You are NOT an awesome ukulele player

I heard a radio interview today with a professional, college-educated business owner, who started every response to every question with:


She meant “that's an awesome question, now I'll give you my answer.”

(BTW, they were very standard questions. Not especially “awesome.”)

I have a guy who does my lawn who also responds to virtually everything with “awesome.”

–Be sure to get that section over by the fence. “Awesome.”

–The dogs are inside. “Awesome.”

–There's gasoline in the garage. “Awesome.”

I find the fact that I have gasoline in the garage not even mildly interesting, much less awesome.

Clearly, the lawn guy means simply, “Ok.” But “awesome” just sounds so…awesome.

At least until it doesn't. You know?

Your ukulele playing is really the same, if you think about it.

You learn a technique or a trick and then–you use it.

And use it and use it and use it.

This is how you develop what will either be known as a trademark or an annoying habit.

Yes, of course, you need a set way to practice–UNTIL YOU LEARN THE THING YOU'RE TRYING TO LEARN.

But then you need to infuse it with some spontaneity and fun.

Don't play by rote.

Have you ever heard a great old band that you love covering their own songs on a modern-day show? They work so hard to make sound like the original, it comes off sounding flat and stilted.

Don't be flat and stilted.

This comes down to having your basic skills mastered so you have the freedom and the confidence to fool around a little bit.

Skills like:

  • Playing alternate versions of chords (for a slightly different sound)
  • Adding single notes (for movement between chords)
  • Adding melody via notes or chords
  • And, above all, getting out of the “what's the strumming pattern?” rut!

When your playing is fun and free, and you're creating the sound that you want to create, then, my friend, your ukulele playing will truly be awesome.

your pal,

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  1. Danno,

    I not only look forward to your uke knowledge, but your emails have become a master class in delivering a message through the medium of humor.

    Had I but more teachers like you as my world view was taking shape…