You can take the musician out of the garage, but you can’t take the garage out of the musician. MusicGarage, a Salt Lake City-based music-performance and education nonprofit, just unveiled a brand-new, multipurpose rehearsal studio and performance space that still has a hip, underground feel becoming of its name.
The studio has a sound stage that’s fully equipped—for rehearsal, live-capture audio/video production, private events and live streaming—that will serve primarily as a rehearsal space for the kids of MusicGarage’s youth program, RockGarage. The spot is nestled in the up-and-coming neighborhood at 1700 South and 300 West, next to Cali’s Natural Foods and vegan cafe Organic Manic.
It’s a huge step up from the program’s former locations. For founder and director Steve Auerbach, the move has been a long time coming. When Auerbach first started MusicGarage in 2009, he rented a 12-by-12-foot room in the Utah Art Alliance’s South Salt Lake building. “We had gear and kids piled up on top of each other,” Auerbach says.
The studio is also available for professional musicians to rent at an hourly rate of about $25 per hour. Touring musicians can use it as a place to jam and rehearse while traveling, while locals can rent it for private shows, parties, movie screenings, gallery strolls or even as a film set to make music videos.
MusicGarage is using the opening of the new space as a springboard to launch new programs, as well. For kids who are more interested in improvisation than shredding, JazzGarage will be added to the Youth Program’s repertoire. For adults who have unfulfilled fantasies of rocking, they can make their dreams a reality at MusicGarage’s adult program, which will begin early next year. “I realize there are a lot of great musicians out there not affiliated with bands that would love to be playing music,” Auerbach says.
Auerbach draws a lot of experience from his time spent establishing Utah’s and Denver’s School of Rock programs. For Auerbach, one of the most important goals of MusicGarage is to make these valuable experiences accessible to people of all economic backgrounds. At MusicGarage, fees are based on a sliding scale, and most parents pay about $150 a month for weekly, two-hour rehearsal and coaching sessions, in addition to performance experiences ranging from opening for local bands to playing in big events such as Desert Rocks Music Festival and the Utah Arts Festival. Auerbach also makes a point to support local music instructors by offering his program as an add-on to traditional private lessons, not as a replacement.
“There are all kinds of creative things we can do here,” Auerbach says. “So I’m very, very excited.”
389 W. 1700 South
Fri., Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m. / free