Nothing improves your playing faster than “playing out” (the musicians term for performing) regularly. That’s what the Development Level 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 organiazations, asking us to provide student groups for public and private events. As the demand has increased it has become a solid source of extrarevenue for our nonprofit organization and also forced us to organize a larger and larger number of students and performance workshops to meet the demand. Performance Workshops were originaly 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.

psingweb Enter the Performance Workshop and the Community Performance Program. It works like this.

  • Each May we audition students like you who have been recomended by their teacher and who feel they can make the commitment to the Program.
  • The Comittment 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.

pjazzwebThe Performance Workshops are set up around a particular style. This past performance season 2014-2015 we had.

  1. The Black Strat Blues Co. (Blues if you couldn’t guess)
  2. Urban Souls: Tribute to Motown (Motown)
  3. Soul Steet Funk (Funk and Soul)
  4. Collective Rage (90’s Rock)
  5. Blue Envy (Modern Pop Rock)
  6. The Jazz Workshop (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 independantly, 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.

Hot Fun (148)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.