The Ungood Ukulele Player – My Heart

For Mother’s Day I am posting a song that I named in honour of my wife, Allison.

It is for all that she does for me and our family. It is for her patience and love. It is for being there through the good times and the not so good times (though the good greatly outnumber the not so good). It is for the mere fact that it’s the only song I’ve come up with so far that she’s told me she likes.

Happy Mother’s Day, my heart.

The power of the ukulele compels you

This past June I received some birthday money from my parents. As usual, it took some time to decide what to use the money for, but ultimately I settled on a ukulele. Yes; a ukulele. Some months prior, I had been talking with some coworkers about the ukulele. Seems a number of them owned one, including one of our managers who occasionally walks around the library strumming away on his. I have some experience with musical instruments; I took piano lessons for several years in elementary, as well as cello for a year in grade three. Not much had come of either of these as a lacked the requisite skill and/or dedication to become proficient in either. In the years since I have frequently desired to pick up an instrument and learn how to play it, but I had never got around to it. Now with birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to pick up a ukulele for myself. I visited Myher’s Music, a local music shop that’s been operating in Edmonton since the mid-Sixties. I felt it would be nice to patronize a local business, and besides, I was bringing in my great-uncle’s guitar with the hope of getting it repaired. Alas, the guitar was beyond repair, but I did leave with a delightful soprano Koyama Iceberg series. Now what do I do?

As it turns out, I have become somewhat obsessed with it. Granted, it’s a select type of obsession. Where some manifest their obsession through intense study and diligent, methodical application of theory, I borrowed a ukulele book from the library (yes, it was Ukulele for Dummies), and I started to skim through the section on basic chords and easy tunes. This was supplemented by watching one or two videos on YouTube. Once I had a couple of tunes somewhat figured out, I proceeded to intensely, diligently, and methodically piss around with the instrument. I soon found it quite simple to come up with my own tunes; in fact I found it much easier than learning established ones. The result has been a summer filled with idle strumming and tinkering with various combinations of a select few chords (the ones I am able to successfully manage on the fretboard). An added result, and one that I am quite surprised at, is the sense of personal achievement I have gained from playing my ukulele. I enjoy playing my songs over and over, making subtle changes along the way. Quite often when I have five minutes here or there I will pick up my ukulele and just start strumming. As a matter of fact, there has been several times over the summer when I have thought about working on this blog, only to be pulled away by the siren call of my ukulele. I am by no means proficient, skilled, talented, particularly competent, or any number of similar adjectives; but when I am playing I feel a sense of contentment as I focus on the music.

I am thankful that my wife has suffered me to continue with this diversion, though I am sure she has long since past the point of enjoying the sound of what I think I can accurately describe as broken English on the ukulele. Maybe one day I’ll learn proper tunes. Maybe one day I’ll pick up a guitar.

My ukulele on a blue chair
My ukulele on a blue chair