Free Resource Guide – Making Music with Only One Hand

I have created this free resource guide on how to make music with only one hand with the ukulele. I have taken the picking hand fingerstyle music I created for my Ukulele Expressions book series and modified it in order to be used in music therapy and other settings.

This style of playing shows that it’s still possible to play the ukulele even with limitations. I first developed this method when I was going through painful carpal tunnel syndrome and eventual surgery on my fretting hand. I just knew there had to be a way I could still play my ukulele while I was healing.

I couldn’t find any music to play just for one hand, so I developed my own way of playing by improvising and listening to the sound that each open string made when I plucked it with one or more fingers. I also used alternate tunings and a capo to get even more sounds from my ukulele.

For practical purposes, I have eliminated the need for a capo from this book since they are not usually readily available, especially in a music therapy setting. Beautiful music can still be made, however.

When I first started developing this way of playing, I found the music made me think of nature, so I paired each song with a painting I created. This can be incorporated in a music therapy setting by giving the individual “doodle prompts” and asking the individual to draw something based on the song title or the way the music makes them feel.

In this guide, I will outline ways that you can help others play the ukulele with only one hand by fingerpicking and using alternate tunings. This is a fun way to play and can help others realize they can still play, even with their limitations. You can download this printer-friendly PDF by clicking the button below.

This book is meant to be shared with anyone who may be going through, or who has gone through the same struggles I have with my hand. I believe this book has great applications for music therapy, teaching, etc.

The techniques in this book can be used for adults or children.

With the exception of the cover, I have made this book printer friendly so you can print as needed.

I have also made a special tab on this site so you can find it easily in the future.

Read an Ebook Week is Here! Catch All of My Books on Sale!

It’s Read an Ebook Week, a week that encourages readers to pick up the digital device of their choice and download a new book to read. For this week only, all my books are 50% off on Smashwords!

If you wouldn’t mind taking part in promoting this celebration of Ebooks and reading, please feel free to share this promo with your friends and family. Just share with anyone who would love a chance to find their next favorite book and, as the name suggests, read an ebook!

My collection includes my Ukulele Expressions series, my Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky series, my two poetry books, Ink Sketches for Wellness and Capturing Colitis, and a book of affirmations for musicians, I Am a Gifted Musician.

Thank you for your help and support! Happy reading!

Art from My Books Available Now

Happy Friday, friends! This past week I added some of my illustrations from Surrounded by God’s Painted Sky: Christian Affirmations to Start Your Day to my Payhip store. The above illustrations have been added and there are more paintings there, too! You can purchase, download, and print at home or with a professional printer. If you add a picture frame, you have an easy, inexpensive gift! Click the button below to visit my Payhip store. I appreciate you taking the time to look.

I have also started a store on Society6 which is a fabulous place to find home decor, office items, furniture, wall decor, and more. I have a few illustrations from my Christian books there as well! Click the button below to visit my Society6 store and see all the great items with my illustrations.

I have also added a tab on my website for Art for Sale. These are some of my favorite original acrylic paintings. I am willing to ship to anywhere in the U.S. as long as you can cover the shipping and packing costs.

Now I’m eager to create even more art and plan to create new work! I am anxious for spring to arrive so I may be painting more floral designs. I do hope you enjoy the artwork on Payhip and Society6. Thank you for taking a look around and considering supporting an artist!

Surrounded by God’s Painted Sky Book Released

I am so pleased to announce that my next book, Surrounded by God’s Painted Sky: Christian Affirmations to Start Your Day is available now in paperback and eBook.

This illustrated work is full of Christian affirmations that will help you set the tone for your day. Scripture references are included to help you focus on God’s direct message so that you can be guided by his word.

50 positive self-talk statements that you can recite and take to heart are included along with journal prompts to help give you a spirit of gratitude and appreciation for God and all of his marvelous works.

I created colorful sketches of nature scenes that will help remind you of all the beauty in this world that God wants us to treasure, enjoy, and celebrate. I will even teach you how to create your own sketches and keep a faith journal.

By focusing your heart and mind on God and spending time with him in the morning, you can start your day feeling less stressed, fully loved, and ready to spread the light and love of Christ to others.

