I’ve heard many adult beginning students bemoan the fact they didn’t start learning to play the uke when they were much younger. Well, the great news is, if you are an adult beginner, you did start learning music at a young age — by listening. Upon reaching adulthood you’ve already, no doubt, listened to hundreds of thousands of songs. All that music you’ve heard is stored in your head. Think of a favorite melody and start humming it from memory and then find those notes on your instrument.
The way to do that is by systematically putting the structure of the major scale and its intervals under your fingers and into your ears. With all that musical information already stored in your head, practicing scales and intervals is fun because you never know when you’ll hear part of a melody you already know. Then the treasure hunt is on to find the rest of the melody, and by knowing where to look in the scale and intervals, most of the work is already done.
Being a musician is a life-long pursuit. If a musician ever got to that mythical place where they finally “got it” what would be left? At a recent workshop a woman (pictured above) came up to me afterwards and told me she had been trying to figure out the circle of fifths for five years. During my workshop the light came on. She was beaming. As we follow our musical paths one never wants those type of ah-ha moments to end.
Photo: Tonya Dale