Ukulele for a Healthy Body (as well as a lightning-fast mind)
Here's food for thought - late last year a 64 year old British woman took up ukulele and used it to help her lose more than 4 stone (25kg). Read how she did it here. Unfortunately for her husband and anyone else within earshot, the song used to achieve this weight loss was the only one she could play, My Darling Clementine. Written during the time of the 1849 gold rush in the US, Clementine masquerades as a love song about the daughter of a miner who meets an untimely end, until verse five:
How I missed her! How I missed her!
How I missed my Clementine,
Till I kissed her little sister,
And forgot my Clementine.
And yet more pragmatism in verse seven:
In the church yard in the canyon
Where the myrtle doth entwine
There grows roses and other posies
Fertilized by Clementine.
Do they write them like that anymore?
A Note from The Man on Remembering Music
In the first Resonate, I carelessly referred to Oliver Sacks as the 'late'. Sadly, this is now true as on August 30, he succumbed to liver cancer. Oliver Sacks' works are an incredible legacy and will be studied, used and built upon for lifetimes. In nothing more than a footnote in the Music and Amnesia chapter of Musicophilia he makes a point which may give motivation to ukulele players striving for the liberation of learning songs by memory.
"There is no one way to memorise a piece of music - different musicians use different ways, or combinations of ways: auditory, kinesthetic, visual, along with higher-order perceptions of the music's rules, grammar, feeling and intentionality. We know this not only from personal accounts of musical memory and experimental studies of it, but from the many brain regions which (with fMRI) are visibly activated in the learning of a new piece.
But once a piece is learned, analyzed, studied, pondered, practiced, and incorporated into one's repertoire - one's procedural memory - then it can be played or will 'play itself' automatically, without effort of deliberation or conscious thought."
(Sacks, O. 2008. Musicophilia. Picador)
fMRI - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a procedure that measures brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow.
Inside Information from Jake
This TEDx talk by Jake Shimabukuro (followed, of course by a performance!) is in turns beautiful and funny and displays his wise understanding of the reasons so many of us have taken up the instrument.