Tuesday Slice of Life:
Ukulele JourneyI 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.)
I wish I could
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.