Ukulele festivals, at first blush, sound like something one would only find if they were fortunate enough to live in Hawaii, which is to ukuleles as Spain is to guitars. However, this instrument is one of the most popular in the world and these festivals are held literally world-wide. While the ukulele is known for its ease of play at the basic levels, it is not generally given the full credit it deserves for its versatility in the hands of an experienced player. These festivals are some of the best places to see exactly what one can do with this instrument. An example of a famous festival would be the Napa Ukulele Festival, which is a yearly event held just north of California’s Bay Area.
While the ukulele can be a serious instrument, it can also be a great deal of fun and that tends to be the principal draw that leads people to these festivals. For those who haven’t been exposed to the instrument, this is a good way to persuade them to go. They’ll generally end up being blown away by some of the more traditional and advanced players who will inevitably be strumming their instruments at one point or another and this serves as a rather good form of PR for the ukulele as an instrument.
Ukulele festivals are also excellent places to purchase instruments and accessories. Not only are there usually well-priced instruments at these festivals, there are also any number of experienced players who are generally more than happy to provide a newcomer with some helpful advice. It also allows new players to try all the different types of ukuleles on the market, from soprano to baritone, and to see if they, perhaps, would like to add a new voice to their instrument choices. Learning is a big part of attending these conventions and a good reason to show up!
Uke festivals are held throughout the US. Most players will be able to find one at least in their home state if not in several of the major cities. The festivals vary in their focus and size, from small gatherings of a few players to very large festivals which feature vendors, teachers and very accomplished performers. Festivals are excellent if one wishes to realize the possibilities of where they can go as an experienced player of this instrument. Of course, one can also put some effort into networking at these conventions which may have several benefits, particularly for new players.
While the ukulele is taken more seriously as an instrument than it was in the past, it is still sometimes difficult to find good teachers. Self-instruction can be useful but one does need constructive critique and assistance from someone already versed in the instrument to reach their full potential. These conventions can allow new players to meet instructors and to increase their skill more rapidly than they could on their own. They can also serve as a way to get into other networks, such as online groups and so forth, which can help new players to keep in touch with others who are more experienced.
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