Jake Nelson, a 13-year-old Harbor Ridge Middle School student who lives on the Key Peninsula, headed off to a popular guitar camp in Seattle at the end of June. Nelson won a scholarship to the National Guitar Workshop, which will include studying with famous guitarists such as Joe Satriano and Steve Vie.

“This is a very prestigious music camp … and to get a scholarship is quite an achievement,” said Jake’s guitar teacher, Dan Wilson, who is a Key Pen resident and owns AllStar Guitar in downtown Gig Harbor.

To win the scholarship, Jake had to record a CD with three songs, including an original, about his aunt’s divorce, as well as write a paper about his love of music.

Jake, who lives in the Minter Creek area, started playing guitar in third grade after a stint learning the piano, which he admits he didn’t like. He writes his own music and lyrics and recently performed at Harbor Ridge with a band of his friends at a talent show. He is the singer for the band.

“I’m pretty nervous,” Jake said in an interview a few days before leaving for the camp.

He said he likes to play in a band better than solo because the music sounds better.

“(Playing in a band) is something I’ll strive for,” he said.

Jake’s father, Mark, said he bought him a guitar because Jake was interested in it. Both Jake and his 11-year-old sister, Chloe, are encouraged to pursue their interests, and have limited or no access to things like watching television or playing videogames. Instead, Jake likes to race sailboats, participate in water and snow sports, and similar activities.

“As a teacher it doesn’t get much better than this,” Wilson said. “Jake is an Allstar; I think he can be an example to all those learning to play any instrument that there are multiple ways to learn and grow and the fun is finding them and going for it… Now all he needs is a name for the band and a bus to tour in.”

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