Ukelele Road Trips • Music and Dementia • Keep the Beat • Uke can
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Welcome to Resonate, a new format for sharing uke and related music, news and information from all over the place...I hope you like it!

On the Road Again...
I recently received a message from the fellow pictured, Ben, who has a site and blog devoted to his travels around Europe that began in March this year, accompanied by his very good ukulele playing and fine singing voice. is an entertaining journey with Ben's sense of humour evident in descriptions of what he encounters, and his musicality coming out to play in the wonderful songs he writes and performs in various locations. Check it out and if you like his style, consider a donation to help keep him in strings (and food)! Here he is playing on a bench in the town square of Sibiu, Transylvania.
Music and the brain - best buddies
Musicophilia - Tales of Music and the Brain by the late, great physician, neurologist and psychologist, Oliver Sacks, contains extraordinary stories about accomplished musicians and others, who have become afflicted by neurological or physical conditions greatly affecting their ability to perform, write or perceive music. The case studies highlight the monumental involvement our brains have with music and the myriad effects it has on us. The book is quite a read and you may never think of music in quite the same way. Below is a quote from the chapter on dementia and music therapy:

"...the response to music is preserved, even when dementia is very advanced. But the therapeutic role of music in dementia is quite different from what it is in patients with motor or speech disorders. Music that helps patients with parkinsonism, for example, must have a firm rhythmic character, but it need not be familiar or evocative. [...] The aim of music therapy in people with dementia is far broader than this – it seeks to address the emotions, cognitive powers, thoughts, and memories, the surviving 'self' of the patient, to stimulate these and bring them to the fore. It aims to enrich and enlarge existence, to give freedom, stability, organisation and focus.
This might seem a very tall order – nearly impossible, one might think, seeing patients with advanced dementia, who may sit in seemingly mindless, vacant torpor or scream agitatedly in incommunicable distress. But music therapy with such patients is possible because musical perception, musical sensibility, musical emotion and musical memory can survive long after other forms of memory have disappeared. Music of the right kind can serve to orient and anchor a patient when almost nothing else can."

(Sacks, O. 2008. Musicophilia. Picador)

Help to maintain tempo and an emphasised beat
Anyone I've ever instructed in a group or individually, knows I make broken record reminders about maintaining tempo and emphasising beats during. One player, wanting to practice emphasised strumming on beats 2 and 4 searched her phone during a session and found an app to help. There are, in fact quite a few, but Super Metronome Groove Box Lite (what a name) is free, has an easy to use interface and first beat off the block is a lovely 100bpm 4/4 with emphasis on the 2 and 4. There are lots of variations to explore and the sound quality is excellent. Give it a go!
Boho ho
A company based in Atlanta, Georgia (USA), Boho Guitars, has a crowdfunding initiative for a new line of guitars, basses and soprano ukuleles called the Boho Series 2. They necks are standard, but the bodies are, for all intents and purposes, oil cans with a number of great designs available. The ukes have wound metal strings and pickups and are unsurprisingly said to be loud. With 24 days left on their campaign, Boho has already reached 285% of their goal: the 150 early bird ukes ($89 with a free gig case) were pre-purchased in the blink of an eye, as was a second offering of 100. Fortunately you can still order a custom one for $99 plus gig bag $35 and freight with delivery in December this year. It may just be the next requirement for those of you with certified UAS (ukulele acquisition syndrome).
Until next time, enjoy your four stringed friend!
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