Creative Activities

Why Everyone Needs a Creative Outlet (& 5 Activities to Try)

Creative Activities

In a world where everyone is overscheduled and chronically busy, it can seem hard to find time for creativity. However, creative activities can actually improve quality of life.

As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.”

Research has established that creativity is good for you. The creative process is said to heighten mental health, assist with trauma relief, boost brain function, strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, and increase physical wellbeing. Creative outlets such as writing, painting, or playing music can impact a person’s life on many levels.

The concept of being creative isn’t new. Humans have been creating since prehistoric times. More than 39,900 years ago, our ancestors left their first drawings on cave walls. This early art form and communication style is still admired today. It’s a sign that creativity is essential to who we are as human beings, regardless of time or place.

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In the modern world, we have endless opportunities for creativity. Our advanced creative outlets span visual and performing arts, culinary arts, language arts, musical arts, and more. Though timeless, creativity is also very personal, and the individual must experiment to discover his or her match. If finding a new creative outlet is your goal, you’re in the right place. We have five fun creative activities that will bring joy to your life.

Find Your Outlet: 5 Creative Activities to Try

When choosing a new creative outlet, take your personal lifestyle and hobbies into account. Some people are happiest when at home with paints and an easel. Others are in their element in a crowded swing dance club. Some of us would love to sing onstage, and for others, it doesn’t get better than escaping on a hike to write poetry. The new creative activities you choose should inspire and excite you, and make you smile. 

Here are five creative activities you can start today.

1. Theater

From improv comedy to Shakespeare interpretations, stage theater is a creative outlet with unlimited benefits. This creative activity will improve your public speaking, strengthen your interpersonal skills, heighten your physical awareness, and help increase mindfulness so you can be present in the moment – both on and off the stage.

Who will enjoy theater?

Do you love being around other people? Are you fascinated by storytelling? Theater is often pursued by extroverts, but you don’t have to be outgoing to enjoy the thespian tradition. Delve into the world of drama and let your true creativity shine through.

Creative Activities2. Visual Arts

One of the most popular creative activities, visual arts offer something for everyone. Immerse yourself in color during a painting class, take a photography course, create a mural, or learn how to make your own jewelry. Visual arts have been found to help with everything from reducing stress hormones to helping with trauma relief.

Who will enjoy visual arts?

Are you inspired by the colors, textures, and shapes in the world around you? Lean into that passion through the arts.

3. Movement

From swing dancing to ballet and martial arts, the creative act of movement reconnects you with your physical self. It’s a great way to ground yourself and gain perspective. Moving your body increases emotional wellbeing and improves heart health. Social dancing in particular has also been found to lengthen lifespan.

Who will enjoy movement? 

Do you get antsy when sitting for too long? Love to be physical? Movement is ideal for kinesthetic learners, but it’s not only the physically-inclined who benefit. If you’ve never felt at home on the dance floor, a dance class may be the perfect confidence-boost.

4. Music

It’s hard to find a creative activity more universally appealing than music. From singing opera to playing in a brass band, music allows you to express yourself and connect with others. Even better, playing music has been found to boost brain function, and the social connections from playing in a group increase both your emotional and physical health.

Who will enjoy music?

Does music help you unwind after a long day? If music brings you joy, learning to play a musical instrument may light up your life in new ways.

5. Creative Writing

Take a Haiku class, study the world of sonnets, create your own piece of fiction, or simply keep a personal journal. Creative activities like writing give you the power to reflect on your own life and gain a better understanding of the shared human experience. Creative writing has also been found to boost your long-term emotional wellbeing.

Who will enjoy writing?

Do you get excited about word play? Love language and storytelling? Writing is a gateway for personal expression, whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or in between.


Try these creative activities and discover the creative outlet that works best for you.

If you don’t know where to start your creative journey, consider booking lessons with a professional in the creative field of your choice. From music teachers to performing arts teachers, there are in-person and online lesson options to meet your needs. Find your art form today, and begin experiencing the true benefits of creativity.

