It is Wednesday of our Spring Break, and I have been loving the time away from school. My wife recently decided to become a Noonday Ambassador (she loves the product and loves the mission of the company), and as a result, she wanted to do some housework this week before her kick-off parties this Friday and Saturday. One of the tasks was to finish the “music room,” a small front room in our house where we keep our digital piano and now our other string instruments (ukuleles and guitars).
My wife grew up in her grandparent's home (her mom and her brothers moved in with them) where my wife learned piano on a 1928 baby grand. That piano was most recently in Georgia, and two summers ago, we traveled to Georgia to pick it up, gutting it as we did so. The intent was to convert the piano (no longer playable and no logical financial decision to repair it) to a bookshelf.
So, earlier this week, I did the work necessary to convert the piano to a bookshelf. The piano “shelf” became a shelf of its own (thanks to some inexpensive bookshelf brackets from Wal-Mart). And the music room is done.
On Good Friday, I had an opportunity (with no school) to attend a ukulele jam session which is held at a (relatively) local music store. As to be expected with a mid-day ukulele jam session, most of the participants retired,and the format was a 30 minute introduction to the ukulele followed by two hours of every person taking turns choosing a piece. The group utilized the Daily Ukulele songbook. Everyone was encouraged to sing (even though a few people complained about their voices) and most songs were attempted a couple of times until they worked better. My choice? Danny Boy.
While my musical training (and singing ability) is far advanced beyond most of the people at that jam–I was reassured tha what they were doing was wonderful and good. Think about it…a group of people meeting just to make music–that is what music is supposed to be about. Excellent bands, choirs, and orchestras are wonderful–but at some point you are too busy to be in such a group, or perhaps are not “good enough” to be in an elite performing group. But you know what…musical experiences, like ukulele jams, still exist, both accessible to everyone and musically fulfilling at the same time.
Yes, I'll go again. But I won't be able to do so until we're out of school for the summer.
Meanwhile, I found the next two ukuleles on my UAS (Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome) wish list: The Kala Sweet Pea 10th Anniversary Tenor, and the Lanika UkeSB Koa Tenor which can plug directly into an iPad. I also have my eye on the Outdoor Ukulele Tenor (an all-weather ukulele).
I also came across a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse “guitar” at Wal-Mart (actually my four year old spotted it in the clearance aisle), and it isn't a guitar…it is a ukulele made by First Act. It is a cheap plastic ukulele,but is has a few interesting features. First, the logo lines up with Mickey's head, making the sound hole look like one of Mickey's ear, and in closer inspection, the graphic is also placed INSIDE the sound hole, lined up perfectly with the graphic. Additionally' the tuners are in shape of the mouse logo. The ukulele doesn't have a nut, and the strings are complete garbage. I have some new strings on the way, and then I'll see what it really sounds like. Right now, it can't stay in tune (the nylon strings are too stretchy) and is quiet. However, for a kid's ukulele, that may not be a bad idea.