“Lava” Inspired me to Learn the Ukulele

lava animated filmI found myself sobbing in a movie theatre recently while sitting through previews before the movie, Inside Out. The reason? The short film “Lava” from director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren. It’s the heartbreaking tale of a volcano longing for love. Here’s a clip:

Weeks later, I was still humming the tune, “I have a dream” and got in into my head that I should learn to play it on the ukulele. It was probably 2 AM when I decided this, so I quickly found a good beginner ukulele thanks to the handy site Ukulele Tricks, studied a few tutorials of the chords I needed to learn, (in addition to a few other songs), and am happy to report that it wasn’t a completely crazy purchase. Since unwrapping my new ukulele a few hours ago, I’ve almost mastered the 3 chords for the song and even made it through twice while singing.

good beginner ukulelehow cute, right? I love the dolphin.

I chose the Makala Dolphin ukulele because it had great reviews as a beginner/under $50 option and I like that it’s plastic, so I won’t feel guilty if it gets a little banged up with a little kid in the house. If I really like playing, maybe I’ll upgrade to a solid wood one on a return visit to Hawaii someday. Wouldn’t that be a lovely souvenir of a return visit to my honeymoon spot?

Now I’m just working on perfecting my strumming patterns and the muscle memory to be able to play AND sing at the same time. I could credit years of playing the violin to knowing how to play by ear, but the truth is, it’s a pretty easy instrument to self-teach if you have the patience to learn a few chords. I think it’d be fun to take a class at some point though too. It’s been years since I played in an orchestra and I’ve really missed playing an instrument I realized.

I played a little for Emilia before bed tonight and she was mesmerized. She was in my lap and kept grabbing the fingerboard. It was adorable. I can’t wait to really master a few other fun tunes, like Hallelujah, Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, and Taylor Swift’s Style so I can play for us and have little jam sessions. For now, I’m going to keep it in her nursery so I can entertain her with little bits of nursery rhyme songs as I teach myself to play.


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