Friday, June 6, 2008

I interupt this regularly scheduled blog...

On the children's TV show "Zoom" on PBS, they had a language called Ubbi-Dubbi.
Essentially, it was pig-latin. You would simply say 'ub' before every vowel sound. Now, it's not as easy as it may sound, and as a child I was desperate to figure out this language. This was evident in the millions of scraps of paper that I left around the house, with things like "rubow rubow rubow yubour buboat, gubentlubly dubown thube strubeam!" and "bubah bubah bluback shubeep hubave yubou ubanuby wubool?" scrawled upon them.

I'd simply figure out how to say what I wanted to say, write it all down, and then memorize it. It was, basically, cheating. I had a very difficult time figuring out exactly what a vowel sound sounded like.

But then one morning, I woke up, and I just... HAD IT. I could do it, fluently, all of a sudden. This was roughly ten years ago now, and my ability to speak Ubbi Dubbi has never failed me-- I can still conjure it up when I have to, sans-practice.

I sometimes think learning to play an instrument must feel like this. You struggle and struggle and it sucks and you feel dumb, but then one day you just... GET it. You just wake up and instantly know what strings to pluck to play exactly what you want, and you're no longer worrying about fretting or if your F is sharp or flat or whatever.

Today my lap harp arrived. It's constructed by FirstAct Discovery, and it's supposed to be so simple that a child can master it. I bought it with the intention of using it to conduct sing-alongs during story readings at my local library, but... christ. I can't even play Three Blind Mice, and it has those handy little slip-in pieces of paper that show you EXACTLY what strings to pluck. It's designed for 'ages 6 and up'. Apparently I have not grasped the hand and eye coordination that a typical 6 year old has.

It's at times like these I wonder if I'll ever be successful.

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