In my last post I discussed 5 ways for dads to pass time in their final week of pregnancy. This post looks at one of those ways in more detail, learning an instrument. So if you’ve decided that it’s time to pick up an instrument, the next logical step would be to decide which instrument you’re going to pick up. At this point I would love to talk about the different instruments that you can pick up but as I have only ever played the ukulele I’m going to talk about why it’s a great choice and convince (or maybe un-convince) you with a video. I do have one confession to make… learning the ukulele took longer than a week, actually I’ve been playing on and off, mostly off, for about a year and I am by no means an expert, nor will I be headlining at Wembley any time soon so Ed Sheeran is safe… for now.
The ukulele (pronounced ooh-koo-lay-lay) is a small 4-string guitarlike instrument originating from the island of Hawaii. It comes in 4 sizes:
- Tenor (my one)
Soprano is the most popular one due to it’s size, portability and price. I originally started with a soprano but I found it a bit too small for my fat fingers and upgraded to a tenor which I found to be a much more comfortable size. I plan on giving my soprano to my son when he is old enough.
The first reason why I recommend the ukulele is that by simply learning 4 simple chords you can literally play hundreds of songs. You’ll be surprised by the vast majority of songs which are played in this simple chord family.
The next reason why I love this instrument is because of how happy it sounds. When you think about who you are learning an instrument for, the choice to pick something happy and upbeat is a no brainer. Of course you can play some dark and sad tunes if you really want to but I prefer the happy stuff.
And finally, there are so many websites providing support and tutorials that you can learn to play from the comfort of your own home. This makes the ukulele a wonderful and inexpensive first instrument . When I first started playing I actually did an adult group class with a company called Learn to Uke. We would meet on a Tuesday night at a pub in London and it was a great way to pick up the basics.
If the ukulele is not to your fancy, here is a list of potential other “easy to learn” instruments you could pick up:
Now without further ado, here is my rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Be sure to stick around to 38 seconds in, there’s a special surprise in there.