Wednesday 9 November 2016

"Education isn't just about feeding the brain. Art and Music feed the heart and the soul."

There are so many great reasons for learning to play an instrument. It teaches coordination, perseverence and discipline not to mention that it has been scientifically proven to increase the capacity of your memory. I was never given the option to learn an instrument as a child which was disheartening but the thought of one day playing an instrument was something that stayed with me throughout my adult life to date. Years ago it was the violin that really interested me but I was too scared to take the leap as I was told by a violinist that I know that it was a really difficult instrument to pick up as an adult. Years went by and still I hadn't taken any musical leap, until recently. Seth has been taking Trombone lessons for a few months now and although he enjoys his lessons he is frustrated that he cannot hit certain notes after this amount if time. His teacher keeps telling him that he needs to practice for short periods every evening but sadly he rarely makes time for it and this is something I will never push because I feel that this is something he needs to work out for himself.

That being said though, this was all the motivation I needed to start learning an instrument myself. A few months back it was Opeie's friend Matthews 5th Birthday and we thought it would be nice to buy him a Ukulele. I had always loved the sound and felt like they were a very misunderstood instrument, often being seen as more of a toy. I couldn't shake off this niggling in the back of my mind that I wanted to learn to play one myself and eventually caved in three weeks ago and bought myself my first Ukulele. This was so out of my comfort zone but I really wanted to give it a go. 

As I said, I wanted to learn to play an instrument for many years and this was a very exciting step into the unknown. There was another bigger reason regarding Seth's trombone predicament that was my motivation for taking the leap though. The information that is readily available to us these days means that anybody can do pretty much anything if they put their mind to it. All this information is now available at any time and no matter where we are, and that is a really exciting thought. I want the boys to realise that because of this, NOTHING is out of their reach if they really want it and if they have any questions that maybe Mrs M or myself cannot answer, then the information is only a few clicks away (what an amazing time to be a child growing up). I also wanted to show Seth that if you put the time in to your endeavors you can see the results pretty early on.

So I began to play, and Youtube became my teacher for the first few nights. I learnt to play a few chords and practiced. I sounded terrible! So I waited until everyone was in bed, shut the lounge door and strummed away out of tune. Desperate to learn quicker, I clicked on a link for Yousician that kept popping up in my browser. You've got to love how clever computers are these days, offering you the information before you even need it based on your web browsing. I downloaded the app to my phone and signed up for a free trial. Two weeks on and I still cant believe how quickly I advanced playing. Being able to have a music teacher of this calibre to take with you in your pocket is truly amazing.

Yousician makes the introduction in to learning the Ukulele so simple and each tutorial when completed makes you feel increasingly confident which is what you need from your first few steps. With videos on the basics like strumming and how to play your first chords, Yousician has the sort of direct information that you really need as a newby to the instrument. The Chord and Strumming workshops and lessons on finger picking (which I am terrible at at the moment) steadily advance at just the right rate that it pushes you, but not enough for you to get frustrated and possibly give up. The video's and tutorials are so clear that you could use this app from a young age, which has been really interesting to learn, as Opeie has shown some interest in playing so I think that santa may send a Ukulele his way.

The best thing about this app though from a personal view is the impact it has had on Seth as he has seen me advance through perseverence and practicing every day. Last week I played my first song through, which was the Lava song from the Pixar short movie. I still cannot believe I have come this far in 3 weeks. Seeing this has motivated Seth to practice a little more which was exactly what I had hoped for and now I am excited at the thought of one day playing together.

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