As a uke teacher of over ten years and now as my full time job, I can say with complete honesty that this noble little instrument has certainly been the instigator of what can be described as some genuinely special times. It seems to truly be in class of its own for getting people into playing live music that otherwise would never have though they could and then getting together with other players and enthusiasts for the pure fun that the many uke sessions around the country are.
This really came through last week, when I started teaching a new student and she said at one point in the lesson ‘everyone I’ve met who plays the uke just seems to be so nice’. It really got me thinking about the last ten years and the 500+ people I’ve taught and as try as I might I just couldn’t think of anyone in the groups or one to that didn’t also fit that category. Needless to say I’m not suggesting this is a universal truth and will definitely be checking in with other uke teachers on this but at the end of the year when reflection seems to be something a lot of us do I thought so lovely to think that it might be!
If it is true then what might be the reason? Just my own view is that it just seems to be so ‘democratic’ in every aspect. Certainly in the group lessons I run on the musical side, people seem to be so supportive of other new learners in the group and on the social context I’ve seen so many genuine friendships develop and bands formed who seem to be so up for using their new skills together to play and support charities and other worthy causes.
This was certainly the case for me at the end of 2015. Through some local connections I was asked if my community uke band called U-Kew-Lele (we live in Kew and play ukuleles….!) would play a singalong for the residents at a local care home. Songs from WW2, The Movies and Show tunes were requested. Even though this was midweek and in daytime, there was no problem in finding people keen to give up their time to support this. The people in the home really enjoyed it and we were told it had really made such a great contribution to their Xmas. Just can’t think of a nicer way to end the year and there’s no doubt ‘it was the uke that did it’!
If you are reading this before Xmas then have a great one and if after then I hope one of your pressies was a ‘funny little wooden guitar’……enjoy!