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View Full Version : Kids give me the "look" when I play uke...



super8man
07-22-2010, 08:16 AM
First time poster, bear with me...

My background: I have been playing the ukulele for a couple of years now or so...started on guitar and being part Tongan yet looking Swedish, have always been around Polynesian dancing and the Pacific view of life if you will, so I took up uke and made much faster progress - and the fun factor is awesome. I take a uke most any place just in case. Now the inlaws like my playing at the poolside. Coolness.

Anyway, being a very humble player I have noticed this strange thing that kids absolutely take second and third takes at me when I am out playing - soccer practice for my kids, camping, on the beach, anywhere in public. The little ones seem to be suggesting either: "hey, that's too small for you, give it to me!" OR "That is the coolest thing I have ever seen. Dad I want one." They approach and ask to play. To which I am thinking "Hey, it a solid spalted mango uke, hands off!" hahah not really, but I let them strum carefully while I hold a chord.

I went camping with friends and friends-friends once and no one played any instrument sadly. So, I whipped out my uke and the next thing you know, I have 10 kids surrounding me, in awe apparently (trust me, I am not that good of player!!). It was funny. They stayed through three or four songs and made me realize I better learn some "kid standards" to help them along.

Anyone else discovering this instant fan base?

Cheers,
Mike

Keef
07-22-2010, 08:58 AM
you must be cool kids tell it like it is

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 09:03 AM
Super8 - I have never experienced this, maybe because I only play out at Uke meets filled with adults, but there was a thread sometime near the end of last year claiming the supernino ukes were "chick magnets."

ukecantdothat
07-22-2010, 09:09 AM
Haven't had that happen, yet, but I did have this experience last year and it sparked this thread:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?21355-Dorkfest-09

Keef
07-22-2010, 09:09 AM
supernino ukes yeah thats what need !
I think the chick magnet in my uke was installed backwards :)

SweetWaterBlue
07-22-2010, 09:13 AM
I suppose I should say I do know its actually "sopranino" before the grammar police arrive.

lindydanny
07-22-2010, 09:30 AM
I had a couple of teenagers come up to me while I was sitting around after a musical I played for (guitar in the musical). I was playing uke while waiting for traffic to clear so I could go home. They were amazed (and so was I). Funny thing is the guy who owns my local shop plays tuba in the same pit band and was standing right there. I think he sold two Makala sopranos the next morning!

~DB

harpdog
07-22-2010, 09:35 AM
Guess it would be more surprising if they didn't stop and look. I'd just be glad if they didn't hurl tomatoes....

super8man
07-22-2010, 10:11 AM
Yeah, I have also noticed many teens are very receptive to the uke.

Sadly, I was at a "grown up" party last week (those boring ones where older people sit around a table and talk) and I left the table to practice some chords, progressions, etc and heard a chorus from about 1/2: "No, don't play. Turn up the radio instead." And it wasn't because they were ribbing me - they were truly intolerant of non-standard "live" or uknown music of any kind. Very sad. Being at least 10 years junior to many of them I shrugged and realized there was no feng-shei (mojo/Aloha spirit, etc) at this event I was stuck at. ugh. Grown ups suck.

Fuzzy
07-22-2010, 10:21 AM
Yes, I've noticed this. I strummed around on my uke in public while waiting for the fireworks to start on Canada Day (July 1st). My wife said, "Did you see that?" I missed it, but apparently all the kids within hearing distance immediately stopped what they were doing and stood and stared as soon as they heard the first chord.

freshthreat
07-22-2010, 12:35 PM
Yep I notice this a lot when I am busking...the adults are wrapped up in they're own mini drama lifes while the kids heads dart immediately too the noise makers. Kids rule.

d2d
07-22-2010, 12:48 PM
Yeah, my experience is anyone too young to remember Tiny Tim, is open to the Uke.

Anyone who is old enough to have lived through WWII is open to the uke due to fond memories, etc.

When it comes to Boomers, some can appreciate the uke but many do not. However, I don't find this to be so much anit-uke as anti anything BUT guitar.

mm stan
07-22-2010, 12:53 PM
Aloha Mike,
Welcome to the UU and our Forums....and yes kids are atracted to the sounds of the ukuelele..
Did you add and kid songs to you list so they can sing along... Keep strumming them strings..
MM Stan....

SuzukHammer
07-22-2010, 01:12 PM
This is exactly the same thing I noticed when I played harmonica. Kids love music. THe kids response kept me going.

You absolutely must have a kids music repetroire.

Here is my short list I can think of:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/The alphabet song
eensy weensy spider
Old Macdonald had a farm
Ode to Joy
Jingle Bells (popular all year long)
Mary had a little lamb
If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands
Frere jacque

and others.

