Saturday, January 14, 2012

I bought a ukelele

In the past year, C had been asking for guitar and vocal lessons. We, however, have not granted this request as we felt that she will be biting off more than she can chew. As it is, with long school hours, homework, piano and drum lessons, and Bahasa Malaysia tuition (I've yet to find a new teacher as the previous teacher was no longer suitable), there's hardly time left to play, exercise or do anything else. So any other type of lessons that involve attending formal classes, and the additional costs of fees and driving to and fro for it is out of the question.

I had thought that a compromise would be to get a cheap guitar or ukelele (it's more suitable in size and easier to learn) and let her learn it on her own. The thought had been left idling in the back of my mind until recently when I chanced upon a Groupon offer for a cheap made-in-China ukelele (yeah, we always associate 'cheap' with China right? haha). So we made a spontaneous decision to buy it.

One of C's favourite colours is pink, so we chose a pink one.

Although I subscribe to Groupon and it's email alerts of its offers, I'm usually very disciplined in not buying anything and everything just because it's cheap, although they could be things that I need (like a nice holiday and spa visit) or things that are nice to have (like jewelry, handbags, meals at restaurants, manicures). Lack of spare cash is the main deterrent besides having to travel some distance at times to the outlets to collect the things. Luckily, the ukelele was sold by this music studio that's close by my house and for RM69, it is an item that is educational and lasting, unlike a one-time manicure or meal.

So we now have a ukelele in addition to a few other musical instruments at home. We can learn how to play it through websites and by watching YouTube videos. And when I find a book like 'Ukelele for Dummies', we could learn from there too. YouTube is a convenient place to learn how to do many things, from riding a bike, fixing a leaky tap, cooking a dish, to playing music. One must, however, be smart to know when it is alright to learn through videos and when it is better to learn hands-on through proper teachers.

There are many ukelele artists and bands but they are probably known only to those who are uniquely interested in it. They are not as popular compared to the mainstream popular singers and bands that top the charts.  One of them was Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, a Hawaiian ukelele singer, and in more recent times, our Malaysian songbird Zee Avi, who has broken through the international scene, has given the instrument a bit more exposure to Malaysians.

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