My friend Rhan creator of the splendid Altared Christmas show in Santa Cruz made a comment on my Singing Class blog entry that it took him a very long time to open up, allow himself to make mistakes, and finally realize that his voice is actually a very beautiful gift to share with the world. Rhan’s inspiration brought the people together that would become the Uklectics, which is a band of fun people that enjoy making some music together.
In this East San Francisco Bay community, I have been very fortunate to have so many wonderful strummers to socialize with on a regular basis at Mike DaSilva’s Berkeley Ukulele Club. I have been looking for someone to hang out with to sing, enjoy learning songs, being more creative with song arrangements, and working on some finger-picking with. I have also come across some e-friends that have suggested getting together but so far nothing has come together.
I like to think my blog’s unique look at the UKULELE WORLD is that I am someone who started learning to play an instrument at 44 years old. It was a complete accident. My kids had my dad’s 1950’s Harmony in the toy chest or on a shelf for 20 YEARS! Now they’re adults and I was going through stuff and I started to play. A month later I went to a ukulele festival and was hooked.
AND I really, really sucked. I guess I heard something I liked in my humble beginnings because I stuck to it and fell in love with the ukulele. Actually, I don’t think I fell in love with the ukulele – it was more the joyous opportunity to create some chords and music on my own. My fingers were sore, my hand and brain hadn’t realized that the muscle memory was improving each time I picked up the ukulele. I think I STRUGGLED with the Bb chord for 9 months. Perhaps, partially because the Harmony had a plastic fretboard with some worn frets, but I couldn’t play the Bb without buzzing.
I UNDERSTAND the frustration of the beginner. Perhaps I am an intermediate player now, but I still have many areas of my playing that are yet to be developed. Blah, blah, blabber…
So I’ve talked to Byron P., Dougie C., Ryan G, Mr. Kim J., and Mary S. about getting together at one time or another. We all live relatively close BUT something stays in the way. When I took the Rhan Wilson UKE U class we all met on the first night and were off and running. We felt so close after 2-3 classes. Rhan has had so many bands that he’s been part of that he easily pulled us together and challenged us. I don’t have his 8 ears, skills, or knowledge. I usually just practice as much as I can and then step off the edge, leaping into oblivion.
Leaping into oblivion, isn’t as scary at the ukulele clubs because they’re such good friendly people – you just get up stage and do what you can. They’ll cheer you on and support you. So how do I get unstuck and get some friends together? Take the leap. Set a time and place. Let everyone in the proximity know and just schedule it. Also look at others that may play other instruments to add interest to the group. Washtub bass, One-string diddley bow, concertina, flute, African drums, harmonica, clarinet? Who knows? HU