SPRUKE Festival News

Vanessa’s Uke Journey

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Congratulations to Vanessa Nugent who won a $100 music gift voucher in our How Ukulele Changed My Life Competition. This is her winning entry.

Vanessa’s Uke Journey

I have played the guitar in the confines of my bedroom since I was 12 years old; always quietly so as not to disturb anybody. I sang quietly, I played quietly.
Thirteen years ago I moved to a new area and found a nice man who persuaded me to dust off the guitar and perform a few songs with him – in public. It was a taste of something that I really liked. My inner performer was awoken from deep within.
Then three years ago I had a holiday in Hawaii. I kept telling my husband that I had to buy a ukulele and one night we wondered into a music store in our resort. I had no idea what I was doing but I ended up with a wonderful Kala. How proud I was walking around with that small instrument not knowing at the time that I was just another cliché getting onto the plane with a uke on my back as thousands had done before me.
A couple of weeks after arriving home, I contacted the local music shop to enquire about local ukulele groups and I was given a contact number. After a conversation with a very supportive lady I found myself outside a café one Sunday morning playing and singing with other like-minded people. This led to me joining a local group where I hung in the background for many months just plunking away. Then our leader started talking about performing and I was suddenly thrust forward into the world of Open Mic afternoons and concerts for community groups.
Fast forward twelve months and our ukulele leader suddenly and unexpectedly resigned. This fractured our group and I suddenly found myself thrust toward leading a large group of people every Saturday at a new location.
It was at this stage that I started seriously considering private teaching sessions. I knew I had to keep improving if I was to teach so I enrolled in the James Hill Ukulele Institute Teaching Course in Newcastle. It was an amazing experience being completely surrounded by ‘my tribe’. I had been looking for these people all my life. I also began singing lessons to learn how to breathe and sing properly. This led to a wonderful new friendship with my singing teacher and her husband, both amazing performers who have generously taught me about performing.
So here I am today, a Uke Group Leader and teacher who has the extreme pleasure of watching her brood grow and improve. We had our first paid concert this week and I had people chasing me out the door wanting to book us for further concerts. We now have four more concerts booked. We are on our way.
From this journey I have discovered that I am a leader, a teacher, a musician and most importantly a friend to all who join me each week. My mum said to me not long ago, “Who knew you had that inside you?” And my response, “Me mum; I always knew.”


Vanessa Nugent shares her uke obsession with the global ukulele community as Ukulele Australia www.facebook.com/ukulele4me… go check it out and give her a LIKE to join her tribe. If you live near Urunga NSW, need a teacher or want to join a group contact her at vjnugent@bigpond.com.

We are very happy to have Vanessa joining us at SPRUKE 2015.

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