Welcome to Ukulelear

Back in 2005 I brought a Roy Smeck ukulele to school. Kids were intrigued and wanted to try to play it themselves. The sound was pretty cool with just a few simple chords. Within a few weeks kids had bought their own Mahalo ukes and started to really enjoy playing.

Since that first ukulele group the Cal-Mum Uke club has had about forty students join-up every year. It has been a joy to teach in a school that is filled with the plinkety-plunk of the uke music.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Between Days

I remember spending nights out dancing to this song - black sport coat, black jeans, and penny loafers. Those times are not anywhere as near as good as life today. Now the song tells me to cherish the moments with my family and children...
In Between Days by The Cure cover:

Lullaby for my daughter.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hanging Out With Jim D'Ville

Link to Jim D'Ville's website

Jim stopped by the Rochester area last week and I was able to spend some time just listening to him talk about his passion for ukulele and the water; they seem to go together so naturally. I think Jim would agree they both bring a sense of calm and serenity. I listened to him talk about the fish he had made from driftwood and then saw his video that made it all so much clearer; and below you can witness Jim D'Ville's other artistic abilities.

Link to Jim's art.

As Jim's visit to our ukulele club at Cal-Mum got closer and closer I was filled with trepidation about my lack of real playing skills on the ukulele. I have to admit to being rather star-struck when meeting Jim for the first time. I don't have many music heroes in my life; I guess I'm most impressed by someone like Jim who can play a thoughtful melody that makes me feel… something. His playing caries with it the passion that he has for the ukulele, paralleled by his ability to nurture and encourage others to do and feel the same.

I was able hear how Jim came to compose and his "Columbia Galop"  tune in the video below. I was also able to watch him play it about four times while he was here. I can't seem to get this fantastic sound out of my head. Getting it into my hands is a bit harder.

One memorable moment from Jim's workshop at Bernunzio Uptown Music in Rochester was his advice for us to forget all the other failed musical attempts we may have made in our lives. His advice was to stop listening to negative voice in our head and to start listening to the music. He went on to show us all how much we could do if we just became aware of the connectiveness of music.

Photo of Jim from his website playukulelebyear.blogspot.com

Jim ended his stay in the Rochester, N.Y. area by giving the Cal-Mum Ukulele Club a few lessons on how to just strum and enjoy music. He held the attention of more than forty fifth-graders during that hour, which is no small feat. We all walked away better for having the opportunity to meet him and play along.

From my family, the kids in the uke club, and me,
Thank you Jim D'ville.