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Never too Old to Play the Ukulele

Is the ukulele the happiest instrument in the world? Ken Gates thinks so, at 82 he spends more than five hours a week playing his ukulele as part of The Basin Bowlers Big Time Band, the Pirates Band and the Jammin Band. He even has a beginner’s class where he teaches people of all ages how to play.

“The Basin Bowlers has about 15 people mainly playing the ukuele,” Ken said. “It is great because many join the group and achieve what they never thought they could.”

“I really enjoy watching everyone get a thrill out of coming together and making music – there is always a big smile on everyone’s face when we finish.”

You might assume that Ken has been strumming his uke all his life but he only first picked one up at the age of 67.

“I learnt to play the ukulele because I needed a bit of rhythm to go with my harmonica. I tried the guitar but that was a bit hard, the ukulele is fairly easy to pick up.”

According to Ken you don't have to be a seasoned musician to learn how to strum a few chords and play some catchy tunes. In fact, picking up a uke in your golden years can be especially beneficial for your mental health and overall well-being.

Studies have shown that learning a new skill, such as playing an instrument, can help keep your brain sharp and agile as you age. Plus, it's a great way to boost your mood and reduce stress levels.

“I would encourage anyone to try a ukulele class”, Ken said. “It gets your fingers moving, gets your mind moving, you meet people and it’s fun.

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