I first picked up a Ukulele at the tail end of 2011. I did it out of sheer curiosity and the hopes of finally finding that one instrument I would caress for the rest of my life.
Just like most love stories, it took me a long time to find my perfect fit.
I spent my childhood flirting with a number of instruments. At grade school I did the obligatory woodwinds. I mastered playing "Every step you take" on the bamboo flute and did "Silent Night" on the recorder. At high school I jumped on the bandwagon of guitar strumming girls. That turned out to be my biggest infatuation. I learned a few songs, memorized a few chords and did a few gigs but somehow I was stumped. Without good plucking skills and having zero knowledge of complicated chords, I was nothing but a half baked, punk-looking guitarist. It's like going to a gymnastic class but never learning how to do a back handspring. Heartbreaking.
Piano didn't work out either. The bongos and kjon were fun but fleeting. The egg shaker was well, an egg shaker. So there I was left with nothing but a voice and the occasional table beating.
Through the years I realized that I failed because I didn't try too hard. I quit easily and jumped to the next thing when it became too difficult. That was a hard lesson to learn and something i regret to this day.
But the positive part of me, the one telling me to always look at the bright side is saying that maybe the reason why I haven't found my match is because the right one hasn't come along.
Accompaniment in its very essence, is a sound that compliments you. It's not forced into the picture. Rather, it eases into your music, rides the waves of your sound and brings out the best in your tunes.
That's what the Ukulele did for me and it brought it's magic into my life at just the right time. It didn't come when I was a copycat teenager, trying to do the perfect "Paramore" or when I was shouting the deadly "Whitney's and Mariah's" It came when I finally figured out my style, when I stopped mimicking the standards and started searching for my own sound.
The Ukulele brought out the best in me, it gave me a personality - something I could call my own. It gave me the freedom to play with sound and not be restricted by the formula. It made me feel like we were one, a partnership brought about by the strumming of four strings.
Now I can't part with this little instrument despite the difficulties it takes to master it. Because for the first time in my instrument failure of a life, i'm actually willing to try. Now, I'm willing to learn.
You see love and instruments have a lot in common. Once you find the one, things change, you change and it becomes clear to you why the others didn't work out. :)
(Here's a photoshoot of my Uke and I by a friend of mine for my Flight of Fancy Summer Series)
Photography by : Chesca Agoncillo
MUA: Kelsey Cheng
Location: Alexandra, Pear Drive