The girls in the bands

What better way to relaunch this blog than with an entry about Ladies Rock Camp? Several entries, most likely. I'm not good at reading long entries, so I try not to create any.

During the past two summers, I have volunteered at Girls Rock Camp Vancouver. There are rock camps for girls all over the world, all of which aim to help girls build self-esteem through learning to play music. But it all started in Portland, Oregon. They've been running the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls for 10 years, as well as the Rock Camp Institute, an after-school program for girls.

Running rock camp takes a lot of money. One way that the Portland camp raises money is to have Ladies Rock Camp twice a year. Musicians at all levels, musicians who want to learn a different instrument, and women who want to play music come to Portland for a long weekend in the spring and fall to do pretty much what the girls do in their week-long camps: meet other women, form bands, learn or get better on their chosen instrument, practise with their band, write a song together, come up with a band name, attend a songwriting or stage-craft workshop, silkscreen the name or logo onto a T-shirt, and finally play in a showcase.

That sounds simple, but the experience of participating in camp is truly amazing. Just a few days ago, Sweetie and I went to our first camp. I went to learn to play the drums, something I've always admired and never been able to do. Sweetie, an experienced bass player, went to learn guitar.

You can learn so much about yourself! I learned I actually can play drums. Our wonderful drum instructor got three of us who had never played before up to speed rather quickly. Start with the kick drum, add the high-hat, then add the snare, and before long you have a standard rock beat. And all your limbs are doing what they're supposed to be doing! Then you keep adding more stuff.

I also learned about building a band quickly and writing a song collaboratively, which I'll go into more in another entry. It's an amazing process, not without its frustration, but ultimately very satisfying.

I sang karaoke for the first time! And after only two drinks. I've kind of avoided karaoke for a long time, but it was a lot of fun. I sang only one song, with Sweetie. I had put another in the bowl to do solo, but then a whole lot more landed on top. We didn't stay long enough for me to have my solo debut. Another time?

I really loved the musical part—playing drums for the first time ever, working with a band (it's been a long time), writing a song together, working out the problems, and finally playing it at the showcase. But probably more than that, I loved being with all those really cool women, both campers and the wonderful staff. It was quite a varied group. I wish I'd been able to interact with more people! Of necessity, you spend a lot of time with your band, and there isn't much time just for socializing. I'd like to take better advantage of the time next time.

Oh yes, there has to be a next time. More drums? Bass? Vocals? All I know is that I'm ready now!

1 comment:

Anji said...

Amazing. I'd love to try something like that myself. I've been around drummers all my life but never got past stage one.

I like the look of your new blog.