Please excuse our dusty construction scene. ;)
As if quarantine wasn’t bad enough, Kelly, Emma and Lucy are stuck in here with a beginner ukulele player. Even worse, I’m really bad at it. And I play all the time.
I’m a typical quarantinee. I stress-bake. I Zoom. I drink wine and then do home workouts to make up for it. And, now, I’ve picked up an obscure hobby. Am I so predictable that even in the most bizarre of circumstances, I behave like everyone else in the country?
I guess so.
But hear me out. I’ve tried and failed to learn an instrument for 30 years. Ok, that’s a lie. I should just say failed because I never really tried. And I’m realizing that this is my shot. I mean, if I’m not bored enough to tackle this thing now, it’s probably not gonna happen; quarantine is sort of liberating in that way.
I actually bought this Ukulele for Emma in a fit of desperation on our first day of home school. As I’m sure many of you know, it’s tough to fill out a day full of activities and I figured “music class” with a tiny guitar would be a good time filler. Emma does love banging away on it but I’ve slowly taken over and now consider the uke my own.
The ukulele is considerably easier to play than most other instruments. It has only four strings and a much smaller fretboard and as a result, learning basic chords, picking and strumming is sort of doable even for a clumsy beginner. The finger placement for the chords are easy and simple to remember compared to a guitar, too. I know it sounds clichéd but I was ready to play a few basic songs within a day or so of picking the thing up. (I swear!)
It’s really awesome how much easier learning an instrument is these days. When I was a kid, my mom had to convince me to take lessons, drag me to some strip mall music store for half an hour a week and– this should come as no surprised–I learned exactly nothing. But nowadays I carry around the world’s collective knowledge in my pocket, and there are hundreds of dedicated teachers just begging me to watch their stuff on YouTube.
YouTube is great. You can pause and rewind and rewatch, and there’s nearly always a comment or suggestion to get your through a tough bit. Learning an instrument is simple when you realize that all you need to do is, uh, do it a lot. As long as you’re willing to put in some time, your skills should improve. Shoutout to the Ukulele Teacher for teaching me “Hear Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Amazing!
And, luckily, I have near infinite quarantine time these days, though it’s punctuated by little distractions like my two daughters and work and stuff. My days of playing Barbie and Elsa give me a bad case of idle hand syndrome, and the ukulele has given me something fun and constructive to do instead of obsessively checking the news every five minutes. It’s been a nice break!
Truth: I know I’m not going to excel with the ukulele, and in a few months, this blog post will likely be embarrassing for me to look back on. Or maybe I’ll surprise myself and actually accomplish this goal! If so, perhaps I’ll be serenading you all in a future Mitch Post.
I guess you can place your bets. And as always…