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Phil Natividad

Phil Natividad

Ukulele

Phil Natividad is a self-taught ukulele player. He bought his first ukulele on a whim while working as an English teacher in Japan.”I felt motivated after meeting several teaching colleagues from Hawaii who were good ukulele players. I was intrigued by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s soothing rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World. Then I was blown away after seeing Jake Shimabukuro play My Guitar Gently Weeps on Youtube – what he did with the ukulele was a real revelation! Unfortunately before leaving, I never actually followed through with learning how to play.”
Fast forward a few years, and the release of Ukulele Songs, (2011) an album by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. It was an album of original songs, with a few standards like Tonight You Belong to MeDream a Little Dream, and More Than You Know.
“I was at a wedding reception where I heard Without You and had a ukulele epiphany of sorts. Who would have thought that a 90s grunge rock icon would would inspire me to dust off my ukulele and attempt to play again? I was impressed that the ukulele was being used to play more than just conventional Hawaiian ukulele songs.”

What is your education and experience?

Self-taugt and have attended workshops from prominent ukulele players like James Hill, Kevin Carroll, Cynthia Kinnunen, John Nash, Manitoa Hal Brolund, Marcy Marxer & Cahty Fink, Craig Chee & Sarah Meisel, Ukester Brown, Kate Ferris & Fred Casey, and many others.

What makes your lessons different from the rest?

I can’t compare to any other local ukulele lessons around Winnipeg, but from learning from some of the best players in the world, in person and via the internet, the way I teach is an amalgamation of these different teaching sources. There are so many good players and they have a lot to offer. I encourage my students to explore different ways to do things because the right way for one person, might not be the right way for another. I want to help them find efficiencies and the right way for them, and also facilitate their “A-HA” moments.

What do you love about teaching?

I love the interaction with the students, seeing them develop, and seeing them happy with their achievements, especially when overcoming frustration during the process of learning.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking music lessons?

Don’t hesitate, do it!! I’m finding a lot of people taking up the ukulele later in life and enjoying it so much. It’s never too late to start! Like anything you do, you have to put in the time to become better, but there are so many rewards even early on when you’re learning. The ukulele is also such a social instrument and it helps to bring people together. I’ve met so many nice people I wouldn’t otherwise have met because of the ukulele.