Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Archive for June, 2010

Those of you who live in a house in the countryside are more likely to understand and possibly even sympathise with what’s coming next.

I have such a backlog of things I’d like to do in the house and I have stretched my multitasking abilities to their limits between family, blog, ukulele learning and work. I need to slow down on my blogging activities so as to free some time to do some serious work in the house and garden.

As a result my posts will be less frequent in the next couple of months. I’ll still be around though, watching your ukulele videos from around the world so bear with me!

For those of you who live in the city and who don’t own a washing-machine, this could be a consolation :

I’ve just discovered the ‘Lavomatik sessions‘ organised in various Parisian laundromats. A band is invited to play acoustic in a laundromat and a video is shot.

Here are a few Lavomatik sessions featuring the ukulele :

My favourite, The Pierces performing Turn on Billie and an extract of another song Sticks and Stone

Hugh Coltman, whom I saw live at the Paris Ukulele Bazaar in April, singing Sixteen:

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A lot of my fingerpicking ukulele learning process has been about setting myself some challenges which were reasonably difficult for me to make some progress but not completely out of my league.

After 8 months of ukulele fingerpicking, both learning via Skype with Herman Vandecauter and working things out myself, here is a reflection on the things that worked for me.

1. Liking a piece

First and foremost, and mostly because the amount of time I can dedicate to my ukulele learning process is rather restricted, it is absolutely essential for me to work on pieces that I choose myself.
This is a crucial motivational factor : if I like a piece, I’ll be very intent on learning it.

2. Finding a piece that reflects your emotions

In addition to liking a piece, it has to be in accordance with my emotions.

Music is an important vector of emotions so if I feel melancholy, chances are I’ll be much better at playing John Dowland arrangements rather than say, a lively Spanish tune. On the contrary, if I feel joyful, I’ll be glad to work on Irish reels or other upbeat pieces.

3. How should the piece sound ?

Once I’ve chosen a piece I like that reflects my state of mind, I move on to the next step which is to figure out how the piece should sound when played properly.

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