The Violin, a memory

The Violin, a memory

It is fun how some memories from our childhood stand out. One memory for my siblings and I (as we found out over a group sibling email session this past fall that lasted well into the early morning hours…) was a short film we each watched individually in kindergarten.

Watching it as adult I definitely find new meaning.

At 6 years old I remember being a little frightened for the youngest little boy, I felt terrible for the oldest boy’s violin. By the end of the film I wanted to learn how to play violin…something I never did do…my ukulele is a good second choice 🙂

Enjoy this short film:

My Ukulele

My Ukulele

“And so it is, just like you said it would be..”

Yesterday I added an addition to my family of one.

We’ve ruled out dogs, cats and boyfriends as logical living partners and I have settled on a musical instrument with which to coexist in my tiny condo. You could say that since it has no heartbeat that it should not be considered a companion but after watching numerous Youtube videos late last night I have concluded that a musical instrument can come pretty close as a comforting companion as any living thing. Ok, we could debate this but can I have just this ONE!?

Last night I brought home a Ukulele.

For the last few weeks I have been hearing stories of this instrument and its fun and addictive features. The only Ukulele I ever recall was the one on my aunt and uncle’s farm and when we’d strum it, it hurt my ears. To be truthful the sound coming from it’s heart irritated me; high pitched, off-key and all around frustrating.

I trusted my friend at work and walked into the first major serious music store I could find to buy myself a Ukulele.

Normally when going for a purchase where I have little to no knowledge on the product, I do some research online.

Not so for the Ukulele.

You could tell from the outside of the store that this place was serious. Stock metal security bars ran along the front of the store covering the glass windows. The windows might as well not have been glass since the glass was also covered in black plastic wrap, loudly advertising the store name.

I parked the car and sat for a few moments gathering my courage to face serious musicians and to ask for a what I felt was a ridiculous instrument, a Ukulele.

Why couldn’t I be going into the store with an unlimited budget looking for a Fender electric guitar?

No I was going into the store with a budget looking for a $40, cheesy, cherry red Ukulele!

I literally stumbled into the store.

Thankfully the one employee was busy with a serious customer, putting together a serious musical instrument order. The serious customer was ordering a fancy drum set and the value $5,000 for $4,500 popped out of the sales guy’s mouth.

In the very recent past, before my scary departure from a real job and a real wage, one where I could eat, drink, dance and sing whenever I pleased, normally I would have turned around and left the store. Silly right? However talking to strangers, especially strangers who knew more than me on a particular topic honestly frightened me – I liked to be at least prepared. In my new adventure where I don’t have a real job and a real wage I find myself in many new and uncomfortable situations where in the past I would have rather just avoided and have started to accept it is ok to be ridiculous and quite frankly an air-head :).

So I poked around the store quietly looking for their Ukulele’s. After a few turns of the cramped store the sales guy popped up his head and asked, “Is there anything I can help you find?”

“Ummm,” as I nervously chuckled, “I am not sure you have what I am looking for, but do you have any,” and I blurted out in a high pitched voice, “Ukulele’s?!”

And to my surprise, yes he did!

That is when he started asking the questions, the one’s that make me nervous. Technical questions, questions I haven’t a clue how to answer.

I stood there, numb, chasing away the “I am sooo dumb, what am I doing in here without at least researching so I could look somewhat intelligent”.

“Well to be honest, I don’t really know all the terms you are using and I have never played a Ukulele, a friend has successfully convinced me with her stories that they are fun and easy to play.”.

Feeling ridiculous I stood there in front of the serious customer and the serious sales guy.

Perhaps sensing my apprehension the friendly sales guy gave me a big smile, immediately melting my anxiety. He stood up, broke away from his customer and took me to the humidity controlled acoustic guitar room just off the main sales floor. The room was dead quiet that it almost hurt my ears.

“Well let me show you what I have but first tell me your intentions on how well and how much you’d like to play the Ukulele.”

I explain to him about the Ukulele jam session’s that I’ve heard so much about and tell him that as amateur as I am my vision is to learn to play the instrument as well as my 30-something year-old hands will allow and I give him my budget.

He hands me a Ukulele from the rack and explains how to properly strum. He suggests that if I want to be somewhat serious that perhaps I should consider a somewhat serious Ukulele.

That strikes the cherry red Ukulele off my list 😦

Like a well seasoned sales person, he excuses himself and leaves me with the room to myself to strum away on Ukulele’s and to pick my instrument.

Which is exactly what I did.

I left the store that afternoon armed with a Ukulele, a carry bag, a little tuner and advice on how to be successful on my new musical adventure.

So now there are a few housekeeping items in regards to my new toy:

1. Name my Ukulele.

2. Work on learning the 3 major chords so I can play most any song. The good news is there are many Youtube videos and I spent up until the wee morning hours watching TheUkuleleTeacher. I am as much impressed with his videos and his skill at the Ukulele, Guitar and Base Guitar as I am with his appearance makeover from November last year until his latest video August 17th. I secretly want to know if the evolution of his looks from an 80’s rocker to a 21st century Mr. Suave had anything to do with comments from his gushing female followers?!?!

3. Attend a Corktown Ukulele jam and have my Ukulele formally named and baptised with me bopped on the head with a stuffed Ukulele (that is probably someone’s favourite stuffed sleeping companion!!).

So if you have any suggestions on a name for my new Ukulele, please share, if anything it will be a chance to blurt out amusing names that we’d never name a pet or person :).