Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ReVamping Your Style

    Everyone needs to revamp their playing style every now & again as well as their performances......not so much in skill & perfection but also in your songlist and the how's of how you share your playing. It's wonderful when we get a bunch of songs down,and then the thing to watch out for is when do they start to get stale? Having a rotating song list can be mighty helpful to not only keep your playing fresh,but to also prevent you from getting into a hum-drum as a player. 
    How bout your performing wardrobe? Have the clothes you wear for performing gotten to be more like uniforms? Perhaps it's time to dazzle it up with some new clothes and donate the old ones. (unless of course there's an item you wear that's more like a trade mark for you)  
Nothing against the Hawaiian look,but I really wish players would get away from wearing tropical prints so much. Yes,I know the uke is a Hawaiian instrument but that doesn't mean everyone has to dress like they went to a gift shop on the islands. Be innovative (and decent!) with what you wear when playing for folks. Stand out in a good way. 
   How about videos? Have you made any lately? (I need to do this) Have you recorded anything? (another need to do for me) I have found it's all too easy to make videos and then just "forget it" for awhile. Time flies (I was shocked at how long it's been since I wrote an entry here) and before you know it, it's been half a year with no new videos or recording. I'm making a goal of doing one new video a month. And with Christmas season just months away,I want to do some carol videos. Not to mention Halloween? (I have a great arrangement of "The Addams Family Theme" I need to start plucking again) 
    Make a short list of what you'd like to do in the reVamping yourself areas listed above. Don't make it overwhelming,say a list of 5 things to start with. Start haunting vintage clothing stores,looking at songbooks & sheet music at used book stores or online,etc. Make a video of yourself playing every so often. Get a new strap if you use one. You get the drift by now,I'm certain. It's frightening how artists can get into a rut-I know this from personal experience. It happens quicker than you think it can. 
      And have fun with it- the most important thing! 

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 when....so 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!