Rock Band is all well and good, but for teens who want to take their musical aspirations to the next level, you’ve got to put the gaming guitar down and plug in to the real thing — and show your stuff in public.

That’s what is happening this weekend at the MAMM Slam in Portland, where more than a dozen high school bands from across Maine are battling for statewide bragging rights and a place in the finals later this month.

The event, sponsored by the Maine Academy of Modern Music, kicked off Saturday night and continues today from 3:30 to 7 p.m. at Empire Dine and Dance at 575 Congress St.

Bands play mostly original songs — one cover tune is allowed — in 20-minute sets for an audience of fellow musicians, supporters and judges. At the end of today’s round, five finalists will be announced, along with one MaineToday.com wild-card entry.

The finals will be held April 30 at Port City Music Hall, with the winner receiving $1,000 in cash and a slew of industry perks, including free studio time.

For more information, go to maineacademyofmodernmusic.org/ mamm-slam.