This spring I’ve been doing a lot of concrete activities, to balance out the last two or three years of mostly thoughtful time. I had a lot of thinking and reading to do, but I’ve been getting more and more itchy for action. So, taking the advice that any real activity can help you stop living inside your head, I decided to learn to play and sing a song.
It’s been about twelve or fifteen years since I made music for myself instead of relying on my musical friends for occasional sing-along opportunities. It’s strange to realize how much I backed off singing when I met all these trained musicians who perform for money and applause. (At this moment, while I’m typing a draft of this, I’m recording my partner performing live on the radio.) I used to lead music with kids and sing for fun quite a bit. These days I don’t even sing in a group without listening for a long time first, and maybe being drunk. So besides being a skill that happens outside my mind, learning a song seemed like a way to balance out my self-consciousness and intimidation about singing “well.”
The easiest way I could think to start was with a ukulele— tiny and rarely dissonant— and house music— something I listen to a lot that most of my friends don’t seem to pay much attention to. I thought it would be helpful to start on my own personal power territory. Then I thought it would be even more helpful to start with something really ridiculous and also guitar based, i.e., Daft Punk.
Galen helped me by working out some ukulele chords while we were bus camping a few weeks ago. (You know, being digital.)
Here are the chords we worked out, if you too want to play Digital Love by Daft Punk on the ukulele.
Camping style, aka, being digital: