Easy peasy ukulele duet on open strings

After arranging music for easy piano solo and duets for several years, I am now developing material for teaching the ukulele to complete beginners. It’s an eye-opener to observe how quickly, after a short introduction to this four-stringed instrument, one reaches a positive conclusion: “I can play it. I want to play it.”

Next questions: where can I get one? how much does it cost?

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My last grandma (1917 – 2017)

6 October 1917 – 3 July 2017

We called her “Ah Po” – an endearment in the Hakka dialect.

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Only You by Yazoo for ukulele and four-part harmony

During Freshman orientation week, I heard the Pitchforks sing a song that was so beautiful that I spent the rest of my life looking for the sheet music. When I eventually found a copy with piano accompaniment, I begged my friend to sing it in his barbershop quartet. I wanted to hear it again.

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Opus: Live is Life for ukulele

On my first trip to Europe, I heard a song in the Greek islands that roused me to get up and dance. Because I heard it everywhere, it became the single defining song of my first backpacking trip as an independent solo traveller.

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A novel to escape from reality

Dusk at 10 pm in London.

As I sit in front of the dining room window, I see the silhouette of the tall trees behind my garden.

I hear the hum of my refrigerator from the kitchen.

I am finally awake after triple dosing on out-of-date antihistamines that drowned me in drowsiness amid sneezing fits on this sunny but windy day. Sadly, it is my excuse for doing nothing else but read the 326-page paperback that arrived yesterday.

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Happy Birthday chord melody arrangement for ukulele

A chord melody arrangement is one in which the melody (of a song) is embedded in the chord. While you can play the melody separately from the harmony, the idea is that the notes you need for the melody is in the chord itself.

Why is this special?

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Becoming a minimalist: ridding stuff to regain space and time

For a long time, I have wanted to simplify my life, let go of things, live with less, and free up space and time for what I really enjoy and desire instead of feeling like a slave to my possessions. I even compiled a two-page newsletter of the short blog posts I had written about clutter back in 2004 and declared myself a minimalist. Despite my good intentions, I am far from reaching my goal. It’s a constant struggle not to acquire and to let go. Without letting go, it’s difficult to move on.

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I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike.

I want to ride my bicycle.

I want to ride it well.

I want to ride my bicycle.

I want to ride it where I like.

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Performing piano premieres: Nicola Meecham

Would you go to a concert taking place in a new venue you have never heard of, performed by a pianist you have never heard of, playing music that has not yet been performed much less recorded, written by composers you have never heard of? That was often the challenge when I was producing concerts in the Netherlands. How do I get people to come to these concerts?

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unfamiliar. But the unfamiliar need not be uncomfortable. Without premieres of new works, we would never hear new compositions which challenge conventional repertoire and outlive the status quo to become masterpieces that pass the test of time.

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Day dream job believer

One reason I resist getting on the job-seeking trail is that I get totally sucked into a job once I get one. For me, there is no such thing as a 9 to 5. I become completely loyal to the job and the institution so that there is no separation of work and play. Work is play.

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