Jump to main content

Take Five Talent Development Scheme - Open call for participants

Serious is delighted to open applications for the 16th Edition of Take Five, its flagship talent development programme for emerging jazz and improvising musicians.

Every year Take Five gives eight of the most talented creative jazz artists in the UK the opportunity to take time out to develop their craft, build the professional side of their careers, and make vital new musical and industry connections – offering mentorship, collaborations, performance opportunities, and funding – serving as a pivotal moment in their careers which frequently leads to wider recognition, touring, record deals, and more.

In light of Covid, the scheme has now been adapted to take place in multiple parts: 

  • first is a series of online seminars, panel discussions, and workshops that brings some of the most influential industry experts that Serious invites based on the needs of the eight selected artists
  • then we bring the eight artists together for a 5 day residency where they collaborate on each other’s music led by our musical director Jason Yarde, as well as receiving performance coaching
  • following the residency the artists continue to receive tailored guidance from Serious’ experienced staff as well as further mentorship from other music industry professionals, based on the artists’ needs and areas of interests
  • Serious also provides the artists with performance opportunities at the EFG London Jazz Festival and elsewhere – in particular as part of a “Take Five Presents” showcase which was launched in 2020.

The programme’s alumni list reads as a who’s who of the British jazz scene ranging from Polar Bear’s Seb Rochford (who took part in the very first edition) to Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming’s Shabaka Hutchings, British/Bahraini trumpeter Yazz Ahmed to saxophonist Nubya Garcia, as well as musicians from outside the traditional jazz idiom but with a foot firmly in improvisation such as electronic musician Leafcutter John, conductor and arranger Jules Buckley, and Korean flautist Hyelim Kim. You can see every past participant by clicking here.

To be considered for the scheme, artists must be between the ages of 25-35 OR have been working as a professional musician for between five and ten years, be primarily based in the United Kingdom (but do not need to a UK national), be leading their own band and/or composing their own music, and demonstrate exceptional talent and future potential. 

The application form can be found here – comprising of some basic information and monitoring questions, a biography, a personal statement (which can be either written or in video-based), examples of two tracks, a written reference.

Primary consideration will be given to those with:

  • Creativity: you must write your own music in the fields of jazz or improvised music 
  • Exceptional Talent: quality of compositions and performances
  • Leadership experience: i.e. you lead your own band/ensemble and/or demonstrates an active presence on the UK live music scene 
  • Future Potential: especially with regard to making the most of any musical / performance opportunities and business contacts that will be the result of their participation on the scheme. 
  • Distinctive contribution to the jazz and improvised music community: those who participate in a range of extra curricular activities, e.g. run a collective, a record label, distinctive online engagement for more than just their own work, significant educational/learning and participation activity, etc)
  • Age: applicants must at least 25 years old OR have a minimum of 5 years of professional experience as a musician, and must be no more than 35 years old OR have a maximum of 10 years of professional experience.
  • Availability: must be available 2-6 August 2021 (daytimes) for the series of online seminars, and 6-10 September 2021 for the residency, and be available for other mentorship and performance opportunities throughout the year 
  • UK resident: does not need to be a UK national – but needs to demonstrate that they are committed to living and working in the UK 
  • Other consideration will be given to: cultural influences, instrument, musical style, location, education.

If you have any enquiries about the scheme, please get in touch via our Contact Form.

Apply to take part in Take Five here

Please ensure you apply before 4 June 2021.

Take Five is made possible thanks to the generous support of PRS Foundation, Help Musicians, Arts Council England, and the Serious Trust

Share this article