Thursday January 5, 2012
Learn To Play The Ukulele
Train's Soul Sister and Mraz's I'm Yours show the instrument is alive and well in pop music
Released by Graham Yates, CAM
dult learners continue to be captivated by the recent craze over the ukulele. Once thought of as the disposable, silly instrument from music class in childhood, the "uke" has become a stepping stone for people looking to finally take up music for fun. Not only is it an easy and versatile instrument to learn, but it is also nearly impossible to play - well or poorly - without bursting into smiles and laughter.
Professionals, too, have
been picking up the ukulele to add a folksy element of heart to
their sound. Last year, Eddie Vedder released an all-ukulele album.
Then there's the ever popular uke version of "Over the Rainbow"
featured on Glee last season. CBC Radio recently did a segment on
"Ruby's Ukes," a music studio in Vancouver, and the therapeutic
qualities of learning the ukulele.
"One night we packed 26 people into a small classroom," Yates continues. "That's when I knew we'd hit on something good, something worth nurturing."
Several of the participants
bought their own instruments during the course of the series of
classes (they had previously borrowed from the Academy's stock) and
showed them off proudly to their fellow students. Many were sorry
when the classes ended and wanted to know what was next. One
participant even signed up for private ukulele lessons last fall,
the Academy's first and so far only student devoted to that
The "class" will meet Wednesdays at 7 pm in the meeting room at Decades Coffee Club. The first meeting is January 11, but if you miss it, don't worry.
Participants can buy punch
cards so that they can drop in whenever it is convenient for them,
rather than have to pay a tuition fee and risk losing out if they
can't make every class.
It's also not the kind of class where learning progresses in a straight line. It's an example of group learning: you can pick up a tip from someone who's more advanced, and share one with someone who's still a beginner.
"We've also kept the cost
low – $30 for 6 classes – to encourage commitment, cover the rent,
but keep it affordable," said Yates.
"Maybe one week someone will bring in a chord chart they'd like to share and someone else will teach a strumming pattern they picked up on You Tube. People can also work on perfecting the songs they began learning in the Levels and start adding to the official Uke Club repertoire."
Ultimately, Yates says, he'd like to form out of Uke Club a thriving ukulele band in Chilliwack that can give performances and continue to attract adults who struggled with music lessons in the past or never had time to learn.
He has taken ukulele hero
Jake Shimabukuro's quote to heart: "If everyone played the ukulele,
the world would be a better place."
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