Little notebooks are great to go with the little ukulele.
Years ago, I developed an addiction to PDAs (personal digital assistants) that began with with a Palm IIIc then moved through a progression from Tungsten to Treo. The PDA changed my life.
I seldom lost notes and usually knew where I should be according to my digital calendar.
Once upon a time I’d written notes on small scraps of paper that made it safely into jean pockets or the black chasm of a purse. But, as you likely know, doing laundry can wash away the best of ideas. Generally, people don’t lose $300 small electronic devices like PDAs. As a result of this addiction, so much of my life relied on the digital.
But then I read a blog post called, “9 Lists to Keep Updated” on Lifehacker Blog. Some of the suggested lists are atypical — such as the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).
If lists are to keep our lives tidy, under control, put us where we are to be at the right time then the idea of these 9 lists moves us to think outside the list.
The lists, as described in Lifehacker Blog, are kept in “Moleskines”. What was that? A new kind of rodent? Within a few days of reading that post I’d “googled” and researched Moleskines and its competitors, read about the Moleskine effect, viewed other people’s Moleskine contents and pictures on the Web. Then I purchased blank, squared, and lined Moleskines for myself and friends.
But the Moleskine I wanted most had tiny musical staves in it. I did not order it from the Web site, because like you, I argued I do not need to spend $12 on a small notebook when I could buy a set of Worth strings instead.
Then I found the real thing. And that is different. You pick it up, turn the pages, feel the textured paper in your fingers, caress the black leather-simulated cover and imagine what could happen on those tiny staves. The purchase is painless, perhaps even liberating. This happened and I bought what has become my “Ukulele Moleskine” in the campus bookstore of Reed College — home of the Portland Ukefest 2009.
My first use of my Ukulele Moleskine was to try to write the tabs that Del Ray was teaching in one of her sessions. She can hear something and then play it back in a way that lets you know she is an aural learner. But I am a visual learner. So I strained my eyes to follow her fast fingers on the fretboard, then jotted quickly into my Ukulele Moleskine the tabslation (read tab translation) that she was teaching.
Now, when electricity or power is minimal, I have my Ukulele Moleskine with me. If my iPhone is low on batteries, I have my ukulele moleskine with me.
There are four types of uke-activities recorded in my Ukulele Moleskine:
1. In my Ukulele Moleskine are scales that I want to learn, like the blues scales.
2. In my Ukulele Moleskine is the new song I am figuring out — note by note on the staff. For instance, recently I watched Ken Burns documentaries on the U.S. National Parks and noted that one of the recurring music themes was an old hymn “This is my Father’s World”. Why not figure out my own fingerpicking rendition of this song in my Ukulele Moleskine!
3. In my Ukulele Moleskine I am learning new chords. I’ve glued in songs I like and then the fingerings I need to learn to play the chords farther up the neck .
4. In my Ukulele Moleskine, I scribble quickly what I think I am learning in a session — such as I did in Del Ray’s fingerpicking Portland Ukefest session.
Can you think of ways to add to the Ukulele Moleskine list?