Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

I’m Switching from Guitar to Ukulele (Moon River, Edelweiss, Carole Jean and Ethel May)

Posted on: April 24, 2018


There, I said it. I’ve never been very good at the guitar, despite lots of practice and lots of use. I learned to accompany myself on simple songs with kids out of sheer desperation. That’s the wonderful value of having learned to play it to the extent to which I did, for, if I hadn’t accompanied myself with guitar on these simple songs with kids, those songs would not have gotten sung. My guitar (which I named Aunt Mary Pickle) also opened up creative pathways for me. I started writing lots of little songs myself. That’s been fun.

Enter the ukulele (I’ve named her Penny). I initially started to play her when Tim Hopgood, wonderful illustrator from York, England, told me that he was working on illustrating the song MOON RIVER (October 2018). My brain lit all up. The vision of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly playing her ukulele while singing MOON RIVER on her fire escape flashed through my head. I got out my uke, adapted some chords and learned to play that song. Somewhere in the middle of learning to play MOON RIVER, I decided to watch a video of that scene. It turns out, she plays the guitar! But it IS a small parlor guitar. In my mind it was a ukulele.

But the uke stuck. I realized that there is nothing the guitar can do that the uke CAN’T (at least not so far as my novice skill will take me). True, the guitar is more beautiful. But the sweet charm, novelty, and portability of the ukulele cannot be beat. So, I’ve started visiting all the song sheets I made for guitar and I am altering them as needed to better suit the uke. It’s a project and it’ll take some time. But it is an enjoyable exercise and the best way I can think of to hone my skills enough for playing with kids in their classrooms.

This whole essay is to say that yesterday and today I tackled EDELWEISS. What a wonderful song it is. I ended up writing an essay about that, too, as EDELWEISS brings strong memories of my mom and always also makes me think of my grandmother Gram (Ethel May Selka):

Sweet dreams, friends.

Sweet Dreams.

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This is a page of links to posts I’ve assembled in the memory of people who have meant the world to me.



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Sing Books with Emily Instagram

SBWE DAILY SONG 10/18/2018 SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/18/2018 DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW (as Illustrated by Jenny Cooper), an Illustrated Song BITLY LINK DESCRIPTION I LOVE this illustration of DO YOUR EARS HANG LOW.  I acquired it in 2018 and it sat on the shelf for a long time before I was able to really look at it, document it, and decide how to use it. This will certainly be the illustration that I use for singing the song.  There are 4 verses in this, each one as enjoyable as the next. And the pictures, all with animals, are simultaneously sensitive and hilarious.  These pictures have a great sense of humor without making fun of the animals. Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/18/2018
And then there’s Maude! @outdoorukulele
SING BOOKS WITH EMILY Saturday, October 20, 2018 10:30-11am, Reston Regional Library Reston Regional Library 11925 Bowman Towne Dr. Reston, VA 20190 Come sing favorite illustrated songs and some fun spooky ones for Halloween!
SBWE DAILY SONG 10/17/2018 SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/17/2018 LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH, an Illustrated Song book/ BITLY LINK LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH is an important song. It's a prayer and a call to action. Sometimes we hope for things to get better, but this song reminds us that if things are going to get better, it's up to each one of us to take an active role in making that happen. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. I have arranged this song for my own use and you can find a song sheet with ukulele or guitar chords in the Sing Books with Emily blog link above that is dedicated to this illustrated song. I have tried to simplify this song to make it less of an oversung anthem and make it more of an easy to sing folk song. This song can be sweet hearted and simple. Let's sing it together and remember that if we are to have a more peaceful world, country, and community, we've got to let peace flourish in our own hearts first. A special shout of thank you to teacher Ms. Chloe Yazdani for the wonderful gift of the lazer cut PEACE earrings. The perfect accessory for this song! Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/17/2018
SING BOOKS WITH EMILY 10/15/2018 THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN TOSSED UP IN A BASKET, an Illustrated Song BITLY LINK THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN TOSSED UP IN A BASKET is still one of my favorite rhymes to sing. I love that Old Woman. I love that she flies up to the sky with a job to do, that she earnestly answers your question, and she invites us to come along with her. And I love that she is a witch. A good witch. This is one of the first rhymes that I wanted to sing, found a recording for, adapted the tune to my own liking, and developed my own chords for accompanying the singing. I was proud of my tiny achievement and I still enjoy sharing the results. There was not an individual illustration for this Old Woman, but there were may single page treatments in compilations of rhymes. So I picked my favorite ones to make a serviceable book to use for singing this little gem to kids. Visit my blog for more information: Like or Follow Sing Books with Emily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Come along and sing along with Emily SBWE DAILY SONG 10/15/2018

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