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Secrets of Creative People

Secrets of Highly Creative People & How to Unleash Your Own Creativity

Secrets of Creative People

Have you ever wondered how to be more creative? Ever longed to paint whimsical landscapes, invent a useful gadget, or unleash your creativity through music?

Creativity is illusive. It can feel like some people have the creativity gene, and others don’t.

The research reveals something different. Science shows us that “… in many ways, we are all wired to create,” say researchers Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire. “The key is recognizing that creativity is multifaceted.” In fact, many psychologists argue that creativity isn’t something we’re born with, it’s a skill we learn. This crucial understanding is the first step to figuring out how to express your creativity.

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So, how do highly-creative people unlock that sense of wonder? It turns out, there is a technique that can help to unleash your creativity. We collected 10 easy habits from creative geniuses throughout the ages to help you express your creativity today.

How to Unleash Your Creativity: 10 Creative Habits That Will Change Your Life


1. Find Your Groove

J.K. Rowling wrote several portions of the Harry Potter series in a cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland. Isabel Allende prefers to start writing her novels on January 8. From composers to actors and circus performers, every creative individual has their own, unique method. Your job is to discover what routine is beneficial for the creative side of your brain.

2. Collaborate 

Paul McCartney and John Lennon co-wrote Beatles songs for decades. Choreographer Martha Graham developed a lasting collaboration with visual artist Isamu Noguchi. Most great television show scripts are written by diverse teams of people. A strategic collaborator will bring new ideas and fresh energy to your projects. Working with a partner or group can open doors you never even knew were there.

3. Listen

Songwriter Tom Waits once said, “I like turning on two radios at the same time and listening to them. I like hearing things incorrectly. I think that’s how I get a lot of ideas, by mishearing something.” Develop your awareness by listening, seeing, feeling, and reflecting. Let the world around you reveal the creative possibilities.

4. Build Your Environment

Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, fills his corporate office with art, guitars, high-tech gadgets, and toys. Composer Morten Lauridsen writes renowned choral compositions with an out-of-tune piano on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest. What environment speaks to you? It might be a bare room or a crowded cafe. It might be a dance studio or a forest. Experiment and find a place you love that helps you learn how to express your creativity.

5. Do It Wherever You Are

Author E.B. White often wrote in his living room, where he described a “carnival” of activity. In theory, it wasn’t an ideal place to write. But he said, “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” Remember that there is no perfect time or place. Life is noisy and crowded, and options may be limited. In that case, practice your music or write your novel wherever you are.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” – E.B. White

6. Be a Thief

Writer Austin Kleon says, “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.” We are granting you the permission to free yourself from the chains of original creativity. Instead, embrace inspiration to unleash your creativity. Loosen up, look around you, and allow yourself to be influenced by the leaders in your field.

7. Surround Yourself With Good Stuff

Choreographer Twyla Tharp avidly absorbs the world around her. She says, “Reading, conversation, environment, culture, heroes, mentors, nature – all are lottery tickets for creativity. Scratch away at them and you’ll find out how big a prize you’ve won.” You are the creative sum of what you surround yourself with. Read great books, listen to music, see wonderful plays, seek out museums, and spend time with people who inspire you.

8. Be Unstoppable

The world-famous comedian Eddie Izzard was a modest street performer for almost a decade. By his own account, he was terrible. It took him nearly 10 years to discover stand-up comedy, and then learn how to be funny. Remember that no one is a master of their craft on day one. It takes a relentless determination to keep going, and keep improving, no matter what. Your job is to continue making art, playing music, coming up with ideas, and doing the work you care about in the face of fear, failure, and rejection.

9. Make It a Habit

Picasso famously said: “Action is the foundational key to all success.” And novelist Gustave Flaubert supported the message: “Be regular and orderly in your work, so that you may be violent and original in your work,” Innovators of all disciplines know that creativity is an act of habit, not inspiration. Creativity is about coming back to your work, day after day. It’s about sitting down to the piano, going into the dance studio, and writing another page of the novel, even when you don’t feel like it.

