Fast Starts And Big Results

by Randy Murray on January 6, 2014

The fingertips of my left hand are painful and sore. I bear it as a sign of progress.

My mother gave me a ukulele for Christmas. I had another for Christmas many, many years ago, a Sears and Roebuck model from sometime in the 60s. I had fun with it, but that was long ago. This one is a much better instrument, a Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele. It’s a great place to restart learning to play.

It’s surprisingly easy to play. Then again, I can already read music and I can sing in tune (my youngest daughter sings with gusto, but in her own words she is “tune deaf”). My oldest daughter, Kathleen, is a professional musician. She took the uke with her to her room Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning treated us to a rendition of “You Belong To Me.”

I’ve been playing every day since and it may be weeks before I develop the callouses on my left hand that will allow me to play for longer than twenty minutes at a time. I’ve seen Kathleen play her string bass to the point of her fingers bleeding. I’m nowhere near that much of a trouper.

But I play. And the music comes. I love this early stage when I am learning new things fast and easily and every day something new and exciting shows up. It’s a great feeling and motivates me on to play the next day.

There will come a time, far too soon, when I master the basics and the hard part will come. Practice will show only tiny improvements. That’s a most important part of learning something new, but it is nowhere as near as fun the early stages, those days when you can mark the big improvements so easily. I’m learning new chords every day, producing new sounds, and love the feeling of singing as I play this little instrument.

If you’re tackling something new this year, cherish this early time. I’d recommend making a short journal entry every day listing your new accomplishments. Celebrate your results as they come quickly. Over time they will slow and require you to do more to earn them. In this way you might develop the habits that will keep you working, practicing, and traveling forward towards mastery. Mastery is a rare state. Few of us ever get there doing anything.

I may never master playing the ukulele. I’m not really setting out to do that. I just want to be able to play and have fun. But I’ll leave that door open. And if you stop by I’ll play you my rendition of ”You’ve Got A Friend In Me.”

Fast Starts And Big Results by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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