Recently, on my journeys across the interwebs I came across someone with a strong opinion (how unusual!) His main point/complaint was that the Ukulele was the instrument for talentless non musicians who sound terrible. He went on to say that people should stop playing the ukulele (language, grammar and stream of consciousness have all been cleaned up here).
I thought he was being a bit pathetic but this ukulele hater touches upon a real perception, the Ukulele is a joke instrument and “non musicians” play it. This is a big pile of bull poop for a few good reasons.
Talented musicians play the Ukulele
It isn’t very difficult to find extremely talented musicians who play the ukulele. On the one hand you have virtuosos such as Jake Shimabukuro,and James hill to name two. On the other you have popular musicians like Eddie Vedder,Zooey Deschanel and Meghan Trainor, who all play the ukulele. They might not be the most technically skilled but they can create catchy music and that’s a different skill.
To write the ukulele off as only for poor musicians is stupid and ignores the facts, in the same way that calling all violists terrible because you have seen a load of beginner violists and they were terrible.
Every musician has been rubbish
At my high school, the music teacher deliberately placed beginner violin lessons next to the headteachers office when he would be working. He did this to pressure the headteacher into expanding the music facilities and it worked! If you’ve ever heard a beginner violinist it’s usually a horrific sound. It’s not surprising that playing an instrument like the ukulele can take a while to sound good but a beginner shouldn’t be judged harshly because they don’t sound great, otherwise no one would ever learn an instrument.
It’s a great thing to encourage people to play
The fact that many “non musical” (a term I hate, it’s always a judgement against people) are attracted to the ukulele is something to boast about! Sure many of these people may give up at some point or never really sound great but if they gain enjoyment from playing the instrument, then it’s a good thing. Imagine if someone told you never to draw again because your drawings were low quality and degrading art. Or someone told you to never take pictures of your family with your smartphone because they were “ruining photography”, it would be a joke, yet people say this about music.
Just as Apple and smartphone companies should be glad that their devices are used to capture those precious family moments, so should Ukulele players boast that people who perhaps never got to grips with another instrument choose to play the ukulele. They may not (ever) sound amazing but if they enjoy it, then it is a good thing.
Proudly strum your ukulele
If you are a skilled ukulele play, or you have just started then do the same thing, ignore the ignorant Ukulele haters, strum away and most importantly have fun.
Have you ever encountered hatred towards the ukulele?