10. Do It Your Own Way

Author Austin Kleon lives by this creative manifesto: “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” You are a true original, and there is nobody out there who can do the work that you’re meant to do. Start today, pave your own path, and create for a lifetime.


There is no blueprint for creativity. We hope that these 10 habits can help you unleash your creativity and pursue that next passion project with confidence. From Picasso to John Lennon, take these professional tips and apply them to your learning journey.


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Failure as Motivation for Success

Fail Often: Why Mistakes Should Motivate You

Failure as Motivation for Success

Flunked tests and big mistakes. Auditions that go nowhere and record labels that decide not to sign you. Embarrassing performances and rejected manuscripts.

How many of these failures do you have under your belt?

The short answer: not enough.

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Failure is a non-negotiable part of success. Yes, failing is essential for learning.

Musician and educator, Eloise Ristad, explains that “when we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.”

Failures are not only inevitable, they are valuable. Failures inform us what isn’t working. Failures remind us that we are in motion – that we are actively trying and taking risks.

Every failure is a stepping stone towards success, a notch in your belt, a rung on the ladder. Every time you miss a note or get rejected – you are one step closer to your goal.

That’s why every single failure – big and small – should motivate you.

“Failures remind us that we are in motion… taking risks.”

How to Use Failures As Motivation

Welcome to the Club of Successful People Who Failed

Did you know that Henry Ford went broke five times and was advised to stay away from the automobile industry? Walt Disney, when looking to finance Walt Disney World, was turned down an impressive 300 times.

A whopping 12 publishers rejected J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter manuscript, and five record companies chose not to sign the Beatles. After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the studio report read: “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

The most successful people among us have experienced spectacular failures. And what is the common thread? The famous words of Robert F. Kennedy explain it best: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Do you have failures you can tout? If so, it’s time to stop being embarrassed about them, and start celebrating them. If not? It’s time to take more risks on your learning journey.

How to Use Failure as Motivation for Success

Failure: Now Recognized as an Important Life Skill

Educators are recognizing the importance of celebrating and destigmatizing failure.

A Smith College initiative called Failing Well is one of several university programs designed to give high-achieving students the skills to cope with setbacks.

“What we’re trying to teach is that failure is not a bug of learning, it’s the feature,” said Rachel Simmons, a leadership development specialist in Smith’s Wurtele Center for Work and Life. “It’s not something that should be locked out of the learning experience…”

The program offers everything from workshops on imposter syndrome to discussions on perfectionism. When students enroll in Simmons’ program, they each receive an official Certificate of Failure. It’s a document that gives students clear permission to take risks, make mistakes, and mess up.

The certificate states: “You are hereby authorized to screw up, bomb or fail at one or more relationships, hookups, friendships, texts, exams, extracurriculars, or any other choices associated with college… and still be a totally worthy, utterly excellent human.”

These lessons in failing are important because they unlock doors for learners. These doors can open the possibility of failure, as well as the possibility of success.

You don’t need a university professor to issue a Certificate of Failure. You can give yourself that permission. You can even draw up your own certificate as a physical reminder that mistakes and setbacks aren’t just human, they are essential to growth.

“You are hereby authorized to screw up, bomb or fail… and still be a totally worthy, utterly excellent human.”

How to Use Failure as Motivation

“Failure is so important,” says author, J.K. Rowling. “… it is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success…”

Ballet dancer, Ashley Bouder is known for her daring, athletic performances. She is widely known for pushing herself hard, and it’s not unusual to see her fall during a ballet concert.

Bouder is celebrated as one of the top dancers in her field. And she is exciting to watch, in part because the audience knows she’s not afraid of falling. The fall is part of the process, part of the performance, and evidence that she is always reaching beyond. A fall – in her case – is a mark of excellence.

Do you want to be really great at learning? Practice failing. Get more mistakes under your belt. Get rejected more often. Reach for a skill that is slightly outside your comfort zone.