The kids just stop and stare in amazement. I passed by a playground and all the kids stopped playing and migrated to the fence to listen. Parents dig it (for a short while) because they can then see their children love music.

This caused me to buy the $5 plastic harmonicas and give them out if the parents allowed them to keep it. You have to give it to the parents these days and lots of parents refuse because who can trust an harmonica player in the park?? haha. I've given out more than 60 harmonicas but stopped because it all adds up.

I once was tipped by some Japanese boy when I was practicing harmonica. haha So I gave him a kids harmonica. He came back with more money to get another harmonica. haha.

Tudorp
07-22-2010, 01:46 PM
Be MY size and play a soprano and watch the looks ya get.. lol

Ukulele JJ
07-22-2010, 01:48 PM
Yep I notice this a lot when I am busking...the adults are wrapped up in they're own mini drama lifes while the kids heads dart immediately too the noise makers.

There's a great illustration of that in this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html) from a few years back.

The Washington Post arranged for Joshua Bell--probably the best violinist alive today--to play outside of the subway as a busker. This guy sells out symphony halls at high ticket prices, but hardly anyone paid him any attention in the subway that morning. Although there was a notable exception:


A couple of minutes into it, something revealing happens. A woman and her preschooler emerge from the escalator. The woman is walking briskly and, therefore, so is the child. She's got his hand.

..."There was a musician," Parker says, "and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."

So Parker does what she has to do. She deftly moves her body between Evan's and Bell's, cutting off her son's line of sight. As they exit the arcade, Evan can still be seen craning to look. When Parker is told what she walked out on, she laughs.

"Evan is very smart!"

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother's heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

...Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

- Jeff

freshthreat
07-22-2010, 02:01 PM
There's a great illustration of that in this article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html) from a few years back.

The Washington Post arranged for Joshua Bell--probably the best violinist alive today--to play outside of the subway as a busker. This guy sells out symphony halls at high ticket prices, but hardly anyone paid him any attention in the subway that morning. Although there was a notable exception:



- Jeff

Great article! So very true unfortunately.

Howlin Hobbit
07-23-2010, 07:09 AM
You absolutely must have a kids music repetroire.

Here is my short list I can think of:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star/The alphabet song
eensy weensy spider
Old Macdonald had a farm
Ode to Joy
Jingle Bells (popular all year long)
Mary had a little lamb
If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands
Frere jacque
Speaking as a long-time busker, you can attract the kids without going for "kid songs." Plus, there's a lot of old goodies that aren't so cliché that qualify as kid songs... the old Hoosier Hotshots tune, "I Like Bananas Cuz They Have No Bones" springs readily to mind. I have found that the kids will enjoy the old jazz standards that I play. I think that it may well just be that kids are naturally hip and adults have to work at it.



...Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.
Oh very yes. I watch this constantly at Pike Place Market. The adults are completely oblivious (as they look for "where they throw the fish" or "the first Starbucks" -- which, in actual fact, is not the first Starbucks). The kids will be rockin' out in their strollers and the adults won't even notice.

KaylaConspiracy
07-29-2010, 09:44 AM
I was ASM for To Kill A Mockingbird not too long ago and near the end started bringing my ukulele. It was a big hit. Not only did I find a few other adults who played but 2 of the kids absolutely loved it and by the end of the show's run they were asking their parents to buy them a ukulele. It really does have an instant audience.

NikePenguin
07-29-2010, 03:13 PM
Great article linked by Ukulele JJ!

I think live music by "unknown" musicians and singers is greatly under-appreciated. At my company's holiday party a few years ago, this wonderful band was all but ignored even though they played hits from the last 3+ decades. Of course, when the band took a break and the DJ "played", the dance floor was packed. :rolleyes:

benfoleyukulele
07-30-2010, 03:10 PM
Great article linked by Ukulele JJ!

I think live music by "unknown" musicians and singers is greatly under-appreciated. At my company's holiday party a few years ago, this wonderful band was all but ignored even though they played hits from the last 3+ decades. Of course, when the band took a break and the DJ "played", the dance floor was packed. :rolleyes:

To me, i think becoming a successful musician in this life, is breaking that barrier- i mean, that band could play all the Beatles songs perfectly, and sound exactly like the famous 4, but they only turn the heads of fans of the Beatles that briefly think, "they sound alot like the Beatles" ... but if they did something fantastically original, that had peoples eyes open, they'll get the attention they deserve to then go on and play the casual stuff.-Take Jake for example, would he have been found if he had simply played one of his originals instead of weeps? i think it's a lot less likely that that would've happened if he had played say... Blue Roses Falling. dont get me wrong though- i adore that song :)