Free MUSE Conference for musicians is March 9-10

The MUSE Conference, created by jazz guitarist Eric Essix and UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, features music industry professionals who will provide musicians with the tools to succeed.

1203796112298307.7DUiPrJYugpTCeQiiezP height640Musicians looking for the keys to success in the music industry are invited to a free conference March 9-10, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The MUSE Conference, presented by UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, provides musicians the tools to succeed. Created by jazz guitarist Eric Essix, an Alabama Jazz Hall of Famer and the Alys Stephens Center’s own director of Programming, the MUSE Conference is for all musicians, from new and aspiring to seasoned professionals. Attendees will hear from music industry professionals and participate in group discussions sure to inform and inspire.

Featured artists include Meshell Ndegeocello as well as Victor Wooten and Steve Bailey with Bass Extremes. The conference is free, but registration is encouraged. Register online. A full schedule is available online at, along with presenter information. Food trucks will be on-site.

Thursday, March 9

Percussionist, producer and educator Ulysses Owens Jr. will lead three sessions, including The Musicians Career Guide, Creative Entrepreneurship and a Shark Tank challenge.

Get tips on how musicians can protect their hearing during a lunch and learn session, with the Magic City Eats food truck on-site.

Featured artist Meshell Ndegeocello has defied labels throughout her more than 20-year career as one of the brightest and most innovative artists. Ndegeocello’s music twists and turns through many genres, from R&B, pop, and jazz to hip-hop and more. Respected in the industry as a virtuoso on the electric bass guitar and as a composer/producer, Ndegeocello will engage conference attendees in a moderated panel discussion at 3 p.m., and the 10-time Grammy Award nominee will also give a featured performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39. Visit or call 205-975-2787 for tickets or more information.

Speakers Ricky Schultz of Zebra Records and Essix will present a session on each day of the conference. The first is a discussion of the merging of hip-hop and jazz in the 1990s at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and the second is on the changing music industry at 11:15 a.m. Friday, March 10.

Friday, March 10

Hear from jazz drummer John Roberts, pianist West Byrd and bass player Sean Michael Ray in a moderated panel discussion and demo on how to enter and maintain a career as a sideman.

At noon, learn about hand health from Joseph Sherrill, M.D., during a lunch session, with iCantina food truck on-site.

After lunch, Essix and Grammy Award-nominated producer Kelvin Wooten and Grammy Award-winning producer, keyboardist and engineer Phil Davis will discuss The Business and Art of Music Production: Beats and Beyond.

At 2:30 p.m., in conjunction with UAB’s Jazz Summit, attend A Musicians Workshop with speaker and jazz saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown. This workshop and talkback for the UAB College of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Music Jazz Studies program and Jazz Summit students is open to all conference attendees.

Featured MUSE Conference artist Victor Wooten will lead A Musicians Workshop at 4:30 p.m. and will also give a featured performance, Bass Extremes, featuring Steve Bailey and Derico Watson, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39. Visit or call 205-975-2787 for tickets or more information.

About Victor Wooten and Bass Extremes

Victor Wooten is a five-time Grammy Award winner and a founding member of the supergroup Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He has been called the most influential bassist of the last two decades and was listed as one of the Top Ten Bassists of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine. Wooten has won Bass Player Magazine’s reader poll three times — the only person to have won it more than once. With many solo recordings, Wooten is also the author of “The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music.” 

Bailey is a pioneer of the six-string fretless bass whose techniques are studied around the world. An avid recording artist with two solo recordings under his belt, Bailey is chair of the Bass Department at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Bailey has played and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, The Rippingtons, Jethro Tull, Paquito D’rivera, Larry Carlton and Willie Nelson, to name a few. Bass Player Magazine wrote: “Steve Bailey is to the six-string fretless bass what Columbus is to America.”

Together, Wooten and Bailey formed Bass Extremes in 1992, releasing their self-titled debut, which remains one of the top-selling musical/instructional bass products of all time. They are also known and respected as the dynamic teaching duo who continue to teach together at events and universities around the world.