Because when you fail, you know you’re on your way to greatness.


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10 Essential Songs You Need on Your Halloween Playlist


Whether you’re turning your house into a creepy haunted mansion, heading to a rockin’ Halloween party, or getting the kids dressed up for trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, these Halloween party songs are the best way to get into the spirit.

No playlist fit for consumption by ghouls and goblins is complete without these 10 essentials.

Turn it up, and have a happy and safe Halloween!

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1. Thriller

Who doesn’t love the “Thriller” dance?

2. Candy

Because it’s not Halloween without plenty of candy.

3. I Put a Spell on You

For extra bonus Halloween points, check out Bette Midler’s version of this classic tune from the movie Hocus Pocus.

4. This is Halloween

Another great Halloween movie, Nightmare Before Christmas, is full of great songs by Danny Elfman, perfect for this scary season!

5. Dead Man’s Party

Speaking of Danny Elfman, throw a “Dead Man’s Party” with this 80’s favorite.

6. Time Warp

Rocky Horror is always appropriate.

7. Somebody’s Watching Me

This tune is perfect for a Halloween dance-off!

8. Ghost Riders in the Sky

Johnny Cash brings the spooky vibes in this golden oldie.

9. Psycho Killer

Run, run, run!

10. Monster Mash

Because it’s not Halloween until you’re doing the mash!

What’s your favorite Halloween party song? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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10 Affordable & Fun Fall Activities for Families [Infographic]

Fun fall activities

Looking for fun fall activities? From all there is to see in nature – leaves changing, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches – to all the fun crafts and recipes you can whip up indoors, this colorful season is the perfect time to start new family traditions.

If your family is on a budget this year, you’ll love this helpful guide. Our list of affordable and fun fall activities will keep your family entertained from September to November without “breaking the bank.” Christmas will be here before you know it!

fun fall activities

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10 Affordable & Fun Fall Activities For the Family

1. Have a Fall-Themed Family Photo Shoot

Decorate your Instagram with adorable family photos taken at the nearest apple orchard. Sport scarves and earth tones to make it the ultimate fall-themed photo shoot. You can even get creative and add the pictures to your holiday cards! (See #9 on this list for more holiday card tips).

2. Take a Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Nothing says “autumn” more than taking a trip to a local pumpkin patch. Try to find one with a corn maze for even more family fun. See who can find the biggest pumpkin and take it home to carve it into something spectacular. Don’t toss out those delicious seeds! Here are some yummy recipes for seasoning and roasting them.

3. Get Spooked Together

Are you a fan of scary movies? Check Netflix around Halloween for new seasonal additions. Grab some popcorn, hot chocolate, and get ready to binge watch Stranger Things! If you’re looking for something on the less spooky side, here is a helpful list of Halloween movies for wimps. (Does “Hocus Pocus” ring a bell?)

4. Craft Your Costumes

Store-bought Halloween costumes can be so expensive, but there are plenty of DIY options that are just as fun and creative. Here are a few easy and unique costume ideas. *Note: Many of these ideas will require a visit to your local craft store or thrift shop. Have fun trick-or-treating!

5. Whip Up Some Pumpkin-Flavored Treats

Pumpkin-flavored muffins, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie… the list goes on and on. Now that pumpkins are in season it’s the perfect time to satisfy your cravings. Baking as a family isn’t just a great bonding experience; it also doubles as a learning one. You’ll get to work on your cooking skills together and best of all- enjoy the fruits of your labor when it’s all done!

6. Have Fun Indoors with Group Music Classes or Private Lessons 

If it’s too cold outside to visit the pumpkin patch, try out free music classes at TakeLessons Live. These online, group classes are taught live by an expert instructor, whether you want to learn a new instrument or work on your singing skills. Children and adults of all skill levels are welcome to join in the fun.

Online private lessons are another affordable and convenient way to pick up a new skill. The one-on-one guidance can help you reach any goal faster. Plus, online lessons allow you to work with teachers from all across the U.S., giving you more options for finding the perfect teacher at a price that works for you.

