I used to have to practice…I used to prop a book on the piano to ease the drudgery of scales. Now I get to practice. As someone points out in the documentary ‘The Mighty Uke’, no one ever remembers feeling bad during a ukulele lesson.
No one says you have to play more than 5 minutes at a stretch, to start with. Small and soft enough to hide in a group. Surprisingly beautiful. Personal. As much of a challenge as you wish. Sweet sound. If you can’t find a group to play with, in a coffee shop or a bar, buy your friend a uke and start your own group.
Or tune into the internet, a generous place to practice. You get to practice with some of the worst and the best teachers in the world. Some of the lessons are simple, someone just like you, posting a hard-won lesson. On other sites…. 10 minutes…and you’ve got a new song. Inspiration, technique, a place to play along.
- Two chord songs for beginners
- Bach Partitas with John King
- Over the Rainbow with Mike Lynch
- Duets and trios with Guido Heistek
- Feelin Groovy with James Hill
- Ten-finger strum with James Shimabukuro….the best in the world.
I get to … try that simple word change, the next time you feel you ‘have’ to do something. I get to go to work. I get to vote. I get to go home. I get to eat broccoli with cheese sauce. We get to go to the hospital. We get to do chemo…or choose chemo. My hundred year old friend in a nursing home is quarantined against visitors 50% of the year. When 5 people in her 200 person establishment have the flu, she would die of loneliness if I didn’t decide that I get to break the rules sometimes.
Try it sometime…I get to, instead of I have to.
Try the ukulele sometime. Start by looking up two chord songs for beginners. Or that song you always wanted to sing… for sure it’s on youtube with an easy ukulele version attached. Or pick something way too difficult, start, try it, give it up, and try it again in a month.
These days I get to practice Fisher’s Hornpipe…with with Mark O-Connor, Yoyo Ma and Edgar Meyers. They’ve published their arrangement on the internet and I get to play along. Not on my fiddle, that may never happen, but I can chord along on the ukulele.
Is everything about the music you ask… could be. There’s a handy set of rules that go along with playing the fiddle or the uke that could fit anywhere. Play whenever you can. Play too hard and the sound suffers. Start slow and work up to speed. Play too loud and your friends won’t play with you. Start with something easy. It’s hard to practice, but it’s harder when you don’t practice.
I get to practice. I finally get it.
youtube link….Fisher’s Hornpipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcRxMTw80e4