MUSE PC sets stage to help musicians hone performance skills
The Musician’s Songwriter Exchange Park City is slowly but surely seeing its vision come to fruition.
Last September, after months of negotiation, Park City Municipal granted the group, which is more commonly known as MUSE PC, the keys to the vacant former Switchback Sports space at 1685 Bonanza Dr.
Since then, MUSE PC has held weekly its Wednesday Night Music Club songwriter circles, where local musicians work on songs, play them and get feedback on how to improve them.
The group has recently expanded the song circles, which start at 6:30 p.m., into Salt Lake City, according to MUSE PC facilitator Jody Whitesides.
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The sessions that are held the first Wednesday of the month now take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Library Marmalade Branch, 280 W. 500 North, and the sessions held on subsequent Wednesdays are held in Park City, he said.
“We have a consistent group that meets with us, which is pretty impressive,” he said. “We’ve noticed they are having a good time and are really starting to feel comfortable.”
MUSE PC currently sees an average of seven singers and songwriters at each session, according to Whitesides.
“People have this misconception that they need to bring in a new song every week, but the reality is that they don’t have to do that,” Whitesides said. “We want them to bring in the same song each week and work with it. We want to see the changes that they’ve made, until the entire group can say, ‘Wow! You really have something.’”
Whitesides knows there are some songwriters who worry that the group will get bored hearing the same song every week.
“If that happens after four weeks, then maybe that song needs to be tossed out,” he said, smiling.
Last December, MUSE PC added a stage in the Park City space that is designed to train musicians how to perform, Whitesides said.
“We will start performance workshops Sunday afternoons once we get a (sound system), and we will have singers come up perform a song in front of their peers,” Whitesides said. “In turn, the peers will give the singers feedback on how the performance went and how they can improve.”
The 8 by 12-foot stage is only six inches tall, but it will give performers a taste of what it’s like to perform a gig, Whitesides said.
“We just want to provide a safe place where the musicians will start to feel comfortable on stage and in front of people,” he said. “This is important because musicians need to engage their audience. Audiences don’t really want to see someone standing as still as a statue and playing guitar.”
The stage was constructed by Whitesides and fellow musician Drew Hillier.
“Drew had the material for the base, and some other people donated money for some plywood,” Whitesides said. “Then we came in and put the thing together.”
In addition to the Sunday performance workshop, MUSE PC will start a MUSE-icians’ Breakfast every second Saturday, starting Feb. 15, at Dee’s Family Restaurant, located at 700 East and 2100 South in Salt Lake City. These one-hour breakfasts will start at 10 a.m. and feature a guest speaker.
Saturday’s speaker will be Adam Klosowiak, a co-founder of KLOS Guitars, Whitesides said.
“People can show up early or stay later to enjoy some food and networks,” he said.
MUSE PC will also begin posting “Two-Minute Tuesday Tips,” videos that give songwriting advice, on the group’s Facebook page and website.
“We recorded a few, but we need to re record them, because the quality wasn’t as awesome as I wanted them to be,” Whitesides said. “So,we’ll start them up when we finish that.”
Whitesides feels good about how MUSE PC’s programs are coming along.
“We just want to keep getting the word out about the musical talent in the area,” he said. “We always welcome new people. The more people, the merrier.”
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