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Learning From A Uke [BOOK] Contemplation Of A Journey

This is not a book about how to play a ukulele, but why playing one can change the world.

Recently I was sent a book that, whilst small in size and brief in content, was for me, almost profound.

learning from a uke - a book cover

'Learning From A Uke' is quite an astute and quirky commentary on music and life through the 'eyes' of the ukulele, penned by Tim (Tj) Akey. I really enjoyed reading this 'small book for a small instrument' and felt like I received a deeper insight into my own personal journey towards being a professional musician and music teacher. Ideas and observations that had never crossed my mind, until now.

It is when I read a book like this that I come to realise how differently each of us sees the world, and it is blatantly obvious that Tj and I think about life and music in ways that are poles apart. And that is great! His insightful observations have helped me to clarify, maybe even quantify, some of my journey for me.

I would be surprised if every person who reads this book doesn't take something from it that enriches and increases their life in some way, even if in just a 'small' way.

I leave you with a few of the lines that really spoke to me:

'The Uke reminded me that few of the things in life that deserve attention will demand it, and that those things that demand attention probably don't deserve it.'

'To make and listen to music is to ignore the normal constraints of past, present, and future. Music touches the timeless.'

'Time spent concentrating on playing music allows important but undemanding things to settle into the subconscious. When practice is over for the day, those things will be waiting quietly, ready to be noticed and appreciated.
At the same time, the unimportant things that often agitate and aggravate me, the things that scrape against my nerves and shorten my temper, fade completely away. Sometimes they pop up again after practice, insisting I pay heed once more. But they have been unmasked, the false urgency of their demands laid bare. I can safely lay them aside knowing their claim of importance is unfounded.'

'While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning to play a new tune on the flute. “What will be the use of that?” he was asked. His answer? “To know this tune before I die.”'

Jamie Houston
Owner of Duke Banjo Ukuleles
Founder of
New Zealand

'Learning from a Uke' is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

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