IN the wake of live music venue closures in Ballarat another small group is taking a different approach.
Small Space Music, set for a third series in Ballarat, is about making music accessible and participatory for all who want to take part.
Not for a concert hall and not for a pub, Small Space Music is bringing high-quality performers and events to Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute for six monthly jazz concerts with music workshops, starting Saturday evening.
Small Space Music's Ronny Farella says the series is for the "curious", similar to those who enjoy attending writing or arts festivals - they need not be classic connoisseurs or indie rockers.
Our thing is to connect the right audience with the right music. We want listeners to feel comfortable.Ronny Farella, Small Space Music
"Our thing is to connect the right audience with the right music. We want listeners to feel comfortable," Mr Farella said.
"(Performers) are not household names because jazz is not as mainstream in Australia. You can listen up close and they're really good practitioners. That's what the workshops are about. If you don't play music, you can listen and gain an insight for what's going on."
Small Space Music will open its Ballarat series with jazz singer Michelle Nicolle with her new quintet and solo pianist Luke Howard. Nicolle has travelled extensively in the United States for workshops and performances. Howard, largely considered a leader in contemporary music, has toured extensively in Europe.
Mr Farella, a school music teacher by trade, said the Small Space Music concept disrupted the standard arts model that tended to tell people what they should listen to.
He was often told people in regional areas were not prepared to deal with complex ideas. What Mr Farella has instead found was regional audiences tended to be more relaxed and open to listening to new things. He said this was possible due to a saturation of events in a city like Melbourne.
Mr Farella said a community space like the Mechanics' Institute's Humffray Room suited the concept and was a great tilt at the foundations of the institute.
"The Mechanics' Institute was put together for artisans to learn more," Mr Farella said. "It's bringing audiences back to what it was originally there for - everyone is increasing their experience and knowledge."
- Details: ballaratmi.org.au
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