Feb
07
2012

  Ukulele Skill Increasing

I try to play the ukulele at least once per day, and my skills have been improving commensurately. Often I've had to sneak the ukulele to our play area because if W saw it, he'd say, "No ukulele, no! No play ukulele, momma!". I was not quite sure what he objected to most strongly.

Today when I said I was going to play the ukulele when we went outside, W didn't object! Instead, when we got to our park, he suggested that I play with him first before I started singing. Aha! W views the ukulele as a rival for my attention. So I read him the book he brought outside. Actually, it was a truck book so I didn't really read much, I just listened to him describe each truck and what exactly it did. The only page he requested help was the road equipment page, where I did my best to explain the difference between graders, lavers, scrapers, and rollers.

Then he left me free to play ukulele all afternoon. I've finished going through my "learn ukulele" book, but I still keep it nearby so I can look up chords. I have my most-used chords memorized now, but I keep adding new chords as I learn new songs. Right now I'm focused on learning the songs from the Music Together "Bells" book. That's the music class I'm home-schooling now. W got a miniature tote bag for Christmas, and I filled it with all the stuff for his music class-- small percussion instruments, scarves, and a toy microphone. It's so much better for us to do the "class" at home. W is relaxed and actually has fun and participates, and Max seems to enjoy it the same as in the larger class. I asked W the other day if he missed going to class with all the kids, but he said that he liked class best with "just Max and Momma". I like it because I don't have to spend much time on the songs I like least (although I go through all of them). I also can adjust the key to where I prefer to sing it, or to where it's easiest for me to play on the uke. And at least once a week I'll do the songs with "activities" like in the real class. But I get to make up the activities to suit myself rather than having to go along with what someone else came up with. So it's more fun for me, for sure. More running, skipping and dancing, less standing up and sitting down. For the songs where it makes sense to stand up and sit down repeatedly, I leave those to W to do all the actions, I just coach him rather than demonstrate. If I have a lot of energy any particular day I'll join in, but it's pretty rare lately that I have extra energy.

Since I got extra time to play today, I was able to practice enough to get good at the chord changes on several songs. I can do them without looking at my fingers! This is key, since it allows me to play and literally watch W at the same time.