George Kahumoku Jr.'s workshop provides students and spouses or partners with numerous cultural activities and classes. Students with varied experience can choose from several levels of classes from beginning to advanced Hawaiian slack key guitar and ‘ukulele. Classes are also offered in lei and lauhala making, hula, Hawaiian songs and singing and often other classes, such as song writing, lap steel and bass. In the past, lap steel and bass classes have sometimes been included depending on the availability of instructors for the dates of the workshop.
Spouses or partners who do not wish to take guitar or ukulele classes are offered a lower fee which includes meals, non-instrument classes of lei-making, hula, songs & singing, and the evening kani ka pila (jam session).
The workshop also includes the opportunity to schedule private lessons with any of the instructors at no extra fee. Sign up lists are available each morning, so students can choose lesson dates and times that best suit their class schedules.
On Sunday, at the conclusion of the workshop, all students will have the opportunity to perform as a group, along with George Kahumoku, Jr. and a number of the instructors, at the Maui Slack Key Festival at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului. The Slack Key Festival draws thousands of locals and tourists to this free event which includes a full day of music by many well-known performers.
The workshop fee includes a Song Book and a very extensive informational booklet called "Dis N Dat" which describes guitar and ukulele tunings, various "runs" on the fretboards, and instructional fingering exercises to practice. Each student also receives a beautifully designed workshop T-shirt.
Classes begin about 8:30 am after breakfast (complimentary continental breakfast for those staying at the Mauian) and the daily workshop orientation meeting. Students staying at other locations obtain breakfast on their own. Lunch is served buffet style at noon, then classes begin again after lunch about 1:00 pm and continue into the afternoon. Dinner is at about 6:00; again buffet style, and all meals include vegetarian selections, as well as highly nutritious and delicious island fare. Sometimes meals are catered by local eateries; other meals are prepared by George Kahumoku, Jr. and his talented staff. Kitchen volunteers are always welcome.
George also offers an early morning class in preparing "laulau", which are then steamed until dinnertime and served as part of an awesome, full luau dinner. You will not go hungry here!
Kani ka pila is from around 7:30 pm until 9 pm most evenings, under the tent at The Napili Kai Beach Hotel next door to the Mauian. Dessert is served back at the Mauian after the kani ka pila.
Wednesday evening, the instructors perform at the Napili Kai Beach Hotel for the Hawaiian Slack Key series show, which is a year-round weekly event produced by George Kahumoku Jr. Students will have free admission to the show.
It is recommended that you be able to play at least one song in standard tuning and have a knowledge of basic chord positions.
- I play guitar but not slack key guitar. Is that ok?
Yes, that is not a problem. Beginning guitar classes start with how to tune the guitar, the basic chord shapings, right hand picking and alternating bass. The higher your level of standard guitar, the more coordinated you will be, and the faster you will pick up the new tuning/s and techniques.
- What is the minimum skill level required to take 'ukulele?
It is recommended that you be able to play the basic major and minor chords. If you don’t know them all, have a chord chart handy for reference.
- What level of hula or lei-making do I need for the workshop?
There are no required skills for these recreational classes.
- Where is the workshop held?
The workshop is held at the Mauian Hotel and Napili Kai Beach Hotel on Napili Bay, West Maui, Hawaii.
- When is the workshop in 2013?
The first official workshop day is Sunday June 16 (late afternoon registration/Welcome dinner at 6pm). In addition, there are often opportunities for cultural activities at the MACC (Maui Arts and Cultural Center) and with the Kahumoku Ohana that week-end for those arriving early. The last official day is Sunday June 23, ending with the Slack Key Festival at the MACC in Kahului. Many workshop participants stay over on Sunday night and have a big pot-luck and Kani Ka Pila together Sunday evening at the Mauian.
- Where do participants stay?
There are several hotels/condos on Napili Bay to choose from. The Mauian Hotel, Napili Kai Beach Resort and the Napili Village are the closest to the workshop, but there are many choices in the area.
Most people rent a car or make arrangements to share rides with others. It is not necessary for the workshop per se to have a car, as all the activities are on-site. Share-rides to the MACC on the last Sunday are encouraged.
- When is registration for the workshop and how does it work?
Registration for the June, 2013 Workshop opened on January 1, 2013. You can register online through this website, through a link on the main Workshop page.
- My family wants to come to participate in some activities. Is that ok?
Yes. Spouses or partners who do not wish to take guitar or ukulele classes are offered a half price fee which includes meals, non-instrument classes of lei-making, hula, songs & singing, and the evening Kani ka pila (jam session).
- When does the 2013 class/teacher schedule come out?
Typically a few weeks before the workshop. In addition, Nancy Kahumoku provides information re: the theme of the workshop and a list of songs emphasized at the workshop.
- Is alcohol provided or permitted at the workshop?
Alcoholic beverages are not provided at workshop meals. The workshop maintains a family atmosphere suitable for all ages, so open alcoholic beverage containers are discouraged at meals. Some individual attendees at times bring their own decanted wine to dinner. In general, alcohol does not enhance the focus and learning atmosphere of the workshop, and consumption is considered to be inappropriate during classes or evening kanikapila.
- I have special dietary needs. What accommodations are made for this?
There are vegetarian and diabetic food options available for all meals (lunches and dinners). For severe food allergies or highly restrictive diets, we recommend either helping in the kitchen where you may be able to separate your personal portion (before all ingredients are added), or if necessary, bringing your own back-up food items.