A Choice To Learn Ukulele

A few weeks ago, I introduced an account on Instagram for those who want to begin to learn the Ukulele. There're varies of short simple version of popular songs and they are very easy to learn. But it doesn't seem like a serious deal. What if you want to learn it seriously and professionally starting from basic musical theory? Maybe a real teacher is necessary. 

I found a website that might be helpful for those who want to learn Ukulele seriously, which is called Lessonface. 

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It includes online lessons for all kinds of instruments, and of course, including ukulele.  You can search for personalized lessons based on your skill level, preferred pricing and availability. By looking through all teachers' profiles listed, you can choose the most appropriate one and book lessons. They also provide free trial so you don't need to pay if you think the teacher is not the right one. 

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There are more and more online schools for people who want to learn something they love using some spare time. Personally, I pretty like this kind of form. I'm so interested in character animation, but as a full-time college student, I don't have time or access to learn this in other school. So I'm planing to take the online class. 

I hope this could help someone who are interested in learning ukulele seriously. And please let me know if you have any other suggestions for ukulele beginners !

Ukulele In San Diego

This Thanksgiving break, I went to a super charming coastal city-San Diego. Maybe because I grew up besides the sea, I love warm coastal cities. And San Diego is one of them. But in this blog, I don't wanna introduce you how many attractions this city has or best brunch in San Diego. Not surprisingly, I wanna introduce you an event about Ukulele- San Diego Ukulele Festival!

I was surprised when I found there's a Ukulele festival in this city. I hope I could know this earlier. 

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Unfortunately, i didn't find the date of next festival. However, I found many fabulous performing photos and videos on their facebook page. If you are interesting in this, please check out to find more information. https://www.facebook.com/The-San-Diego-Ukulele-Festival-111733668912024/  Also, if you know when will this happen in 2-18, please let me know!! 

 

A Carnival For Ukulele Lovers

There are all kinds of music festivals all around the world. People who love music gather together to enjoy the charm of music. They forget all problems and worries from life and relief themselves in music. With no exceptions, ukulele has its own music festival, which is called The International Ukulele Contest and Hula Show. 

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In this event, not only those ukulele enthusiasts from all over the world would come to compete and learn from each other, people can't play the ukulele would also come to feel the special customs of Hawaii. The next contest and show will happen in February, 2018. In order to give you some preview of this interesting event, I find a show video this year. You can always get more details from their official website: http://www.ukulelepicnicinhawaii.org/contest/

Ukulele In Movies

Speaking of Ukulele, the first things pop into my mind are sunshine, beach and surfers on sea spray. Because Ukulele is a Hawaiian instrument, the impression of it on me is freedom or happiness. I think the most appropriate songs for Ukulele are those fast-rhythm songs. Watching musicians playing the Ukuleles and dancing on the beach in a sunny day is one of my expectations for vocations.  

However, the charm of Ukulele is not limited in this kind of scene. When I looked for different style Ukulele songs, I was surprised by the fact that Ukulele can handle varies of different styles and is appropriate in many different movie scenes. Although I haven's seen many of those movies, I can still feel the important roles that Ukulele play in those specific scenes and how Ukulele helped to express emotions. Here's a video about some classic Ukulele moments in old movies. I hope you could enjoy it! 

I always appreciate excellent movies with excellent music. Good music is one of my most important standard to decide whether I like this movie or not. I do want to see Ukulele appears in movie scenes more, because this instrument has so infinite possibilities.  

How to Learn Ukulele

As a beginner of Ukulele, it  took me a while to find the best way to learn this instrument. At first, I bought a beginner guidebook and followed it to practice. Gradually, I realized songs in guidebook are so flat that I would loose my interest if I continued to follow it. So I decided to change my way to learn. 

There are many Ukulele tutorials online. However, not all of them are helpful- sometimes figuring is too complicated and sometimes oral interpretation is not clear enough. Fortunately, I found an account in Instagram called Ukulele Tutorials (@ukuleletutorials). This account has tons of popular songs and with clear figuring diagrams and demonstrations, beginners can learn those songs easily and quickly. 

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These tutorial videos are very easy to follow. I tried to practice a few of them myself. I truly think this account is a good one for those Ukulele beginners and those who want to learn cover songs with Ukulele. Please tell me how do you like it and leave comments below. I need your feedback. Thank you~

Love Song of Kangding

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog about the song " Night of Moscow", which is one of the most popular songs in my grandmother's generation. Today, I want to introduce another song from that generation named "Long Song of KangdIng". I have known this song for a super long time, because this is one of the songs that mg family taught me when I was a little girl. 

