My SO works today so it was the perfect time to practice playing my ukulele a bit. I managed to get a ukulele during COVID. Like many, MANY people, I picked up a few hobbies during the pandemic. I also got a guitar off Facebook Market as well, but it felt too large and hard to press the strings down. The ukulele feels right. The strings fit well with my fingers and I’m very slowly starting to understand how to play chords. Four strings are much easier for my brain to adjust to rather than five or six.
Since the Facebook Market guitar was collecting dust in my room. I ended up putting it back up on the market and selling it fairly quickly. I hope it enjoys its new home and the wee human intent on learning! I placed an order online with some of the recovered funds to get a baritone ukulele. I know not the same as the one I’m playing so I look forward to seeing the differences. Just have to play the waiting game. Amazon and Flight, please don’t take a forever!
I was a band nerd from Middle School until Community College. Once you go to University, they don’t really let filthy casuals participate in the music program. Haha. I jest, but I did give up on a music major since music theory just never clicked in my poor little brain. I’ve played the flute through Middle School and switched to Alto Saxophone in High School.
I still played the flute, but Jazz Band had me jonesing for the Sax. My Senior year, our band director asked someone to step up and learn to play the Sousaphone (Tuba) for marching band. I thought, why not? I was learning the Baritone Saxophone for the local Community Band so learning bass wasn’t too hard.
I continued music after I graduated high school. I was in the band at my college and started the basics for a music degree. I took voice lessons and sang in the choir. So you can kind of assume that I have a little bit of basic musical knowledge. Music theory was like hitting a brick wall. Combine that with my performance anxiety and you have the perfect list of reasons not to continue that degree.
And when I say performance anxiety, let me assure you that it was epic. I never attempted for first chair due to solo’s. I never wanted to stand out. During small group ensembles, I’d always raise my music stand so that I’d be able to avoid seeing our audience. During my voice lesson class, we were required to perform for the rest of the class. Every time I’d sing by myself, I’d cry. It confounded my instructor. I would be in tune and sang well enough. I was just so scared, I couldn’t help it.
Years of LARP (live action roleplaying) and working at anime conventions has helped me shake away my shyness. I’m still nervous as hell, but I’ve finally learned that it’s not the end of the world to be awkward and goofy in front of others. Confidence? Fake it until you make it!
So needless to say, I’ve loved music most of my life. I don’t have a genre that I hate. I always feel like there’s something decent among each kind. I.E. Hank Williams is classic. My dad loved him. Tom MacDonald is an amazing rapper. But that might just be me being partial to loving music in general.
Like anything else worth doing, music takes a ton of practice. My karate sensei’s tell us the same thing. Sensei Mike McGee told us to progress in martial arts, you need at least 4 hours in the Dojo each week. And at the very least, you should be practicing Sanchin 3 times a day. Bare minimum. Similar things were said in college. My college professors always reminded us to work on our artwork. For every hour you were in the classroom, you needed to put at least 3 hours into your artwork. Considering some of my classes were 3 hours long, twice a week, that meant at least 18 hours outside of class. Now that I’m older, it makes so much more sense.
Things that professors and instructors did easily came from practice. You don’t just naturally do something well. Some people take to certain activities easier, but they didn’t just suddenly become perfect. I have to remind myself of that. My attention span is always short. Either from my ADHD brain or my Bipolar manic brain. I have to set reminds for myself and motivate myself to keep at an activity.
For the Ukulele, this involves strumming. I have a few simple songs that I try to practice. June was my depression month, I always struggle with June so a lot of my normal activities well to the wayside. Now that I’m back out of the funk, I’m trying to practice daily. Even if I can’t make my way through the whole song properly. Practice the chords. Practice strumming up and down. Practice switching between each chord. I don’t feel ready to perform for anyone, but I know I’ve improved in the last year.
I plan to keep practicing. Not just my ukulele. Practicing my martial arts. Practicing my art. Practicing my DBT skills. I know that I can improve and I enjoy progressing. There’s always room to grow. Participating in the moment. Enjoying life. These things are the biggest combatant against depression.
As always, I want to express my gratitude to you all for reading my posts! I hope you enjoy my little rambles.