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University of Utah
Utah, United States
Salary Not specified
Date posted
Jun 13, 2024

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Job Summary

Tanner Dance's accompanists are responsible for providing inspiring, skillful, improvised piano and/or percussion music during our dance classes for children at the Tanner Dance building on the U of U campus, and/or at elementary schools throughout the Salt Lake area. The musician's improvisations are expected to follow and respond to visual cues and verbal instructions from the dance teachers they work with. In other words, our musicians must be able to creatively modify their music from moment to moment to mirror the observed energies, tempos, accents, cues, and counts that the dancers are exploring in the class.
The accompanist's role is a part-time position with various weekly shifts available starting in August 2024. Depending on our needs and your availability to commit to certain weekly class times, you could be scheduled to accompany anywhere between 2 hours/week and 19 hours/week.
The following two programs are the primary source of work hours available for Tanner Dance's musicians:
1. Tanner Dance Studio program — This program offers weekly creative/modern dance classes for dancers ages 2-18 at the Tanner Dance building on the University of Utah campus. Every Studio dance class is taught by one of our experienced teaching artists and assigned a musician to provide live accompaniment each week. Studio classes take place on weekdays mostly between 3:45 PM and 9:00 PM, and on Saturdays between 9:15 AM and 1:15 PM — in other words, mostly outside of the hours when children would be in school. Musicians for this program may sometimes be expected to memorize and be ready to play several traditional children's songs for the younger classes, in addition to their regular improvised accompaniment. All weekly classes in the Studio program's 2024-25 session will begin the week of August 19, 2024.
2. Arts-in-Education (AIE) program — Throughout the school year, Tanner Dance's AIE program provides weekly dance classes in elementary schools throughout the Salt Lake area, offering K-6 students a chance to experience an age-appropriate, semester-long or trimester-long class with one of our teaching artists, accompanied by one of our musicians. As such, all classes that are part of the Arts-in-Education program take place during the school day (8:15 AM at the very earliest to 3:45 PM at the very latest). Musicians will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to the schools where they play; compensation is available for using one's own vehicle to travel between two or more schools in the same day. Weekly classes in the AIE program's 2024-25 session will begin in late August / early September 2024. Whereas our Studio class schedules remain consistent over the course of the academic year, AIE class schedules can sometimes change at the beginning of the trimester or semester at our partner schools.

1. Accompany dance classes, workshops and rehearsals with improvised music in a variety of genres and styles.2. Find creative ways to match your music’s energy, accents, phrasing, etc, to the dancers’ movement.3. Take cues from the dance teacher’s movement and voice, allowing them to shape and inform the music’s tempo, accents, phrasing, energy shifts, starts and stops, etc.4. Maintain and continue to develop musical versatility and improvisation skills.5. Musicians are always expected to be punctual, reliable, professional, courteous, and willing to assist teachers if needed with other basic duties essential to the functioning of the classroom.

Minimum Qualifications
Several qualifications are essential for this role:A comfortable proficiency in musical improvisation (creation of spontaneous, original music) on the piano, hand percussion, and/or drum set. Proficiency on additional instruments may be considered.Ability to improvise flexibly in various musical styles, creatively modifying the music to respond to visual / verbal cues.Ability to play music continuously for long periods of time while remaining alert, engaged, and attentive.Ability to take direction, work well with others, and communicate effectively with adults and children.

Previous experience as a student of creative or modern dance or as a dance class musician is not required, but can certainly be useful preparation for this role.Sight-reading skills are not critical, but may be helpful in some situations.Some previous experience with writing music, jamming with other musicians, or working in any setting where real-time musical creativity and quick responsiveness have been required, can also be useful preparation for the job.

Special Instructions
* Cover Letter -- Your cover letter should include a brief summary of your previous musical experience with your instrument of choice, especially any experience you have had in improvising or composing music.

Requisition Number: PRN14913N
Full Time or Part Time? Part Time
Work Schedule Summary: The work schedule can be as little as 2 hours a week, or up to 19, depending on applicant’s schedule and departmental need. The most current information will be made available during the interview.
Department: 00723 - Virginia Tanner Creative Dance
Location: Campus
Pay Rate Range: 16.26 - 20.09
Close Date:
Open Until Filled:

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