Storytime music


At my last bookstore author presentation, I included a song. I’d gotten the idea of using music to jazz up the event from an article in the SCBWI bulletin. It seemed a perfect fit. I was a music major and a songwriter, so what could go wrong? I put my new lyrics to the old song, “Bicycle Built for Two,” got some 6th graders who agreed to come and sing, et voila. The only problem was, only one singer showed up, and she was not a strong singer. I hadn’t provided any accompaniment because guitars are so bulky and I feel too inferior to play anyway, because my husband is a very good guitarist. (My senior recital instruments were piano and recorder.) So it was just me without any instrument to keep us on tune and a couple of game adults. It did not jazz up the event. It made it awkward. That was my take on it, anyway.

So why would I even think about trying music again? Because I have a library event coming up and I’m really horrible at crafts and I needed something more special than just a coloring page. And these kids are supposed to be young. Little kids love music and they don’t tend to be snobs about it.

But I learned from last time. I needed accompaniment. Brain-flash: a ukulele is small. And it only has four strings instead of six. And my husband doesn’t play it (although I’m sure he will abscond with it soon and become brilliant). I immersed myself in ukulele info on the internet and saw some really awesome performances that I will not aspire to (Jake Shimabukuro, you are amazing), learned about the different kinds of ukuleles and decided on a tenor. I also decided to go cheap, because who knew if I would even like this instrument? (I got a mandolin once that I thought would solve my string instrument problems. Long story short–it didn’t.) Found a ukulele on Ebay and took the plunge. And it has been such fun.

My new uke

Unless you hear Jake play it, the ukulele does not seem like a serious instrument. So it’s easier to just let go and enjoy it. No pressure. Within a few days, I had two simple songs down I could play at the library event. Soon I added another possibility. And now I find myself picking it up just to mess around with it. Stay tuned to see if the library music works out. Either way, it’s been a fun jaunt.

What songs can you think of to go with your own book or a favorite book?


About Judith L. Roth

When I was about ten, it occurred to me that books are written by people and I was a person. I could create my favorite things–I could write books! I got a B.A. in English. My first poem was accepted for publication before I graduated. I had some success with poetry, but my real dream was to write fiction for children. My first fiction piece was accepted about 25 years after the first submission. Things you might want to know about me: I know how to persevere. I’m a third-generation California native, living in Indiana. I have two remarkable sons who are now young men,and a husband who’s supported my writing for over three decades. I love cats and currently have three of them. I love being near water–oceans, lakes, rivers all work for me. Chocolate is probably my biggest downfall. I’m exceptionally curious. (Or nosy, as my family calls it.)

2 responses »

  1. Good luck with learning the uke – it’s small, fun to play & has a lot of potential! I’ve been teaching myself for around a year. If you’re interested, our club pages have plenty of tips & links to lots of free on-line resources (see my signature block).

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