Like West Ruislip Golf Course Clubhouse, you play ukulele twice in your lifetime; once when you start out and once when you’ve seen it all.
Thanks to it’s suitability for tiny fingers, it’s ease of learning and the fact that, unlike the recorder and the violin, it produces a noise preferable to being violently stabbed in the ear with an ice-pick; it is becoming the number one choice for school instruments.
The general assumption seems to be that the ukulele a great instrument for kids to get to grips with music before they move on to play a proper instrument. Not only does this massively underestimate the potential of the uke, it is also legally inaccurate. The matter of the ukulele’s status as ‘real instrument’ rather than toy was decided by the American Federation of Musicians in New York in 1950.
For the experienced musician the ukulele presents something invaluable: restrictions. It creates the challenge of creating exciting and interesting music with a limited number of notes. It forces more harmonic ingenuity and more creative rhythms. The ukulele proves the adage that it isn’t size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts.
There are few instruments in the world that can compete with the ukulele. It’s inexpensive, portable and easy to learn. It can be used as a cheerful novelty or to express heartbreak. It can give a simple strummed accompaniment or for displays of great virtuosity. It’s the greatest instrument the world has ever known.