Wednesday, September 08, 2010
I've been learning the ukulele for a few months and I've never practised an instrument so keenly. I started with Steven Sproat's beginners' workshop at Elgar School of Music in Worcester, using a borrowed uke. I bought one the next day, and went to Steven's intermediate course a couple of months later. I also took part in a pilot Ukulele Club last term with David Barlow as Course Leader.
Elgar School of Music is now starting up the Ukulele Club for real. Meeting on Monday evenings 7.00 to 8.00, it will meet weekly from November 1st until Christmas. It can be paid for by the term, but I guess most people will want to pay £6 a week for a while till they are sure.
Superficially, a uke is a tiny guitar with only four strings. The chord shapes are similar, but the sound is very different because the string you hit first with your finger is an octave higher than you would expect, and it gives it a sharp attack. The chords are MUCH easier with only four strings to worry about, so I was quickly into diminished and flattened fifth chords which I skate over on the guitar. Its size is an advantage too, especially if you have small fingers like me. If it's too small for your giant fingers, you can get bigger ones.
If you like George Formby, I'm sure you'll be accommodated, but most of the players I've come across prefer something more recent. I myself like 60s and 70s stuff, but I'll play Katy Perry or even Jedward if I've got the uke chords.
The photo is not me. I got it from Stefan's blog No-one knows Stefan. I don't know Stefan, but I'm pretty sure the photo isn't him either.