What an incredible trip to Nashville I had last week learning from one of the most talented (and probably THE most famous) ukulele players alive, Jake Shimabukuro, along with his best friends, who happen to also be amazing ukulele performers and teachers!
The whole week was full of connecting, learning, and reminding myself that the "craftsman mindset"--which focuses on daily practice, appreciating small wins, enjoying the journey (not just striving for the destination) and consistently challenging yourself while also having fun--is the path to be on in the long run if you want to achieve things that seem difficult or maybe even impossible right now.
All the attendees were amazed at not only how phenomenal of a performer Jake is, but also how humble and personable he is even though he has recorded, performed and toured with some of the biggest artists around, including Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Bette Midler and more.
He answered all our questions, cheered us on during open mics, and even could be found picking up plates for those who happened to eat dinner near him in the dining hall!
One of the biggest highlights for me during this retreat was getting to perform for the first time with one of my mentors and teachers, Bryan Tolentino. He has a magic touch on the ukulele, which is why many people refer to his style of playing as "fairy dusting." He certainly brought that beautiful technique to our performance of Andy Cumming's classic song "Waikiki" during the final night of the retreat.
I'm so grateful to have had the pleasure of being a part of this innovative event and truly welcoming community. Here's to many more experiences to take chances and grow.
And here's a video of Bryan and I performing "Waikiki" at the beautiful Wightman Chapel on the Scarritt-Bennett Campus in Nashville, TN.
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.