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 LoveMyUkulele.com
New Zealand

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

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What Customers Say

29 reviews
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Greetings from NL to NZL

I am very pleased with the Duke 10. Easy to play and sounds the way I like it. A good mix between banjo and ukulele and sounds good too with clawhammer style. Thank you also for the fast delivery (it took only 12 days to the Netherlands).

A very nice banjo uke.

Quick delivery. The Duke 10 plays very well, love the sound.
The pick up works fine. If you play it over a PA the Duke 10 sound great. Very natural.
I play in a band and it's nice to have a new sound on it.

A close 5

I love this Duke 10 Banjo - Ukulele....the set up is great and it plays very well. The tenor neck gives more room for my fingers. The only limitation is my ability, I have not played a Banjo Ukulele before but I can see the possibilities. We are part of a ukulele group 'Rukes' consisting of a Uke-bass, Duke 10 and about 10 Ukes, we play and sing anything - folk, country, Church, and popular songs of the last 60 years. I have started using the Duke 10 as a lead instrument picking out the tune, mostly within the strum, using a soft flat pick. The greater volume enables me to be heard above the other ukuleles. I am still developing this technique but am very pleased with the way it is going.

Hi Pat - thanks so much for your 5 Star Review! We appreciate that it was carefully considered, and thanks for the pic! All the best, Jamie Houston - Owner.
Christmas Duke arives in time

Big thanks to Jamie at Duke Banjo Ukuleles,
My wife, who obviously got the big hint for my Christmas gift ordered the Duke 10 and was advised that they only stood a slim chance of getting it to me in time but would pull out all stops to get it delivered to Perth Western Australia. And they did, it arrived on the 24th December whilst I was out but was received by my wife and whisked away before I had chance to notice. A wonderful surprise that was backed up with supper service from Jamie who did his utmost to get it to delivered. I already have 3 other Banjoleles but the Duke 10 is so beautifully set up its an absolute pleasure to play. If I could give it a 10 star rating I would, its wonderful instrument. Thanks again Jamie and by the way, the bag turned up a week or so later as promised.

Ian Dixon

Hi, I'm so thrilled your DUKE10 arrived in time! And even better, that Eva was able to keep it a secret Thanks for your wonderful review. Enjoy your new'baby'. Jamie - owner.