Jan
08
2012

  Ukulele!

I decided I'm going to learn to play the ukulele. I've been musing about this off and on for months or years, I don't know exactly. But today was the day I decided I'm going to learn to play the ukulele. I nearly made an impulse purchase, but I checked with T first to get his reaction. But he thought it was a terrific idea, and is very supportive of my decision.

What pushed me over the edge was the size. I like to sing to my kids when we're outside, since it's an easy activity to keep them occupied that doesn't take much energy on my part, and we can while away a good portion of the day during nice weather. But I get bored with a cappella singing after a bit.

I've brought the guitar onto the porch, but it's too large to carry down to the park in the same trip as both kids, and since they're too young to leave unsupervised (I can't put M down for more than a second before he's got some grass or leaves or twigs in his mouth), I can't bring anything I can't take in one trip.

I tried to make a drum to keep outdoors, but that project was a dismal failure. The concept involved twigs, twine, and an old flowerpot. I did buy a bunch of cheap drumsticks so I do accompany my singing with rhythm by banging on whatever objects are nearby. We have plenty of buckets that are all over the property, not to mention lawn furniture and bricks and old logs, etc. But I have a hard time singing and maintaining an interesting rhythm-- I wind up just banging the beat, and then it's not much better than a cappella singing as far as maintaining my interest.

But a ukulele-- this is my solution! It's small enough I can carry it AND the baby at the same time. As an added bonus, it's got smaller frets and only four strings, so I should be able to play ALL the chords. On guitar, I'm limited because my fingers aren't strong enough for bar chords. Theoretically, if I practiced and practiced and practiced I'd eventually get it, but I've been playing guitar since my mid-20s, and I figure if I STILL can't play bar chords, it ain't gonna happen. There were a few points (when I was in the duo "The Day Jobs" with Paul, and again when I first got an electric guitar) that I practiced every day, and was reasonably proficient. Even without bar chords. But those days are long gone, so I need something easier.

I have high hopes for my new ukulele. That I'll be able to pick it up and play a little bit every day. I can't play the piano every day because it's anchored to one room, and it's a room without many toys and is not baby-proofed. But a ukulele is totally portable. I could play in the kitchen, on the porch, even sitting on the stairs or other places that are too small for a guitar.

So wish me luck. It should arrive in a week or two, and my musical adventure will begin!