It’s easy to learn and not expensive to buy.
These are a couple of the features that make playing ukulele a popular pass-time in Australia, according to Ged Conder.
Ged teaches ukulele as part of the Gloucester District University of the Third Age’s (U3A) current program for term three. He’s been playing guitar since 1966 but only recently picked up its smaller cousin.
He finds the ukulele playing community very welcoming and has played among groups of 300 to 400 people.
The ukulele sessions have been a part of the U3A term calendar for the past year and a half, and it’s continuing to grow in popularity.
“It’s much, much easier to play than the guitar,” he explained. “People pick it up much quicker.”
With only four basic chords and smaller frets, Ged reckons people can easily play hundreds of songs.
The Gloucester group not only enjoys strumming, but they enjoy to sing along.
“They love it,” Ged said.
Members have decided to take up ukulele lessons for a number of reasons, one of which is the size of instrument making it very portable and easy to take anywhere.
There are several festivals each year, including ones in Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast, where lovers of the instrument gather for workshops, performances and jamming sessions.
Members of the Gloucester group say it’s easy to join into a ukulele jamming sessions as they find the community very welcoming.
Ged said it’s because the instrument is so forgiving; if you miss a chord or play it wrong, it’s not a noticeable as when playing guitar making it easy to continue without disrupting the rest of the group.
Beside that, the group gets a lot of enjoyable out of spending time together, playing music and singing along.
It’s a happy social affair.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, Ged suggests you come along to a session and try out one of his many different types of ukuleles before going out to buy your own.
Currently, the group gets together twice a week in the Gloucester Senior Citizens Centre at 30 Hume Street on Mondays and Thursdays. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: http://gloucester.u3anet.org.au/. Members are mainly retired or semi-retired with a recommended age-requirement of 50 years plus.