Ever read the Lord of the Rings?

I have. About 26 times.

But for the first time, I’m reading it aloud with my son.

And I’ve noticed something I hadn’t noticed when reading it to myself.

There’s a lot of walking.

I mean A LOT of walking.

Through meadows,

past rivers,

into woods,

along mountains.

And each meadow, river, wood, or mountain has six different names. And each of those names then is also translated into Elvish, Dwarfish, Hobbity, and so on.

And each meadow, river, wood, or mountain is surrounded by flowers, clouds, mist, rocks–all of which need to be described very thoroughly (in several different languages), so you don’t get, say, the flowers near this particular mountain mixed up with the flowers 100 leagues away near a certain river.


And how is just like learning to play ukulele?

(Didn’t think I’d go there, did you!)

Every ukulele instruction book out there is trying to get you from the Shire to the Crack of Mt. Doom, each via its own path.

Every author has his own language and terminology–and you’ve got to carefully translate as you go, or you’ll wind up with evil, squint-eyed Bill Ferney instead of mysterious-but-helpful Strider.

Um, in ukulele terms…

We live in glorious times, we ukulele players. There’s never been so much good learning material out there as there is right now. (Be careful—there’s also a fair amount of Bill Ferney-like dreck…)

Every one of those books, DVDs, video lessons, is a map.

Through the Swamp of Barre Chords, through the Dark Forest of Seemingly Pointless Scales, and toward the Land of Happy Uke Strumming.

Now when you find the right map, everything starts to fall into place.

But, my little hobbit—it’s up to you find the right map.

your pal,

PS: One map used by intrepid uke learners around the world is the Daily Ukulele Workout—bite-sized video lessons delivered every day, so you always know exactly where you are and where to go next. If you’re going to be walking through the Woods of Ukulele Learning, you might want to give it a try. Right now, you can try it out for just $1.