Messing Around—A Good Way To Get Started

by Randy Murray on January 29, 2014

I recently started playing the ukulele. But I haven’t set out a plan for learning the instrument yet. Right now I’m just messing around with it.

And it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Unlike a lot of other musical instruments, the ukulele is well suited to messing about. It has only four strings and almost anyone can produce a sweet, clear sound with a few minutes poking about. I’m sure that I’m doing lots of things wrong, but for now I’m simply printing out chord charts of some fun songs and singing and playing without looking deeply into proper techniques. The callouses on my fingers are beginning to toughen.

I keep the uke on top of my grand piano. I pick it up as I pass by a few times during the day. I’ve found that I can play it most comfortably and produce the best sound reclining on the chaise lounge in the music room. And I’m dreaming of a trip to Hawaii.

But soon, very soon, I’ll need to do a bit less messing around and put a plan together to properly learn the chords, strumming, and finger picking.

This messing around phase is what helps me to fall in love with something. Without it I’d be less motivated to do the hard parts. Sometimes I never get around to the hard part and that’s OK, too. I’m not planning on becoming a professional ukulelist.  I just want to have some fun and a chance to sing and play. Messing around might be good enough for that.

Or not. If it’s really fun I want to know more. I’m already seeing that. “How do I do THAT?” is becoming a more frequent thought. I bought a capo and I’m figuring out how to change the key of songs I’m playing to make it easier to sing along with. I’m practicing my falsetto, more to sound like Roy Orbison than Tiny Tim. I’ve purchased a couple of books to learn techniques and I’m watching some surprisingly informative Youtube videos.

Please, go ahead and mess around with that thing you’ve been wanting to try. See if it’s something that you’re really interested in. Explore and experiment. Then, perhaps, you can decide if you want or need more.

For now I’m heading down to the chaise lounge to sing Whale of a Tale to the cat.

And here’s your soundtrack for this article: Ray Charles singing Mess Around.

Messing Around—A Good Way To Get Started by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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