News / Calgary

Calgary's new music incubator pilot draws to a close

From reading contracts to studio performances, the National Music Centre introduced a new kind of music school

Samantha Selci has been a part of AE West at Calgary's National Music Centre for the past five weeks.

Jennifer Friesen / Calgary Freelance

Samantha Selci has been a part of AE West at Calgary's National Music Centre for the past five weeks.

There’s no traditional classroom for becoming a successful musician – but a new program through the National Music Centre just might set a new standard.

The first AE West program just ended, taking 12 emerging artists and running them through the big and small corners of the music biz.

The program is based on the highly successful Artist Entrepreneur program based out of Toronto, but this is the first pilot held in Western Canada. To launch it, the NMC partnered with Canada’s Music Incubator, which is a national non-profit.

Musicians spent about five weeks going over everything from reading contracts and making industry connections to getting the best live or studio performance possible.

“As an artist, as a singer specifically, there aren’t classes for this,” said Calgary musician Ruben Young.

“Sure, you can take vocal lessons and singing lessons, but there’s no studio lessons. You have to go out and do it on your own.

“More often than not, we can relate to the sentiment of getting on stage or getting out of a studio and being like, was that even good? Like, I think I did well? So it’s really cool to be in a room with pros because every other industry, job or practice, when you want to learn, you ask a pro.”

For singer Samantha Selci, it gave her a sense of direction. She decided a few years ago to take music as a career seriously – but it’s not exactly an easy road.

"I think most people here, doing the program, want to take their careers to the next level but didn’t really know how to do that,” she said. “For me, it’s definitely filling a gap – it’s exactly what I needed.”

Selci added that Western Canada has a huge scene with immense talent, but without explicit connections to the music industry, it’s difficult to break in simply based on geography. This program helps put Calgary and Western Canada on the map, so-to-speak.

With the incubator ending, the musicians will host an Extravaganza Showcase of their skills on December 8 at the National Music Centre.

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