Kangding is a historical city located in Sichuan Province, China. Before the Republic of China administration abolished Xikang Province in 1949, Kangding was the capitol of this province. It is a very important area in Tibetan culture for its historical background. Every time I think of this place, I can picture running steed on vast grassland and colorful Tibetan tents in my mind. 

Speaking of this song, its original melody is from a local folk song. In 1946, a vocal music student called Wenji Wu scored and renamed it as "Long Song of Kangding". Since then, it have been popular for half of century. It tells a story about a lady from family Li and a guy from family Zhang and how did they fall in love with each other. As before, to let you know what kind of song it is first, I'm going to show you a video. 

When I searched for video of this song, I was surprised by the fact that so many Chinese popular have remixed and covered this Sichuan folk song. Here's the one from a famous Chinese singer, whose name is Weiwei Tan. She remixed this song for a TV show and performed with other Tibetan musicians. 

From these two videos, I believe you get to know how charming this folk song is. This time, I practiced this song with Ukulele and want to share it with you here. 

Malaysia Chabor

About two weeks ago, I wrote about how I knew Ukulele because of Jay chou, the idol of almost all people at my generation. However, at that time, I didn't totally fall in love with Ukulele. It was hard to love one instrument because of one song.  On a day after four or five years from I knew Ukulele first time, I watched a music video online by accident. That was the song called "Malaysia Charbor" (Malaysian Girl) played by a girl whose name is Joyce chu. Joyce sang the song with a sweet voice while playing the Ukulele. Her enjoyable expression made me remember this talented girl immediately. I want to share this video here with you. Maybe some of you don't like the style of this song because of different preferences for music, but please leave your comments about how do you like this below. I'd like to see any comment! 

Joyce was 16 years old or so at that time and she became very popular after this song online. Many people were attracted by her sweet smile and voice. She let more people realize how charming is Ukulele. I was the one of them. I started to watch more music videos of her and I noticed most of them are her sing covers along with Ukulele. I was so into this small but charming instrument and really wanted to learn that. 

Although I''m not so skilled with Ukulele, I insisted to practice every week. I hope I can cover some songs I like as Joyce did. 

Moscow Nights

As a girl born in 90s, I have a very different musical taste with the generation of my grandparents in general. When I was a little girl, I couldn't understand why my grandma liked those songs. However, there are some exceptions. There are some nice melodies that I like still staying in my mind. "Moscow Night" is one of them. 

This is a song created by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955, which became extremely popular in Soviet Union and won many musical awards at that time. My grandma told me when she was young, many young men would sing this song to their beloved girls to express themselves. In many young girls' minds, this was a super romantic song. There are multiple versions of this song, among which the most famous one is the accordion version. As a traditional instrument of Soviet Union, accordion is perfect choice for this Russian-style song.I can't find a good video of an accordion version, but here's video of one of my favorite singer performing this song in Russian. I think you can feel the beauty of this song by watching this. 

As a learner of Ukulele, i also practiced this song with this special instrument. However, due to my poor skills, I'm still not able to play this song very well. So I find a Ukulele version from Youtube and share it with you here. Although Ukulele is not the perfect choice for this song, it can show different style. 

About How I Knew Ukulele

If I remember it correctly, I didn't know Ukulele before I entered high school. Back to that time, many teenagers at my age were obsessed with guitar. It was a trend to play guitars and have own bands. In my mind at that time, I didn't think there was another instrument as cool as guitar (and violin). That was the reason I was not motivated to explore other instruments until 2012. A song called "Ukelele" by Jay Chou changed my mind. 

Speaking of Jay Chou, he is the No.1 idol in all most all Chinese people at my age. He is a super talented songwriter and singer and became popular all over Asia around 2002. He inaugurated a totally new era of Chinese pop songs. In 2012, his new album "Opus 12". Ever time when Jay released a new album, almost all of my friends would go to buy it and listen to it over and over again. The song "Ukulele" is one of song in this album. This was the first time I got to know what was this instrument look like and how beautiful its sound was. From then on, I started to search more about this cute string instrument. Now I want to share this special song here to you. I would like to know how you like it in comments.  

A Common Language For The World

Language is the barrier among people from different regions around the world. People could refuse to communicate with others just because they speak different kinds of languages. I think the basis of communication is understanding. If people cannot understand each other because of language barrier, “silence” is the inevitable outcome. People cannot choose their native languages, but they can choose to break this barrier. 

