I’ve never been a particularly talented musician. I’ve tried various instruments over the years- the trumpet, the harp, the fan organ, and none of them have really stuck. I can read music, and I can memorize chords, but when I’m playing, there’s a gap between the knowing what to play and the actual playing that I find frustrating and ultimately defeating. I have friends that are fantastic musicians and while it’s clear that they’ve worked hard to perfect their crafts, they also have a natural easiness in the way that they play and can translate thoughts into songs and notes into music. I don’t have that. I’m also far from the best singer that ever lived. I’m not completely tone deaf, but it is hard for me to find and stay on the appropriate key. Add a naturally low and sort of scratchy voice and it becomes pretty clear that I’m not going to be winning any karaoke competitions. But I keep trying.
I just bought a ukulele and have been playing it no less than an hour a day. This isn’t because I think I should. It’s because I really really enjoy it. It’s an easy instrument to pick up- within hours of getting it I could strum easy songs with basic chords. I’m getting the hang of the basics and may never progress much farther from there, but I’m not going to let that stop me from keeping at it. In the past I’ve let my envy of the great singers and instrumentalists and songwriters that I admire intimidate me to the point of surrender, but I’ve realized that it’s food for me to have a past time free of any real agenda. I’d like to learn some songs, but I don’t have to be the best and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I can simply play what I can because it’s fun. And so, in the spirit of being unapologetic about my lack of musical prowess, I am daring to actually share with you the first song I learned on the uke, The Rest of My Life by Rilo Kiley.