Banish the Blues with Dr. Uke

Today when I saw several posts /tweets about feeling negative, frustrated or stuck, I could relate. No matter how wonderful life is, there is always room to grow.

I’ve been in transition for the past few years, with my child heading out into the world and the new responsibilities of caring for my mom. Empty nest but not really.

Who am I now that I’m not “mom” full time? How do I parent my parent? How does my relationship with my hubby change with no child in the house, but parents in need? What about me and my career aspirations? What do I want to be when I grow up? S**t, I’m over 50!!!

Banish the Blue with Dr. Uke by Lisa Nalbone blue dolphin ukulele in sunset on deck with almond blossoms and What a Wonderful World music.So what am I doing about it?

Learning to play the ukulele!

I call mine Dr. Uke. I appreciate that my playing prescription has few or no contraindications, requires no copays, and is available 24/7.

Learning something new has been a great way for me to get unstuck and battle negativity.

There’s really no downside, except maybe annoying your hubby and friends. And maybe starting to require a budget for building a uke family, music library, or festival attendance.

But, hey, the world needs more enthusiasm. So, join me, on my fabulous, fun ukulele adventure.

If you don’t become a uke master, so what? You still reap the benefits which can start you moving in other areas of your life. It’s a brilliant concrete example of the progress you can make with self-directed learning. Sounds crazy, but now I’m a believer.

In a few short months, my friends and I went from uke newbies to festival attendees. And though we drove off to Reno with some trepidation, as novices with brightly colored ukes, we learned that just doing it and showing up pays off.

The uke community and instrument are amazing. All levels of players are welcome and can play together and sound good! I mean, really it wasn’t noise, it was music. (This shocked me as a former  4th and 5th grade recorder teacher!) We realized how far we had come since we started, and were stunned by the progress we could make in 50 minutes of being really challenged. And damn, it made us feel good!!!

Learning a new skill, getting out of your comfort zone, and interacting with different people will increase creativity.

When you add growing confidence and happiness, the combination is incredibly powerful.  It seeps into other areas of your life. I don’t know how to explain it, but I have seen it in action.  Granted my sample size is small. But I figure if I can do it, anyone can.

Concentrating on learning a song is relaxing since you’re not worrying about other stuff.

Singing & smiling are great for your brain & soul  – no studies to cite, but I know it’s true.

It’s EASY to sound good and improve.

For about $50 we bought Kala Makala  soprano Dolphin ukes and added Aquila strings.

There are lots of free online tutorials! We’ve taken a few lessons from teachers willing to give us infrequent lessons based on our needs.

It’s easy to join or start a group. After I started gushing about how much I loved playing,  it seemed like everyone wanted to join in. Surprise!

Do you have hidden uke?

Who knew? There are lots of ukulele festivals to choose from.  Attending a festival and playing in a group were way beyond my comfort zone.  Immersion, more advanced lessons and  intense practice boost skills, confidence, and blisters.

For more details about how we started our group I’ll refer you to my uke buddy’s blog post  titled the Blukuleles – or how to form a  a group to learn anything.


Even if it is not ukulele, DO something. Learn something new. You won’t regret it.

Let me know in the comments what you might do-be brave!

7 thoughts on “Banish the Blues with Dr. Uke

  1. Thanks for commenting. I am curious, are you also learning & playing with other people?

  2. I started playing the Uke last year to ease my return to school, ugh, the final year – after a year off learning and growing in the classroom of the world. I completely suport music therapy, rather educational therapy as you describe it. Go and learn something new! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks, Stacy. Have you had a chance to take a look at I think some of Susan’s 30 day challenges might be really helpful for me. I’d be interested in your opinion.

  4. Thanks for this wonderful post, Lisa. Once again you have beautifully articulated much of what I have been feeling and thinking as an old dog learning a new trick haha! Keep on strummin’! €==(~)

  5. Thanks for your comment. I really loved reading your Beautiful mind post just after I had posted this. I think it is the lateral thinking along with learning something new and especially suspending judgement that really make a critical difference in making change.

  6. Delighted to be mentioned here, Lisa. Thank you.

    I agree: “Learning something new is a great way to get unstuck and battle negativity.”

    Learning the uke is cool, I’m well aware. A friend of mine started playing around with it, and soon enough, she found her way into a band – with gigs!

    Way to go! Look forward to reading more about it.


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