Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Learning to Uke - Re-released with exclusive live track

"I am the Music Man, I come from down your way and I can play..."

("What can you play?...")

"Well, I know three chords on the guitar, erm...I did have a few ukulele lessons in the Autumn but I haven't picked it up since to be honest. Oh and I play tambourine when we go karaoke"

("So you're not really "The Music Man" at all are you?")

", I'm not"

("Come on lads, we're wasting our time here. Let's go round @daddacool's house, he's much more talented")

So there you have it, I confess, I haven't really been keeping up with my uke playing. However, I wanted to re-release this blog post as an exclusive to readers of Love Music Blogs to show you what could have been (one day I might be known as the 'Pete Best' of ukulele players).

So, please sit back, re-read my original 'Learning to Uke' blog post, and then enjoy yours truly performing 'Jolene' at his final ukulele lesson. You have a 2 in 6 chance of guessing which one is me in the video.

The original post was...

My mate Dom has inspired me to learn the ukulele.  I used to ‘play’ acoustic guitar but never really made it past 3 chords and there’s only so many Status Quo songs you can play (not that I ever did, mind, it’s just a figure of speech).  When I first started going out with my wife I even knew how to play “Live Forever” by Oasis.  The first time she met my parents I took her up to my old room and serenaded her with this song (which must have been a bit weird for her!), now I’m limited to plucking away at a much tinier, poorly tuned, instrument most nights.  She even asked me to stop playing the other night because of the din.  I blamed the new tuner I had bought at the weekend and it was only when I got to my lesson last night that my teacher told me I had it on the guitar setting.  Things can only get better…
Last night was my second ukulele lesson and I am absolutely loving it.  We got to play “Jolene” (this is going to be our group song after the 4 lessons and we are going to be filmed and uploaded to YouTube, so I really need to nail this one), “500 Miles” and even finished with a resounding “YMCA”.  DD1 loves that song and I have promised to play it to her when she gets back from school tomorrow (at least my uke will be properly tuned by then!)
For any parents wanting to learn an instrument, I recommend it.  My acoustic guitar is still in our loft, and I will get it down one day, but ukuleles are so much easier to transport and store - we have a tiny house already, and it’s got even smaller with the arrival of DD2.  It just hangs out on the stairs most nights and you wouldn’t even know it was there (that’s the uke, not DD2!)
When I first signed up to the lessons – Dom tried to get me along to the ones he was taking earlier in the year but DD2 was still too young and the timing wasn’t right – Eddie Vedder, the Pearl Jam singer, brought out an album of ukulele songs imaginatively titled ”Ukulele Songs”.  It’s only now that I’ve started listening to it intently.  It is brilliant and I’m looking forward to be able to play some of the songs soon (although there’s a lot of finger picking involved in some of the songs and I won’t be at that level for quite some time yet).   The song “Sleepless Nights” was my ‘Song of the day’ yesterday and has been added to the musodad Spotify playlist.  DD2 woke up early on Tuesday morning and that, combined with the fact that I had a lesson yesterday, inspired my choice.
Anyone else wanting to learn, the web address of the company that runs the lessons is and I highly recommend them. Go on, get involved, you know you want to…

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