It’s 13:33 and I’m still in my pyjamas. I should be about to start a guitar ensemble class but it’s been cancelled. All my teaching has been cancelled. Events cancelled. Tours cancelled. Everything cancelled. But I am happy to comply with the government guidelines. We need to stop the spread of the virus. We need to do everything we can to protect our NHS from being overwhelmed. Like many I live in a a high risk household. Like everyone I’m worried, anxious, perplexed, angry, indignant. My day is a veritable pantheon of emotions. Last week I spent 2 days hiding under my duvet. I’m over that. Now I am finding/seeking moments of joy (Skyping my mum and brother in Australia; waltzing round the kitchen with L; playing my ukulele; doing some tai chi; reading; watching a film.) I’m trying to stay positive. Stay sane. Trying to find a new reality.
I am also fortunate. I can stay at home.
My heart goes out to all the essential services who don’t have that option.
Staying at home, however, makes me feel useless. I worry about my income. Soon I will need to find online strategies for teaching. The internet is an amazing resource and there is huge potential. I’ll be okay.
But right now – now that I’ve emerged from my duvet – I also want to do my bit to help others. As a musician I’ve often encountered the belief that the arts are unnecessary, a frippery, not a proper job. As society looks to science and medicine to find cures and solutions we (artists) are asked to sit at home, wait and contemplate all our cancelled gigs. It’s easy to feel inadequate. I can’t even do my job. And, let’s be honest, performing artists relish the spotlight and the applause. No income. No applause. All of which leads to: Frustration. Anger. Resentment. Anxiety. Boredom. Despair. Etcetera… we could certainly add to that list! Basically I am devalued. I could easily be overwhelmed. The government is concerned about our mental health and rightly so. I am concerned about my mental health.
Call to Arms!
Now is the time when all artists – musicians, writers, or dancers – can show our true value to society. We can’t cure people but we can help to keep people occupied and positive. Creativity is a wonderful therapy! Even if it’s a vehicle for venting your rage. My strumming has improved no end!
Right now I am offering my 10 Easy Melodies for Ukulele booklet for free. It’s a good place to start if you are new to the ukulele, or new to reading tab and finger picking. Download by clicking the link here:
I have also started uploading some free tutorials on YouTube.
At some point I will need to start charging but for now I will just ask those who can to make an offering (no matter how small) by using the DONATE button.
You might also like to consider my publications.
If you are in the UK and want to buy a ukulele then I recommend Matt Stead at The Uke Room. This is a small, family run business. Matt is a friend and a great guy!