Sunday, May 27, 2012

ukulele learning

1. A FIGURE EIGHT The ukulele has a body like a person. Small shoulders and larger hips. It fits naturally into your embrace like a lover. I wrap my arm over it and begin to play. I don’t play well. I miss chord changes, forget rhythms, and my fingers get stuck on the strings when strumming.

2. OF A KIND  A ukulele is an individual. It has its own voice. Bright, dark, crisp, sustained. Each one is a little different to the next. My ukulele has a twang compared to those my friends play. Finding the voice of my ukulele has given me confidence to find my own voice, matching its melody.

3. IN CONVERSATION With the ukulele? Perhaps. With others? Without doubt. There’s little more pleasurable than an afternoon shared with voice and musical instruments. You find each time how well a song will express thoughts and emotions we cannot ordinarily give air to in the course of conversation. Far from the stereotyped comedy of the Hawaiian sing-a-long, the ukulele is an instrument of subtlety.

4. A PARTICULAR SPACE  A song provides a legitimate space to express emotion we might not otherwise reveal. Pick up your ukulele. Weave words into the melody of the notes that are plucked and chords that are strummed. See what I mean? Here’s licence to express a story without interruption, show vulnerability without being indulgent, create harmony out of discord and comfort out of pain.

5. MEME The ukulele is making a comeback. All around my social circle ukes in various colours and tones are appearing. The ukulele is small, portable and inexpensive. It’s less intimidating than its six-string cousin. Some famous artists have composed their songs on ukuleles. It lends itself to experimentation. An idle idea that I should learn to play has drawn me to (and drawn to me) manifold connections.