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A Little Music

We got the tax return. As usual, it was a really nice return, but also, as usual, we had to spend the entire thing in like a week because we aren’t allowed to have more than 1k in assets or Pat loses disability. We always have a to-do list and a to-buy list a mile long. First on the list is getting caught up on bills and paying off debts. Then important stuff. But we always make sure we have some fun. We go 11.5 months with no fun money, so we make up for it with the tax return. I start with this explanation so we’re on the same page that this includes spoiling the kids.

I took the kids to Half Priced Books and promised the 4 of them 10$ each (which goes far at a used book store) but made it clear I was also willing to negotiate. This isn’t really about that trip except for the extra non-book Sammy found.

In the music section tucked in with used records and CDs was a ukelele that came with a book and CD that promised it could teach anyone to play. It was 25$ for the entire kit. The ukelele was cheaply made but would at least get someone started. Sammy fell instantly in love and promised to put her two books back if I bought it for her. I reflected back on my own threat to buy myself a cello and lessons with the tax return and knew I was not able to say no so I didn’t even try. (She still got the books.)

We brought it home and she immediately set to mastering it. But I clearly realized we needed more gear. We needed help tuning it. Sammy needed more books to help her learn and to provide sheet music. She needed a means of holding said books open while both hands were busy playing. She quickly learned via youtube videos that she could hold the instrument better (properly) if she had a strap. Clearly this was going to be an investment.

But she really loves playing it. I wouldn’t call her instantly good, but she has a passion. And a fire that burns in her eyes while she puzzles over how to play the thing.

So the first step was a strap so she could hold it. Only, this ukelele is cheap and there is no way to attach a strap. BUT Amazon has a kit with a better uke that comes with a strap, a case, a digital tuner, and extra strings for a decent enough price. Already she’s getting upgraded, it seems. At that point, I realized I might as well throw in a music stand that can hold the book open while she plays. Plus some picks special made (out of felt) for a uke. I added in a wall mount so she could hang her instrument. It’ll all be here in a couple of weeks.

I guess…

Being young is about picking up skills while your brain is still in it’s prime and you’re capable of picking up new knowledge. Yes, learning how to read and do math is important, but she’s already doing both those at a sixth-grade level despite being in 3rd grade. So why not enrich her life with a new skill that can actually be fun and a way to channel her creativity and love of life? All while she’s young enough that she has an advantage when it comes to learning things,

And I refuse to be one of those moms that forces her to practice 2 hours a day. If she practices, she practices. If she doesn’t, she doesn’t. So long as she’s having fun because that is what this is about. As soon as I put pressure on her, it’ll stop being fun. And if it stops being fun anyway? Then I’ll sell it all on craigslist to another 8yo who loves music and needs a good beginner instrument because that’s exactly what a ukelele is.

If she doesn’t stop having fun and gets really good?

Then her aunt has a guitar she bought for 50$ that isn’t getting played to hand over to my girl.

Either way, as long as she’s happy, that’s all the matters.

And in a couple of months, or sooner, if she’s good enough she wants to show off, maybe I’ll post a video of her playing for you all. She has a lot of basics she needs to learn first, but I can already tell she has potential. And, as I said, she has this fire in her eyes while she teaches herself how to play and that fire is something to behold!

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