Friday, May 2, 2014

Public Domain Song Sites and Upcoming Holidays

     One of the biggest things that has prevented me from writing "how to play" or "tunebooks" of my own has been the fear of copyright infringement. I'm not sure of what trouble one can get into for using a copyrighted tune in a book,but never wanting to get myself into trouble,I opted for the "safe" solution of not writing.
      Until I contacted an online friend who has written some ukulele books and they were more than generous in directing me to a site that is as fascinating as it is helpful. Ladies and Gentlemen,I present to you.......... PD Info ! (warning: this site really envelops you as you get fascinated with learning what songs came out you may end up spending a lot of time browsing.)
       As a helpful tip for those considering Christmas Carols,I found the ones considered to be more modern such as  "White Christmas" "Holiday Inn" "Frosty the Snowman" are copyrighted tunes and cannot be used without getting proper permission first-which is a disappointment. (unless you have a book deal with a publisher and then it's their job to get the permission for you!)
      Now I have no excuse for writing a book,and neither do you. :-)
                                                   Memorial Day Weekend/4th of July
     What are you going to do for these days- planning to play at any BBQs or get togethers? Now is the time to get those patriotic tunes going. Memorial Day is fast approaching,but it you start now it should be easy to have a few songs under your belt-and by the 4th you should be absolutely golden.
      Just be sure to take your "street worthy" uke with you and not one of your prized babies. Never know who's going to want to try it out.
      Buskers should have a ball on the 4th. Be sure to wear some red,white,and blue on the 4th and don't be shy about drawing attention in the way of wearing oversized uncle sam hats,glitzy red white & blue sunglasses,or dressing as a colonial soldier bearing a ukulele.
       And most important-don't forget to take water with you-in the warmer weather staying hydrated is every bit as important as wearing sunscreen and a hat!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Resurrecting Your Ukulele Playing-And Coming Out Of Your Tomb

      I suppose it's normal from time to time that we let our ukulele playing lapse-due to what seems to be "reasonable" demands....the holidays,working extra hours,going on vacation,moving,and so on. What often happens in these cases is that when things settle and you have the energy and time to pick up your flea don't.
     It sits in the corner,and you've gotten accustomed to not playing,and you've allowed other things to take up what used to be your "ukulele time".  Then you notice you're not as good natured as you used to be,you're out of sorts,and watching too much TV or you're on your electronic device(s) too much. 
     This is what I refer to being in "the tomb". You've unwittingly given up playing,meaning to get to it later,but as the old saying goes,"tomorrow never comes. There is also another aspect of being in the tomb: only playing in your living room,hushed away in your home or anywhere that nobody can hear you. You never record or make a video because no matter how long you've played,you've deemed yourself as "not good enough" or you could be following those voices who have told you you'd be a show off,ham,or scene stealer for playing for folks. Well,if you're experiencing any of these scenarios,or more than one,and you happened to have stumbled onto this's time for your ukulele resurrection! Take that flea of yours out of the tomb (and be sure you go with it) 
      How to get out of the tomb,you say? Well, we can start with baby steps. Take that uke of yours in the backyard or front porch and tune it up,sit,and play. Sing if you want. If the weather is too cold for this,then make a utube video of yourself playing and post it. Record songs and put them on CD-for friends,if nothing else. Have a relative who's having a B-day? 
  Sing and play "Happy Birthday" for them either live via video chat,or make a video and email it to them. Videos are great for surprising people in fun uplifting ways. 
    Get some "new to you" songbooks. Learn a new style on your uke like blues or swing jazz....whatever calls to your heart. Join a uke club or subscribe to a ukulele magazine to keep you current in the ukulele world. Subscribe to this blog. (couldn't resist that one!) 
    Read books on unblocking your creative self....anything by Julia Cameron is good,as well as Alan Cohen. (I recently ordered "The War of Art" to read on this very thing) Shake the dust off your golden self and let yourself shine in the sunlight. 
      Look for cool hats,scarves,and so forth to wear for your videos  when you make them. Find your colorful,funky ukulele self and let it show. And most important: have fun in the doing and being!