Nothing improves your playing faster than practicing with a band and performing together regularly. That’s what the Community Performance part of the Uptown Music Collective Performance Program is all about.
Over the past 15 years we have received an increasing number of calls from local individuals, and organizations, asking us to provide student groups for public and private events. As the demand has increased, it has become a solid source of marketing, extra revenue for our nonprofit organization, and has also forced us to organize a larger and larger number of student and performance workshops to meet the demand.
Performance Workshops were originally an outgrowth of our Workshop Program. When people would call in the early days, we would just send out the Jazz Workshop or the Blues Workshop. However, not everyone in those workshops were ready to perform up to the necessary standards of the general public.
- Participation in the Community Performance Program is highly selective. Students who are involved must be highly skilled, self motivated, hard working and responsible.
- Each May we audition students like you who have been recommended by their teacher and who feel they can make the commitment to the Program.
- The commitment is a one year term that starts in September and runs through the mid to late summer, depending on how quickly new groups are being brought online.
- The audition is in two parts. Part 1 is a solo audition where you audition for the panel on a piece of your choosing (pick something that really shows what you can do). The piece can be solo, accompanied, or using a track (vocalists may not audition acapella). The panel will also request instrument specific skills as part of a question and answer section.
- Part 2 of the audition is only for those who pass the first part of the audition. It is a group audition where you will be put together with other auditioning students and assigned a song to put together. During that process you will be observed to see how well you communicate and work with others.
- If you make it through the auditions you will then be assigned a group. If not, remember we are only taking a limited number of students. Try again next year because we are all “works in progress”, if you work harder and smarter, you will get better.
The Performance Workshops are set up around a particular style. Students learn 15 to 20 songs in the style, as well as it’s performance style, history, and important players. They then bring all of it together in their performances. This performance season we have:
- Third Street Blues
- The Backbeatz: Tribute to Motown
- The Ukulele Project
- Groove Pool
- 7 Wonders
- Just Jazz (Jazz)
Your group agrees to rehearse once a week (students determine the day and time, dependent on room availability), and to maintain a core group of 15 songs which will give you an hour of performance time. You and your group also agree to give the group high priority in your schedule, and to leave yourself as available as possible for performances.
Songs are learned independently, or are taught to the group members by teachers and staff, dependent on the level of the students involved. Rehearsals are run by the students, again dependent on the students level, with regular coaching by a member of the staff. The Program Director checks on your progress regularly.
Your groups are organized through Facebook Groups. Everyone must maintain and check a Facebook account frequently. The performances (gigs) are scheduled by Willi Ort, who will post the gig date and time in the Facebook group, and then ask if you if you are available. You check your schedule, discuss it with your parents, and then reply on Facebook as quickly as possible to Willi.
Your performances will be organized by Willi as well. He will communicate with you about the production schedule (a document that tells you what happens when, and where you need to be) and transportation (we have a 12 seat van and trailer to help with transport of people and the equipment). You also use our amps and other equipment for all performances. Guitars and Basses can be your personal instrument if it is appropriate, or we have a collective of instruments that are there for your use as well.
Once the year term is up, all groups are reevaluated. Sometimes they continue on for another year, if everyone agrees. Usually the groups are disbanded and students are reassigned to other groups to give all of you as much experience in different styles as possible.