I just got back from a long weekend at Uke Camp in Port Townsend, WA. It’s a lovely place, with lovely people, and inspiring music. I thought I’d share some of the strategies that I put into place before going, and some things I learned while I was there.
First, I adjusted my expectations:
- I had been to a similar workshop in the same place (remember Blues Camp?), but I’d never been to Uke Camp before. I needed to accept that there would be differences and I chose to accept those differences as “gifts” instead of saying, “That’s not the way we do it a Blues Camp.”
- One of the best parts of Blues Camp is the wonderful community of musicians that I’ve come to know well. This would be a new, different, community and I had to let go of expectations (good or bad or weird) about what they’d be like.
- Lately I’ve been trying to cultivate a “mindful mindset” and I chose to bring that mindset to this new experience and wait to see what happens.
- I had chosen to go to this camp specifically to take classes from two great ukulele players, but I needed to let go of expectations that I would have an EXCELLENT experience in those classes. My job was to choose well and to accept what I’m given.
- I also chose to be open to new teachers and new ways of playing my ukulele; maybe I’d find a new unexpected joy with my instrument.
These attitude adjustments were very helpful and it turns out that I LOVE Uke Camp! The community was different but people who choose to play the ukulele are a special breed, very positive, happy, and fun. A big surprise was having a Happy Hour Piano Bar/open mike every day. Lovely!
Now for those “unexpected gifts” that I’d been open to receive:
- There were several people that I knew already from Blues Camp, so I didn’t feel like a stranger at first.
- I made a new GREAT friend the first night and I hung out with her all week. People were surprised to hear that we weren’t already old friends because we seemed so comfortable with each other.
- The teachers that I came to study with were very good and I picked up some new “old” songs to add to my repertoire, but I learned much from some of the other teachers as well, especially Stu (what I learned from Stu will be my next post, I promise).
- Port Townsend is beautiful in the summer (Blues Camp) but also really great in the Fall! And Stu helped me to be mindful and savor that beauty.
- I especially learned new ways to LEARN on my uke and other instruments, and that will serve me well all year.
To paraphrase my toddler grandson, “Hip, hip, hooray for Uke Camp!”