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Sophomore explores music through the ukulele

Instrument serves as emotional outlet

Samyu Yenamandra

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Sophomore Lexi Lee began playing the ukulele in eighth grade after being inspired to do so by her mentor at camp Unistar.

“I started in, I think, the fall of eighth grade,” Lexi Lee said. “My camp counselor played it and I just think it’s a really cool instrument so I wanted to play it too.”

Susan Lee, Lexi Lee’s mother, said Lexi Lee bought a ukulele with her sister after being inspired by someone else.

“She heard someone else playing ukulele and thought it sounded fun, so we went to a music store and bought a ukulele, with her own money and with her sister. She took it home and looked up on the internet how to play ukulele and it worked,”  Susan Lee said.

Lexi Lee’s brother Ryan Lee said (he) admires his sister’s determination to self-teach the ukulele.

“I think the initiative she put into learning to play is pretty awesome. We have friends that can play and she just decided one day to go get a uke and then did and she never needed a lesson learn which I think is impressive,” Ryan Lee said.

Lexi Lee said she learned to play the ukulele independently by using the website ukutabs.com along with the help of her sister.

“I taught myself. I got a chord book and used the website ukutabs.com that I use a lot,” Lexi Lee said. “My sister plays ukulele too, and she’s in percussion. My brother plays it a little bit but not really.”

Susan Lee said she feels proud of Lexi Lee for spending her time playing the ukulele as a way for her to express herself, instead of engaging in unproductive activities.

“My favorite part of her playing the ukulele is that it’s a great outlet for her. Sometimes when she needs to take a break and unwind, she’ll go in her room and just pull out some music sheets and start singing and playing ukulele,” Susan Lee said. “It’s just so nice to hear and it’s a great thing to hear from the other room, knowing your kid isn’t just in there playing on their phone. It’s just fun that she’s picked this up and it’s a fun outlet.”

Ryan Lee said participating their family’s annual talent show, where family members perform for the rest of the family, during Christmas and seeing his sister play ukulele at camp are his favorite memories.

“Lexi is always the person to lead singing and it makes me happy to see her pick up that role,” Ryan Lee said. “For our extended family Christmas gathering, we always need to perform a talent, so we usually band together and do something musical which is always the best.”

Lexi Lee said her personal favorite memory of playing ukulele was a performance at a summer camp and playing with her friends.

“At camp in eighth grade, at the talent show during at the end of the week, I sang and played a song with one of my friends and we got the whole camp involved, too, by singing in the chorus. It was a lot of fun,” Lexi Lee said. “Sometimes I play with my family and sometimes when I’m hanging out with my friends, we’ll play songs, too.”

Although Lexi Lee said she enjoys playing ukulele it will always remain a casual pastime.

“I performed at the POPS concert. I sang a song and played ukulele, but I haven’t really had a concerts and stuff like that. It’s mostly just for fun. I just have it as a hobby. I don’t think it will ever be a huge aspect of my life,” Lexi Lee said.

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Sophomore explores music through the ukulele