Monday, July 18, 2016

Ukulele Lessons

Yesterday, our weeks of ukulele lessons culminated in a recital of sorts.  We played "This Little Light of Mine" as the first song of our VBS Sunday worship service:

I love this picture of me and the ukulele:

And now, to decide where to go from here.  Our ukuleles were on loan.  We can keep them, if we want to make a donation to the organization that runs a ukulele program for kids in the hospital.  We could buy a better uke.  We could decide to be done.

Our group will keep meeting the last Sunday of every month.  We'll eat together, then have a brief lesson, and then a sing along, where people can play other instruments (our teacher's first instrument was the upright bass, my spouse plays violin, and we have a guitar player), ukuleles, or simply sing--or listen for that matter.

My spouse gave back his ukulele.  I decided to keep mine.  I've made so much progress, and I don't want to lose that.  My ukulele will be the instrument that I play when I play chords, while I will play notes on the mandolin.

The real sadness for me is the lack of time I feel for all these activities which bring me joy, especially activities which help me build a creative life.  But these past 5 weeks of ukulele lessons have taught/reminded me of a larger life lesson:  most of us started out with no experience, and we can now pluck our way through a song.  We'll keep meeting on the last Sunday of every month, so it's been a success, since we want to keep going.  And the fact that we're going to continue meeting will help encourage me to pick up the ukulele.

I want to have wide swaths of time, but right now, I don't.  At some point I will, but that's not my life right now.

BUT--I can accomplish a lot, even with very little patches of time.  While it would be great to be able to play an hour or two every day, I can make progress playing an hour a week.  I can make progress by remembering the chords, even if I don't have a ukulele in my hand.

What I love about the ukulele is that it's small enough to carry it with me--maybe I can find other patches of time, while waiting for meetings to start, while waiting for worship service to start/wrap up, while waiting for my spouse to be done with activities.

These lessons also carry over to other aspects of my creative life.  Even if I don't have time to write the short story, I can mull it over so that I'm ready to write when I get the opportunity.  Even if I don't have time to sew or create pieces of fiber art, I can admire textures and fabrics as I see them.

I can hold fast to my identity as a creative artist, even when much of my life isn't actively affirming that.  That is the real task of every artist--and everyone who yearns to live an authentic life.

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