My long suffering ukulele teacher, who is now also Tallulah’s soon to be long suffering ukulele teacher, started a new class in our area last night. If you are a denizen of Leicester (or the deep, who happens to be stopping off in Leicester), and fancy a bash at the uke, it is on alternate Mondays at the Conservative Club on Clarendon Park Road. It starts at 6.30 p.m. and costs £3.50 for an hour and a half, including the lend of a ukulele. It’s damn good value and very good fun.
I took all the children with me yesterday. Jason could not be persuaded that if he came too we could be the Von Trapp family of the ukulele world. I think he fears that the next logical step would be for me to dress us all from head to toe in curtain material.
It is understandable.
And would also be hugely tempting. I’ve always wanted a dirndl skirt made out of mum’s dining room curtains.
Anyway. Even without Captain Von Trapp, we had a splendid time. Tallulah has been practicing, so did better than the rest of us. Despite my stern talk to myself, and my vow on this blog, I have done nothing musical, except howl along to Absolute Eighties while I’m doing the cooking. It turns out that being absolutely word perfect at Kirstie McColl’s A New England, including the twiddly bit in the middle, does not set you up for a future as a genius of the strings.
I have however, learned to how to recognise the chord of A- and F as well as C. This is not down to my biblical knowledge of the popular hits of the Nineteen Eighties, and is a paltry improvement considering how many weeks I’ve been going along to lessons.
I am hardly Jimmy Page, or even Julie Andrews, or even the unthinkably hideous idea of the bastard love child of Jimmy Page and Julie Andrews, but I’d call that progress.
What has allowed me to learn the three chords I now know is that Mark, the ukulele teacher, puts coloured stickers where you need to put your fingers for these chords and I have finally learned that yellow is C, blue is A-, and blue and red together are F. This is fantastic. Colours work for me. Maybe I should progress to the child’s xylophone. They always come in a lovely rainbow of colours. I could be the next Patrick Moore, never mind Julie Andrews and Jimmy.
We learned some other chords last night too. I managed to retain this information for the length of one song. Then, the minute he had wiped the chord picture off of the board, I promptly forgot them.
I realise that it is nigh on impossible to cover the entire uke with multi coloured stickers, as many of the chords he is teaching us are close together, which means colours would start to overlap, and he probably doesn’t have enough coloured stickers. It would also mean that eventually my uke would look like it was being sponsored for Children in Need, but it is what I need if I am ever going to progress to the dizzy heights of The Raggle Taggle Gypsies (oh).
Oscar loved playing, despite the fact that he got tired, and actually went to sleep for ten minutes in the middle. Everyone was very accommodating and let him snooze. Nor did anyone mind when he lost his plectrum in the body of the ukulele and it had to be fished out mid song.
Tilly had a great time despite the fact that she is left handed. Luckily, Mark has left handed ukes too (in case you were thinking that’s why you can’t come and join us). As I play back to front, upside down and sideways anyway, and can’t tell left from right in any other circumstances either, I have no conception of how fiddly being a lefty is. Everything is fiddly when you’re me. Tilly seemed to cope admirably, and got on better being a Raggle Taggle Gypsy (oh) too.
Tallulah strummed away merrily, and only had to be squashed once when she was going to suggest that we all embark on a Taylor Swift song. She seemed disappointed that nobody greeted the idea with the same enthusiasm she did. I said that was what private lessons were for. Taylor Swift is only for high days and holidays and not every day public consumption. Not until ear muffs are free on the National Health anyway. She is going to talk to Mark about it when she has her second lesson on Thursday.
Taylor Swift songs. Not the ear muff thing. I don’t think he has any control over those.