Although never a master I’ve always enjoyed playing music. I started to play the guitar in my teens and for over 30 years I’ve happily plodded along as what I call a “Three Chord Strummer”.
In my humble opinion you don’t have to be Jimi Hendrix or Mozart to enjoy playing music. I’ve had brilliant evenings bashing away on an old tea tray.
In 2009 my wife and I set up a drop in music group / jam session for people with certain social difficulties. We were donated quite a few instruments. Mainly percussion, a couple of old school guitars annnnnnnd best of all a Ukulele. I was instantly hooked. The Ukulele has to be the Funnest (if such a word exists) instrument in the world. It sounds fun and feels fun to play. They make people smile when they see you with one and it always cheers you up when you pick one up. (If you’re feeling down that is, even cheerier if you’re not.) So, you can’t go far wrong with an instrument like that!!
It wasn’t that difficult for me to learn the basics having a bit of a guitar background and I was away.
The drop in centre closed down in 2010 and I became custodian of the ukulele. I played, learnt a few old favourites and learnt my way around on that one at home for a while. Sadly that particular one got damaged at the beginning of 2011 so I thought, as I was definitely now a Ukulele player, it was time to invest in my own. I went to the Ukulele Shop had a look around, went outside and phoned my friend Up North for a bit of advice (and persuasion) then went back inside and splashed out on (what still is to this day) my one and only Ukulele. An Antonio Carvalho, made from Koa wood. It really is a lovely instrument (well I think so anyway), with a simple but intricately made sound hole rosette.
Playing alone can get somewhat lonely (not to mention uninspirational), so I started thinking about finding other Ukulelers to play with. At the end of last year a lady I was doing some work for told me that Lewisham had a Ukulele group. So with the help of Google I found PLUC. This was just before Christmas. Sadly they were not meeting over the holiday so I went to the first one of the year. And have not looked back since!!!
A wonderful variety of friendly people meet there. From absolute beginners to highly talented experts. I was made to feel at ease and welcome, best of all I felt no snobbery against the not so talented.
Much to my amazement I have learnt quite a bit there (mainly by osmosis) and my technique has improved loads in the seven months I’ve been going.
I make it a regular feature of my week which I look forward to and I’ve only missed sessions when I’m out of town.
I’d recommend the Ukulele to everyone. As I said they’re Loads of Fun to play and make you feel good. (Got to be something holistic and therapeutic in there somewhere.)
Not to mention the fact that because they’re small and lightweight they’re very easy to carry around. Mine weighs in at 461g (That’s 1lb 1/4oz in old money) and fits nicely in my hand luggage when travelling on budget airlines!!!
Other PLUC Tales: 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; 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; Santa Rides Again – Alan F; 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