Ukulele Life Lessons #1

I had reasonable expectations for my first time at picking up the instrument for real. This time, I’d move past the air-ukulele phase and actually learn a chord or two, nothing too advanced. Baby steps all the way. I lined up a 12-minute beginners instructional YouTube video from a playlist I have been putting together since late last year. I factored in some time to tune the uke with my high-tech digital tuner, which had come along with my Christmas present. Musical DH knows his non-musical DW might have baulked at the thought of tuning by ear.

 

All set, right? Or so I thought… Cue the horror movie sudden flash of lightning and creepy music!

Ok, that’s perhaps a little dramatic.

 

The kids went off for their bath. I sat at the table with ukulele, digital tuner and manual in hand. The few minutes I thought it would take a piece of modern technology to tune my instrument for me turned into an uncomfortably long exercise. Did I mention that this was over the winter holidays, and both my mother and mother-in-law were watching me, for all the world as if I was about to give a concert and it was perfectly acceptable to gaze at the musician on stage. About as dis-concert-ing an experience as I can imagine for a first DIY ukulele lesson, but hey, I was relaxed. I was looking forward to learning my first couple of chords and making some mellow, albeit limited, music. No pressure at this important exploratory stage. Slow and steady. Give it time. Breathe…

 

And then?

 

Ping! I killed the A string. I swear I didn’t mean to. It just happened. The super-duper digital tuner gave me no indication that I was in a danger zone. And yes, I did feel betrayed. It’ll be a while before I can trust him again. [Of course, it’s a him. No communication skills when it matters most 😉 – kidding!]

 

I never got to watch the instruction video. The new chords remained a mystery. And now I had to find out where to buy new ukulele strings.

 

Ukulele Life lessons:

*Have reasonable expectations for the first time you take on a new challenge…and then dial them back some more.

*Don’t trust technology more than you trust your own judgement, even if it does look really cool and “experienced.”

*Don’t invite an audience to the very first rehearsal.

*Killing an inanimate object is not the end of the world.

*Internet access so you can buy new ukulele strings 24/7 is a beautiful thing. Ping!

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