Respect is one of those things that most people have a decent grasp of. When you enter a new realm however, sometimes the proper protocol is unknown. Here is my list of some tips to keep you out of trouble or people saying, “He’s the new guy” behind your back. Most of it is not a big deal, but little things add up and hopefully some of these tips will help you avoid awkward situations in your enjoyment of the ‘ukulele.
Kani Ka Pila:
- Try not to play louder than the person who is singing.
- Don’t solo when someone is singing.
- Don’t solo when someone else is soloing.
- If you don’t want to take a solo, say “pass” so that the next person can jump in and take your spot without a big gap in the song.
- Be aware of your instrument – the last thing you want to do is hit somebody in the face with your headstock when you sit up from adjusting your song sheets.
- If you are just watching, don’t stand in the back and talk.
- If you are asked to play a song, by all means play your favorite song, but be sure that you brief everyone else on the chords so that they can play along and don’t choose something too hard.
- If songs are being picked in a circle fashion, have your song in mind. Don’t delay the enjoyment of music!
- Know your limitations. If you have an opportunity to attend an advanced class, learn as much as you can, but be aware that your skills might interfere with the other students learning. I’ve seen highly respected artists very frustrated because they are trying to teach an advanced class, but some beginners are struggling with the materials and the teacher doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. If you are having trouble with the material, absorb what you can, but try not to ask too many questions (unless everyone is lost!). See if you can catch up to one of the advanced students after the class and ask for some help. Most would be happy to give advice.
- Play over the fretboard to avoid “wearing in” someone else’s ‘ukulele.
- Especially in Hawai’i: Say oo-koo-le-le instead of you-ka-lay-lee. (my opinionated opinion)
These are just some light guidelines. Most everybody I’ve met who plays music is cool, but sometimes we all need a reminder.