Best ‘Ukulele Teaching Tool Ever: Dave Egan’s Recording Studio

Everyone who comes  to the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat has different goals and ambitions. Some are happy to simply play their ukes all day long, make new friends, and learn a few new skills and tunes.  Others like to do all that and bask in the limelight–performing at the open mic night or playing with the Flea-By-Night Band. But for some, it is the time spent in the sanctuary of Dave Egan’s Recording Studio, where the magic happens, their dreams are fulfilled, and they enhance their skill set and confidence immeasurably.

“Dave has that special ability to draw out the very best in every performer, regardless of experience or ability,” says Ken Prokuski, one of Dave’s students.  “Together with his superb technical ability, he creates recordings that represent the true essence of each individual.”

Indeed, you can hear that in the tune Ken recorded at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat in 2016.

How’s It Going to End? (Ken Prokusky) 

Dave Egan has been our “go to” guy for superior sound since we started the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat eight years ago. He is always the first to arrive at Asilomar, the last to leave, and rarely stops moving in between.  He does the sound for all of our evening events in addition to teaching workshops and overseeing the recording studio.

Each of the recording workshops are limited to 6 students who meet three times during the course of the retreat in the Guest Inn, a cottage on the Asilomar Grounds where John Steinbeck wrote “The Log of the Sea of Cortez.”  (The walls simply exude inspiration.) Each of the students, along with Dave, wear headphones and listen in as each soloist, duo, or trio takes turns singing and playing into the recording microphones. It may sound terrifying, but with Dave’s guidance it’s a gentle, collaborative process that yields great results.

“The room was filled with my peers, the equipment daunting,” recalls Cindy Broome Townsend. “Then I heard that first playback. . . . .the shock of the quality of my song stunned and amazed me.”

Cindy not only came away from the workshop with a terrific recording of her original tune, “Honolulu,” she also gained confidence in herself and her musical acumen.

In Honolulu (Cindy Broome Townsend)

“Dave’s calm, reassuring manner, his obvious talent and expertise, his supportive comments, resulted in trust,” says Cindy. “And what brings out confidence more than trusting the person you are displaying your vulnerabilities to as a performer and songwriter?”

Dave Egan is an accomplished musician in his own right, and as a recording engineer he has worked with professional artists such as The Rastafarians, Everette Harp, Jackson Browne, and Gregg Rolie.  He has spent a lifetime making other people sound good. But it is his commitment to making people sound their best, often by also teaching them to play better, that makes him a living treasure.

“I would follow Dave Egan anywhere,” says Cory Brendel, a long-time attendee of the retreat. “He listens to you, makes performance suggestions, and gives you several cuts to get it right.”

I will (Cory Brendel)

Cory, who claims to suffer from “performance anxiety,” admits that having his classmates listening-in during the recording session was intimidating, but that is exactly why he felt he needed to do it.

The Old Broads, a performing trio that had only dreamed of making a CD, brought a performance-ready tune to Dave’s workshop and checked off one of the items on their bucket list. “He made something that we thought was beyond our reach, possible,” says Diana Adle.

Raised by the Railroad Line (The Old Broads)

The “Broads” were so encouraged by the process and the result that they booked time at Dave’s studio in Santa Cruz to record an entire CD.

Alan Ferentz and Christine Rock Weber scored another little benefit while making their recording; staff member Victoria Vox jumped in and added a little mouth trumpet. That, plus Dave’s help with their arrangement and timing, created a finished piece from one of their favorite tunes.

Tonight You Belong to Me (Alan Ferentz & Chris Weber)

“I highly recommend the class to anyone who wants to hear what others hear when you play,” says Alan.

Dave and his recording studio will be back at the West Coast ‘Ukulele Retreat this year, adding to the fun and opportunities for everyone who attends. And, while it could cost anywhere from $50 to $500 to make a recording elsewhere, there is no extra charge to take advantage of the recording studio at the retreat.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” says Karen Mackey, who did, in deed return to another one.

Somebody’s Knockin’ (Karen Mackey) 

You can’t get a better endorsement than that.

Registration for the 2018 retreat, May 2 – 6, 2018, is open!

Please visit the website for more information.

Or, you can go straight to the Registration Page.

I hope you can join us!

~ by UkuleleLady on January 21, 2018.

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