By DOTTIE PARIS
Ukulele may be one of the most perfect instruments to learn during these times at home. The instrument originated with the people of Hawaii but it has become the adopted instrument of diverse people across the planet.
And while people all over the world are in various stages of emerging from the pandemic, learning to play the ukulele takes center stage. The four-stringed instrument is user friendly and people can generally play a song or two shortly after mastering a few chords.
The ukulele has gained recognition courtesy of some high profile indigenous people and has established a pop culture foothold, the ukulele has grown in popularity. They’re fun, portable, relatively simple, and give that island feel that all of us can use.
Ukulele masters including Eddie Kamae, The Ka’au Crater Boys and Israel Kamakawiwoʻole put the spotlight on the instrument.
The ease of use, the size of the instrument and the joy a ukulele can bring are some good reasons to learn it. Here are other reasons:
1. High Quality for Less Cash
There’s a pretty low barrier to entry with a ukulele. If you try to learn the drums, you can probably find a decent used drum kit for a few hundred dollars. If you’re into guitar, you might be able to find a reliable instrument for about the same price. But the cost of a ukulele is half the price or less. You don’t need to search for hours trying to find one in your area. You can get immensely beautiful, well-crafted ukuleles for sale for a fraction of what any other brand new one would cost. Most people can afford that.
2. Ultimate Party Addition
Nothing in a party is worse than dead air, that’s the real party killer. While the host struggles to find means of entertainment, the real source should be the guests themselves. It doesn’t mean you’ll be the “ukulele gal” or the island crooner. But when you hear the noise dying down and the light clinking of cups on glass coffee tables, that’s the perfect time to get the party back up with some impressive strumming.
3. Good Learning Adjunct and Tension Reliever
Skill acquisition isn’t just fun, it’s necessary. As we get older, our ability to learn things declines. So the adage of “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is only half true. Past our teen years, you can still stay sharp and learn with the same veracity by adding an artistic element to it, like music.
Perhaps more importantly, learning to play the ukulele can be an educational adjunct and stress reliever for families transitioning to online learning during the stay-at-home orders. With simple chord progressions and fun melodies, playing the ukulele can put all the fun back into keeping the brain tuned. Motor skills, artistry, reading music, timing—all of these activities together use the entirety of the cerebral cortex. Ukuleles can help keep it all in sync.
One of the best things about a ukulele is that it’s highly portable. You’re not going to end up looking like a roadie, lugging around cymbals and kicks. Ukuleles easily fit in a backpack with clothes. Traveling with a ukulele is a breeze. There are no sharp and dangerous parts that have to be checked in. You don’t have to explain why your usage is so massive. It can be a travel buddy anywhere on Earth.
There’s no downside to learning how to play the ukulele. And it’s a good instrument for people of all ages, including young people who are returning to school.