Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Slice of Life Tuesday: Ukulele Journey

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Tuesday Slice of Life: 
Ukulele Journey

I was recently paging through my writer's notebook and found this list poem I wrote some time last spring, reflecting on my journey of learning to play the ukulele. (If I remember correctly, I believe that I was reading through Poems Are Teachers at the time, and so this list poem was likely inspired by the smart work of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.) 

Ukulele Wishes 

I wish I could
     remember strumming patterns
     effortlessly switch from chord D to Em,
     play tablature in tune 
     feel the rhythm of quarter, half, and whole notes
     read notes instead of looking at my fingers
     sing and strum 
     not fret so much about mistakes and 
     enjoy my music journey. 


A little over a week ago my thirteen-year-old son and I attended an outdoor ukulele workshop through our city's Mile of Music Festival. Although I played quite a bit last spring and took a few group lessons, I had not played my ukulele since the beginning of June. I was rusty. My uke was out of tune. In fact, it was so out of tune that I needed to ask my son in order to get my ukulele back in playing shape. 

As soon as my ukulele was in tune and my fingers found some familiar chords, I was instantly reminded how much I enjoy making music. My fingers immediately gravitated to the C and G7 chords - I still had some muscle memory in my fingers. 

Since the short workshop, I have been playing each day and I am beginning to enjoy it again. Now I can play Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers. To my amazement, my son recently remarked that he actually recognizes these tunes when I play! Win!

It feels good. I need to keep spending the time to make music.  


  1. I really like how the poem from last year shows up in this year's post. I like that you've improved even though you weren't perfect in your practice. There's something lovely in the way this post is shaped that allows me to see that you value this and that it's ok for it not to always be first. Also, it kind of makes me want to dig up our ukulele & start trying to teach myself. Maybe as a reward for finishing my writing classes.

    1. Thanks Amanda! You should dig up your ukulele! It will at least be worth a slice!

  2. Trina, your post is what all of our journeys should be about, trying, striving, practicing, and celebrating.

  3. The next time you write about playing the ukulele, I want a video!

    Love the poem. You’re an inspiration. I recently discovered my basement-dwelling brother owns a ukulele, and I’m thinking about permanently borrowing it so I can learn to play, too.

    1. Ha! Good luck on the video!

      Thank you and I think that retirement may be a great time for you to learn!

  4. Such a fun and encouraging post ... "Hallelujah" and "Lean on Me" ... for real?? That on a ukulele, to me, is mind-boggling. Your son recognizing the tunes was a perfect light-hearted detail about your accomplishment. Play on!

  5. Your post about the ukulele makes me want to practice the autoharp I got for Christmas two years ago. Maybe I need to take some lessons just to kick myself into gear. Your journey is inspiring me.

  6. We all need to find some creative pursuit to soothe our souls! Looks like you've found yours. This is a great post to promote continued learning in different directions!


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