Nova Scotia

Plumtree Project to give underrepresented groups a chance to rock out

A new initiative aiming to get underrepresented groups in Halifax's music scene to learn how to play instruments and form bands is accepting applications.

Program by Mirus Records and Halifax Pop Explosion teaching people to play instruments, form bands

The Plumtree Project will be accepting applications to fill eight spots for women, transgender people and visible minorities until Sept. 15. (Shutterstock/Africa Studio)

A new initiative aiming to get underrepresented groups in Halifax's music scene to learn how to play instruments and form bands is accepting applications.

The Plumtree Project is a new education program by Mirus Records and the Halifax Pop Explosion designed to give eight participants access to instruments, free music lessons and a rehearsal space.

"It's open to women and trans people and gender queer people and prioritizes people of colour and the idea is to encourage more diversity on stage in the Halifax music scene," said Erin McDonald, a co-ordinator of the Plumtree Project.

Forming new bands

Once a week for two months, participants will get an hour-long private music lesson for the instrument they're learning.

"Then, the idea is hopefully they'll form bands with each other," said McDonald. "And then they get the jam space for three months and they'll also get an improvisation workshop."

The program was named after a band made up of women that played at the first Halifax Pop Explosion.

So far, instructors are line up to teach keyboard and synthesizers, drums, guitar and musical improvisation. McDonald said she's still looking for a bass teacher.

Making beginners comfortable

McDonald said the idea for the program, open to beginner and intermediate musicians, came from her own experiences playing in bands and going to concerts in Halifax.

"I'm a woman and I play music in the Halifax music scene and I just noticed that there's a lot less women playing instruments ... it's intimidating when there aren't other people like you that are jamming in a space and you just maybe initially feel vulnerable and uncomfortable and it's hard to get past that, especially if you're a beginner," said McDonald.

Applications will be accepted until Sept. 15.