Total Pageviews

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Ukulele Day 5, and my kids - Amazing Grace

Yes, I did not update the past two days. I also did not record myself. Is a daily recording really necessary? Here's today's recording:

No, I will not apologize, nor offer excuses.

Instead, I offer these insights into my process of learning the ukulele:

I am working on a few short term goals at this point. The first goal is to be able to play the C, G and F chords cleanly. The second is to be able to switch between them quickly. A slightly longer term goal is to be able to switch between them cleanly without looking at what I am doing.

A medium term goal is to accompany myself while singing in church. I'm not sure how long I need for this, but I plan to volunteer as soon as I feel comfortable. 

My long term goal is to be comfortable enough to improvise in front of an audience.

My super-long term goal is to charm the birds out of the trees and make people fall over dead from listening to how awesome I am.

Enough of goals, on to what I've learned: I already knew this, but I am gaining a practical knowledge of just how many songs one can play using just these three chords. And I plan to exercise that knowledge on my path to expertise.

I want to build up calluses on my finger tips as well, so that I can endure playing more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time. I'm not sure whether or not it is a goal by itself, but I'm sure it's coming about with the daily practice. For now, my left index finger constantly feels like I have just attempted to catch a frisbee only to have it bounce off of my finger tip. My middle and ring fingers feel like that happened yesterday, and my pinky finger is wondering how long before the pain arrives.

I have found (after a conversation with a friend) that I don't usually need to press as hard as I do, so I can let up on my index finger. But sometimes I do need to press hard, so I need to figure out how to conserve my fingertips until I've got so much fingertip stamina that I go around pressing all the buttons for everyone. One thing that helps with this is practicing at night. I find that if I am strumming softly, I also tend to press the strings with my left hand more softly. If only I can get my left hand to relax the same way when I am strumming loudly. 

I have found that watching YouTube videos of people doing awesome things on an ukulele is not a good idea. It's like sitting down with a pocket knife and a stick on a moonlit night to whittle a moon lander. I need to take in enough to keep the dream alive, but not so much that I get discouraged.

I have found that ukulele is not properly pronounced "you-kuh-lay-lee", but rather "oo-koo-lay-lay." Pronouncing it this way makes me feel like I have joined the in crowd. It also encourages me that at least now I can spell it correctly.

It is fun to do something new and challenging. I mean, yeah, raising kids is challenging, no doubt. My friend Rick and I were having lunch with Quinten a few weeks ago. Quinten got up and announced that he was going to the bathroom. My heart swelled with pride as I told Rick, "It is such a relief that he can finally go to the bathroom by himself. It makes me believe that being a full-time parent won't last forever." 
Front teeth are optional.
Then Quinten's voice soared from the bathroom, "I'm poo-ping!" Rick laughed as I stood up to go wipe clean the anus of another human being. 

As you can see from his picture, Quinten is in the process of losing his baby teeth. Last week the dentist offered to take out those two front ones, as they were a bit wiggly. Quinten's reaction, as I understood it, was "Yank 'em, baby!" That same day he and Maxine started their week-long spring break. I swear that Quinten has been at least 50% naughtier since loosing these teeth. I have a few hypotheses to explain this behavior:

1) The front teeth contain some sort of gland that regulates behavior. Without these glands, kids just go nuts.
2) The weight loss in his head has freed up some extra energy, which he is using to cause trouble.
3) It is only May, but he is already excited for Christmas. (Yeah, that's a link to the Spike Jones song.)
4) He is used to a routine. An extremely subtle part of the routine is how the inside of his mouth feels to his tongue. Whenever his tongue feels that huge gap, it tells his subconscious that something important is missing, and maybe mommy and daddy will disappear forever if he doesn't do something to anchor us to the here and now. So he does.
5) He is completely aware that his cuteness factor has leapt to heights it has not seen since he was an infant, and could get away with vomiting all over everyone and pooping in his pants because he was so cute. He knows that at this moment in his life, he can get away with anything. ANYTHING. So he does.

Maxine, on the other hand, has recently lost the canine teeth that flank the two top front teeth. The sight of her reminds me that I once had a camp counselor who called me "Chipmonk." But the glasses are the big game changer.
See what I mean?
Suddenly she went from being my little girl to looking like a high school student! More and more often I feel that I am catching glimpses of the beautiful woman that she will one day become. Beautiful and funny. She is still willing to hold my hand in public, and I treasure every moment that happens, because I am worried that it won't last much longer. It is no longer acceptable sometimes when her friends are around, though I never push it. 

I have been telling myself that many girls reach the point at which they scream, "I hate you," at their parents (I'm betting on her mother being the main recipient, because it's just like that), preparing my heart to continue loving her no matter what. So far so good. 

So Maxine and Quinten are my main audience. I want them to not only see me do something not that well, but not be ashamed to do it in front of others. Right now they have no grasp of the internet, and no idea how permanent and public this is, but someday they will. And in the mean time, I will make my efforts here more visible and public as I go.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Not bad after a few days! Have fun with the miniature "guitar". Had to check in after the phone call. Oh by the way, spent an hour or so at the local ER shortly after our talk. Oh yea, it wasn't your fault.


A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.