I have a free sample available when you sign up for my monthly newsletter where I share brief updates, interesting stories, illustrations, and more. You can sign up and receive the first 5 affirmations along with the Scripture references, journal prompts, and illustrations.

The other book in this series is Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain. You can read more here!

If you have any questions, you can email me at:

(This post contains an Amazon affiliate link, which means I can earn a small percentage based on items ordered, at no additional cost to you.)

Return to Songwriting & Release of “Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky”, an Original Ukulele Song Based on My Book

I recently started writing songs again and it feels so good to have that creative outlet! It’s been a while since I’ve written songs with lyrics for the ukulele, playing with both hands.

I felt inspired to write a song for each of my Christian affirmations books. First, “Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky” is about rising up, above your pain, to realize that God has made a beautiful world for you to see each day. It’s about getting “unstuck” from the ground and feeling stirred by God’s word so you can testify and shine your light to others.

I have also written a song for my next book in the series, “Surrounded by God’s Painted Sky” which I will release soon, along with the eBook and paperback versions of the book.

You can find my song on YouTube here. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to my channel to stay up to date with new releases and information on my books and songs. You can also follow me on Facebook here. I look forward to connecting with you and I hope you enjoy the song!

A Gift For You on World Ukulele Day!

Today we play our ukuleles to celebrate this great, little instrument. Learning how to play has been life-changing! I have met many new friends through the ukulele, too.

Today, I am happy to share that I have the Second Editions of my Ukulele Expressions series available now. These books contain musical pieces that can be played with only one hand. Using standard and alternate tuning, and using a capo, can give you very unique sounds from your ukulele! I have paired each musical piece with a painting I created as well.

There are some great improvements in the 2nd Editions like revised music and different alternate tunings used. I revised the Introductions for clarity as well. You can check out the series page on Amazon here.

One-handed music can be great for anyone who experiences pain or injury in their fretting hand. I created this music when I was going through painful carpal tunnel in my fretting hand. I knew there had to be a way I could still play with one hand. When I couldn’t find any music just for one hand, I set out to create my own.

Today, on World Ukulele Day I have a gift for you. I want to share one musical piece and corresponding painting from each book for you to check out.

P-i-m-a stands for the letters that are used for each finger. P is your thumb. I is your index, M is your middle finger and A is your ring finger. These letters stand for the Spanish names of each finger. (P-i-m-a originated with Classical guitarists in Spain.) You will use these fingers to pluck each string. The thumb plucks the G string in a downward motion, the index plucks the C string in an upward motion, the middle finger plucks the E string in the same motion, and the ring finger plucks the A string. If your fingers pluck different strings that’s ok, too. Just play comfortably!

First, this is “Swallowtail” from Ukulele Expressions: Illustrated Ukulele Fingerstyle Etudes for the Picking Hand (Book 1 of 3). This is in Standard Tuning GCEA. Place a capo at the third fret for a higher pitch. If you don’t have one, that’s ok! You can still play the piece without it.

Next, this is “Starfish and Shells” from Ukulele Expressions: Ocean Adventure. This is in Open F Minor Tuning which is FCFG#. Tune your G string down to an F and your C string will stay the same. The E string will be carefully raised to an F, and the A string will be lowered to a G#.

“Hippo Heaven” is from Ukulele Expressions: Low G Animals in Art. The music is made for the Low G ukulele and sounds very deep and soulful. This piece is also in Open F Minor Tuning FCFG#.

These pieces, when played slowly and mindfully, will help you feel relaxed and at ease. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at You can also Like and Follow me on Facebook @SusanMontgomeryAuthor. I look forward to connecting with you!

Enjoy your playing!

This page contains affiliate links, meaning I can earn a small commission based on sales through these links, at no additional cost to you.

New Ukulele Expressions Books Coming Soon

I am thrilled to announce two new Ukulele Expressions books that will be coming out soon. First, I have simplified the techniques and skills I’ve developed to play with only one hand in order to create a version that kids can play, too. In Ukulele Expressions for Kids: Tunes to Play with Only One Hand, kids will learn how to fingerpick and play beautiful songs with fun, kid-friendly titles. I have even included colorful paintings for each song. The songs are divided into two main groups – five songs for kids ages 8 and up (approximately) that are in GCEA Tuning and 5 songs for kids ages 12 and up (approximately) that are in two alternate tunings FCEA and ACEA. They will only be picking one string at a time but will quickly find out how great a song can sound by only using one hand. This will be great for kids who can only use one hand or want to play with one hand just for fun.

