Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Ukuleles and me!

The ukulele is an excellent musical instrument to introduce to anyone who wishes to learn how to strum, play and sing a song. Once you have mastered a few simple ukulele chords and know how to apply them to the tune of the're on the way!
Young or old can pick up the skills easily under the guidance of a ukulele maestro. You can also learn to play it by yourself especially with the easy availability of beginners video clips on Youtube.
However and speaking from long experience, I know that many who adopt a self-teaching/learning approach do start enthusiastically but usually fizzle out in no time at all. How come? Why does this usually happen? Anyone who wants to learn by himself must realise that he has to figure out everything by himself. You read or watch the instructions and understand, then try it works, it sounds ok, Good! But if you do the same but "don't get it, just cannot get it" still try, it doesn't work, sounds like rubbish....then it is not just, NO GOOD. You begin to lose INTEREST and therefore PATIENCE is also ebbing away slowly. You make a final attempt at picking up playing but you get frustrated and upset with yourself when you don't like the sounds produced...etc. Some years later, you realised you once had a ukulele but can't recall where you kept it....probably gathering dust and mould in the storeroom. It's a common enough scenario. I have been given at least 4 guitars, most in good condition, by friends who told me their daughters or sons have " lost interest"in learning to play. And when I asked," why are you giving this to me?" The Truth>
  • " Because we know you will make good use of it as we have enjoyed the good music and fun you provided with the guitar and the ukulele."
    So, here's my humble advice to all beginners.

First, develop your starting a songbook of songs YOU LIKE. Choose easy, catchy tunes and songs to learn. Leave out the tough ones for much later when you are more adapt. Make your own need to always play to the original, do it in your own way or style.

Next, develop PATIENCE with yourself. Rome was not built in a day. Learning to play the uke is a skill much like fishing. It takes time to be a competent fisherman and even more time to fish like the kampong fishermen [ their livelihood depends on it!].

Lastly, do not be shy! Show your new found skills at simple family gatherings or just among a few close friends who won't scold you anyway! Their encouragement will surely spur you on. Those who are shy will NEVER develop to their full potential.

Unk Dicko's Confirmed Music Background:

1. Never attended any formal music lesson/course.
2. Never had any coach for ukulele or guitar.
3. Never went for singing lessons all my life.
4. NEVER, No Money, Not picked, whatever..

Yet, none of the 4 points above have ever STOPPED me from doing what I did and ACHIEVING what I have accomplished!
Follow story in next post...most interesting DETAILS guaranteed !


mini said...

Hi mr yip!
Remember me?
I'm weimin/mini...
When are you comming back to teach us ukulele?
i'm looking forward for you to come back!

uncle Dick said...

Hi Mini..of course I remember you, and Darrel and all the others.It has been a great joy for me teaching the Ukulele to all of you.
Hope you have been able to practise or just strum around.
I will be back soon in your school, after your final term exams. There will be more exciting things you will learn and some "Fun" songs too.

sigeto said...

Hello Dicko I am japanese ukulele player.
from ukulele players worldwide.

I am working as engineer too.
In next month I will visit singapore as engineer.
So,could you please tell me good nyonya(peranakan) restaurant?

This is my youtube video

unk Dicko said...

Thank you Sigeto-san for linking your Youtube video. It's a very wonderful video with Mt Fuji scenery and the uke sounds terrific.
I will be pleased to meet up with you when you visit Singapore in April. Nonya food is fabulous. No problem with restaurants serving Peranakan food. Just keep me informed and I shall get in touch with you to help you.

unk Dicko said...

Just to update readers and visitors here. Shigeto Takahashi corresponded with me through Youtube and email and unk Dicko drove up to his hotel at Pasir Panjang last night, to meet up with him. My wifey D2 came along too. We brought him to a Peranakan Restaurant at esplanade but they were closing. We ended up at the Esplanade Waterfront Food Centre where he enjoyed Hokkien mee, Oyster Omelette,Satay. We played the host as it was his very 1st visit to Singapore. In the car as I was driving, Shigeto was entertaining us on my Kamaka Ukulele with his lovely music!
Do check out my posts in April 2009 about our meeting.