7. Go for a Hike or Nature Walk

When weather is permitting, a hike or nature walk is an excellent way to get in some beneficial exercise while enjoying the colorful scenery. Have the kids collect pinecones or acorns and paint them when you get home for some festive decor. Here are some fun tutorials on how to make DIY pinecone centerpieces, wreaths, and more.

8. Enjoy Homemade Apple Cider

Apple cider is a fall-favorite because it’s both delicious and easy to make. Pinterest is a great place to go for cider recipes. Many of them only require a few simple ingredients! Enjoy this warm and tasty treat around the fireplace and as Thanksgiving approaches, share things your family is thankful for from the past year.

9. Work on Holiday Cards

The holidays are quickly approaching and now is the perfect time to reach out to your closest friends and relatives. Express your sentiments in homemade holiday cards or letters this year for a greeting they’ll always cherish. If you’d like to add a family photo, check out Etsy for customizable, DIY holiday card templates.

10. Make a Christmas Wish List

Does the thought of Christmas shopping overwhelm you? Have family members fill out a “wish list questionnaire” of their likes and dislikes, favorite movies, candies, or places to shop. Wish lists are a win-win. They make shopping easier and ensure your loved ones will enjoy their gifts. *Bonus Tip: You can even organize a “Secret Santa” within your family so that each person is only responsible for buying one gift.

Each of these fun fall activities are a great bonding experience for the whole family. Do you have any more ideas of affordable things to do in the fall? Let us know in the comments below!


Quiz What is Your Learning Style

Quiz: What is Your Learning Style?

No matter what you’re learning, your personality plays a big role! Everyone learns differently, and the strategies that work for one person may not work for another — and that’s OK!

Whether you’re learning a new language or even picking up a new hobby, it’s smart to keep your learning style in mind. That way, you’re setting yourself up for success from the start!

So, what is your learning style? Take the quiz below to find out:

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48 Successful People With Unexpected Hobbies

Did you know that Bob Barker once studied karate with Chuck Norris, or that both Meryl Streep and Ryan Gosling like to knit? Even brilliant billionaire Warren Buffet loves to play the ukulele. This fun and fast-paced video from Mental Floss will take you on a tour of the hobbies of 44 other wildly successful people, and it might even inspire you to take up a new hobby of your own!

Is there a hobby you would like to learn more about or get better at? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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15 Ways to Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever

Small changes in our daily routines can make a huge difference over time. Here are some of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make so that 2017 is your best year yet!

1. Practice gratitude.

Take a moment each day to appreciate the things that are great about your life. The more you notice your blessings and practice gratitude, the happier you will be!

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2. Unplug more.

Resolve to put your phone down more and engage with the people in the world around you. Simple things like banning devices during dinner are a great way to feel more connected and enjoy the moment more.

3. Be kind to yourself.

Give yourself a compliment, or splurge on a small surprise treat. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in your worries or insecurities. Instead, choose to be a little kinder to yourself, and you’ll find you have more strength and energy for the things in life that really matter.

4. Be kind to others.

Whether you’re volunteering your time with a charity organization or just doing a favor for a friend, doing things for other people is a great way to boost your happiness. Do small acts of kindness each day to make 2015 a great year for you and your community.

5. Learn something new.

Learning new skills makes you more confident, and you might even discover a new passion for life. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano, speak a new language, or take photos like a pro, 2017 is the perfect time to learn.

6. Get active.

Exercise releases endorphins that make you happier, and keeps your body in shape. If you’re not very active, try adding a walk to your daily routine, riding your bike to work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

7. Take a trip.

Traveling is a great way to destress and learn more about the world. Even if you can’t afford a big vacation, why not take a day trip to a nearby destination? Seeing new places is refreshing, and you’ll feel like you’re going on an adventure.

8. Cross something off your bucket list.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? It can be something big, like skydiving, or something smaller like writing a loved one a poem. Whatever it is, find a way to make it happen in 2017, and you’ll have a memory that will last you the rest of your life.

9. Cook something fabulous.

If you’re not great in the kitchen, learn to cook a few stand-out dishes that will impress guests, as well as easy meals that don’t come from a box. If you’re already a great cook, why not try something fancy, like a French pastry or rolling your own sushi? Master some new dishes in 2015 and have fun showing them off!

10. Spend more time with loved ones.

Life is all about the people you spend it with. Take more time for your family and friends this year and see how much richer your days become!

11. Read a great book.

A great book has the power to touch your heart, expand your mind, and even stimulate your creativity. Reading also trains your brain to focus better, an important skill in our increasingly distracted world. Even if you just read a few pages before bed each night, squeeze in some time with a good book and you’re sure to feel the benefits.

12. Go outside.

Take a quick walk in the morning or after dinner and notice things like the color of the sky, the plants around you, and the way the air feels. Getting outside is relaxing, and sunlight helps your body make Vitamin D.

13. Kick a bad habit.

Whether you need to stop overeating desserts, cut down on your TV time, or quit smoking, make this the year that you finally kick your bad habit. Think about it — with your bad habit out of the way, you’ll have more time and energy to enjoy doing the things you really love.

14. Celebrate more.

Celebrate your accomplishments and those of your loved ones! Don’t let achievements go by unacknowledged. The more you celebrate, the more opportunities you will find to share happiness with the ones who matter to you the most.

15. Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun! It’s your life and you get to decide how to make the best of it. Go through your days with a smile and you’re sure to have a very happy new year!

What are some of the best New Year’s resolutions you’ve made? What is your resolution this year? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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The Healing Power of the Ukulele | Personal Stories and Interviews

learn to play ukulele

Whether you just started ukulele lessons or you’ve been playing for years, there are a number of benefits that result from learning to play an instrument. From social perks to health benefits, it’s important to learn about your instrument and craft. Here, writer, speaker, and host Don Smith shares interviews with ukulele players on the big power of a small instrument and why you should learn to play ukulele…

Gone are the days when the ukulele was just an instrument for comical value. It was common to think of the ukulele as an instrument only played by men in flamboyantly printed shirts in a tropical setting.

Cristine DeLeon, a New Jersey based singer/songwriter, has seen an increase in the use of the ukulele.

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“It really is a fun instrument to play,” she says. “My husband got me one about four years ago, when I said I was interested in learning to play.”

And what she has seen is the level of sophistication that musicians have brought to the ukulele. In fact, it can be compared to other trends in the artisan communities, where very basic items are refined into more complex works of creation.

Take macaroni-and-cheese, for example. One blogger writes, “it’s time to ditch the almost-instant stuff (complete with day-glow cheese) for a more sophisticated version.” It’s not uncommon to see higher-end restaurants with mac-and-cheese made with noodles made on premises with more exotic cheeses and other ingredients such as bacon and parsley.

Another example is the adult coloring book renaissance. In a recent article in The Guardian it states that “coloring has been said to be able to help [adults] achieve mindfulness, banish anxiety, and even deal with trauma.”

With that spirit, the last few years have seen a renaissance in the ukulele, and DeLeon is thrilled.

“There are performers like Victoria Vox and Lil Rev who are two of my favorite ukulele performers,” DeLeon says. Both of these performers are serious ukulele players who have made it their life’s work. ”

Another inspiration is the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain,” DeLeon says. “They are fantastic!” The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain formed in 1985 “as a bit of fun,” and since, has inspired other ukulele groups all over the world.

DeLeon took a different direction with her ukulele group. She and fellow musician Jeff Rantzer started a duo called BrassFedora and perform the music of Tin Pan Alley (i.e. “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?” and “My Blue Heaven”) and are able to capitalize on the trend.

DeLeon says that one of the reasons the ukulele has done so well is because the level of complexity of learning the instrument is not as detailed as other instruments, like the guitar.

“For most people, the ukulele is easier to learn,” she says. “Whereas the guitar has six strings, the ukulele has four.” She also feels that the nylon strings of the ukulele are easier on the fingers compared to the steel strings of the guitar. “It can take a while to develop the callouses on the fingers to play the steel string,” she says. “The ukulele is easier on the fingers.”

While it takes several piano lessons before a player can play the most basic songs, the ukulele is quick to learn and quick to play. “When playing it [ukulele], there’s an instant gratification,” she says.

More: 4 Reasons Why Ukulele is the Perfect Stringed Instrument for Beginners

These days, many people learn to play ukulele by watching YouTube. Back in the day, however, musicians learned from books. Justin A. Martell, Tiny Tim’s manager, said Tim learned to play from a book.

“[Tiny Tim] got a book called You Can Play the Ukulele by Don Ball,” Martell says.

Tiny Tim was born Herbert Khaury and made the song “Tiptoe from the Tulips” famous in the ’60s. He’s probably one of the most famous ukulele players who ever lived. Sadly, Tim passed away in 1996 from a heart attack.

Martell has been able to share details about Tim’s life; according to Martell, Tim found it easier to get into the ukulele because he played guitar beforehand.

Martell says that when Tim would audition for shows, he would use the ukulele because it was easier to carry. Martell says that if the performer failed the audition, it wouldn’t be awkward to ask for the sheet music back from the pianist. “[Should] I never make it, I wouldn’t have to hang my head in shame and ask for my sheet music back, I could get right out’,” Martell says, quoting Tiny Tim.

More: Music Lessons for Kids: Should My Child Learn Ukulele or Guitar?

Besides helping Tiny Tim save face, the ukulele has another benefit: health!

In Hawaii, the Roy Sakuma Studio offers a program called “Hands on Healing” which is free of charge for cancer survivors. According to the website, “[The studio] provides an environment where those facing cancer may explore and discover their creative resources to promote physical, mental, and spiritual healing.”

The program helps cancer patients “discover new personal expression in a non-medical setting. It’s a great way to quiet your mind while keeping your hands busy.”

One blogger who suffered from breast cancer, says the program helped her “forget about cancer for a little while.”

“The physical and mental scars are a daily reminder of what we’ve been through,” says cancer survivor Lori Nakamura. “But the [ukulele] program lets me focus on learning new songs, and I know the process is helping with my memory.”

“I’m not surprised to hear stories like this,” DeLeon says. “The ukulele is such a fun instrument and learning a musical instrument helps in all kinds of areas.”

In an article on Effective Music Teaching, some benefits to learning an instrument include better memory, improved coordination, better concentration, stress relief, a sense of achievement, and happiness.

“I have played the guitar for years,” says DeLeon, “and now learning the ukulele has just made my life so much richer.”

With resurgence and health benefits, there will always be the element of fun in the world of the ukulele. Going back to Tiny Tim, Martell wanted to make sure that Tim’s legacy and his place in the world of the ukulele were understood.

“I think he definitely would have liked [the resurgence],” said Martell. “Unfortunately, I think many of those involved in the resurgence – neo-ukers I call them – scoff at Tiny Tim. They overlook the fact, though, that Tiny saved the ukulele from extinction in the ’60s.”

Martell adds, “If people perceive Tiny as a joke, that’s their problem, not his. He was very serious about his craft.”

While Tiny Tim was serious, DeLeon says there will always be a place of whimsy in the ukulele culture. When asked if she believes there will still be a place for the ukulele players with the flower print shirts, she laughed.

“Of course,” says DeLeon. “There will always be a place for fun in the world of the ukulele.”

For a primer on how to play the ukulele, check out at a video of Christine DeLeon (produced in coordination with this article) explaining the basics on how to play the ukulele.

The Basics of the Ukulele with Christine DeLeon from Don Smith on Vimeo.

Ready to reap the benefits of playing ukulele? Find a ukulele teacher near you! 

don smithGuest Post Author:
 Don Smith
Don writes comic books, graphic novels, books, and short stories. In addition to writing, he is also a speaker and a host.  Learn more about Don here!

Photo by Donald Judge

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violin jokes

20+ Violin Jokes Guaranteed to Make You Laugh out Loud

violin jokes

While it’s always important to practice violin scales and songs, sometimes you just need a little break to recharge your batteries and renew your motivation. Get ready to relax and laugh with this list of violin jokes (some original, some classics from around the web) from Lukas Stanley from Music Pick Up Lines (@CMCPickupLines)

You won’t need your violin or your bow, but make sure you have your sense of humor. Tickle your funny bone with these violin jokes, riddles, and puns!

Violin Riddles

Think learning violin is no laughing matter? When learning any new skill, it’s always important to be able to laugh at yourself.

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Keep some of these violin riddles in your back pocket and see if you can stump your musical friends!


violin jokes

Q: How many first violinists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: One. They just hold it in place while the world revolves around them.


Q: How many second violinists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: It doesn’t matter, they can’t get up that high.


violin jokes

Q: What’s the difference between a violinist and a dog?

A: A dog can hear very high pitches.


Q: Which musicians are known for being very religious?

A: Violinists. They all think they’re gods.


violin jokes

Q: How can you tell if a violin is out of tune?

A: The bow is moving.

If you have experienced this problem (and we all have), check out this beginner’s guide: How to Tune a Violin [Instructional Video]


Q: What does the difference between C and B-sharp sound like on a violin?

A: Usually about a semitone.

Need help reading violin notes? Check out this easy-to-follow guide for beginners.


violin jokes

Q: What is the definition of a semitone?

A: Two violinists playing in unison.


Q: What’s the difference between the concertmaster and the back of the violin section?

A: About half a beat. And all of the bowings.


violin jokes

Q: What do a violinist’s fingers and lightning have in common?

A: They both move too fast and never hit the same spot twice.


Q: Why do violinists excel at pre-school but often flunk out of kindergarten?

A: They can’t figure out how to count past four.


Q: What do you call a violinist who shows up on time for rehearsal?

A: An anomaly.


violin jokes

But seriously, don’t throw away your violin! If you’re looking for a new one, check out this guide to the best violin brands!

Violin Jokes

“Did you hear the one about the violinist…” Here are a couple of long-form violin jokes to add to your arsenal.

Violinists are like perfect little snowflakes: no two are exactly alike. Especially when playing a unison melody. And when you put a bunch of them together, everything gets very icy, and everyone is generally pleased once they go away!


One day a conductor falls ill and the orchestra manager is in a pinch to find a replacement for the concert that night. Meekly, the last chair second violin raises his hand and says, “I studied conducting…” so he goes on that night and conducts a great concert. The next morning, in rehearsal, his stand partner asks him, “Where were you last night?”


Late one night, a violinist accidentally left his instrument in the trunk of his car. When he woke the next morning, he discovered that the car had been broken into, for there were not one, but TWO violins in his trunk.

Music Puns

Who doesn’t love a little play on words when it comes to music? Whether you’re a beginner or experienced musician, you can probably relate to some of these music puns!

It only leads to treble…

violin jokes

These jokes always fall flat….

I’ve been told I’m pretty sharp…

violin jokes

Hey — give it a rest…

violin jokes


violin jokes


Looking for more music fun? Check out these piano jokes, quotes, and puns.

Have you heard any other violin jokes or music puns? Share them with us in the comments below!


Guest Post Author: Lukas Stanley
Lukas is a student at Western Michigan University. He’s studying music composition and music education. He’s also the moderator of the popular Twitter account Classical Music Pickup Lines (@CMPickuplines), which has  been spotted in Buzzfeed and Classic FM articles. When he isn’t composing, teaching, or inventing Liszts of witty music puns, he can be spotted playing piano with his band Blarney Castle, a progressive Celtic band. Learn more about Lukas here.

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