Steps along the way....
Dated - August 2016
And that’s the thing about learning to play ukulele – you’ll never, if you’re like me, going to “arrive” - be able to play as well as you want to. I want to be able to play really well – you name a good uke player, any one of the professionals, and I want to play as well as they do. I’m never going to get there. But my goodness, I’m enjoying the journey! Frustrations abound, but with the desire to improve and some perseverance, I do improve….. slowly. And I have good times and make good friends along the way.
So - more music, more skills and more people – all sorts of milestones, and a few important purchases!
Saw Joe Brown play “I’ll See You In my Dreams” – begged for a ukulele for my birthday - and got one!
Played for people at a party, very informal
Got the uke out now and then, while life was otherwise very busy … for a long time
Played with the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and 1000 other ukers at the Albert Hall, London, then … I put the uke on a shelf… for two years! The shelf should not have happened...
Picked up a uke in a music shop - couldn’t remember any chords apart from "C" and resolved to seriously get to grips with my ukulele
Played "Leaning On A Lamppost" at a Christmas party while LSH sang it - realised that the solo was out of the question, and became interested in Formby-style.
For a close-up of the key features of Formby-style, (split-stroke with and without finger-lifts, triple and fan strokes, see Ukulelezaza playing here on a 20's Gibson banjo-uke - perhaps it's the one I bought from him!
Started to try learn Formby style
Bought first banjo-uke, a 1920’s Slingerland
Joined the Ukulele Underground Forum
Started this blog Life’s A Ukafrolic
Joined a local uke group
Went to my first George Formby Society convention
Finally got the Slingerland playable - with a little advice from "a man who can"...
Bought my second wooden uke – a mid-range laminate
Bought a webcam to record my efforts at singing and playing
Made first public Youtube video – an instrumental
Entered a video to the UU Seasons of the Ukulele for the first time - Season 23
Getting to work out songs with more complex progressions by ear, on uke
Bought my first solid wooden uke, first good soprano – Kiwaya KTS-4
Played uke and sang on stage with mics and backing band, for the first time. Duet ...George Formby Convention
Learned my first passable Formby-style banjo-uke solo – the song affectionately known as "Window Cleaner" - and played it at a party
Bought my best banjo-uke, vintage 1920’s Gibson UB2
Attended my first ukulele festival – UFGB, Cheltenham
Attended my first uke workshops by highly skilled professionals
Played uke and sang solo on stage with mics and backing band, for the first time. (George Formby Convention)
Learned some chords up the neck, and learned the instrumental Mr Sandman
worked out my first chord melody by ear…. “Sway”
Playing the instrumental Mr Sandman “cleanly”… nailed those pesky chord changes up the neck
My entry in the Ukulele Underground Seasons of the Ukulele got a mention from the season’s host… oh I was thrilled!
I wrote my first song. For Seasons of the Ukulele. It’s on Youtube
Did an impromptu duet with a Seasonista I met at the big uke-fest in Cheltenham, UFGB…. Another nice “first”, this…
Wrote two more songs for a Christmas song-writing competition hosted by one of the “Seasonista” community on the Ukulele Underground.
Won the competition with a carol that I wrote. I was so proud….
After recognising that proper uke lessons from a really good player would be a very Good Thing – had my first lesson from Phil Doleman
Bought my first craftsman - built ukulele, a mahogany concert, from uke-builder Dave Morgan (DJ Morgan Ukuleles)
Hosted a Season of the Ukulele on the UU for the first time
Visited Hawaii! Spent time with friends made online and visited the Kamaka factory, Where Fred Kamaka showed us round on one of his wonderful tours and talks...
Bought my second craftsman-built ukulele, spruce/maple soprano from Dave Morgan (DJ Morgan Ukuleles)
Was granted an interview with Jake Shimabukuru
Helped out at Jake’s concert in Liverpool – (and met Jake!)
Sang a blues song for the first time - one I wrote myself! A milestone, I think...
Performed a song at a festival open mic for the first (and so far only!) time
Worked out the chords on uke to a more complicated song, then worked out another set of chords using chords up the neck keeping the melody on the 1st string.
I felt this was a real milestone…
So here I am, thus far - nearly eleven years after first being inspired to play ukulele and getting my first... and just coming up to five years of working determinedly and steadily at it. The milestones are fewer and further between now, as the skills get harder to achieve, but every bit as satisfying, if not more so. Most of these milestones were documented along the way on this blog....
it's now June 2017 and I do have some more milestones to add.... I'll get my head round it and do that very soon!