It is springtime down under, and in Melbourne, as opposed to the far north of Australia, we have the benefit of enjoying the four seasons, sometimes even in one day. In spring there is a lot to do in the garden so my ukulele has been rather neglected lately. Life can get busy for various reasons and this got me thinking about how to make sure that you give time to your ukulele no matter what the circumstances.
As I help to run a Ukulele Group I need to prepare for the next session. I always devote some time for this at least one day in advance and on the Tuesday afternoon before we meet in the evening. These times are set aside for song preparation and ukulele practice. Making a regular appointment with your ukulele is a good method to ensure that you do not forget to put in some practice. You would not miss an appointment made with a professional service provider or a friend without a very good reason and you should treat your ukulele with the same respect. This is easy to justify, as playing an instrument is good for you as well as fun.
Another way to keep up your practice is to always keep your ukulele handy so that you can pick it up when you have a free moment. Just be careful if you have a puppy or small child in the vicinity or you might find that it disappears or gains tooth marks. In these cases it is probably best to have an inexpensive instrument lying around. It is amazing how a few minutes here and there can add up to a lot of playing time.
If you live in a noisy environment where there are a lot of demands on your time, it is a good idea to have some sort of bolt hole where you can play undisturbed or take your opportunity when no one is around. If you are really lucky you may have a dedicated music room or maybe it is time to clean out that junk room, attic or basement and claim it for your own. You could also use the garage or garden shed if your home is too crowded. On a fine day playing under a shady tree would do or you could go to the local park (provided they don’t have those draconian laws against playing musical instruments in a public place). Find a quiet place where you won’t disturb anyone, not that the ukulele is very loud. If no one can track you down, you will have no more interruptions.
Playing with others provides good motivation. Having a “study buddy” is a great help when you are doing a course at university and this will work for the ukulele. If you regularly play with another person it will give you incentive to keep up your practice, as you won’t want to let someone else down. You could alternate playing at each other’s homes to lessen complaints from other housemates or family members. Just an hour’s practice together a week should be enough to make a big difference.
As the saying goes “if you want something done always ask a busy person”, so you should be able to find some time to give to your uke. Now that my garden is tidy, I am looking forward to many fine spring and summer days when I can spend any free moments outside and play my ukulele.
Bayside Ukes Member