foundation and become a proficient ukulele player.
How to Fingerpick the Arpeggio Pattern
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Spanish and classical guitar composers recognized one of the best ways to teach their pupils how to play guitar was to teach them how to play pieces of music that focused on specific fretting hand and picking hand techniques.
So famous composers like Francisco Tárrega or Dionisio Aguado would compose collections of études or studies, which are short pieces that focus on certain techniques.
What was so cool about these pieces was that as you learned them, you not only became a better musician but also felt the satisfaction of playing beautiful and impressive-sounding pieces of music!
Many of these études were written to incorporate a picking pattern known as an arpeggio.
The word arpeggio means you pluck the notes of a chord in succession either ascending or descending. In this way, an arpeggio is a kind of fingerpicking pattern.
In the following video, learn a simple eighth note arpeggio pattern, which you’ll use to play Arpeggio Study in A Minor.
Check out how this arpeggio pattern is notated in sheet music and ukulele tab:
Note: If you don’t know how to read ukulele tab, go here.
The italicized letters p, i, m or a indicate which finger to use in the picking hand to pluck the note. The p indicates to pluck with your thumb, i indicates to pluck with your index finger, m indicates to pluck with your middle finger, and a indicates to pluck with your ring finger.
The letters p-i-m-a are the initials for the Spanish words for each finger: pulgar (thumb), indice (index finger), medio (middle finger), and anular (ring finger).
This pattern is played on the bottom three strings of the ukulele.
Once you’ve practiced that, try adding in a chord change.
Give that some practice because in the next step you take this arpeggio pattern to play an original fingerpicking composition.
Learn How to Play Arpeggio Study in A Minor
Take your knowledge of picking patterns and arpeggios to play an intricate-sounding fingerstyle composition in the key of A minor.
I trust you’ve listened to the song and completed the previous step.
To learn Arpeggio Study in A Minor, first, download and review the sheet music and ukulele tab.
Watch the video to discover how to learn this song.
To summarize, the steps to learning Arpeggio Study in A Minor are as follows:
- Listen to the song
- Study the sheet music
- Learn the song in small sections
Remember picking pieces like this one typically take longer to learn than songs you’d normally strum. You may need to dedicate multiple practice sessions to getting the picking pattern, fretting hand fingering, and transitions down.
Take your time with this and have fun learning to play this beautiful piece!
Later this week, I will check in with you to see how it’s going.