#21 playing the ukulele

my father has played guitar my whole life. often i found him reclined in his chair, eyes glazed over, strumming the guitar while he watched tv. weekly, he led worship on the guitar at church. yearly, he led a Christmas caroling assembly for his elementary school on the guitar. once, he ran through the house to rescue his guitar during an earthquake (don't worry, it survived). his deep affinity for guitars was contagious, and to this day, i try to figure out what kind of guitar artists use when i go to concerts or church. and i prefer takamines and taylors, thank you for asking.

one day i decided it would be fun to learn to play guitar. i had my own free teacher, after all. so daddy and i sat down, guitars in hand, and he taught me a chord. i don't recall which chord it was, but i do distinctly remember not being able to properly hold the strings down with my sad, weak little fingers. after five minutes of trying, i gave up my guitar playing dream. 

fast forward to present time. my favorite musician is ingrid michaelson. she plays a plethora of instruments, and some of my favorite songs of hers feature the uke (check out you and i or her cover of creep). my uncle dan works in a ukulele shop and adores the instrument, and he has invited my parents into the ukulele circle as well. dan even personalized a ukulele for jeff and i when we got married - our picture is inside the sound hole, and a hawaiian marriage song is written on the back. 

here in virginia beach, my friend katie fridsma plays the ukulele. in fact, just last week we had a power outage, and katie's roommate returned home to find katie perched on her bed, surrounded by candles, playing the uke. such is katie's passion for the instrument - it's reached heights of romantic love. so i asked katie to teach me to play. i figured my sad, weak little fingers could handle this instrument. it's like guitar: lite!

katie brought over her uke, and i dusted off my marriage uke, and away we went. we started with G. next i learned B. then i learned C. then C minor. BAM! radiohead's creep! next i learned what's up by 4 non blondes (trust me, you know this song) and finally dark blue by jack's mannequin. 

by the end of the hour, my fingers looked like this, my instructor looked like that, and the marriage uke was deemed only functional as a decoration because of its inexplicable ability to fall out of tune within seconds of being tuned. 

in conclusion, i loved this hour and want my own ukulele even though the tip of my index finger is still numb today.


  1. dark blue!!!! this post made me so happy!!!!

  2. wow. emily! I jumped when I read this because I just bought my Uke yesterday!!!!! I love it so much...some friends at school taught me a couple of tunes. GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE!