An Invitation from Jake Shimabukuro
I’d like to personally invite you to join me at Jake Shimabukuro’s ‘Ukulele Time in Nashville, taking place June 25-29, 2022 at Scarritt Bennett in one of my favorite places in the whole world, Nashville, TN.
‘Ukulele Time in Nashville will be my first ever ‘ukulele camp so this is quite exciting for me. We’ll have four full days of lessons, workshops, and live performances. We’ll meet in the mornings, have several workshops, then break for lunch and have several more workshops in the afternoon and a concert that night. We can cover so much with multiple sessions, we can put a lot more in there and the lessons and the workshops can be more impactful.
Of course, we welcome musicians and ‘ukulele players at all levels, no matter what your goals are. One of the things I love most about the ‘ukulele is that it’s one of the easiest instruments to play. You can play these full chords with just one finger, you just hold one string down and you can play these beautiful four note chords. So, you get immediate gratification – you’re playing music, even if you’ve never picked up an instrument before. I have two boys at home and when they were growing up, I would teach them how to play ‘ukulele and it just brought us all so much joy. I love working with kids, there’s nothing quite like watching them experience that joy of making music for the first time.
That’s the beauty of the ‘ukulele. With some instruments you have to advance to a certain level before you can really start to enjoy making music. If you want to be a trumpet player or an oboe player, a violinist, or a cellist, you have to achieve a level of skill where you can at least get a sound out of the instrument. But even if you only could play ‘ukulele at that beginner level for the rest of your life, you would still enjoy it. That’s something that I feel is unique to the instrument. You can learn just two simple chords and every time you play them, it would make you smile. That’s what I love about the ‘ukulele – you don’t have to be a musician to play it. It’s everyone’s instrument, it’s not just for musicians or songwriters, but anyone who just needs to have a little escape.
We’re going to be centered on the ‘ukulele but if you have a background in any other instrument, like piano or guitar, then it’s going to make the ‘ukulele even easier to play. The ‘ukulele is such a great tool for songwriters and musicians because it’s very affordable and easy to travel with. You can take it and practice anywhere. When I travel overseas to do a concert, or on a long drive, or even sitting in the back of a cab, I can easily take out my ‘ukulele and just play. It’s just so convenient, so light and compact. I could take my ‘ukulele hiking up to the top of Diamond Head and when I get up there, just play and get inspired.
I’ll be bringing some amazing musicians with me from Hawaii to share their perspective – it’s going to be a real Hawaiian invasion! Joining me will be some of the best ‘ukulele players in the world, including Herb Ohta Jr., Bryan Tolentino, Jeff Peterson, my brother Bruce Shimabukuro, and husband-and-wife duo Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel. I’m so lucky to be having all these other artists with me, that can bring new ideas to the table and share their own approaches and vocabulary. Everyone has different strengths, everyone thinks about things in a different way. To me, learning music, you just have to find a way that makes the most sense to you, where you can apply it to what you’re doing. I’m so honored that they’ve all agreed to be a part of this because they’re going to bring so much to the camp. I know I’m going to learn so much from them!
Another one of the things I’m most excited about is all the spontaneous jam sessions that are going to take place. To me, that’s when you learn the most, when you actually get the chance to play with other people and apply all the different things that you may have just learned. Even for me, to have the opportunity to play with the musicians coming to the camp, it’s going to be awesome. I’m selfishly excited about it for myself and I hope that energy and excitement rubs off on everyone that joins us.
I love Nashville, it’s like my home away from home so being able to do this event there is going to be so inspiring. To be surrounded by people who just as passionate or even more passionate about music, that’s the best environment that you can be in as a musician and artist. I’ve met so many wonderful musicians in Nashville – if they’re in town, they may drop by to jam.
‘Ukulele Time in Nashville is going to be a true celebration of the instrument, of its long, incredible history and endless potential. I think we’re all craving an opportunity to make music together, to connect and to share. There’s going to be this renewed sense of gratitude towards having this time to be together. I hope you can join us!