So, this is day four of Girls’ Rock Camp ATL, and it’s going really well. The band I’m coaching, Lemon Lime Light, wrote their entire original song by day two. Now it’s just a matter of practicing until they’ve got it down. That’s a big accomplishment, especially considering two of the girls in Lemon Lime Light are brand new to their instruments and one has only been playing for six months without formal training.
Watching these girls accomplish so much – and get along at the same time- is inspiring. It’s also proof of how far people can go when they are placed in a supportive environment. This camp is not about telling girls how to rock; it’s about giving them the tools to do it themselves.
I dropped out of the music scene after I became a parent, so I wondered how much of the DIY ethic was passed down to this generation. It turns out, a lot. And now with myspace, facebook, music websites, and blogging, there are just more and more options available for musicians to be both seen and heard. Now that I’m back in the music scene with two kids in tow, I’m happy to see that DIY is not dead.
A perfect example is the the Girls’ Rock Camp ATL facebook page. Volunteers are posting clips of the girls playing daily. It’s pretty amazing. The videos are like mini-documentaries tracking the girls’ progress and preparation for showcase day at Variety Playhouse. And the beautiful thing about DIY filmmaking, promotion, zines and music is that it’s more likely to treat everyone equally, regardless of skill level, musical background, age, race, or shoesize. And it shows the truth.
And the truth is that when you get around 40 girls together and you encourage them to speak up and speak out, you hear their true voice. When you hand them an instrument that is big and loud, you hear the biggest, loudest noise your ears can stand. And when you support those girls through workshops on self-expression, self-defensive, and self-esteem, you hear the purest music that is out there in any scene. I consider myself lucky to witness it firsthand.
I thought being a band coach would be tough. I imagined the girls arguing, or name-calling, or obsessing over their looks. I could not have been more wrong. The only thing these girls have done from day one is totally rock.
Check out the CNN story on last year’s Girls’ Rock Camp ATL for a behind the scenes look at the best camp ever. Some of the girls featured are returning campers this year.