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After-school program helps hone kids’ musical talents
Music program » Steve Auerbach’s MusicGarage.org provides a resource for parents whose children want to hit the stage.

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Volume up: Amp, monitor and house » Since he founded MusicGarage three years ago, Auerbach estimates he’s volunteered 4,000 hours of his time. He has a handful of students enrolled in his program, but he’d like to someday serve up to 200 kids.

At a glance

After-school resources

Here’s a short list of a few of national and local resources to help parents find training programs for their youth.

Afterschool Alliance » For specific information about after-school issues in Utah, find reports and information at afterschoolalliance.org.

Utah Afterschool Network » utahafterschool.org offers a variety of links to programs, websites and information about available classes and programs.


MusicGarage » Visit musicgarage.org for a video introduction to the program and upcoming events; 801-577-2263.

School of Rock » Visit sandy.schoolofrock.com for a video tour of programs; fill out a registration form under the “Contact us” link for more information.

Utah Arts Alliance » For a list of resources and programs, visit utaharts.org/programsandservices/servicesdirector; 801-651-3937.

Spy Hop Productions » Visit spyhop.org to learn more about after-school programs in film, music, audio and design; 801-532-7500.

Jewish Community Center » Visit slcjcc.org/youth-a-teen/afterschool for activities; 801-581-0098.

Bricks 4 Kidz » Visit bricks4kidz.com and click on the “Locations” link; 801-898-3000 or 801-209-2187.

Salt Lake City’s YouthCity » Visit slcgov.com/youthcity for programs designed for youth ages 9-14 and 14-18. Click on the school your child attends for programs nearest you; 801-535-6129.

Salt Lake County’s Youth Services » Visit youth.slco.org/programs/afterschool.html for information about a variety of youth activities; 385-468-4438.

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For now, he takes the MusicGarage kids through their paces. Sometimes he yells, although he admits he tries to curse less than when he worked with children through School of Rock, which has a location in Sandy.

"He can get mad at you for not learning your part, or he can be encouraging to you," said bassist Calvin Roberts, 14. "He just makes it fun. He can be all hyper at once. He makes you want to jump around onstage with him."

Calvin and his sister, Emma, 18, started with Auerbach in May 2011, and each reports improvements in skill and confidence, sometimes through making mistakes or being "embarrassed" for not knowing a part.

"You can tell this is his thing," said Emma Roberts, who plays guitar and keyboards, about Auerbach. "He’s very passionate about it, and he cares for the kids. He’s intense. The fact that he does get on your case for stuff makes you better in the end. He gets mad for the right reason."

Tempering the atmosphere is guitar virtuoso Terrence Hansen, with several tours and CDs under his belt. "I like working with the kids. It helps me keep in touch with what it’s all about," said Hansen, who is routinely amazed by the level of talent from his young students. "Quite often I get a kick in the butt."

At the end of the Thursday rehearsal, Hansen and Auerbach offered suggestions and answered questions. "Just be aware," Auerbach told the kids, "there are three volumes for every instrument — amp, monitor and house."

Hansen chimed in. "You have to get used to the microphone," he said. "It takes a long, long time. It’s kind of a beast, like you’re trying to ride a wild horse that’s going to buck you off if you don’t sing right into it."

For a moment while the adults talked, the MusicGarage kids listened and learned, quietly.

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