A message from our Executive Director

Were you a music fanatic when you were a kid? So was I! In fact our entire team was and we still are. Some of us became musicians while some of us went in other directions. At some point we all realized that we wanted to be deeply involved in the music world.   We also realized that our kids represent the future of music and we can influence that.   This love of music and our desire to watch kids use music to develop into strong, confident adults is how UNCUT was born.

Looking back I realize that I had a number of opportunities that I didn’t take.   I could have joined the school band or asked my parents for an instrument but for some reason I didn’t.   What I did do was listen to records (yes, those big flat things) whenever I had a chance.   I called radio stations to request songs and to find out who an artist was.  I voraciously consumed music and my daily reading consisted of album liner notes.  But why didn’t I pick up an instrument?   I don’t know the answer to that question but sometimes kids just don’t think about the obvious or don’t think they can actually do what they see their heros doing.   Or sometimes it’s as simple as not having positive adult intervention and encouragement.

It’s not always easy to try something new. Some kids don’t have access to music programs.   It’s expensive to buy instruments or lessons that may or may not get used. Many kids have never even attended a live music event, let alone one performed by their peers.

We’re fortunate to live in a vibrant music community. A city that supports local musicians and a core group of musicians that support each other. We’re also fortunate to have a few amazing organizations focused on things like music education, music therapy and mental health awareness.

What is UNCUT? 

Uncut is a program designed to leverage existing activities while introducing new opportunities to kids between the ages of 10-17. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of musicians and connect them to their community through access, education, connections and engagement.

Uncut is centered around four distinct programs.

1. Music Workshops

Our partnerships with local high schools allow us to create a unique experience for high school students, professional musicians and audiences.  Uncut pairs a high school band/orchestra with a local musician or band.   Under our supervision musicians will re-arrange their original music, rehearse with the school band and perform for a live audience.   If you would like to explore options at your school or if you are a musician and think you would be a good fit please contact tom@uncutpdx.org.

2. Events

After our first successful Experience event at the Crystal Ballroom in May 2018 we are poised for even bigger and better events.   Our goal is to provide one large scale event every year with the intention of bringing kids and their local  music community together.  Our hands on experience based format combined gives kids real experiences and interactions with the pros that we hope will give them a head start on their adult music journeys.  We are also looking for partnerships with existing organizations to curate events such as youth focused concerts, fundraising events or education events to name a few.    If you have event ideas or would like us to be part of  your event please contact mike@uncutpdx.org.  

3. Youth Mentorship

Our mentorship program is a longer term goal and will connect aspiring musicians (or kids who may just want to try something) with local musicians who will serve as mentors. Mentorship sessions may be focused on specific skills or lessons or may be designed to help kids learn how to navigate a certain music concentration.  

4. Instrument Lending

Like our mentorship program the Instrument Lending Library is a future aspiration.  In partnership with local music stores and/or instrument manufacturers Uncut aims to provide access to a variety of musical instruments.  We will soon be seeking music store partners to help us execute this program.  If you run a music store and would like to discuss, please contact mike@uncutpdx.org

We hope you will be encouraged to learn more and will ultimately join us on our journey!

Thanks !

Mike Burling
Executive Director