Hobby #1

Ukulele Jam Session: The B-Sides

For my first adventure into hobbyland I started with the ukulele, upon recommendation from a fellow librarian (If you read my about page you’ll notice that most of my ideas come from recommendations). She told me about a professor, from the university, who runs these ukulele jam sessions at a local coffee shop. There are two different types of sessions she runs. There is the beginner jam session and then there is the intermediate/advanced jam session, popularly known as the “B-Sides.” Of course, my fellow librarian is an experienced ukulele player and attends the “B-Sides” jam session regularly, and she invited me to come along.

Now I let her know that I’ve never played ukulele before so I wasn’t sure I was cut out for the “B-Side”, but she reassured me that the only difference between the “B-Sides” and the beginner jam session was the exclusion of the 30-minute introduction on how to read chords. Well I didn’t need that! I had attempted to learn bass guitar before so I was familiar with how to read chords, which made me think I’d probably be alright.

Well, as it turns out, it was a lot harder than I anticipated.

Let me first fill you guys in on how this whole thing plays out. So our lovely hostess projects videos and slides onto the wall that play the song and displays the chord progressions along with it. Well, that seems simple enough, right? Wrong!

Nobody warned me how fast chord changes happen!? By the time I finished looking at where to put my finger for C, we were already on D! Geeze Louise! I was sweating trying to keep up. Which I might add makes playing the ukulele even harder!

An example of what the set up looked like. This was the intro slide that would show the different chord progressions that would appear within the song…..see what I mean by difficult chord changes!?

Eventually, I developed a strategy, I would select two chords from the song and focus on switching between those two, until I felt comfortable enough to add another. This was a good way for me to nail down the fingerings. After the first half an hour I started to get more comfortable and started recognizing chords. I wasn’t good by any means, but I could manage to fumble through a song okay. The session was two hours long and I can say by the end of it, I could probably only play Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” all the way through! But hey! That’s a start.

Ukuleles were provided for those who didn’t have one. This photo was after the first hour and I had gotten seemingly better, so it actually started to be fun!

Although the jam session was difficult in the beginning and I felt like a total newbie, it turned out to be a lot of fun. I will probably go back (most likely to the beginner jam sessions for a bit first) because playing ukulele was easy enough and not gonna lie, I felt really cool doing it. Also, one of the songs we played was Wonderwall by Oasis, and anyone who knows me knows that that is one of my favorite songs and I always nag people who play guitar to play it for me (I don’t care how lame and cliche you may think it is, I think it’s great and I freaking love that song!). So if anything, I want to perfect Wonderwall!

This first adventure was definitely a success, but join me next week as I try something new (most likely canning). Also, I welcome any suggestions for hobbies you think I should try. As you’ll slowly learn, I feed off of other people’s recommendations.