Amelia shivered at Lady’s attempts to communicate with her, wanting the pokemon to stay far, faaarrr away from her head. She waited until the eggs had moved away a sufficient distance before she turned to answer Xander’s question. “I-I’ll learn th-the ukulele.” She scratched the back of her head. “I-I think th-the violin might b-be a bit complicated for me…”
“All right,” he nodded, and the violin vanished in a teleport. Amazing what a few months living with a psychic could do; Lady had a constant metaphorical ear out for Xander’s requests and could answer them near instantaneously. It was almost as if Xander himself were the one using teleport. Unless of course Lady decided not to comply.
Xander held the ukulele out to Amelia. “All right, I hope you don’t mind learning it left-handed. I could teach it to you right handed but you won’t be able to play anything, unless you get your own uke.”
The ukulele was a very standard soprano model, four strings, well worn with very little gloss or shine to its rich koa wood body. The strings on it were notably newer and in good condition.
Amelia tentatively took the instrument and held it lightly, as if she afraid it would crumble in her hands. She examined the ukulele and gently plucked one of its strings, listening thoughtfully to the sound. “I-I don’t mind l-learning left h-handed…” She plucked another one of the strings, and her eyes quickly darted to Xander to make sure she wasn’t doing anything wrong. The last thing she wanted was to break his instrument.
“All right, great.” He could see how she held it with no confidence. He chuckled, “Come on, you look like you’re gonna drop it. Here,” he took her left wrist and held her arm at a right angle, and fit the ukulele into the crook of her arm with a solid thud. Then he took her right hand and put it under the neck, so the instrument rested on top of the side of her hand before her thumb.
“Hold it with your left arm, not with your right hand. At any time you should be able to take your hand off the frets without the uke moving.” He motioned to the frets along the neck of the ukulele.
“Now I don’t know how comfortable these motion’s’ll be to you, you’re gonna strum with your left hand and press down the strings with your right. So give it a strum, without touching the stings on the neck. Try it out.”
Amelia held the ukulele awkwardly. It didn’t help that her left hand was dominant. She watched Xander’s motions intently to commit everything to memory. “A-Alright…” She jerked her left hand to strum, her fingers catching slightly between the strings as she pulled her hand down.
Xander refrained from laughing at her awkward stroke.
“Uh, maybe you’re more a show, don’t tell kinda person.” He motioned for the ukulele back.
He held it and gave her the chance to take a good look at it. “See, you kinda.. cradle it with your arm. And this hand stays loose over the neck. You keep your wrist straight and you move your whole arm when you’re doing chords.” He demonstrated, holding down a chord, moving his fingers lower and holding down another.
“And for strumming, that’s all in the wrist. You don’t move this arm,” he did a slow strum to demonstrate, taking his right hand off the neck as he did to emphasize that, “the only thing that moves is your wrist.” A few more strums, fluid, loose motions of his wrist, then he held a few chords and demonstrated the difference it made. “The lower you go on the neck the higher the notes,” he held the same chords and inched a few frets down each time to let her listen.
“Give it a shot yourself.” He held the ukulele up by the neck and held it back out to her. ” And let me know if I’m going too fast.”
Amelia blushed and took back the instrument, determined to prove herself. She repositioned it in her arms, trying to imitate Xander. She didn’t seem to relax much with his advice. She strummed the ukulele a few times, her wrist still stiff but moving with a tad bit more grace than before. Her eyes darted back to Xander before she tried to hold down a chord and strum some more. “L-Like that?”
“Yeah, there you go,” he smiled a bit. She was improving already, perfect. “Just keep it up like that. Keep trying at it, and see if you can play the four strings smoothly together.” A little more guidance for her wrist movements, and a little adjusting of her posture and hands here and there.
“G, C, E, A,” he named the strings as she plucked them, from the top string to the bottom. “C makes the lowest sound and A the highest. Can you hear it?” He let her keep going on her own, waiting for her to get a better hang of it and strum the strings more smoothly.
Amelia smiled at his smile, feeling accomplished. Her muscles relaxed slightly at his praise. “Y-Yeah I-I can hear it…” She plucked over each of the strings multiple times, trying to memorize the sound each made. Her movements gradually became more fluid as she grew accustomed to the ukulele. While still far from perfect, Amelia felt enough confidence to try and play a little tune, but the notes came out awkward and broken. She frowned and tried strumming the strings again. “H-How long di-did it take you to get the hang of this, Xander?”