Like many people, I have always wanted to play an instrument – any instrument. I have dabbled with the harmonica and the tin whistle and enjoyed both but never got very far. My music teacher even tried to teach me the trombone when I was at school – fantastic instrument but not for me.
Then in 2012, while reading the syllabus of the local authorities adult education classes, I saw Guitar for Beginners. Got a guitar, signed up and off we went. Met some nice people and enjoyed the classes a lot but struggled – particularly with the chord changes – the message left the brain but took about a week to get to the fingers.
Even changed the guitar once (or twice!) but still struggled (a guitar magazine I read once asked “How many guitars do you need” – the popular answer was “Just one more”).
Then the tutor announced that in 2013 he was starting a new short course – An Introduction to the Ukulele.
“Right,’ I said to the Boss when I got home, ‘you are always asking what I want for Christmas!’ A raised eyebrow and glance at the guitars gave me the feeling I was going to get socks again.
But what did I find under the tree on Christmas Day? Good old Santa (yes he does exist – my new Uke proves it!).
I played around with it and twiddled the tuners but unfortunately, the first day of the course proved what I had feared. My new Uke was useless – it was naff – it couldn’t hold the tuning no matter how much I tried. ‘Better return it and get your money back,’ said Brian, the tutor. “It’s obviously the duff one of the batch.”
Well, after gently explaining to the Boss and with her blessing, I popped down to the local music shop. “Got none in” he says, “only these kids’ ones”. But then, crashing through the door with a huge box in his arms, comes the delivery man (dressed in the brown suit of UPS but I could see through his disguise – it was Santa!).
And the first thing to come out of the box was the most beautiful thing in the shop – MY ukulele. A Brunswick Blonde Solid Top Soprano fitted with white Aquila strings (“They are the best strings” said the music man).
As happy as a dog with two tails, I attended the next class and strummed along with the rest of them. We were then informed of this strange group of people who meet every Tuesday at Lewisham Hospital. Their organisation is known as PLUC. One of our class, Kevin, went on a sortie to check them out and as he returned safely for the next class, my mate Eric and I thought we might give them a go.
Wise move. Lovely bunch of people – make you feel welcome and encourage (in fact INSIST) you join in. Strumming and singing on a Tuesday night, with like-minded people and all for free. It doesn’t get much better.
I’m still struggling with the chord changes but at least it’s not taking a full week for the message to get through to my fingers – more like second class post.
The moral of this tale is fourfold:
- Get a UKE – it will make you feel better.
- Join PLUC – you know it makes sense.
- Deal with your local music man not the internet – he knows what he is talking about (most of the time).
- SANTA does exist – I know it!
Other PLUC Tales: More Benny Hill Than James Hill – Dave P; I Never Liked The Uke – Steve H; Long-Distance Strummer – Gail; New Uker! – Sheila; A Tale Of Two Ukuleles – Tina; The First Rule Of Uke Club… – Anthony; Ron’s Progress; Probably The Most Fun Instrument In The World… – Jos; It’s Been A Year – Part 2 – Jeanette; From Classical To PLUC – Andrew; A History Of The Ukulele – And Its Part In My Downfall – James;Steph’s Story; Ron’s Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome; Uncle Ron’s Legacy… – Wee Kheng; Dan’s Story; Five Years & Loving It – Simon; My Ukulele Origins… – Rufus; Why Ed Started Playing The Ukulele; Ron’s Song; It’s Been A Year… – Jeanette