On January 15th at 6:30 comMUSIkey will be presenting our proposal to Arizona Art Tank called “Everybody’s a Performer: An extended workshop to develop performance skills for anyone who is willing to make the leap into the musical unknown.” There will be six presenters and three of them will receive $5000 to $10,000 to implement their vision. The presentation will take place at Coconino Center for the Arts, 2300 N. Fort Valley Rd., Flagstaff, AZ
The award will be determined by a panel of judges. There will also be another $1000 awarded by the audience. We encourage all people who believe in our vision of everyone making music together to support us in making this pitch to the panel. The audience reaction will affect the judges and can also award us another 1000 bucks.
Here is an abridged version of the narrative that got us a shot at receiving this grant:
Everybody’s a Performer: An extended workshop to develop performance skills for anyone who is willing to make the leap into the musical unknown.
What is your Venture?
Our venture will provide an opportunity for anyone to be in a musical performance group. Bundled within our mission is the radical belief that we are all, as human beings inherently musical. Each person has their own unique way to express themselves through music. Just as a community has a diverse pool of skill sets that are all necessary for the community to function, a musical group needs many qualities within it to succeed.
We will invite up to 42 people to take part in an initial one day workshop where we will explore collaborative techniques in composition, songwriting, arranging, and performing. Then we will divide the group into six smaller groups of up to seven people each to develop six fifteen minute performances which will be publicly performed.
The groups will be divided based on the instruments the participants currently play, what new instrument they would like to explore, what musical styles they are interested in, what areas of music they are comfortable with and what areas they want to develop.
The six groups will meet once a week for two hours each week for eight weeks in our own studio. They will be given homework between each class. We will record a CD as part of the process. (we are fully equipped for recording) The workshop will culminate in a final performance on a stage to a public audience.
We will videotape select pieces of the workshop including, of course, the final performance. This will be made into a documentary to be shown on public access TV and the internet.
How does your Venture address the criterion Innovation?
There are many musical groups for people to join, but they usually require an audition to determine the applicant’s level of musicianship. There are open choral groups but we are not aware of any instrumental groups where the only prerequisite is enthusiasm to be collaborative.
There is a public perception that the only way to present a valuable performance is through years of study. While our mission states that we are all able to be musical together and be bonded by it, we are not aware of a musical group, open to anyone, that is able to present a compelling and moving performance to the public. We believe it is not only possible but inevitable IF the participants are guided in creating a cohesive creation filled with their hearts and souls. Whether we know it or not, when we witness a meaningful performance, what we are really experiencing is the journey of the performers. What moves us is our connection to that journey.
This is also a departure for our organization in that while we have always provided a safe place for people to get in touch with their musicality, we have never tried to take this safety into the public eye. With this entirely new methodology, we feel that the process of facing fears will be integral to the learning experience.
How does your Venture address the criterion Responsiveness?
The market we are appealing to is all people, young and old, of all ethnicities within the greater Prescott community and also our society at large. We live in a society where the belief is that we have to pay big ticket prices or hide inside our headphones to experience a quality performance. We have lost the ability to create our own music for each other. As comMUSIKey reaches out to our community with our offerings, we find that most people are afraid to take a chance in making their own music. Whenever people do take a chance and come to our events they invariably heave a sigh of relief to find that they really can connect and engage through music. We also believe that collaborative music joins people of all socioeconomic, political and cultural backgrounds in ways that words can never achieve. In short, we believe people of all walks of life are crying out to connect through music whether they know it or not.
We have also found that many teenagers in our communities don’t have many opportunities where they can be part of a group based project through which they can experience a tangible outcome and be proud of their involvement. We would like to include age diversity as an important element to our performance groups.
How does your Venture address the criterion Impact?
The community will be able to experience the true nature of our collective musicality through the public performance and the documentary which will be shown on public access TV and will be freely available on the internet. We also hope that the live performance and documentary will inspire others to initiate their own collaborative musical experiences. We would like to show the world that anyone can give a compelling performance if they are willing to commit to the creative process and be conscious of what they are giving to their audience.
We also hope to create opportunities for diverse ethnic populations to find common ground through music.