Music is the one helps to break the barrier. People from all over the world are able to understand each other by playing music. Through this nonverbal language,every one surmounts the communication obstacle. There are millions of songs played by musicians all over the world. Although their styles might be different, people can get information the music is delivering. 

Here's the video of a Japanese Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro. I think he is really a talented musician, who can get his inspirations from everywhere. He started to play the Ukulele when he was four. He said in his website "“As I got older, I realized that I could also learn from guitar players, drummers, violinists, pianists, singers and even dancers. And then I started to observe athletes. Athletes are artists too. I was heavily influenced by people like Bruce Lee and Michael Jordan – applying their philosophy and intense, mental focus to music performance.”

Für Elise, For Grandmother

Speaking of the most familiar piano song, the first one jumps into my mind is "Für Elise" (For Alice) by Ludwig van Beethoven. This great German musician composed this song in early 19th century and it has been popular for over 200 years. Basically everyone around the world is familiar with its tune. Every time I listen to this piece, I can feel the sense of romance flows through those notes and make me calm down. 

Since "Für Elise" is a piano piece, I got no chance to practice this one when I learned the violin. My teacher always assigned me to practice songs for violin specifically. Fortunately, I have a grandma who is very passionate about music and started to learn the piano when she was 65 years old. ( I admire her very much) She practiced this song a lot. When she played the piano, I liked to sit behind her and watched her playing. She was always so absorbed that I didn't want to interrupt her. I just stayed there quite and listened. I enjoyed that. 

This is the first time I try to play "Für Elise" with string, especially with Ukulele. This is the special version for Ukulele and it simplify many parts for beginning players. Hope you are able to feel the very little part of beauty of this song through my "performance". I also want to dedicate this song to my beloved grandmother. 

Charm of Ukulele

Ukulele has been the one I think about first when I'm free. Even when I'm still busy doing something but I really want to relax myself, I will think about it as well. It has been a part of my life. 

That's the charm of this instrument. The charm of music. 

Unlike guitar or other strings, Ukulele is relatively easy to learn. It doesn't require you to know professional musical theory or to have accurate way of how to play it. It's a freestyle instrument. I can( in the future) sing any songs I like whenever I want along with Ukulele. 

Since I'm still practicing and I'm not so skilled that I'm able to do that, I usually go to watch videos of those professional Ukulele players. There are so many excellent works out there and here's one I like recently. 

If you are interested in this player, here's his Youtube account:

Adam Christopher   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0qkdv3MyMvlkoKWZhvtvXQ

I hope you can have a glance at charm of Ukulele after watching this. I really expect that I can create a video like this of my own and share it with you here. 

 Start Over In Music With Ukulele

Start Over In Music With Ukulele

Music has existed since I have memories. 

I started to play the violin when I was 5 years old. A violin teacher came to my kindergarten for looking for  several potential talented kids to teach in one afternoon. I can't remember what did she say exactly at that time. All I can recollect is my mom took me to the teacher and bought a violin for me the next day. I didn't know what that instrument with four strings means to my life in that age. But now I'm thankful that my mom made this decision for me. 

Learning to play the instrument is not easy. During those 9 years, almost the only other thing in my life besides homework is violin. I spent 4 hours in average to practice everyday, and more over weekends. I got callused left hand and once hated this "annoying" string. I asked mom after I grew up why she let me practice so much. She says a person who loves music must has an interesting soul. And an interesting soul is essential for every one. 

I stopped playing the violin after I went to high school. There was too much pressure from Chinese college entrance exam to allow me continuing to practice the music.  

My life turned silent after that. I do listen to the music when I need a rest. But there was no opportunity to play it on my own. Time went to the year I came to U.S for college. My mom suggested me to bring my violin to here so I can continue to practice when I'm free from class. However, my violin is big ( I changed the violin size several times while I was getting taller) and I had to take two heavy luggages with me. So I left it in my home. 

Luckily, I met my Ukulele this summer. 

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That is a instrument store selling different kinds of Guitar and Ukulele. I walked into out of curiosity. After listening a man's Ukulele performance, I told my friend, "I want a Ukulele." Very similar with violin, Ukulele is a four-stringed instrument. So it's not hard for me to learn it at all. 

I decided to bring it with me when I need to come back to school. 

That's how I go back to music with Ukulele. I normally practice twice a week now. Although I'm just a Ukulele beginner, with 9-year experience with violin, it's not tooooo hard for me to learn this similar string instrument.

Here's one simple song I practiced this weekend. Hope I can play more complicated one soon.