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Take Five Applications Open 2023 | Talent Development

Serious is delighted to open applications for the 18th 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.

The scheme has evolved to respond to the challenges of the last two years 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 from across the UK, Europe, and further afield that Serious invites based on the needs of the eight selected artists
  • then we bring the eight artists together for a 5 day artistic residency where they collaborate on each other’s music as well as receiving sessions on movement work and 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 – most notably at the “Take Five Presents” showcase which was launched in 2020, as well as high profile support slots, new collaborations, and headline shows further down the line

Watch Take Five XVII: Collaborations Trailer from our 2022 Take Five programme

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, Korean flautist Hyelim Kim, and South African cellist Abel Selaocoe. You can see every past participant by clicking here

To be considered for the scheme, artists must be between the ages of 23-35 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, and 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 regarding 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 23 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 20 –23 March 2023 (daytimes) for the series of online seminars, and 3-6 April 2023for 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.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, Monday 9 January 2023. If you have any enquiries about the scheme, please get in touch via our Contact Form.

"Doing Take Five really put me on the path towards being able to quit my day job and do music full time. Since doing the programme I've been able to travel and perform my music in Asia, Europe and South America. I've collaborated and remained friends with the other artists who did Take Five with me, and it was amazing to find a new community of musicians with very different backgrounds who I might not have met otherwise. It was an honour to receive mentoring and musical direction from the great Jason Yarde as well as hearing from lots of industry experts."

Jelly Cleaver, Take Five Alumni

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