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Dunedin's future rock stars will learn the tools of the trade next month, when the Amped Music Project returns during Term 3. Put together by the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust, the free ten week programme offers a non-competitive environment for young musicians to develop the skills they need to take their talent to the world. Their journey will start, as it has for many who have gone before them, with a series of all ages gigs here in Dunedin.

The Project is generously supported by the Otago Community Trust and Recorded Music New Zealand.

“You might be a solo songwriter, or already have a band together and you've got a bunch of songs … now what?” asked Project Coordinator Dallas Synnott. “The workshops and mentoring of the Amped Music Project take you through the things that are essential if you have an interest in performing. Areas such as booking venues, setting up gear, promotion and publicity, microphone technique and stage craft are all covered.”

Amped has evolved over four years, growing out of a school holiday programme offered by Volunteering Otago in 2011. When it no longer fit with their schedule, the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust stepped in, because the project was a perfect fit with their kaupapa of providing safe opportunities for young people in Dunedin to develop as artists and performers. Participants get access to industry veterans and aspiring talent, as tutors and mentors, with many former students returning to the programme to pass on their experiences, and play as guest artists at some of the shows.

“Dunedin has an incredibly strong music scene at the moment, and obviously a very rich history to draw upon” Ms Synnott said. “Amped is about giving the next wave of talent the tools, the encouragement, and the outlet to grow both creatively and professionally. We can't take all the credit for it, but we've had Amped graduates organise their own national tours, sign to record labels here in New Zealand, and sell those records in Japan and Europe.”

Running the current incarnation over the third term offers musicians the chance to build on the momentum of the Smokefree Rockquest, while at the same time not getting in the way of critical end-of-year assessments. The two music events are linked by their underlying public health aims, with Amped delivering messaging around safer attitudes to alcohol, and letting bands play in licensed venues (who generously shut their bar for the evening).

“The adoption by the Dunedin City Council of Ara Toi, our city's Arts & Culture Strategy, has brought a renewed focus on both the inherent value of art in our community, and also on the potential employment options our creative community can offer. A skills based programme like Amped, with a focus on participation rather than on excellence, has the capacity to deliver on both of these” Ms Synnott added.

The Amped Music Project runs Monday 20 July – Friday 25 September (school term 3). The Project includes 4 workshops on weekdays after school and 4 all-ages gigs on weekends. The programme is free, and open to all secondary school students in Dunedin.

Students can request a registration form by emailing the project coordinator at or via the Facebook page: More articles


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