GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


Leave a comment

Ukuleles and Languages

Coming up on 4 years ago, I bought a ukulele.  A little blue Kohala that was on sale. I bought a beginners book with it, and didn’t really do anything more.  I looked up some videos online, downloaded and learned the chords for In My Mind by Amanda Palmer. I never learned consistent strumming patterns, and the uke spent most of its time on my bookcase collecting dust.

Then I bought another ukulele.  A Mitchell ukulele, regular brown wooden looking.  Something that didn’t look so ‘childish’ as my blue Kohala.  It did sound a little better, it had different strings, and I switched between the two as I dorked around with a few chords.

About a year ago, I saw a local ukulele group does workshops and jam session.  I took Little Blue and fought my social anxiety to join in.  I was told my ukulele was okay, for a cheap one but it would sound better if I put new strings on it.  Also the little phone app I used to tune my ukulele was crap and I needed to buy a tuner that clipped to the head.    I bought the tuner, and a couple of uke books the group used and never went back to another session.  I have them on calendar and maybe one day I will.

A few months ago, I decided it was silly to have these instruments if I wasn’t going to use them, so I looked up some more videos on YouTube and started with some basic lessons.  I followed along with Cynthia Linn first lesson learning Three Little Birds.  I’m still working on strumming patterns, but now I’m more comfortable playing than I have been in the 4 years I’ve had my ukuleles.  I can sing while I strum the songs.  I’m not comfortable singing in front of people, but I have no problems with it while I’m home with the puppies.

I was thinking how learning ukulele, and music is like a language.  Then my brain fell down the language rabbit hole and why had I given up on learning Dutch and Spanish with duolingo.   Part of it was I just stopped practicing, losing interest perhaps?     But I couldn’t deny the progress I had seen practicing ukulele consistently for a month or so, maybe it’s time to get back into practicing languages as well.

I’ve restarted my Dutch and Spanish tress on Duolingo, and it has changed since I last used the app.  It seems like the intro circle on each has been crazy long!  I don’t remember there being levels to each circle and I was getting annoyed, but I supposed repetition is key for learning anything.

I thought I’d incorporate the languages in my sketchbook. I’ll write my Postcrossing cards in Dutch and Spanish, if I get an address of someone who speaks those languages.  I’ll learn kids songs in those languages to play on my ukulele.

It all comes full circle.

Namaste.