I bought myself a ukelele for my birthday. My husband argued for a guitar, an instrument I strummed (never mastered) in high school. Jim is not a fan of the plink-plink of the ukelele, and I have to agree that the sound of a guitar is far more beautiful.
But a uke is less of a commitment and more of a toy, and that’s what I was after. Something to play with. A instrument where failure was not really an option.
I got a uke because my friend Steve has one, and when he picks it up he turns into a grinning 10 year old kid who has no idea what irony is. And I find it impossible not to sing along with him.
He likes songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. (“Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby,” etc.) I find myself drawn to ballads like “The Nearness of You,” which actualy sound a little wan on the uke. Thus far, for my money, the best song for uke is “Dream a Little,” performed most famously by the Mamas and the Pappas.
But really, it’s all about singing.
I was in the chorus and made it into madrigals in high school, the halcyon days of my musical career. Back then, I got solos in school musicals, and sang with full orchestral accompaniment to a darkened theater. Today I’m too damn timid. I don’t breathe deeply enough and I’m nervous about singing flat. Fear is inimical to song. (Bumper sticker?) But since this is about playing, which has nothing to do with failing, I’m getting better.
I practice my uke every day and after two months, my husband says I sound much better. I think he’s being a little patronising, actually. But I don’t care. My uke makes me happy.