After this last year and a half, where everybody has been thrown a curve, it’s going to be a blessed relief to get together once again. Being with another person and playing music together is a completely different headspace than anything else in the world. It’s different from playing sports, it’s different from being a co-worker, it’s different from being a family member. It’s different from being a spouse. It’s a precious relationship. When you’re with another person, communicating in an intuitive, impulsive, musical dynamic, there’s nothing like it. When you’re engaging in that, you’re expanding joy. We’ve missed that. I know I’ve missed that!
So, I’m very happy to announce that we’re back up and running! And I’d like to personally invite you to join me at my upcoming Vai Academy 6.0, taking place August 4-8, 2022 at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn more / to register, please visit: http://www.vaiacademy.com/
Each of my camps has had a theme that we focus on and the theme for Vai Academy 6.0 will be “Finding Your Note.” Technique and all that stuff is great and there will be tons of it at the camp, but it’s not everything. The question that I get more than any other is: “how do I find my own voice on the instrument?” It’s a hard thing to discuss, because everybody has their own voice, whether they know it or not. So how do you recognize it? How do you exaggerate it? How do you expand it? How do you make it yours and surrender to it? How do you evolve that unique voice so that you’re completely you on the instrument? This camp will be focused on helping you to recognize your voice and then cultivate it to the point where you become completely comfortable with it.
I think there’s a very special pull to this instrument. When you love the guitar – the way it feels in your hands, the way it sounds when you’re playing – there’s almost like a sense of nostalgia. When I was a kid, that feeling of enjoyment and happiness and connectedness with the instrument was probably stronger than any other time in my life because I had zero obligations, zero pressure, and zero stress about playing. My hope is that this camp helps to rekindle or cultivate that feeling, because that’s the chemistry that’s needed to evolve on the instrument. To find yourself on the instrument. To find your note.
There’s a note inside of you that sings. It’s very clear. It’s a very comfortable place. It’s a very joyful place. When you’re playing your instrument, and you’re connected to your note, your playing flows beautifully and transparently. There’s no fear in it, there’s no concern. There’s just a pure expression of freedom, of real enjoyment and enthusiasm, where that nostalgic sweet spot can truly be embraced.
This is actually what it’s really about. Most people think, “how are you going to make a living?” Well, it’s a completely mistaken premise that success equals happiness. It can. Absolutely. But it is not the answer. Happiness is something that you feel when you’re engaging in your purpose.
It’s not just me up there – we have all these incredible teachers that are giving multiple kinds of classes throughout the day. Every year we’ve had an extraordinary group of celebrity teachers come in and this year is no different. All of these players have really contributed beautifully to the craft and to the industry in such diverse ways. They have also all been able to discover their own note and then play with it. So they’re going to be speaking about that: How did they find their own voice on the instrument? It will be thrilling to have them there.
We have always tried to create a unique family environment for Vai Academy, this diverse family of very cool fans that have all become friends. It will be great to see faces that I’ve come to recognize through the various camps and when I’m on tour. As usual, I’m going to do my best to play with everybody. That’s my favorite part of the camp, I love it. It doesn’t matter how proficient somebody is on the instrument, none of that matters at all. Because it’s all about communication. It’s all about being aware. Just listening and playing. I love doing that with everybody. It’s quite a workout, but I love it.
Creative freedom is something that everybody has – they just don’t always know it. This camp is all about that. I’m very excited about Vai Academy 6.0, and I hope to see you there!