Second, I have created a Lullaby book with even more alternate tunings. But this isn’t just any lullaby book. It was inspired by my tuxedo cat, Tracey, and her love for my ukulele playing. Ukulele Expressions Lullaby: Tunes for Kitties and Kiddos to Play with Only One Hand contains ten songs in alternate tunings, and includes ten sketches of adorable, sleeping kitties. Of course, the songs can be played for kids, too. They are nice and soothing when played slowly. I know Tracey loves them and I think your kitties and kiddos will love them, too.

I’ve had so much fun composing the music for both books and creating the art. I’m happy that people are finding joy in playing music with just one hand in the current Ukulele Expressions series. I will keep you updated on when these titles will be released. You can check out the Ukulele Expressions series on Amazon here. You can check out the instructional video series here, on my YouTube channel.

This page contains an affiliate link, meaning I can earn a small commission based on sales through this link, at no additional cost to you.

New Title, New Cover for Ulcerative Colitis Book

My book “Danger Zones, Underpants Dances, and Colon Funerals: Poems and Illustrations on My Life with Ulcerative Colitis” has been updated to this new title. “Capturing Colitis: Poems and Illustrations on My Life with Ulcerative Colitis” contains the same content, just in a new package!

This new title works much better for the book on so many levels. I’ve captured the funny moments of everyday situations through humorous, and sometimes silly poems and colorful illustrations. You can still find the original book page on Amazon, but it will show as unavailable. You can follow this link to the new edition. Thank you for your continued support!

This page contains affiliate links, meaning I can earn a small commission based on sales through these links, at no additional cost to you.

Gift Guide for I Am a Gifted Musician

I Am a Gifted Musician: Affirmations for New Players of Music contains 50 positive self-talk statements that new musicians can recite, believe in, and practice daily. I wrote this book after seeing so many people (adults especially) become very critical of their playing ability in the early stages. We need to be kind to ourselves as we are learning and this book helps to provide encouragement with affirmations, illustrations, and journal prompts.

I have also made a companion journal to go along with this book. You can use this to record your journal prompt responses and other details about your musical journey. The pages feature a thumbnail (color) illustration of one of the musicians from the book mentioned above. This pair would make a great gift for anyone new to music.

How to Read Music in 30 Days by Matthew Ellul is a book I found to be very helpful when I started to learn how to read music. There are written examples, listening sections, and writing exercises that are extremely thorough. This would make a great gift as well and will continue to be a reference book in any new musician’s library.

I hope the gift guides I’ve shared this week help you with some ideas for your friends and loved ones this Christmas season! If you have any questions, you can contact me at

(The above links are affiliate links, meaning I can earn a small commission from any sales at no additional cost to you. I thank you for your support!)

Gift Guide for Danger Zones, Underpants Dances, and Colon Funerals

Today I am featuring another one of my books with a few gift ideas for your gift recipient this Christmas!

Danger Zones, Underpants Dances, and Colon Funerals: Poems and Illustrations on My Life with Ulcerative Colitis is the story of my journey with ulcerative colitis and surgery to remove my colon. It features some funny poems and illustrations I created as humor is something that helped me through the whole experience. Do you have a friend who deals with IBD? This may be a perfect gift for your friend. It always helps to know you aren’t alone in your struggles.

You may want to pair this book with a nice journal for your friend to write down some of their own thoughts about their experience with IBD. I love this Paperage Lined Notebook that comes in all sorts of fun colors. It’s one of those hardcover journals that is just a treat to write in.

What better to go with the notebook than journaling pens? The iBayam Journal Pens are my favorite set. There are 18 different colors and they write beautifully. And the price is right, too!

You can also download this inexpensive printable of one of my illustrations from my book, Surrounded by God’s Blue Sky: Christian Affirmations for Chronic Pain. The Spectacular Sunflower can be a reminder for your friend of how strong they are. You can add a simple picture frame and have a gift ready to go.

I hope this has given you some ideas for gifts that would pair well with this book. Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will feature another book!

(The above Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I can earn a small commission from any sales at no additional cost to you. I thank you for your support!)