Today we’ll look at one of my favourite exercises – the octave slide. This is another vocal exercise that we can do while getting to know the ukulele fretboard better. In the video above, I show you how to get started with it.

This is a really nice exercise to include in your daily vocal practice or as part of a warm up. The goal is to sing smoothly on an “NNNNGGGG” sound as you slide from a starting note, up to the octave and back. To do this exercise, touch the tip of your tongue to the inside of your bottom teeth and curve your tongue upwards so that the middle of your tongue is in contact with the palate (roof of the mouth). Smile and keep your mouth open while doing this.

We start on G in keeping with the lowest note on a low G-tuned ukulele (G3). This exercise is a great way to get to know the position of octaves on the fretboard.

These are the relative positions we’ll use in this exercise:

On the G and E strings:

And on the C and A strings:

Ladies, you should feel free to join in with me at whatever point you are comfortable.

Men, if you’re a tenor, you’ll likely want to start this exercise lower than me. To achieve this, start on the C and A strings wherever you’re comfortable and sing an octave lower. When you get to G, you can switch to the G and E strings. If you’re a bass/baritone, you’ll do this exercise an octave below me.

It goes without saying that you should listen to your body when doing an exercise like this. Some days, you may wish to start lower than this and/or not go as high as I do, or you may want to go even higher. The most important thing is to respect your body. This exercise should never feel uncomfortable or cause you to strain. It should feel good. With time, it will help you to have more control when sliding between pitches.


Would you like to chat about this lesson?

Come on over to my Discord server to chat with me and other folks who are passionate about playing jazz songs on ukulele. It’s free to register for Discord if you don’t already have an account, with no strings attached. Discord is very easy to use and lots of fun.