After several years of singing and playing the guitar I decided to buy a ukulele so that I would have a smaller, more portable instrument to carry around. As seems to be the case for anyone who takes up this instrument, I became obsessed with the uke and had some lessons. Then the fun really started.
Unlike in that old Gracie Fields song I Took My Harp to a Party but Nobody Asked Me to Play, you don’t need to hide your uke under your coat. The little ukulele actually attracts an audience, as I discovered when I took my ukulele to play a few songs at a picnic with some friends. After this great day, where we all had a lot of fun together, these friends began to ask me to bring the uke along to parties and other social events. The happy nature of the ukulele sound seems to break down barriers and encourages people to participate and we would have sing-alongs with lots of laughter and conversation. This also gave me the opportunity to perform some of my own songs, which I have been writing for years, in front of a non-threatening audience.
Playing the ukulele has opened up my life to new people and experiences, especially after becoming one of the founding members of Bayside Ukes, where I have met a great bunch of friendly ukulele obsessives like myself. In belonging to this group, I have learnt so much from playing with others and have become more confident when performing before complete strangers. Helping to organize a ukulele group has also allowed me to make a small contribution to my local community.
Now I have joined with a fellow ukulele devotee. We sing harmonies and play pop songs together. Recently we were asked to entertain around 60 people at a birthday party. After overcoming some pre-performance nerves we really enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards another ukulele player, who we did not know, came up and said how much he liked our singing and playing and we had a wonderful chat about the joys and techniques of learning to play the uke. We also inspired one guest to get their ukulele out of the cupboard. The ukulele is a fantastic icebreaker, as so many people are just taking it up themselves or know someone who plays the uke.
Who would have thought that this small instrument could have such a big impact on one’s life? So don’t sit at home with your ukulele. Get out there and share your enjoyment of playing with others. You never know where this will lead.
Bayside Ukes member