Uke Can Do It!
You’ve always wanted to play a musical instrument, but it was too expensive, or time-consuming, or scary? That’s how I felt, until I bought my first ukulele.
The little instrument with a big following is easy to learn. Without too much investment in money or time, you’ll be strumming and singing lots of your favourite songs. Toronto Public Library has added many songbooks and how-to books to the collection recently, and has some great CDs and DVDs to inspire budding ukesters.
You might want to start by watching The Mighty Uke. It traces the history of the ukulele, and highlights some of the great groups and individual musicians who are playing today, including Canada’s own James Hill.
Don’t feel too bad if your playing isn’t quite up to James’s skill – he started playing uke in public school. Give yourself a couple of years to catch up!!
Here are some CDs to inspire you.
A very non-traditional album by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam!
Canadian James Hill, such an exciting and original performer.
Last but not least, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (Izzy), the man who helped to re-start the ukulele craze!
And of course, some how-to books to get you started playing today.
No tiptoe-ing through the tulips required – the ukulele repertoire has come a long way since the days of Tiny Tim!
For those of us who like to play with friends and fellow learners, here in Toronto we are lucky to have some great ukulele group opportunities. Check out the legendery Corktown Ukulele Jam, and the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music for their special events, regular classes and jams.
Many of the greatest pop and rock musicians have included the uke in their repertoire. George Harrison was a huge ukulele fan, and said that everyone should play one. Who are we to argue?
Go ahead, release your inner musician, pick up a uke, and start strumming! You know you want to.
Did you know that the Arts Department on the 5th Floor of the Toronto Reference Library has a large collection of scores and songbooks that you can use here, and in many cases borrow? There is a song index, but you can also browse through the catalogue looking for songs, musicals and instrumental music. There are 3 photocopiers on the floor but don’t forget to add money to your copy card/library card on the Main Floor .